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45 gallon fishless cycling

Discussion in 'Cycle your Tank' started by steelo, Nov 30, 2018.

  1. essjay

    essjay Member

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    No, they won't starve. The reason people using the older method add ammonia every time it drops to zero is that it used to be thought that the ammonia eaters would starve if they weren't fed every day.



    There is an old thread on fishless cycling http://www.fishforums.net/threads/clarification-on-the-fishless-cycle.420045/ The posts by TwoTankAmin (the member who wrote the fishless cycling method on here) are very informative.
     
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  2. Bronny96

    Bronny96 New Member

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    Hello everyone,
    I don't know how to start my own thread or how this forum works.. So please don't hate
    I'm new to the freshwater fish tank world.. Not really sure the types of fish I have as I got the tank with the fish from a friend's.

    I think my platy might be pregnant but I only noticed today and she has been pooping a lot, at first the poop was orange and now it's changed to a darker colour. I have considered the fact that I could be over feeding but im sure I'm not...
    I have a 40l tank with about 14 fish in. My platy is black with a greenish glow to it so it's hard to see a spot (I read that I would see a spot that would indicate if it's pregnant).
    (deep breath) Anyways, can anyone maybe help me out with what could be wrong? I have attached a photo I hope it is clear enough.

    Thank you in advance and apologies if I'm in the wrong thread..
     

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  3. steelo

    steelo Fish Fanatic

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    Probably very true...The ammonia seems to be dropping to 0 pretty rapidly (within a day or two) so I know that's a good sign. The last time I added a full dose was on Wednesday and by Friday, the ammonia was at 0 or very close to it. I waited it out Saturday but on Sunday, I confirmed a 0 ppm ammonia reading and added 1/3 the dose per the cycling guide.

    I will say though that this is much more encouraging than a few weeks ago when I was going on week 5 with absolutely nothing appearing to happen.
     
    #63 steelo, Jan 7, 2019
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2019
  4. steelo

    steelo Fish Fanatic

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    Okay, checked the nitrites tonight and they appear to still be out of control after about 1 week. So, I did a 50% water change and rechecked them...they STILL appear to be >5ppm. I don't know what to do at this point, I'll probably do another 50% water change tomorrow but should I hold off from adding ammonia for the time being? I am at the point in the guide where I added a 1/3 dose of ammonia as a snack, but I cannot go to the next step until nitrites are under 1 and they appear to be off the charts. Ammonia still appears to be at 0 for about 1 week. I've read that I can add prime to 'lock' the nitrites and give the nitrates a chance to catch up, but I'm nervous about doing that before getting advice.

    Thanks for all the help!
     
    #64 steelo, Jan 11, 2019
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2019
  5. essjay

    essjay Member

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    If it was me, I would do another big water change, and if the nitrite reading is then somewhere on the scale add a 1ppm dose of ammonia and continue testing every two days. The water changes are good practice for when you have fish in the tank ;)
     
  6. steelo

    steelo Fish Fanatic

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    Thanks! I did a 90% water change, retested and the nitrites are still around 5ppm...the API scale is VERY difficult to read. I am having a time trying to decipher whether it is 2ppm or 5ppm or somewhere in between...

    I still don't understand how they are still that high, is it possible that I stirred the bacteria up into the water from the plants/ornaments when I was dumping fresh water in? I also added a VERY tiny bit of ammonia, it should bring it up to .5-1ppm. I tested nitrates for the heck of it and they appear to be between 5-10ppm

    The water now is a bit cloudy, I think from the combination of dechlorinator and stirring everything up. Should I do another water change tomorrow if its still high or wait another week, testing every other day?
     
    #66 steelo, Jan 12, 2019
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2019
  7. steelo

    steelo Fish Fanatic

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    Did a 25% water change today and nitrites still 5ppm or higher. Should I continue doing daily water changes or just wait it out?
     
  8. Colin_T

    Colin_T Member

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    25% water changes are useless and don't dilute anything. If you are going to try and dilute something in the water then do a big water change (75% or more).

    If there are no fish in the tank then leave it for a bit.
     
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  9. steelo

    steelo Fish Fanatic

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    Okay, I'll just wait it out I guess...Over the weekend, I changed at least a full tank through a few large and small water changes. Ammonia was at .5 ppm yesterday after adding about ~1 ppm on Saturday. I am HOPING that this will finally cycle in 1-2 weeks...I've started cycling the day after Thanksgiving so I'm getting pretty inpatient at this point. I don't know how much truth there is to this, but I've read from several sources that high nitrites don't 'stall' a cycle, it's when the ph crashes partially due to an acid they produce. I haven't checked the ph lately, but it always seems to be between 7-8.
     
    #69 steelo, Jan 14, 2019
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2019
  10. steelo

    steelo Fish Fanatic

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    Hey everyone,

    I'm going on 2 weeks since I've noticed a nitrite spike, I haven't tested nitrates lately because I know the readings will probably be inaccurate. As of last night, nitrites continue to be 5+ ppm and are not going down. Ammonia is sitting somewhere between 0-.25ppm and I don't dare add any more as I'm afraid the nitrite levels will grow even more out of control. I performed a couple of very large water changes last weekend and another 25% change.

    My question is, is this normal? I really don't know what to do at this point and am about to just start from scratch and throw fish in. It's been 2 months since I've started the fishless cycling and it's been endlessly frustrating.
     
  11. Colin_T

    Colin_T Member

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    Aquariums can take up to 6 months to cycle but most are done in 4-5 weeks. If you have had nitrites for the last 2 weeks it should be close to finished and could drop any time in the next week. If it doesn't then drain the tank and refill it with dechlorinated water. Wait 24 hours and then add some fish. Don't wash the filter out or do anything major, just drain and refill and add fish.
     
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  12. steelo

    steelo Fish Fanatic

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    Thanks Colin,

    Thanks Colin! I've read that they literally can drop from off the scale to 0 overnight...is that true? I am trying my best to remain patient but the thought lingers in the back of my mind that I'm possibly doing something very wrong. I've really tried following the fishless cycling guide to a 'T' In the beginning of the process, I was desperately waiting for ANY nitrites to show up...now I can't wait for them to go away! After set up and being inpatient in the first month, I added several different 'brands' of bacteria...Prime, Tetra safestart+ and stability. Could the reason for the prolonged nitrite spike be that I have so many types of bacteria in there right now?

    I would rather let the cycle finish properly (0 nitrites, 0 ammonia) than just do a huge water change and throw fish in when the process is 3/4 finished. I don't want fish to needlessly suffer the effects of high nitrites, but staring at a 45 gallon container full of nothing but water and ornaments gets very old.
     
    #72 steelo, Jan 16, 2019
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2019
  13. Colin_T

    Colin_T Member

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    Yes it does happen sometimes. The bacteria take time to build up in numbers and when there are enough filter bacteria they all start eating the ammonia or nitrite and the level can literally drop overnight and sometimes in a few hours. However, it normally takes 24-48 hours to hit 0 once the levels start to drop.

    No. The different brands of filter bacteria will all live happily together and won't be slowing the cycle.

    LOL, that's why I do fish in cycles with lots of water changes :)
    Having said that, this is the only time you will have to cycle an aquarium. If you ever get another tank, you can take some of the filter materials from this tank and use them in the new tank for an instant cycled filter.

    Nitrite is not as toxic as ammonia and big water changes can keep the levels low while the filter finishes off :)
     
  14. steelo

    steelo Fish Fanatic

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    Thanks Colin, that's good to know!

    I keep saying this, but I'm going to give it until this weekend. If the nitrites remain high, I'll do a 75-80% water change and wait until the next weekend.

    edit: Checked nitrates tonight and they appear to be around 10-20ppm, nitrites still around 5 or more.
     
    #74 steelo, Jan 16, 2019
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2019
  15. steelo

    steelo Fish Fanatic

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    I did a 80% water change and was happy to see that nitrites dropped to around .5ppm. I think I'm making progress because last weekend after doing a 80% change, the nitrites were still off the scale. Here's hoping I can finally add fish by next weekend.

    Ammonia is at 0, should I add ammonia after doing this water change or just let it be?
     
    #75 steelo, Jan 21, 2019
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2019

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