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Coolysd

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Hey y'all.
I am fishless cycling my 5gal and I'm using Dr. Tim's Ammonia and today is day #19.
Day #1 added 20 drops of amon and it stayed at 4 until day #5 (in the AM) it was at 2. I added 4 drops and that night it was back to 4, nitrite 0.
On day #12 amon still at 4 and nitrite showed up at .25.
Day #13 amon 4, nitrite .50, nitrate showed up at 5.
Day #14 Amon 4, Nitrite 2-5, nitrate 5.
Day#15 amon 2, nitrite 5, nitrate 10.
Day #16 amon 2, nitrite and nitrate at 5. I added 5 drops of ammonia.
Day #17 amon 0, nitrite and nitrate at 5. I added 15 drops of ammonia.
Day #18 (AM) amon .25. nitrite and nitrate at 5. I added 20 drops of amon. That evening (last night) amon 1, nitrite 5, nitrate 20.
This morning (day #19)
Amon 0, nitrite 5, Nitrate 20. Did a 50% WC and then added 20 drops of amon. And so tonight amon 1, nitrite 5, Nitrate 5-10.
So having 0 amon this morning and adding a full dose, then to only have 1ppm this evening, should I add another dose or do I wait?
I have read the cycling thread here several times for reference, but it seems like this tank is on a different schedule. I know every tank is different, however I'm kinda lost right now and not sure how to proceed moving forward.

Sorry for the long post, I just wanted y'all to have all the info. This is the first time I have cycled a tank this way, and to be honest, I am finding it very interesting. It kinda gives me a sense of pride as well. Can't wait to shop for my Betta!! Here's a pic.
TIA y'all!! I appreciate you!!
 

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Essjay

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Are you following the method on here? That was written so that nitrite can never get high enough to stall the cycle. Looking at your results, you seem to have been adding too much ammonia.

Quick summary of the method:

#1 Add enough ammonia to get 3 ppm (not 4)
#2 Test every third day until the readings are ammonia less than 0.75 and nitrite more than 2.0.
#3 Add the same amount of ammonia added on the first day.
#4 Test every second day until ammonia tests zero then zero again 2 days later.
#5 Add 1/3 of the amount of ammonia added at the start
#6 Test every day until ammonia is less than 0.25 and nitrite is less than 1.0
#7 Add the same amount of ammonia added at the start.
#8 Test next day and if both are zero, the cycle has finished. If they are not zero, repeat from #6 until there are zero readings.
 
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Coolysd

Coolysd

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Thank you so much for that breakdown! I actually started with Dr Tim's directions on the ammonia bottle. It states 4 drops per gallon which brought it to 4ppm. I was using the directions above as sort of a reference when Dr Tim's became kinda vague. When the PH dropped I did a couple small WC. I have also been using API Quick Start and the gravel came from from my 75g.
I love my tanks, but mannnnnn, they are testing my patience big time. I'm just trying my best to get it right, but I feel like I keep falling short. 😕
 

plebian

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I love my tanks, but mannnnnn, they are testing my patience big time. I'm just trying my best to get it right, but I feel like I keep falling short.
Patience is a virtue. How quickly the bacteria reproduce is dependent on both temperature and pH. The lower the pH and the temp, the longer it's going to take.

On a side note, you don't need all the fancy commercial stuff to properly cycle a tank. OTC ammonia is just fine and a LOT cheaper. Because I maintain a large garden, I just use a pinch of urea fertilizer to get things going. The API Quick Start is absolutely useless. Nitrifying bacteria require oxygen to survive. There is no oxygen in a bottle of Quick Start.

When it comes to aquariums (or gardening), the less you interfere with nature the better.
 

sharkweek178

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The API Quick Start is absolutely useless. Nitrifying bacteria require oxygen to survive. There is no oxygen in a bottle of Quick Start.

When it comes to aquariums (or gardening), the less you interfere with nature the better.
However, some filter media from an established tank or even some substrate is a good way to jump start a cycle.
 

TwoTankAmin

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There is something not right about the numbers you are reporting. What test kit are you using?

I have used Dr. Tim's Ammonium Chloride for many years. In its current version 4 dropsgallon will produce 2 ppm of ammonia as nitrogen. On a test kit for aquariums, which measures using the Total Ions scale, that should produce a reading of 2.6 ppm, not 4. That leaves two possibilities for why you got 4 ppm. The first is the simple fact that the dosing of ammonia is based on the actual volume of water and not the advertised tank size.

Nobody fills a tank right to the top and almost overflowing. Next everything you put into the tank, substrate, rocks, wood, filter, heater. etc. displaces water capacity and thus reduces the actual amount of water in any tank. I normally suggest one subtract 105 to 15 % of the tank volume to estimate the actual volume of water.

Next, testing error, which can include having trouble with colors which is common in the hobby would explain the results you reported.

Assuming you are reading your test results correctly and 20 drops produced 4 ppm on the Total Ion scale instead of 2.6, you should be adding only 13 drops. using Dr. Tim's directions. Using the directions here which call for 3 ppm, you should be dosing 15 drops. Whatever method you want you follow, you should stick to it as written and not mix methods.

I could offer more help if I had more info from you. So here are a few more Qs besides wanting to know the brand and type of test kit you are using.
What dechlor do you use?
Have you done any water changes?
What are your water params for pH, KH and temp.?
Do you have live plants in the tank.
 
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Coolysd

Coolysd

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Patience is a virtue. How quickly the bacteria reproduce is dependent on both temperature and pH. The lower the pH and the temp, the longer it's going to take.

On a side note, you don't need all the fancy commercial stuff to properly cycle a tank. OTC ammonia is just fine and a LOT cheaper. Because I maintain a large garden, I just use a pinch of urea fertilizer to get things going. The API Quick Start is absolutely useless. Nitrifying bacteria require oxygen to survive. There is no oxygen in a bottle of Quick Start.

When it comes to aquariums (or gardening), the less

There is something not right about the numbers you are reporting. What test kit are you using?

I have used Dr. Tim's Ammonium Chloride for many years. In its current version 4 dropsgallon will produce 2 ppm of ammonia as nitrogen. On a test kit for aquariums, which measures using the Total Ions scale, that should produce a reading of 2.6 ppm, not 4. That leaves two possibilities for why you got 4 ppm. The first is the simple fact that the dosing of ammonia is based on the actual volume of water and not the advertised tank size.

Nobody fills a tank right to the top and almost overflowing. Next everything you put into the tank, substrate, rocks, wood, filter, heater. etc. displaces water capacity and thus reduces the actual amount of water in any tank. I normally suggest one subtract 105 to 15 % of the tank volume to estimate the actual volume of water.

Next, testing error, which can include having trouble with colors which is common in the hobby would explain the results you reported.

Assuming you are reading your test results correctly and 20 drops produced 4 ppm on the Total Ion scale instead of 2.6, you should be adding only 13 drops. using Dr. Tim's directions. Using the directions here which call for 3 ppm, you should be dosing 15 drops. Whatever method you want you follow, you should stick to it as written and not mix methods.

I could offer more help if I had more info from you. So here are a few more Qs besides wanting to know the brand and type of test kit you are using.
What dechlor do you use?
Have you done any water changes?
What are your water params for pH, KH and temp.?
Do you have live plants in the tank.
I'm using the API Master Kit and reading the results is challenging sometimes. I have attached a screenshot of the results for the last 3 days.
I have done 3 wc this past week 1@ 25% and 2 @ 50%.
No live plants and I use Prime to dechlorinate.
I appreciate y'all!!
 

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TwoTankAmin

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Let me start by saying what follows os a bit long. Also what you are experiencing is almost universal for everyone entering the hobby.

Still not quite the info needed. Cycling a tank is a step by step process, especially if no live plants or starter bacteria is involved. Everything added or removed from a tank can have an effect on the process. So the only way anybody besides you can understand what is going on on your tank is by knowing a number of things in chronological order.

So for every day I would want to see your readings which should be taken close to the same time each day.
I need to know when a water change was done and how much. Plus I need to know the parameters before and after that water change. If the readings indicate it is time for an ammonia addition. I need to know when and how much was added and why.

Here is why all this info matters. There must be ammonia present to start and to feed the cycle. So it is important to know how much ammonia was added at the start. the reason is simple. It is possible to calculate from any given ammonia dosing what is the maximum amount of nitrite it can produce is. And we can also make this calculation for nitrate. The one monkey wrench in this for you specific tank is that ammonia can evaporate. So 100% of the ammonia may not be handled by the bacteria, especially early on.

Also because water params can alter the numbers a bit from expected. we have to understand we are looking at a range not and exact numbers. Only the max. possible number is real.

The API test kit reads Total Ammonia (TA) which is the sum of NH3 (ammonia) and NH4 (ammonium). In tanks most of the total ammonia is ammonium. So I work with a general atomic number for TA to begin the calculation. That number is about 1.28 ppm. (Dr. Tim would call this 1 ppm using the nitrogen scale favored by the scientific community). This scale tells us 1 ppm of ammonia = 1 ppm of nitrite = 1 pppm of nitrate. But not using the API kits.

The result is that the most that 1.28 ppm of TA on the API kit is 3.28 ppm of Nitrite on the API kit. Another way to see that is you get a max of 2.56 ppm of nitrite from 1 ppm of ammonia. And from that the max. nitrate possible is 4.43 ppm. The other way to see that is 1 ppm of ammonia produces a max of 3.46 ppm of nitrate. If you are interested in the conversion factors between the two measurement scales, go here https://www.hamzasreef.com/Contents/Calculators/NitrogenIonConversion.php

Sorry for all the math but it is why I cannot quite make sense of your test numbers. On the 27th you show 0 ammonia and 2 ppm nitrite and 20 ppm for nitrate. The next day, the 28th, you show 0 ammonia but 5 ppm, for nitrite. With no ammonia, from where did that increase in nitrite come?

Next, if you are making nitrate, that means the nitrite bacteria are at work. Every day they should be increasing in number, so more nitrate should result. But there is no change in nitrate from the 27th to the 28th. Finally, on the 29th you still have no ammonia and 5 ppm nitrite and the nitrate goes up to 80 ppm. So with that 4 time increase in nitrate, why didn't the nitrite go down? It should have unless there is actually more nitrite than 5 ppm in the tank. Somewhere there is missing information to explain your readings unless you are getting them wrong big time. Our vision is subjective re colors. In a lab setting those reading are made electronically based on the exact frequency of the test color. No errors there.

If you can could you expand the days of info, include the info on water changes as to when and how much as well as info on ammonia dosing. If this is not possible, then I would suggest we do a reset of the tank by doing a huge water change. Ideally we want to have the 3 params as close to 0 as possible. However, it is possible there can be a low level of ammonia and some level of nitrate in one's tap water. So if your have never tested your tap water. Please do so for as many params as you can. Bear in mind you need to outgas the water for an accurate pH test. This can be done by bubble the water in a clean container for 13 minutes or so or by leaving out overnight before you test.

A reset with a know ammonia dose and then closely following what happens from there will tell us where you cycle is pretty fast. Once we know that, it is easy to know how to get it finished.
 
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Coolysd

Coolysd

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Let me start by saying what follows os a bit long. Also what you are experiencing is almost universal for everyone entering the hobby.

Still not quite the info needed. Cycling a tank is a step by step process, especially if no live plants or starter bacteria is involved. Everything added or removed from a tank can have an effect on the process. So the only way anybody besides you can understand what is going on on your tank is by knowing a number of things in chronological order.

So for every day I would want to see your readings which should be taken close to the same time each day.
I need to know when a water change was done and how much. Plus I need to know the parameters before and after that water change. If the readings indicate it is time for an ammonia addition. I need to know when and how much was added and why.

Here is why all this info matters. There must be ammonia present to start and to feed the cycle. So it is important to know how much ammonia was added at the start. the reason is simple. It is possible to calculate from any given ammonia dosing what is the maximum amount of nitrite it can produce is. And we can also make this calculation for nitrate. The one monkey wrench in this for you specific tank is that ammonia can evaporate. So 100% of the ammonia may not be handled by the bacteria, especially early on.

Also because water params can alter the numbers a bit from expected. we have to understand we are looking at a range not and exact numbers. Only the max. possible number is real.

The API test kit reads Total Ammonia (TA) which is the sum of NH3 (ammonia) and NH4 (ammonium). In tanks most of the total ammonia is ammonium. So I work with a general atomic number for TA to begin the calculation. That number is about 1.28 ppm. (Dr. Tim would call this 1 ppm using the nitrogen scale favored by the scientific community). This scale tells us 1 ppm of ammonia = 1 ppm of nitrite = 1 pppm of nitrate. But not using the API kits.

The result is that the most that 1.28 ppm of TA on the API kit is 3.28 ppm of Nitrite on the API kit. Another way to see that is you get a max of 2.56 ppm of nitrite from 1 ppm of ammonia. And from that the max. nitrate possible is 4.43 ppm. The other way to see that is 1 ppm of ammonia produces a max of 3.46 ppm of nitrate. If you are interested in the conversion factors between the two measurement scales, go here https://www.hamzasreef.com/Contents/Calculators/NitrogenIonConversion.php

Sorry for all the math but it is why I cannot quite make sense of your test numbers. On the 27th you show 0 ammonia and 2 ppm nitrite and 20 ppm for nitrate. The next day, the 28th, you show 0 ammonia but 5 ppm, for nitrite. With no ammonia, from where did that increase in nitrite come?

Next, if you are making nitrate, that means the nitrite bacteria are at work. Every day they should be increasing in number, so more nitrate should result. But there is no change in nitrate from the 27th to the 28th. Finally, on the 29th you still have no ammonia and 5 ppm nitrite and the nitrate goes up to 80 ppm. So with that 4 time increase in nitrate, why didn't the nitrite go down? It should have unless there is actually more nitrite than 5 ppm in the tank. Somewhere there is missing information to explain your readings unless you are getting them wrong big time. Our vision is subjective re colors. In a lab setting those reading are made electronically based on the exact frequency of the test color. No errors there.

If you can could you expand the days of info, include the info on water changes as to when and how much as well as info on ammonia dosing. If this is not possible, then I would suggest we do a reset of the tank by doing a huge water change. Ideally we want to have the 3 params as close to 0 as possible. However, it is possible there can be a low level of ammonia and some level of nitrate in one's tap water. So if your have never tested your tap water. Please do so for as many params as you can. Bear in mind you need to outgas the water for an accurate pH test. This can be done by bubble the water in a clean container for 13 minutes or so or by leaving out overnight before you test.

A reset with a know ammonia dose and then closely following what happens from there will tell us where you cycle is pretty fast. Once we know that, it is easy to know how to get it finished.
Thank you very much for your response! I am currently on step #6 & #7 on the summary that Essjay provided.

12/2 amon 0 nitrite 5
12/3 amon 0 nitrite 2
12/4 amon 0 nitrite 0 -added 15 drops amon
12/5 amon .25 nitrite .25 added 15 drops amon

So we will see what the numbers look like tomorrow! :fish::fish::fish::fish::fish:
 
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Coolysd

Coolysd

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Thank you very much for your response! I am currently on step #6 & #7 on the summary that Essjay provided.

12/2 amon 0 nitrite 5
12/3 amon 0 nitrite 2
12/4 amon 0 nitrite 0 -added 15 drops amon
12/5 amon .25 nitrite .25 added 15 drops amon

So we will see what the numbers look like tomorrow! :fish::fish::fish::fish::fish:
Well it appears that we now have a cycled tank! Both ammonia and nitrite are at ZERO this morning! Yay!! Time to go find my Betta! (after the wc of course).
Thanks for everyone's help!!
 

sharkweek178

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Well it appears that we now have a cycled tank! Both ammonia and nitrite are at ZERO this morning! Yay!! Time to go find my Betta! (after the wc of course).
Thanks for everyone's help!!
Hold up. You might want to see if those results are consistent for a few days.
 

Essjay

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If you add another 3 ppm ammonia and see what the results are tomorrow that should confirm whether you are cycled or not. If you are, add a 1/3 dose ammonia every third day till you can go fish shopping. Don't forget the big water change (as near 100% as possible) before shopping, and allow time for the water to stabilise temperature.
 

sharkweek178

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Yep you're right. I'll definitely do that. It's probably gonna be at least a week or so before I'll be able to get him but super excited!!
I get it. You've been waiting and waiting and you finally see the numbers you want. And the wait is over! I did the same thing. Saw the numbers I was waiting for and ran right out and got fish. Only problem is the numbers I got were a false positive. I ended up doing a fish in cycle and I regretted it very much. I wished I'd have been a little more patient.
 

TwoTankAmin

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Juts as an FYI. When I empty a tank of fish and I wish to keep cycled. I add a full ammonia dose every 2 or 3 days. The bacteria do not need it added every day, vut one should add enough to hold the full cycle. One of the things that was learned from studying watse water treatment where ammonia level were never constant. Ammonia would surge then drop then surge etc. It turned out this worked to make the bacteria more effective.

If the is no ammonia in such a tank, the bacteria will sense this and go dormant. They can remain like this and will be viable when revived by ammonia again being available. They should be as good revived as they were when they went dormant as long as they were in good shape when they nodded off as long as this is within 6 months (12 if they are kept refrigerated but never frozen). Howeve, if instead of no ammonia, they were getting much less ammonia the result is the size of the colony would shrink back to where the lower ammonia levels were all it needed to thrive.

Considering this is a recently established cycle, I think the bacteria would do much better with 10 - 15 drops every other day than 5 drops every 3 days. Also, you should still do a weekly water change to remove nitrate even without any fish in the tank. You do not need to do any cleaning, just the water change. Do it the same day you would add ammonia and do the change and then add the ammonia :p

I am jealous. You are embarking, hopefulyy, on many years of "fun with fish." I am at the other end of the line. I am working to downsize and retire from the hobby in about 13-15 months.
 

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