Question about cycling

D.W.

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Hi everyone,

I have a 10 gallons tank that I am trying to cycle. I started with a shrimp about 2 months ago until the ammonia test read 0ppm and Nitrite 2ppm. I vacuumed the gravel and did a 15% water change. I switched to ammonia to complete the cycle. I am using 1.2cc as full dose of ammonia based on the recommended calculations. Since April 1st, these have been my readings:

4/1/2115% water change. Complete clean up.0 (API)2
4/5/21Added 0.4 ammonia(snack)02
4/6/21Added 1.2 ml Ammonia (full doses)00
4/7/2102
4/8/21Added 1.2 ml Ammonia (full doses) 00
4/9/2102
4/10/21Added 1.2 ml Ammonia (full doses)0
It is taking 48 hours for Nitrite to read zero after I add the full doses of amonian. Yesterday, I added 4 different plants to the tank. Is it normal to take that long to complete the cycling after ammonia reads "0" consistently? Am I doing something wrong?

Thanks,

Deya
 

Naughts

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Cycling is a long process, 6-8 weeks.
@Essjay may spot if there is any stalling occurring with your cycle.
 

Essjay

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It took 7 weeks for my fishless cycle.

The nitrite eaters always lag behind the ammonia eaters - they multiply more slowly and they can't get started until the ammonia eaters make some nitrite. For example, my ammonia first dropped on day 21 and I finally had 2 zeros after 24 hours on day 48.

What I would do know is go from the last stage of the fishless cycling method.
If ammonia and nitrite both read 0 ppm, you are cycled. Do a large water change, be sure the water is the proper temperature, and add fish. The odds are this will not be the case quite this soon.

If ammonia and nitrite do not both read zero, continue to test daily. Whenever ammonia is again at .25 ppm or less and nitrite is clearly under 1 ppm, add the full amount of ammonia and test in 24 hours. Follow this pattern of testing and adding until both tests do read 0 ppm within 24 hours.
You are at the stage where ammonia is gone in 24 hours but nitrite takes 48 hours. So test every day until nitrite is under 1.0, then add a full dose of ammonia and test 24 hours later. Don't add any more ammonia until nitrite is under 1 ppm.
 
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D.W.

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Hi Essjay,

Thanks for the information, I am down to 1.5 day for Nitrite to read zero after I apply the full dose of ammonia. Based on your message, I am in the right path.

Thank you so much!
 
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D.W.

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Hi Essjay,

Quick question:

Yesterday, ammonia and nitrite levels were down to zero 24 hours after adding the full dose of ammonia. However, Nitrate was extremely high. Using the API test, I got 80 ppm of Nitrate. I did a 75% water change, and I got it dawn to 20ppm. I decided not to add fish to the tank until I can control the Nitrate. Today, Nitrate was 40ppm. I did another water change (20%) and the Nitrate reading was 40ppm after the water change. I added 1/3 of the dose of ammonia to the tank to feed the bacterias. Ammonia and Nitrate have been zero. I am wondering if my test kit is defective. Are these Nitrate levels normal, or am I doing something wrong? Sorry, it is the first time I cycle with ammonia.

Do you have any advice for me?

Thanks for all your help!
D.
 

Essjay

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Nitrate does get high during fishless cycling. Each 1 ppm ammonia that you add is turned into 2.7 ppm nitrite and 3.6 ppm nitrate.

Most places have some nitrate in the tap water. Have you tested your tap water for nitrate?

Nitrate testers are the ones most likely to give false readings. One bottle always has to be shaken well, it bottle #2 with the API tester. This is because one of the reagents in the bottle doesn't dissolve properly and it settles on the bottom of the bottle. All the shaking in the instructions is to mix it back thoroughly into the liquid. If it's not shaken enough it gives a false reading.



Are you adding the 1/3 dose of ammonia because you can't go fish shopping yet? Ammonia only needs to be added every third day for this, but the ammonia will still be turned into nitrate so you'll need to do another big water change shortly before you get fish. It needs to be big enough to get tank nitrate down to tap water level. Do the water change the day before getting fish to allow the temperature to reach the right level.
 

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