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Fishless Cycle No Change After 2.5 Weeks

coolfishguy12

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I'm doing a fishless cycle to prep my tank before adding fish. My setup is as follows (all equipment is brand new):
 
- 10g tank
- Marina Slim Filter
- Fluval 50watt heater
- Various artificial decor
- 5 Amazon sword (I think)
- Air stone
 
After two weeks I have the following water parameters:
 
- Ammonia @ 4ppm (no change)
- NitrIte @ 0ppm
- NitrAte @ 0ppm
- pH @ ~7.8
- Temperature @ 82 Fahrenheit 
- Municipal water tests show the water is medium hard
 
I set up the tank, conditioned the water with Seachem Prime and dosed the tank with 5% ammonia solution to 4ppm (Old Country brand ammonia). A call to the chemical company confirmed the ammonia has no additives, and my research showed that others used it in their cycles. A small bit of fish food was also added. Unfortunately no seeding material from an established tank was available. 
 
After 1.5 weeks, no change was observed. Water tests were performed every few days with API master test kit. At this point an 80% water change was performed (with Seachem Prime) and water was dosed back to 4ppm ammonia. A bottle of Nutrifin Cycle that came with the tank was also added to see if it could kick start the process. 
 
The bottle of Cycle made the water cloudy however no change was observed in water parameters at the 2 week mark. At this point the zeolite in the filter cartridges was taken out but care was taken to ensure that the cartridges themselves remained wet. 
 
I am at the 2.5 week mark and still have not recorded any change in water parameters. I've ordered a bottle of Dr. Tims one and only nitrifying bacteria , it is coming in on Thursday. My plan is to essentially start over, removing most of the water, rinsing the gravel/decor again etc.
 
Can you please suggest things I might try to get it going or something I may be doing wrong?
 
 

Ninjouzata

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I think you just need to be more patient. My ammonia didn't budge til around 21 days on my first fish-less cycle.
You should also be dosing to 3ppm rather than 4ppm, and no need to add fish food along with that. The Dr. Tim's should definitely help.

 
You're following THIS correct?
 
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coolfishguy12

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Ninjouzata said:
I think you just need to be more patient. My ammonia didn't budge til around 21 days on my first fish-less cycle.
You should also be dosing to 3ppm rather than 4ppm, and no need to add fish food along with that. The Dr. Tim's should definitely help.

 
You're following THIS correct?
I have been following this; however, I will check out the link you have provided. 
 
Would you recommend rinsing everything and starting new when I add the Dr Tim's?
 

eaglesaquarium

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coolfishguy12 said:
 
 
I am at the 2.5 week mark and still have not recorded any change in water parameters. I've ordered a bottle of Dr. Tims one and only nitrifying bacteria , it is coming in on Thursday. My plan is to essentially start over, removing most of the water, rinsing the gravel/decor again etc.
 
Can you please suggest things I might try to get it going or something I may be doing wrong?
 
 
 
 
If you are going to use Dr. Tim's you should check on their instructions for fishless cycling.   I think they recommend a 1ppm ammonia dose.  The bacteria in that state are susceptible to the ammonia, I think, so a lower concentration is good for them.
 
 
If you can't find their directions, email the company.  They do exist.
 
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coolfishguy12

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eaglesaquarium said:
 
 
 
I am at the 2.5 week mark and still have not recorded any change in water parameters. I've ordered a bottle of Dr. Tims one and only nitrifying bacteria , it is coming in on Thursday. My plan is to essentially start over, removing most of the water, rinsing the gravel/decor again etc.
 
Can you please suggest things I might try to get it going or something I may be doing wrong?
 
 
 
 
If you are going to use Dr. Tim's you should check on their instructions for fishless cycling.   I think they recommend a 1ppm ammonia dose.  The bacteria in that state are susceptible to the ammonia, I think, so a lower concentration is good for them.
 
 
If you can't find their directions, email the company.  They do exist.
 
Yeah when it comes in I'm planning on doing a big water change, rinsing the gravel and decorations then following exactly what the company recommends for a pure ammonia fishless cycle.
 

FawnN

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I cycled my 10 gallon & 25 Gallon tank in a week with Dr. Tim's ammonia, along with Tetra Safe Start.  
 
Directions for Dr. Tim's ammonia says to use one drop per 1 gallon of water.  Super easy!
 
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coolfishguy12

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FawnN said:
I cycled my 10 gallon & 25 Gallon tank in a week with Dr. Tim's ammonia, along with Tetra Safe Start.  
 
Directions for Dr. Tim's ammonia says to use one drop per 1 gallon of water.  Super easy!
 
 
Ok, just finished the restart. I did ~ 90% wc dosed ammonia to 2.0ppm and added the Dr Tims One and Only. I will update on Saturday what e readings look like. Thanks!!
 
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coolfishguy12

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Last night I put a big dirty filter pad from my LFS in the filter compartment.
 

FawnN

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Are you still having issues cycling your tank??  
 
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coolfishguy12

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Been testing for the past week after putting the pad in from the LFS. Nitrites and Nitrates are rising out of control, and in the last day I was able to reduce 3ppm ammonia to 0ppm in only 24hrs (still not all the way to nitrate, but things are on track). In a guide I've been following it recommended doing a 50-60% wc at this point in order to restore pH buffers and bring the nitrite/nitrate back to levels you can read. Just did that and dosed ammonia back to 3ppm, I'd say we're almost there.
 

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When you say nitrites are rising out of control, does that mean that you are continually adding ammonia?
 
You should not be adding any further ammonia aside from infrequent snack doses until nitrite hits zero.
 
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coolfishguy12

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I've been monitoring the levels, nitrites are off the scale (too high) but nitrates are continuing to climb. On your suggestions I've only been adding a small amount of ammonia each day to maintain the ammonia->nitrite bacteria colony.
 

eaglesaquarium

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If you don't know how high the nitrites are, you are in danger of stalling the cycle.
 
I'd suggest you just do a water change to lower the nitrites to the level that you can actually get a reading on the scale.
 
 
Also, you don't need to add ammonia daily.  You can add 1/3 of the full dose every 3-4 days, or so.
 

daizeUK

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I agree with Eagle.  Even if the cycle doesn't stall, it will take an unnecessarily long time to convert all these nitrites to nitrate.  A large water change should speed up the cycle considerably.
 
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coolfishguy12

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I just checked the water and it appears the nitrites have dropped significantly without having to do another water change. I'd say we're almost there folks.
 

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