Tank Cycling

CamG369

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So, I have tank set up and am beginning to cycle.

In using ammonia that is only mixed with water (shake tested and read contents) and am using API quick start which has live bacteria. I put a little of the ammonia followed by the bacteria and have waited around 24 hours and tested. There was still ammonia and no nitrite or nitrate reading.

I'm aware it can take a while, I'm just wondering if theres something I have done wrong or if it's just a waiting game now? I've been trying to keep the ammonia above at least 5ppm as I was recommended to do until the tank cycles

Thanks
 

essjay

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5 ppm is too much ammonia. Can I suggest the first thing to do is a water change to get the ammonia reading down to 3 ppm. Don't worry if the reading ends up below 3 ppm as you can add a bit more to get it up.

Then read this https://www.fishforums.net/threads/cycling-your-new-fresh-water-tank-read-this-first.421488/ which is the best method around fot fishless cycling.



The reason 5 ppm is too much is because of the amount of nitrite that is made once the ammonia-eating bacteria start to grow. It is now known that at levels above 15 to 16 ppm nitrite inhibit the growth of the bacteria but our test kits only go up to 5 ppm, and they show the 5 ppm colour no matter how high nitrite really is. 1 ppm ammonia is turned into 2.7 ppm nitrite so it is very easy to go past that stall point if too much ammonia is added.

It is also now known that the bacteria do not starve if the ammonia level stays at zero. They can go several days without being fed. The method in the link was written so that if followed exactly nitrite can never get high enough to stall the cycle. You will see that it says to add only 3 ppm ammonia to start the cycle, then only add more ammonia once certain specific targets have been reached.



API Quick Start is not one of the more highly recommended bottled bacteria. If you can get some Dr Tim's One & Only or Tetra Safe Start, they are reputed to be better.
 
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CamG369

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5 ppm is too much ammonia. Can I suggest the first thing to do is a water change to get the ammonia reading down to 3 ppm. Don't worry if the reading ends up below 3 ppm as you can add a bit more to get it up.



To clarify. I get it to 3 ppm and leave it there even if ammonia disappears? Or do I maintain a reading of 3 until I begin to see nitrite. The article is confusing

Then read this https://www.fishforums.net/threads/cycling-your-new-fresh-water-tank-read-this-first.421488/ which is the best method around fot fishless cycling.



The reason 5 ppm is too much is because of the amount of nitrite that is made once the ammonia-eating bacteria start to grow. It is now known that at levels above 15 to 16 ppm nitrite inhibit the growth of the bacteria but our test kits only go up to 5 ppm, and they show the 5 ppm colour no matter how high nitrite really is. 1 ppm ammonia is turned into 2.7 ppm nitrite so it is very easy to go past that stall point if too much ammonia is added.

It is also now known that the bacteria do not starve if the ammonia level stays at zero. They can go several days without being fed. The method in the link was written so that if followed exactly nitrite can never get high enough to stall the cycle. You will see that it says to add only 3 ppm ammonia to start the cycle, then only add more ammonia once certain specific targets have been reached.



API Quick Start is not one of the more highly recommended bottled bacteria. If you can get some Dr Tim's One & Only or Tetra Safe Start, they are reputed to be better.
 

Deanasue

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I agree with above. I have gone as high as 4 ppm but 5 is way over the top. The 3ppm is best. If you get some Tetra Safe Start be sure it is the Tetra Safe Start Plus. It’s better than the regular Safe Start. Anytime your ammonia gets to .25ppm then put it back up to 3ppm. Good luck and be patient.
 

essjay

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You add 3 ppm ammonia - in your case, reduce the level of ammonia to 3 ppm - then test for ammonia and nitrite every 3rd day. Call the day you reduce the ammonia level to 3 ppm day 1. So test on day 4, day 7 etc. Do not add anything until you reach a day where ammonia is less than 0.75 and nitrite is more than 2 ppm. When you reach that day, add more ammonia to get the level back to 3ppm. If the Quick Start works, you should reach that day quicker than without using it.

Once you've added that 3 ppm ammonia test for ammonia and nitrite every alternate day. Do not add anything till you have reached the next target, which can be a bit confusing. You test 2 days after adding ammonia, then 2 days after that, then after 2 more days and so on. The target is when you've had zero ammonia at one reading and zero again 2 days later. Do not add anything until you've had 2 zero ammonias, 2 days apart. When you get the second zero ammonia, then add enough ammonia to get 1 ppm. That's a third of the amount you use to get 3 ppm.

Once you've added that 1 ppm, start testing for ammonia and nitrite every day. The next target is the day you get ammonia less than 0.25 and nitrite well below 1 ppm. Do not add anything till you reach that day. Once you have those readings, add 3 ppm ammonia. Test next day.
If both ammonia and nitrite are zero, the cycle is finished.
If one or both are more than zero, continue testing every day. When you reach the day where ammonia is less than 0.25 and nitrite is less than 1 ppm, add 3 ppm ammonia and test next day.
If both ammonia and nitrite are zero, the cycle is finished.
If one or both are above zero, add 3ppm ammonia and continue testing every day. When you reach a day where ammonia is less than 0.25 and nitrite is less than 1.0 ppm etc etc until you do reach a day where they are both zero 24 hours after adding ammonia.

Once you do have those two zeros, do a big water change to remove all the nitrate made during the cycle and get fish.
 

Deanasue

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You add 3 ppm ammonia - in your case, reduce the level of ammonia to 3 ppm - then test for ammonia and nitrite every 3rd day. Call the day you reduce the ammonia level to 3 ppm day 1. So test on day 4, day 7 etc. Do not add anything until you reach a day where ammonia is less than 0.75 and nitrite is more than 2 ppm. When you reach that day, add more ammonia to get the level back to 3ppm. If the Quick Start works, you should reach that day quicker than without using it.

Once you've added that 3 ppm ammonia test for ammonia and nitrite every alternate day. Do not add anything till you have reached the next target, which can be a bit confusing. You test 2 days after adding ammonia, then 2 days after that, then after 2 more days and so on. The target is when you've had zero ammonia at one reading and zero again 2 days later. Do not add anything until you've had 2 zero ammonias, 2 days apart. When you get the second zero ammonia, then add enough ammonia to get 1 ppm. That's a third of the amount you use to get 3 ppm.

Once you've added that 1 ppm, start testing for ammonia and nitrite every day. The next target is the day you get ammonia less than 0.25 and nitrite well below 1 ppm. Do not add anything till you reach that day. Once you have those readings, add 3 ppm ammonia. Test next day.
If both ammonia and nitrite are zero, the cycle is finished.
If one or both are more than zero, continue testing every day. When you reach the day where ammonia is less than 0.25 and nitrite is less than 1 ppm, add 3 ppm ammonia and test next day.
If both ammonia and nitrite are zero, the cycle is finished.
If one or both are above zero, add 3ppm ammonia and continue testing every day. When you reach a day where ammonia is less than 0.25 and nitrite is less than 1.0 ppm etc etc until you do reach a day where they are both zero 24 hours after adding ammonia.

Once you do have those two zeros, do a big water change to remove all the nitrate made during the cycle and get fish.
Only get a few fish at a time though.
 

essjay

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Quote from the fishless cycling link
"A major benefit of this fishless cycling method is that you can now fully stock your tank in one go"


The idea behind fishless cycling is that the process grows more bacteria than are needed to support a tankful of fish, and that the tank can be fully stocked as soon as the cycle finishes. If you only get a few fish, unless more fish are added within a couple of weeks, most of the bacteria you've spent ages growing will become dormant.

However, I don't like the idea of fully stocking as soon as the cycle finishes; I would never add more than 75% of the planned fish. This leaves breathing space just in case the cycle was not carried out properly and fish added too soon. And if the fish list includes sensitive fish that need a mature, not just cycled, tank space needs to be left for them a few months later.
 

Deanasue

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I crashed a cycle once by adding too much stock at once. That’s why I shared the info in hopes that someone else doesn’t make the same mistake.
 

essjay

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Deanasue, when the cycle crashed from too many fish, how had you cycled the tank? Just curious......
 

Deanasue

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It was a fishless cycle using Dr. Tim’s ammonia and Safe Start because Safe Start + wasn’t out yet. I had done 4ppm of ammonia at the time because I was setting up for goldies with a large bio- load. Took about 2-3 weeks to get to 0, 0, and 40. Did one more test with ammonia and back to 0 in 12 hours. Reduced to 10ppm nitrate when done. Should have moved 2 in but put all 4 goldies in at that time.They were probably 4” long each at the time. If memories holds correctly. I think in 2 days I was back up to over 40ppm nitrates and some ammonia. Took a couple more days for cycle to catch up. I started seeding all my tanks after that.
 

essjay

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Goldies do have a large bioload for the size of the fish.

I have to confess that I've only ever done fishless cycles on a 25 litre (about 6 gallon) tank. Twice. That was using just 1 ppm ammonia as the stocking was just 1 betta. I didn't use any bottled bacteria.I could have used media from my main tank but I wanted to see what fishless cycling was like.
When I set up my first tank I had no choice but do a fish-in cycle because I had fish before I had a tank after my teenaged sons arrived home from the fair with 3 goldfish. And 23 years ago we had no internet for help.
 
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Deanasue

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What did we do before the internet? Killed a lot of fish, sadly.
 
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CamG369

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So I checked on the 3rd day and there was no change to the ammonia and nitrite levels. Still 3 and 0 respectively.

Is this normal
 

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