Need help with cycling!

Essjay

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That depends on what the fish died of. If it was ammonia poisoning and you removed the fish immediately you don't really need a water change. But if they died because they were sick - and you'd be surprised how many fish at shops are sick - then I would do a water change and clean the bottom of the tnak to remove any disease organisms. Though having said that, the tank will be without fish until the cycle finishes by which time most disease organisms will have died.
 
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calbrown23

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i’m 90% sure it was ammonia poisoning, the fish are gone and i’m not going to water change, will order the ammonium chloride and then follow the steps earlier in the thread for dosage and so on, will let you all know how i get on over the next few weeks, thanks for your help!!
 

Essjay

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The method in the link refers to using the calculator on the forum to work out how much ammonia to use. This doesn't work with ammonium chloride. But the bottle does say how many drops per gallon to use (or how many drops per 3.75 litres). I would add a bit less than they say, wait half an hour for it to mix in thoroughly then test it for ammonia. If it's less than 3 ppm you can always add more. Count the total number of drops as you need to know how many drops it takes to get 3 ppm for future additions.
 
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calbrown23

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last question, how will i know when to stop adding ammonia? when ammonia reads 0, nitrites read 0 and nitrates are up?
 

Essjay

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The method on here
has very precise steps to follow. Ammonia is only added when certain targets have been reached, and the amounts at each target does vary. The final stage in the cycling process is adding 3 ppm ammonia and testing 24 hours later. If at that test both ammonia and nitrite are zero, that's when the cycle has finished.

This method is different from just about every other one out there. It was written so that if followed exactly, the cycle cannot stall. Other methods have you adding ammonia every time it drops. But this makes a lot of nitrite and we now know that when nitrite reached 15 to 16 ppm, it inhibits the bacteria and the cycle stops going forwards. Since our test kits can't measure that high, we can't know if we've reached this stall point. So the method on here was written to keep ammonia additions from ever making too much nitrite. Instead of adding ammonia every time it drops, the water is tested for ammonia and nitrite and ammonia is only added when certain levels have been reached.

Read through that method a few times and see if it makes sense. If it sounds confusing, let us know and we'll try to explain it better.
 
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calbrown23

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The first dose of dr tim’s ammonia has been added! just tested and up to 3 ppm, the waiting begins! thanks for your help everyone!😆
 

Essjay

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Good, you're on the way :)


Now you need to test for ammonia and nitrite every third day until you reach a day where ammonia is less than 0.75 and nitrite is more than 2.0. Don't add any more ammonium chloride until then.
 

Slaphppy7

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Good, you're on the way :)


Now you need to test for ammonia and nitrite every third day until you reach a day where ammonia is less than 0.75 and nitrite is more than 2.0. Don't add any more ammonium chloride until then.
I've cycled many tanks using pure ammonia, and I've always waited to add (second) dose of ammonia until it reads 0 with the liquid test kit...hope it's OK to post the following, from another forum, and I would like your input on these directions, @Essjay:


FISHLESS CYCLING
Once you start to cycle (all methods) do no cleaning. Messing with your tank removes the bacteria and starts your cycle over again. This can not be stressed enough. Do not change the gravel, mess with the filters and play around with pH adjusters, etc. If you do, you will delay the cycling process. No water changes are needed doing the fishless cycle.

Bacteria grows faster in warmer temperatures with lots of oxygen so turn your heater up to 82 and add an air stone or bubbler if you have one.

Unless you have well water, you must always use a de-chlorinator. The chlorine in your water supply will kill bacteria immediately. Many water municipals also use chloramines as a means of sterilization so get a product that removes chlorine and chloramines. Most water conditioners now do both. Storing water does not remove chloramines.

There is more than one way to do a “fishless cycle”. You can feed the tank fish flakes or use a piece of “raw” shrimp or fish in a nylon stocking and anchor it to the bottom of the tank. (Must be underwater and may get stinky.) Many are now using PURE ammonia to get the level up instantly rather than waiting for shrimp or flakes to rot. This article is only about cycling with pure ammonia.

HOW MUCH AMMONIA TO ADD: Now pay attention!!!!

This is determined by the size of your tank. A 55 gallon will be stocking more fish than a 10 gallon so obviously you need to grow more bacteria in larger tanks. You also have larger filters on larger tanks for the bacteria to grow in.

No one can tell you how many drops it will take to bring your ammonia level up to a correct dosage so this is why you need a tester. If you have a tank of perhaps 40 gallon and up, ammonia can be added to read between 4-5ppm’s to get your cycle started.

If your tank is a small tank, will hold only a few fish and has a small filter, then you should began your cycle with far less ammonia…..perhaps only 1-2ppms. You do not need to grow a ton of bacteria for a few small fish.

If you are in doubt about the ammonia to purchase, give it a good shake. If it foams, do not buy it. If it forms a few bubbles at the top that quickly break up, then it is OK to purchase. Read the label. If scents or detergents are added do not buy it. It will be listed on the label or ingredient list.

To Began.....

Add some ammonia to your tank, wait for it to get circulated by the filter and then test. If it needs a tad more, then add a tad more. And then DO NOTHING! Leave the tank alone. Nothing is going to happen for several days so no point in wasting testing solutions and fretting over the cycle yet.
(Make sure you have added dechlorinator when you set the tank up.)

After a few days, began to test for ammonia levels. Nitrosomona bacteria needs time to grow. As it grows, ammonia levels will slowly began to drop. Slowly at first but as more bacteria grows, ammonia levels will drop very quickly.....within hours.

You should began to very soon see nitrites, perhaps after only dosing the tank once or twice. When that happens, now only add ammonia of one/half of your original dose when you started. Ammonia is only redosed when previous dose has dropped to 0 and only one time a day.

Nitrites will continue to climb each day, also growing bacteria. You may have nitrites register on your tester for a couple weeks but one day you will check and they will be 0. That is when you have your cycled tank! You will have high nitrAtes when you tank is done cycling. Do a large water change to bring those nitrates down to under 20 and you can began to add your fish.

If for some reason there will be a delay in adding fish at this time, add a wee bit of ammonia each day to your tank to keep that bacteria fed. But make sure those numbers are 0 before adding any fish.

A faster cycle is achieved by adding used filter media from another fish tank. If you have a friend that has a tank, steal some of his filter media. If you can not do that, have him vacuum his gravel and give you the nasty stuff he pulls up. (Mulm)

Bacterium does not live in the water so transferring of water will not help with a faster cycle.

Bacteria Boosters are not used for fishless cycling. It does no good to add ammonia and then dump in a booster that reduces the ammonia.

There are several reasons that a fishless cycle may fail.
1/ Not using a de-chlorinator
2/ Not reducing the amount of ammonia during the nitrite stage.
3/ Changing your filter media or cleaning the gravel or adding chemicals that you don’t need to add.
4/ Not having the patience to wait for the nitrite levels to drop.
5/ Over-dosing ammonia by starting with too much or adding more than once a day.


You should be able to achieve a fishless cycle in 3 weeks or less. Not everyone has the same results in cycling. Water temperature, oxygen, hardness and softness of each persons water makes cycling all a bit different for each of us. Do not get frustrated or think you have done something wrong if your cycle does not go exactly as another persons cycle went for them.
 

Essjay

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Ammonia is only redosed when previous dose has dropped to 0 and only one time a day.
We don't advise that now.



The method we now advise on the forum states to add ammonia to 3 ppm then test every third day until
If at any time after the first ammonia addition (Dose #1) you test and ammonia is under .75 ppm and nitrite is clearly over 2 ppm, it is time to add more ammonia

After this addition, ammonia and nitrite are tested every second day until
adding 1/3 of the full dose when you get two consecutive every other day ammonia test readings of 0 ppm
In other words, add the 1/3 dose when there is zero ammonia and zero ammonia again two days later.

Ammonia and nitrite are then tested every day until the day is reached where
ammonia is .25 ppm or lower and nitrite is clearly under 1 ppm,
when another 3 ppm dose is added.

If both ammonia and nitrite are zero 24 hours later, the tank is cycled.




Ammonia should only be added when the readings of both ammonia and nitrite are at specified levels.


We have had several members report that they did a fishless cycle but found ammonia and/or nitrite rising in the tank after they added fish. Talking with these members, all of them had used the "add ammonia whenever it drops to zero" method. We have not yet had a report of problems after cycling when the method on here was used.
 

Slaphppy7

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Really?

OK, thank you for your input...to be perfectly honest, the thread I pasted IS 14 years old, so perhaps we have a better understanding of the fishless cycling method now.

Again, thanks for the reply, and your time.
 

Essjay

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