In fish cycle skipped nitrites and went straight to nitrates.

Maff

New Member
Joined
Jan 13, 2021
Messages
55
Reaction score
13
Location
Pontefract
Just done an in fish cycle which I started on Friday. I placed a full medium mesh filter from my friends established tank into mine as well as the aqua gel balls at stated dose. I was going to do a fishless cycle but changed my mind because I'm more experienced with in fish cycles with tropical freshwater and marine. Testing is done with NT labs test tube kit btw.
This was a freshwater in fish cycle with 5 very small black ruby barbs approx one inch long, tank has 135L after substrate and ornaments. Initial nitrates in my tap water were 9.7ppm, my PH is 8 which makes ammonia more toxic so I had to be very careful.
Feeding was limited to once every two days to keep ammonia to a minimum. After 24 hours ammonia peaked at 0.2ppm, nitrite 0.0ppm and nitrate 11ppm.
Second day I peaked at ammonia 0.5ppm, nitrite 0.0ppm and nitrate 15ppm. Did a 50% water changed and added prime at correct dosage to bind ammonia and nitrites/nitrates. After water change we were at ammonia 0.2ppm, nitrite 0.0ppm and nitrate 7ppm.
Day three saw ammonia 0.0ppm, nitrite 0.0ppm and nitrate 11ppm.
Day four saw ammonia 0.0ppm, nitrite 0.0ppm and nitrate 15ppm.
Two days without either ammonia or nitrite now and I never saw a nitrite spike at all over the cycle or I missed it. Will test for the next three days and if its OK I'll start with another four very small fish, maybe Danios.
Very pleased with how it went. Fish are very healthy, have a massive appetite and are establishing pecking order as we speak. One of the larger males has taken dominance and is ruling the roost at the moment, showing his chest and kicking butts periodically until the rest fall in line behind him.
 
Last edited:
OP
M

Maff

New Member
Joined
Jan 13, 2021
Messages
55
Reaction score
13
Location
Pontefract
BTW I'm moving my feeding schedule to once a day now and keep monitoring the water for the next few days to make sure the bacteria cope with the extra food.
 
OP
M

Maff

New Member
Joined
Jan 13, 2021
Messages
55
Reaction score
13
Location
Pontefract
I will be interesting to see what happens with the next four fish. Obviously my bacteria levels will need to increase as the stock goes up so more testing of the water is needed as I progress.
The pure aquarium gel balls will be added along with the four fish as a booster which is what this manufacturer claims it does. They do not advertise their product as a means of starting a tank cycle but only as a booster or a supplement. I think adding the full filter mesh from my friends aquarium plus these gel balls as a booster really got things moving quickly.
I hope my second stage goes as well as the first but I'm taking nothing for granted.
 

mcordelia

Fish Herder
Joined
Oct 22, 2020
Messages
1,098
Reaction score
638
Location
michigan
that's wonderful that your cycle went so smoothly! I'm glad you had established media available to you, I'm sure that helped. Was it the aquaeon bio balls that you used? I was hemming and hawing over them at the store the other day, but went with seachem stability instead. I can't say I'm 100% pleased with my choice since my cycle is stalled at nitrites, despite having a lot of plants in there as well.

fingers crossed that you get no crazy spikes or anything moving forward!
 
OP
M

Maff

New Member
Joined
Jan 13, 2021
Messages
55
Reaction score
13
Location
Pontefract
that's wonderful that your cycle went so smoothly! I'm glad you had established media available to you, I'm sure that helped. Was it the aquaeon bio balls that you used? I was hemming and hawing over them at the store the other day, but went with seachem stability instead. I can't say I'm 100% pleased with my choice since my cycle is stalled at nitrites, despite having a lot of plants in there as well.

fingers crossed that you get no crazy spikes or anything moving forward!
I used the Evolution Aqua’s PURE Aquarium gel balls, come in a 50 pack. Add them into the filter media at recommended dose. Yes the established media helped a lot. One thing to take note of - I have the Aqua-one 850 canister filter. The sintered glass rock and tubes are really good media, I've watched a few youtube vids explaining this. However, there simply isn't enough of it, it only fills the trays about a third deep so I bought more. My two sintered glass trays in the filter have twice as much as they give you standard so the bacteria culture has much more room to develop as my fish stock increases.
 
OP
M

Maff

New Member
Joined
Jan 13, 2021
Messages
55
Reaction score
13
Location
Pontefract
Interesting development this morning. On the second day of daily feeding as apposed to feeding once every two days we have 0.1ppm ammonia and 0 nitrites.
One cap of prime went in and I'm not considering a PWC just yet. I expected that conditions would change with the extra food which is obvious really. If I get 0 ammonia and 0 nitrites for two days like I did with the limited feeding schedule I'll consider more fish but I need to know how the tank copes meantime. Ammonia may spike higher tomorrow and that means a PWC. I'm pleased that the spike for the extra food was only 0.1ppm, I think the bacteria will cope with that slight rise but we'll see.
 
OP
M

Maff

New Member
Joined
Jan 13, 2021
Messages
55
Reaction score
13
Location
Pontefract
Just measured again 6 hours after today's second feed. Still 0.1ppm so we are not quite there yet but it's getting closer. Nitrites are still zero and nitrates are moving nicely. 25% PWC tomorrow to bring down the nitrates but I'm considering a live plant or two to help with that. I think it might be after the weekend now before I consider any more fish or even longer. I need 2-3 days at double zero to give me enough confidence to do it. Fish are in great shape, they have too much energy but its fantastic watching their rituals, 100% entertainment. Love it.
 
OP
M

Maff

New Member
Joined
Jan 13, 2021
Messages
55
Reaction score
13
Location
Pontefract
OK, we have four guppies in as of Saturday. Currently ammonia 0.0ppm, nitrite 0.0ppm and nitrate 15ppm. The ammonia didn't spike till yesterday and it only spiked at 0.1ppm. The increased feeding regime before I put the guppies in worked a treat, it built up the bacteria enough to cope with the guppies. I've now started to increase feeding again for all nine fish and continue to build my bacteria culture even more.
What to put in next towards the weekend? Ermm.
The guppies are very young and spend a bit of time at the top of the tank while my black ruby barbs are keeping the bottom third occupied. I need something for the middle with plenty of colour.
I'm thinking a couple of swordtales and a couple of platties or maybe four swordtales with male and female.
What say you?
 
Last edited:
OP
M

Maff

New Member
Joined
Jan 13, 2021
Messages
55
Reaction score
13
Location
Pontefract
The original plan was Neon tetras at this stage but I've stuck with the PH at 8 and I don't think it will benefit them. I didn't want to add driftwood or chemicals to make my tap water circa 7.5PH because of two reasons. Firstly it makes my water changes much more simple and secondly my LFS also has water at 8PH so acclimatizing is a doddle. He does have tetras in the shop but I think they may be in tanks with a lower PH with driftwood in.
 
OP
M

Maff

New Member
Joined
Jan 13, 2021
Messages
55
Reaction score
13
Location
Pontefract
OK, this is the same pattern as what happened with the first fish. As I'm increasing the feeding regime for all nine fish the ammonia is spiking at 0.1ppm and is now negligible after a PWC. Nitrites are 0.0 and nitrates 10ppm.
It's the same pattern, add fish and ammonia spikes at 0.1PPM and goes to zero the next day. Add food and again 0.1PPM and zero next day. Add more food and same again. I'm adding Prime as it does so and doing PWC's to keep the nitrates down. I'll do the same again, 4 days of zero zero and consider more fish.
The fish I'm adding are all of similar size so I have good consistency but the real test will be when I add a center piece fish or two to see where it spikes and where I'll go with that. I suppose if I continue to add juvenile fish it won't be too bad, then once I'm fully stocked the bacteria will increase with how the fish grow in size.
It's a long drawn out affair, it takes time and it takes patients but its working.
 
OP
M

Maff

New Member
Joined
Jan 13, 2021
Messages
55
Reaction score
13
Location
Pontefract
Today we have zero ammonia and zero nitrites. Looking good for more fish maybe Sunday or Monday.
 
OP
M

Maff

New Member
Joined
Jan 13, 2021
Messages
55
Reaction score
13
Location
Pontefract
We went another few days with no ammonia or nitrites so I bought a small bristlenose pleco today. Brown algae was starting to bloom so I've reduced the light schedule and put this little fella in there.
He didn't mess around getting to work, he's already stripped one ornament of algae completely, he's started on the glass and the biggest ornament in the centre, these guys are like machines.
 

Colin_T

Fish Guru
Joined
Jan 26, 2008
Messages
25,596
Reaction score
9,798
Location
Perth, WA
Don't reduce the lighting if you have algae eating fishes in the tank otherwise they starve. Just leave the light on for the time it was when it was growing algae.
 
OP
M

Maff

New Member
Joined
Jan 13, 2021
Messages
55
Reaction score
13
Location
Pontefract
Today's readings are ammonia 0 and nitrite 0. Plants are growing nicely. Currently have 6 black ruby barbs, 4 guppies, 2 flame dwarf gourami's and a bristlenose plec. Getting close to full stock.
 
Top