Broken Cycle help :(

June FOTM Photo Contest Starts Now!
FishForums.net Fish of the Month
🏆 Click to enter! 🏆

Black_Orchid

New Member
Joined
Sep 6, 2023
Messages
10
Reaction score
9
Location
Leeds
Hi,

I'm a new member to TFF, I've been keeping fish for over a year but my tank has a problem :(. I set the tank up over a year ago cycled it and added fish. When my male guppies started fighting nearly all the time I was advised by a pet shop assistant who tends to the fish to put some females in, so I did this about 6 months ago. I recently got overrun with fry and female guppies. Over the last two weekends, I have re-homed approx 70 - 100 guppies to pets at home & paws for thought.

I thought re-homing the excess guppies would help, but I think the cycle in my tank is broken :(. After taking the excess guppies out I tested the water and found an ammonia spike 0.25ppm. To try and fix this I did a water change and add some of the API all-in-one water conditioner enough to replace the water I took out. This helped for a short time, but I'd say I've had to do a water change nearly every day for the last two weeks.

Tank set up
  • 70ltr Ecostyle 61 with a hood
  • Fluval sky light
  • Flucal U2 filter
  • Hater (not on atm due to heat in the UK)

Fish as of today (I've lost a few)
X6 venezuelan corries
X5 Neon tetras
X3 Nerite snails
(x20ish endler guppies bead from my origina tank in an emergency temp tank.

Everything I've tried:
Water changes daily
Adding API all in one (supposed to eliminate all nasties) - gone through a full bottle
rightly or wrongly took all my inhabitants out - fully cleaned everything to try and kick start a new cycle.
Since Wednesday I've used a full bottle of Fluval cycle meant to kick start cycle again with fish in - done this in both tanks (temp tank is 22ish ltr aqua one)

Since setting up the temp tank my guppies are ok. When they were in the main tank were crowding in a corner at the top gasping for air and not swimming, and a few died :(

In my main tank, the water parameters are confusing me I've got an API master test kit that I've been using for water testing. The temp tank is following the same patterns:

Tank test 09/09/2023
Ammonia - 0 ppm
Nitrite - 0.25 ppm
Nitrate - 20 ppm
PH - 7.4

Tank test today 10th Sep:
Ammonia - 0.25 ppm
Nitrite - 0.25 ppm
Nitrate - approx. 5 ppm

Like I said I've been using the Fluval cycle, When the ammonia spiked I panicked and used some API ammonia lock.

My corries are happy at the moment, when I checked the tank this morning I found they had laid a lot of eggs, they do this a lot. My tetras seem fine too all swimming eating not showing signs of distress. My guppies in the temp tank are swimming around happily etc.

Any advice is welcome, other than stopping adding ammonia lock and adding beneficial bacteria daily & water changes I don't know what else to do. I feel like I've put a lot of beneficial bacteria liquid down the sink and I'm no closer to getting my guppies back into the main tank.
 
Buy Goop from Tropco. Or Nitrico .Works a treat.
Not an expert but cycled my tank in less than 1 week.
Do not waste money and time on bottled bacteria does not work
I have tried Seacheme Stabilit, Fritz Zyme7 and Tetra safe quick. Nothing for almost 4 weeks. Added Nitrico Goop tank reading Ammonia 0 Nitrite 0.25ppm & Nitrate 20ppm in 3 days.
 
Last edited:
I'm not sure how removing fry would wreck the cycle, but st this point the best advise is to continue with daily monitoring and water changes until parameters go back to normal.

The "bacteria in a bottle" debate goes on forever. I personally vouch for it, others don't, then there are different brands, etc. At worst I don't think it hurts.

Do you have live plants in the tank? Those usually help the cycle (bacteria attachrs to them, like all other tank surfaces) and in keeping nitrates in check.

Only reasons for such a crash, that I can think of; would be dead animals unnoticed and left to rot, an accidental water change with untreated water, or a total tank cleanup (meaning emptying the tank, cleaning all surfaces and replacing all filter media) which you don't list here, so I still don't quite grasp what could've caused this.

Good luck.
 
I'm not sure how removing fry would wreck the cycle, but st this point the best advise is to continue with daily monitoring and water changes until parameters go back to normal.

The "bacteria in a bottle" debate goes on forever. I personally vouch for it, others don't, then there are different brands, etc. At worst I don't think it hurts.

Do you have live plants in the tank? Those usually help the cycle (bacteria attachrs to them, like all other tank surfaces) and in keeping nitrates in check.

Only reasons for such a crash, that I can think of; would be dead animals unnoticed and left to rot, an accidental water change with untreated water, or a total tank cleanup (meaning emptying the tank, cleaning all surfaces and replacing all filter media) which you don't list here, so I still don't quite grasp what could've caused this.

Good luck.
Thank you for replying.

The tank got completely over crowded with guppies. Including the adult females I re-homed 70-100 fish of various sizes.

My tank is fully planted although they need to recover a little from some trimming.

I've bought some tetra bacteria & tap safe.

I'll keep doing the testing etc and see what happens.

My Corrie's are clearly happy they laid loads of eggs this morning.
 
Please Stop adding all the junk to the tank and do not waste money on Goop. All the stuff you are adding is creating ther problems not fixing them.

A persistent reading of .25 ppm of ammonia is usually a false reading. If you tried to create such a condition intentionally it would take you tens or thousands of dollars in automated equipment just to attempt it.

Lets start with a quick explanation of how the bacteria work. The entire "cycle" depends on ammonia. When we start up a tank it basically has no ammonia unless it comes in with the water source. There is a small amount of bacteria present. When ammonia levels are increased, the bacteria will have more than they need and they will multi[ly in response. As long as there is more ammonia than they need, they will continue to multiply. There reverse holds true. If there is less ammonia than they need, they stop multiplying.

Every day some individuals will die and some will be created as other divie to make up for the loss. But when the ammonia levles go down, there is only the dying and no dividing. The result is the total number decreases.

So, if you have .25 ppm of actual ammonia in a tank, this means the bacteria will reproduce to be able to handle that excess .25 ppm and you then see 0 ammonia. This also works for nitrite. In a cycled tanks there are ebough bacteria to hand all the ammonia and nitrite.

So, the only way one could possible have .25 ppm of ammonia in a tank every day would require that ammonia levels are being increased faster than the bacteria. So, the odds are seeing a continuous .25 ppm for any amount of time is likely a false reading.

Next, it is pretty well known what bacteria and other microorgaisms are in aquariums to handle ammonia and nitrite and even nitrate in some tanks. There are many scientific papers on this subject. Over the past 3 decades a lot has been learned.

1. The specific bacteria at work on ammonia in both FW and SW tanks have been identified.
2. It turns out there are also Archaea which handle ammonia. Another type of microorganism.
3. The specific bacteria which handle nitrite were identified as Nitrospira and not the Nitrobacter that was thought to be there.
4. It was discovered that the Nitrospia bacteria are able to process ammonia straight through to nitrate as well as being able to process nitrite to nitrate.

Why is this important to making sense of what is involved in the cycling of our tanks? First, it tells use the actual l bacteria we want and need. And this, in turn, allows us to know before we buy any starter product if it contains the needed strains of bacteria. The key one is the Nitrospira because it was patented along with the methods for detecting it and then using it. Nitrospira cannot be put into any bacteria starter product with out permission. The discovery and patenting was done by Dr. Timothy Hovanec when he was the chief scientist at Marineland, the two shared the patent.

However, Marineland was bought by a conglomerate for their Pet Care division. They also own Tetra. So the ownership of the patent went with Dr. Tim and Marineland. Tetra was allowed to use the patent to make Safe Start. This is why any other product one uses, despite what the label claims. are not going to be the right ones for nitrite for sure. They will be replaced to complete a cycle by the Nitrospira naturally.

What happens when one adds the wrong bacteria is they ultimately die off and that means they make ammonia.They also can mess up things in the nitrifying biofilm where the desired bacteria live. What these other products might do is give one a bridge to the actual cycle.

I breed plecos, I get lots of fry, they also grow. I never have cycling issues in my tanks. The bacteria will reproduce faster than the fry can increase the amount of ammonia they produce. There is a limit to this however.

As to what I think you should do is to stop[ adding anything to the tank except new water, dechlored. Dechlors which say the detoxify ammonia slow down, but dpo not stop the progress of a cycle. Water changes slow down the speed of a cycle as well since they lower ammonia and nitrite levels. But in the case of fish being present, things are a bit different.

I would like you to read an article on the site here. Iit will likely show you why .25 ppm of total ammonia is likely not dangerous to your fish and then how to deal with nitrite without needing to change water.
https://www.fishforums.net/threads/rescuing-a-fish-in-cycle-gone-wild-part-il.433778/
 
Pleease list the bacteria strains in Goop. If one is Nitrobacter, then it is the wrong one because they cannot use the right one. While looking consider this:

Hovanec, T.A., Taylor, L.T., Blakis, A. and Delong, E.F., 1998. Nitrospira-like bacteria associated with nitrite oxidation in freshwater aquaria. Applied and environmental microbiology, 64(1), pp.258-264.

ABSTRACT​

Oxidation of nitrite to nitrate in aquaria is typically attributed to bacteria belonging to the genus Nitrobacter which are members of the α subdivision of the class Proteobacteria. In order to identify bacteria responsible for nitrite oxidation in aquaria, clone libraries of rRNA genes were developed from biofilms of several freshwater aquaria. Analysis of the rDNA libraries, along with results from denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) on frequently sampled biofilms, indicated the presence of putative nitrite-oxidizing bacteria closely related to other members of the genus Nitrospira. Nucleic acid hybridization experiments with rRNA from biofilms of freshwater aquaria demonstrated thatNitrospira-like rRNA comprised nearly 5% of the rRNA extracted from the biofilms during the establishment of nitrification. Nitrite-oxidizing bacteria belonging to the α subdivision of the class Proteobacteria (e.g., Nitrobacter spp.) were not detected in these samples. Aquaria which received a commercial preparation containing Nitrobacter species did not show evidence of Nitrobacter growth and development but did develop substantial populations of Nitrospira-like species. Time series analysis of rDNA phylotypes on aquaria biofilms by DGGE, combined with nitrite and nitrate analysis, showed a correspondence between the appearance of Nitrospira-like bacterial ribosomal DNA and the initiation of nitrite oxidation. In total, the data suggest that Nitrobacter winogradskyi and close relatives were not the dominant nitrite-oxidizing bacteria in freshwater aquaria. Instead, nitrite oxidation in freshwater aquaria appeared to be mediated by bacteria closely related to Nitrospira moscoviensis and Nitrospira marina.

Full paper here https://journals.asm.org/doi/full/10.1128/aem.64.1.258-264.1998

To see the patents, read here to get the numbers. https://www.drtimsaquatics.com/resources/library/patents/

Just as an FYI, I have read all 3 of Dr. Hovanec.s papers as well as the US patent for the Nitrospira. His first paper was also his PhD thesis where they showed that the bacteria presumed to be in tanks were not there was published in 1996. His second which identified the Notrospira was published in 1998 and the third paper, published in 2001, identified the ammonia bacteria in fresh water aquaria.
 
Well it worked for me and thousands of others. I know I bought 3 different brands of bottled bacteria and not one of them worked, over a 4 week cycle. One pouch of Goop and 3 days later my readings were complete added ammonia to 1-2 ppm, and 24 hrs later readings were all good.
 

Attachments

  • IMG_4085.jpeg
    IMG_4085.jpeg
    264.9 KB · Views: 9
Well it worked for me and thousands of others. I know I bought 3 different brands of bottled bacteria and not one of them worked, over a 4 week cycle. One pouch of Goop and 3 days later my readings were complete added ammonia to 1-2 ppm, and 24 hrs later readings were all good.
I did look at the goop, but I'd already bought some tetra bacteria and filter starter stuff. I bought the tap safe as well. The goop delivery was a bit pricy as well.

With the goop I was tad worried as I've got a planted tank and from what I remember it mentioned something about KH etc, can't remember what it was (heat is affecting my brain lol)

I've read everything in the thread plenty to think on. 🙂
 
Please Stop adding all the junk to the tank and do not waste money on Goop. All the stuff you are adding is creating ther problems not fixing them.

A persistent reading of .25 ppm of ammonia is usually a false reading. If you tried to create such a condition intentionally it would take you tens or thousands of dollars in automated equipment just to attempt it.

Lets start with a quick explanation of how the bacteria work. The entire "cycle" depends on ammonia. When we start up a tank it basically has no ammonia unless it comes in with the water source. There is a small amount of bacteria present. When ammonia levels are increased, the bacteria will have more than they need and they will multi[ly in response. As long as there is more ammonia than they need, they will continue to multiply. There reverse holds true. If there is less ammonia than they need, they stop multiplying.

Every day some individuals will die and some will be created as other divie to make up for the loss. But when the ammonia levles go down, there is only the dying and no dividing. The result is the total number decreases.

So, if you have .25 ppm of actual ammonia in a tank, this means the bacteria will reproduce to be able to handle that excess .25 ppm and you then see 0 ammonia. This also works for nitrite. In a cycled tanks there are ebough bacteria to hand all the ammonia and nitrite.

So, the only way one could possible have .25 ppm of ammonia in a tank every day would require that ammonia levels are being increased faster than the bacteria. So, the odds are seeing a continuous .25 ppm for any amount of time is likely a false reading.

Next, it is pretty well known what bacteria and other microorgaisms are in aquariums to handle ammonia and nitrite and even nitrate in some tanks. There are many scientific papers on this subject. Over the past 3 decades a lot has been learned.

1. The specific bacteria at work on ammonia in both FW and SW tanks have been identified.
2. It turns out there are also Archaea which handle ammonia. Another type of microorganism.
3. The specific bacteria which handle nitrite were identified as Nitrospira and not the Nitrobacter that was thought to be there.
4. It was discovered that the Nitrospia bacteria are able to process ammonia straight through to nitrate as well as being able to process nitrite to nitrate.

Why is this important to making sense of what is involved in the cycling of our tanks? First, it tells use the actual l bacteria we want and need. And this, in turn, allows us to know before we buy any starter product if it contains the needed strains of bacteria. The key one is the Nitrospira because it was patented along with the methods for detecting it and then using it. Nitrospira cannot be put into any bacteria starter product with out permission. The discovery and patenting was done by Dr. Timothy Hovanec when he was the chief scientist at Marineland, the two shared the patent.

However, Marineland was bought by a conglomerate for their Pet Care division. They also own Tetra. So the ownership of the patent went with Dr. Tim and Marineland. Tetra was allowed to use the patent to make Safe Start. This is why any other product one uses, despite what the label claims. are not going to be the right ones for nitrite for sure. They will be replaced to complete a cycle by the Nitrospira naturally.

What happens when one adds the wrong bacteria is they ultimately die off and that means they make ammonia.They also can mess up things in the nitrifying biofilm where the desired bacteria live. What these other products might do is give one a bridge to the actual cycle.

I breed plecos, I get lots of fry, they also grow. I never have cycling issues in my tanks. The bacteria will reproduce faster than the fry can increase the amount of ammonia they produce. There is a limit to this however.

As to what I think you should do is to stop[ adding anything to the tank except new water, dechlored. Dechlors which say the detoxify ammonia slow down, but dpo not stop the progress of a cycle. Water changes slow down the speed of a cycle as well since they lower ammonia and nitrite levels. But in the case of fish being present, things are a bit different.

I would like you to read an article on the site here. Iit will likely show you why .25 ppm of total ammonia is likely not dangerous to your fish and then how to deal with nitrite without needing to change water.
https://www.fishforums.net/threads/rescuing-a-fish-in-cycle-gone-wild-part-il.433778/
Thank you for the above.

There's a lot to mull over there, I did use API quick start when I set my tank up. I also had some inherited bacteria from the pre used filter media.

I've used the calculation and got NH3 of 0.0045.

I looked up the nitrospiria and found they are found in tap water. I can try this method, but like I said there's a lot to mull over.
 

Most reactions

Back
Top