New tank help...

Ziawhit

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Morning all, - I have been away from fish keeping for a few years an recently got myself a fluval Roma 200, I have started the cycle with Dr timms Ammonia ( @ 4 drops per US gallon this being approx 169 drops), i have tested for the last 2 days and ammonia is static at 5ppm according to the NT labs Test kit, I have no Nitrites yet, but the tank has gone quite cloudy/ hazy looking. I was going to add Fluval cycle, but have since learned this kills off natural bacteria for the fluval substitue so essentially locks you in to using the fluval one which i'm not sure i want to do.. What else do i need to do to kick start the cycle. The last tank i had for a number of years i had no issues with cycling, this time not so easy and need any advice you can offer. pH is 7.5, water temp now 27oC, I also have issues with Carbonate harndess KH test - I have 3dKHh, it takes approx 3 drops to change colour ( 1 drop = 1dKh=17.8ppm ) test says i need to maintain a minimum dKh of 4, with a level of 6-8 being most desirable. For general hardness I have a result of 3 dGh ( again 1 drop = 1dKh=17.8pmg/L ) a level of 3 to 6 is I have soft water - I think. I have never had an issue with my water in the past. could i be reading too much into these test Is the NT test kit any good.?
Apologies if i post in wrong place.
 

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Fish4dawin

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Morning all, - I have been away from fish keeping for a few years an recently got myself a fluval Roma 200, I have started the cycle with Dr timms Ammonia ( @ 4 drops per US gallon this being approx 169 drops), i have tested for the last 2 days and ammonia is static at 5ppm according to the NT labs Test kit, I have no Nitrites yet, but the tank has gone quite cloudy/ hazy looking. I was going to add Fluval cycle, but have since learned this kills off natural bacteria for the fluval substitue so essentially locks you in to using the fluval one which i'm not sure i want to do.. What else do i need to do to kick start the cycle. The last tank i had for a number of years i had no issues with cycling, this time not so easy and need any advice you can offer. pH is 7.5, water temp now 27oC, I also have issues with Carbonate harndess KH test - I have 3dKHh, it takes approx 3 drops to change colour ( 1 drop = 1dKh=17.8ppm ) test says i need to maintain a minimum dKh of 4, with a level of 6-8 being most desirable. For general hardness I have a result of 3 dGh ( again 1 drop = 1dKh=17.8pmg/L ) a level of 3 to 6 is I have soft water - I think. I have never had an issue with my water in the past. could i be reading too much into these test Is the NT test kit any good.?
Apologies if i post in wrong place.
The cloudiness is normal I believe. It's happened all the time I've set up new tanks. Your ammonia should be 0. I'm not a pro regarding cycling a tank, but I believe ammonia should be 0 as it is toxic to fish. Will you be doing live plants or fake?

Good liveplants include amazon swords, anubias, java fern, crypts and some more that other people could add on. For the anubias and java fern, attach them to driftwood as they don't like being planted in sand. Also, what substrate will you go with? If you are to go with live plants, you would probably need to add some soil (I think) and then sand over the top. I'm not a 100% sure on the advice I've given. Other members can check out what you and I have said.

Edit: Ignore the part about the substrate, as I've just noticed that you already have the substrate in the tank already. My bad.
 

Essjay

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Have you found the fishless cycling method on here https://www.fishforums.net/threads/cycling-your-new-fresh-water-tank-read-this-first.421488/ This is the best method to use because, if followed properly, nitrite can't get high enough to stall the cycle. You will see it says to start using 3 ppm ammonia - leave your 4 ppm in there now, but when it comes time to add more, use 3 ppm or too much nitrite will be made.

If you want to use a bacterial starter, the most recommended ones are Dr Tim's One & Only and Tetra Safe Start. Dr Tim's is commonly available in north America but harder to get hold in other countries.

KH - once the cycle has finished there is no 'good' level for KH. It is whatever comes out of the tap. But a low KH can be used up during fishless cycling as nitrite and nitrate are acidic, and there is a risk of a pH crash. For during fishless cycle only, bicarbonate of soda (aka baking soda) can be used to boost KH. At the end of s fishless cycle, a big water change is done to remove the nitrate made during cycling, and this will also remove the bicarb/baking soda. Large regular weekly water changes will replenish the KH once there are fish in the tank. [Years ago I had a pH crash because my KH is low and I only did small water changes once every 3 to 4 weeks. I now do 50% every week and have not had any problems since. Learn from my mistake ;) ]

GH - as long as you stick with soft water fish your GH is not a problem. Hard water fish won't be happy though. Always research fish before buying - the best site is https://www.seriouslyfish.com/knowledge-base/ which will tells you the hardness (GH) range needed by any species, along with its other requirements.


Fish4dawin mentioned plants. if you want live plants these should be added after a fishless cycle or used at the beginning to to a plant cycle. The type of plants determine whether a plant substrate is needed - these are mainly for high tech set ups. Low tech set ups are fine with plain sand or gravel, and root tabs can be used to feed heavy root feeders.
 

FishGuest5123

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The cloudiness is normal I believe. It's happened all the time I've set up new tanks. Your ammonia should be 0. I'm not a pro regarding cycling a tank, but I believe ammonia should be 0 as it is toxic to fish. Will you be doing live plants or fake?

Good liveplants include amazon swords, anubias, java fern, crypts and some more that other people could add on. For the anubias and java fern, attach them to driftwood as they don't like being planted in sand. Also, what substrate will you go with? If you are to go with live plants, you would probably need to add some soil (I think) and then sand over the top. I'm not a 100% sure on the advice I've given. Other members can check out what you and I have said.

Edit: Ignore the part about the substrate, as I've just noticed that you already have the substrate in the tank already. My bad.
@Fish4dawin OP’s ammonia is high because he/she is doing a fishless cycle and adding ammonia which is the correct thing to do. You may be interested in reading on how to do a fishless cycle. :)
 
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Ziawhit

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Have you found the fishless cycling method on here https://www.fishforums.net/threads/cycling-your-new-fresh-water-tank-read-this-first.421488/ This is the best method to use because, if followed properly, nitrite can't get high enough to stall the cycle. You will see it says to start using 3 ppm ammonia - leave your 4 ppm in there now, but when it comes time to add more, use 3 ppm or too much nitrite will be made.

If you want to use a bacterial starter, the most recommended ones are Dr Tim's One & Only and Tetra Safe Start. Dr Tim's is commonly available in north America but harder to get hold in other countries.

KH - once the cycle has finished there is no 'good' level for KH. It is whatever comes out of the tap. But a low KH can be used up during fishless cycling as nitrite and nitrate are acidic, and there is a risk of a pH crash. For during fishless cycle only, bicarbonate of soda (aka baking soda) can be used to boost KH. At the end of s fishless cycle, a big water change is done to remove the nitrate made during cycling, and this will also remove the bicarb/baking soda. Large regular weekly water changes will replenish the KH once there are fish in the tank. [Years ago I had a pH crash because my KH is low and I only did small water changes once every 3 to 4 weeks. I now do 50% every week and have not had any problems since. Learn from my mistake ;) ]

GH - as long as you stick with soft water fish your GH is not a problem. Hard water fish won't be happy though. Always research fish before buying - the best site is https://www.seriouslyfish.com/knowledge-base/ which will tells you the hardness (GH) range needed by any species, along with its other requirements.


Fish4dawin mentioned plants. if you want live plants these should be added after a fishless cycle or used at the beginning to to a plant cycle. The type of plants determine whether a plant substrate is needed - these are mainly for high tech set ups. Low tech set ups are fine with plain sand or gravel, and root tabs can be used to feed heavy root feeders.
Many Thanks for the info Essjay, I will certainly take on board and check out the links you have provided. - Its been a week today since i added my ammonia and still no nitrites (testing every day) I have dr timms ammonia which says does to 5ppm which i have done and it is what i'm reading on my test, consistantly everyday. Zero Nitrites and haven't tested for Nitrates as no point if no Nitrites. I have some fluval cycle on standby, but reluctant to iuse as i have sinced heard once you use it then your locked in to using it as it kills natural beneficial bacteria.? !! - not suer how tue this is. I have just put in some Pure Aquarium balls into the filter as these contain some small amounts of beneficial bacteria to hopefully kick start something - fingers crossed.
 

Essjay

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The problem with dosing 5 ppm ammonia is that it makes a lot of nitrite. It is known that at 15 to16 ppm nitrite, the bacteria are inhibited and the cycle stalls. The method on here was written so that nitrite can never get high enough to stall the cycle. And 3 ppm grows more bacteria that a sensibly stocked tank of fish need.
 
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Ziawhit

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The problem with dosing 5 ppm ammonia is that it makes a lot of nitrite. It is known that at 15 to16 ppm nitrite, the bacteria are inhibited and the cycle stalls. The method on here was written so that nitrite can never get high enough to stall the cycle. And 3 ppm grows more bacteria that a sensibly stocked tank of fish need.
In your opinion where do i go from here, stick it oiut and see where it goes or do a water change, if so how much would you recommend.? I'm assuming this will reduce ammonia in the hope it kick starts the cycle.
 

Essjay

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You can leave everything as it is now, but start following the instructions in the fishless cycling method (link in post #3). In this method, more ammonia is only added when certain targets have been reached - the first one is ammonia under 0.75ppm and nitrite over 2 ppm. When you reach that target, add only enough drops to get 3 ppm ammonia. Then continue following the instructions.

If you are happy to do a water change just under half the water which will reduce the 5ppm to 3 ppm.

With your low KH, test pH whenever you test for ammonia & nitrite. It will help you spot if the pH is starting to fall, as can happen with low KH. Nitrite and later nitrate are acidic and they use up the low KH leaving nothing to stop the pH falling.


It took 3 weeks for my ammonia to drop last time I did a fishless cycle, and 7 weeks to complete.
 
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Ziawhit

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Hi All, - back again. - Sorry ! - I'm still at a loss with where to go with my cycle now. So if you can provide anymore hints it would be appreciated.
About 5 days ago my ammonia dropped to 2ppm, Nitrites crept up from zero to 0.25ppm, and nitrates is sitting at 5ppm, they have been like this now for 5 days no change. reading through the fishless cycle you provided the link for and also on your advice of leaving as it is until ammonia drops to 0.75 ppm, and nitrite over 2ppm then re add dr timms ammonia. I have done a water change earlier today to see if that does anything only about 25% and i have just tested now some 4 hours later and ammonia is now showing about 1ppm, with nitrites still at 0.25ppm, and nitrates still at 5ppm. I am now just unsure where to go now, leave as it is or does back to 3ppm with Dr Timms, I am not using anything else with Dr Timms ( although it does say use in conjuction with Dr Timms one & only ) I acnnot see whay my ammonia dropped from 5ppm to 2ppm with no major increase in nitrites. Is my cycle stalling or just on a go slow.? If i dose with Dr timms does anyone know the strength of the ammonia as i cannot find a % strength i will then be able to use the dosing ammonia calculator to dose witht he correct amount.
Sorry if this doesnt make sense, my last cycle i did a few years ago was a fish in cycle ( which i know know is not the thing to do.)
 
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Essjay

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Dr Tim's ammonia is ammonium chloride so the calculator on here doesn't apply. You said in your first post that adding 169 drops gave an ammonia reading of 5 ppm. So when it's time to add more you need to use less. 100 drops should give a reading of 3 ppm. Maybe add 80 drops, wait half an hour for it to mix in and test for ammonia; if it's under 3 ppm add the other 20 drops and test again after half an hour.

I would wait till ammonia is below 0.75 ppm before adding the next dose.
 
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Ziawhit

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OK Thanks, Will wait for the 0.75ppm reading. Does it not matter if the nitrites is not at 2ppm by the time my ammonia hits 0.75ppm.?
 

Essjay

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As long as you have some nitrite it should be OK. But if nitrite still doesn't go up after adding the next dose, I would do a check.
I know that the API nitrite tester behaves oddly if nitrite is very high. Just in case the NT Labs one does the same, Can I suggest doing a dilution test - mix tap water and tank water maybe quarter tank and three quarters tap and test that. If it reads a quarter of the all-tank test, then you know the level is right.
 
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Ziawhit

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Will give it a go. - As a back up i have some fluval cycle, but i'm resisting using it until i get desperate., I read somewhere that once you start using this artificial bacteria you are stuck using it. I'd much rather do it the natural way as it were.. - thanks again for your help, much appreciated..
 

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