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Has My Tank Cycled?

Discussion in 'New to the Hobby Questions and Answers' started by phi1w, Nov 10, 2012.

  1. phi1w

    phi1w Member

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    Hi All,

    This is my first post here and just really looking for some good advise on my tank and its cycle.

    Tank info - 200L, planted, 5 statues / ornaments, gravel substrate, Fluval U4 internal filter, Fluval heater, temp 25-26 C, PH 7.5

    Im currently doing a fish in cycle. ( i know should have done fishless, but who wants an empty fish tank for a month or so) I waited 2 weeks as advised before putting any fish in, any way two months later and am around 20 fish, all hardy fish eg. zebra danios, tiger barb, odessa barb, indian gourami.

    Ive tried Nutafin cycle and tetra safestart to kickstart my filter........ nothing.

    At the start i had been using the test strips to test the water, but after reading many reviews online i went and brought a api master test kit.

    Unaware how sh*t the test strips are i thought everything was fine, until i tested with the new liquid test kit i had just been a brought.

    The ammonia was at 4ppm nitrite 0ppm and nitrate 0ppm ( thought the fish looked a bit pale) so i changed my water change routine from 10% per week and did a 50% straight away, then a 20% every other day to keep the ammonia down. Until about 2 weeks ago ammonia 1ppm nitrite 0ppm nitrate 10ppm?????

    Had my tank cycled ?? i had been tewsting every few days, waiting to see a nitrite spike and hadnt seen one, but all of a sudden i had nitrate?

    I went to my LFS (Wharf Aquatics) and asked for advise, they said they didnt think it had cyled as the ammonia kept rising and told me to hold up on the water changes and continue adding the bottled bacteria and let the tank do its thing. They gave me a bag of dirty water, taken from one of there tanks. They also said if possible to get mature media from a friends tank and that shoud do the trick.

    After adding the dirty water i continued testing for a week or so and the parameters stayed the same ammonia 1ppm, nitrite 0ppm and nitrate 10ppm

    Because i had no access to mature filter media i searched the web high and wide to find a product that actually works!!

    I came across a product called Bactuur Gel, what harm could it do? ive tried everything else!

    It came two days ago and straight away i smeared the gel on the sponge in the filter as instructed.

    I tested the water this morning to find the parameters had changed ammonia had gone to between 0pp-0.50ppm hard to tell but looked closer to the 0ppm the nitrites were still at 0ppm and the nitrates had fallen to 5ppm.

    Does this mean its working? am i nearly cycled? im yet to see a spike in nitrites so im still sceptical as you can imagen.

    Looking forward to hearing from someone soon

    Thanks

    Phil
     
  2. DreamertK

    DreamertK Member

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    Test your tap water - thats probably the source of your nitrates.

    [​IMG]
     
  3. phi1w

    phi1w Member

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    Ive tested my tap water and comes back with no traces of ammonia, nitrites or nitrates
     
  4. DreamertK

    DreamertK Member

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    I'm no expert in the field, but I also doubt that your tank cycled with no nitrite. Ammonia is only half the battle. In total it takes 4-6 weeks with fish cycling. It's possible you kept resetting the cycling because you kept adding in more fish instead of waiting until it was over. So more ammonia is being produced from more fish than the bacteria can reproduce, and then not a significant amount of nitrite was being produced as the bacteria were trying to play catch up.
     
  5. phi1w

    phi1w Member

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    I agree with what you are saying and i have held off from buying more fish until it has fully cycled, but it has been over a month since the latest fish were added.
     
  6. CezzaXV

    CezzaXV Member

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    Cycling takes a long time. Hate to tell you this now, but having your tank sitting empty for two weeks won't have achieved anything at all, nor will the dirty water the shop gave you. The bacteria live on filter media. The amount that live in water will be negligible at best, and most likely non-existent.

    I would recommend giving the test solution bottles a really, really good shake before you test, especially bottle two on the nitrate test as it tends to solidify quite strongly. I'd be very surprised if your tap water had 0ppm nitrate.

    It's unlikely you're cycled without seeing nitrite, especially since you haven't seen your nitrates going up either. I also agree with DreamertK, that when you kept adding fish you were just increasing the amount of time you had to wait for your filter to cycle. Generally, fish-in cycles are done with a very few fish, and when it's done you can expand.
     
  7. bmonki

    bmonki Member

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    Having done a fish in cycle myself, i can confirm that you WILL notice the nitrites when they appear. it took around 10 weeks in total for my cycle to complete and 6 minimum of those were just ammonia spike weeks. im not sure where those nitrates appeared from, but if you still have ammonia you arent cycled.

    good luck!
     
  8. phi1w

    phi1w Member

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    Thanks all for replying to my post! So do you think I should just leave it alone and let nature take it course? I did a retest this morning nearly two days after adding the bactuur gel and the ammonia is reading 0ppm nitrite still 0ppm and nitrate 5ppm is it normal for the ammonia to drop like that?
     
  9. The Taffy Apple

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    It is normal, yes, in a fully cycled tank and filter. But i would have to agree above and say you are not cycled yet. You have two options here..
    1/ Continue with DAILY water changes. Your NitrItes should show up anytime soon, and those little suckkers are more harmful to your fish than Ammonia is. Continue with your tests and changing water as and when required to keep both Ammonia and NitrItes at '0'.

    Or...


    2/ Seek someone with a healthy, mature tank. This friend that donated tank water to you, would they be happy to donate some media from their filter/s? Only a small handful is needed, wether it be sponge, ceramic noodles/balls or even some floss. This donation will house millions of beneficial bacteria, which will then chomp their way through your fish waste and multiply in no time!!!

    Terry.
     

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