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What is going on with my cycle?

Discussion in 'Cycle your Tank' started by Agus, Sep 22, 2019.

  1. Agus

    Agus New Member

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    Hi guys, I'm new to this forum and currently in fishless cycling process of my 45g tank. I have full of bio media in my canister and also 4cm sand in the tank.

    I start my cycle on August 28 using Seachem Aquavitro Seed as a starter, and add 4 ppm of pure ammonia. In just 6 days progress start to showed up, ammonia drop to 1 ppm and nitrite 2 ppm. At day seven I add 3 ppm ammonia and nitrite getting high, somewhere around 5 ppm in API test kit. 7 days Seed dosage done and I got confuse what to do next. I tried asking in Seachem forum but no one respond. So at day 8 I decided to do 50% water change to lower the nitrite. After wc nitrite drop around 2 ppm. I still maintain 3 ppm ammonia whenever it's drop and nitrite always stay at 2 ppm. I also check for nitrate several times and it's stay at 5 ppm.

    You guys must be thinking I'm doing it all wrong...and it is. That is because I didn't know how to do it properly, until last week when I read this cycling procedure on this forum thread and wish I found it before start the cycle so I didn't have to scratch my head a lot.

    After read that article I add only 1 ppm ammonia and check it daily, it's always down to 0 ppm in one day. At this stage I thought it's only a matter of time for nitrite to get lower, but I always got 2 ppm. I just check the ammonia tonight after 12 hours and it's already 0 ppm! But why my nitrite is not decrease? Am I still doing it wrong?

    Sorry for this long story, I want it to be clear so you guys can understand my situation. Any advice will be appreciated, thank you!
     
  2. Agus

    Agus New Member

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  3. Jan Cavalieri

    Jan Cavalieri Fish Crazy
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    It just sounds like your cycle has stalled with the Nitrites. I would keep feeding it ammonia to keep the ammonia bacteria going and it's got to be a matter of days before nitrites bacteria show up and start turning everything into nitrates. .. Do that a time or two and the clean the tank and add fish. I think your just close. Cycling took my tank almost 6 weeks to complete - I just used ammonia, I didn't use any other type of chemical. Just be patient a little while longer.
     
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  4. essjay

    essjay Moderator
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    I would just add 1 ppm ammonia every few days until nitrite falls below 1.0 ppm. When that happens, add a 3 ppm dose of ammonia and test next day.
    The ammonia eating bacteria won't starve.
     
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  5. Agus

    Agus New Member

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    Hi Jan Cavalieri, when cycle has stalled with the nitrite is it because I fed to much ammonia so the bacteria is overpopulation? And that will inhibits nitrite bacterial growth? I read in some forum thread a big water change will help to lower it, what do you think?

    Thanks for the suggestion essjay, it's good to know I'm still on the right track. From now on I will feed ammonia every other day and see if there's nitrite reduction.
     
  6. essjay

    essjay Moderator
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    It is not that the bacteria are overpopulated.

    When nitrite reaches 15 to 16 ppm, this amount of nitrite prevents the bacteria from growing and we call this a stalled cycle. Each 1 ppm ammonia we add is turned into 2.7 ppm nitrite so it doesn't take much ammonia to make 15 ppm nitrite. Since the ammonia-eating bacteria grow first, they start making nitrite before the nitrite-eaters start to grow so the level of nitrite builds up quickly. Usually, the fish keeper sees a reading of 5 ppm nitrite and assumes that they only have 5 ppm. But once the level goes higher it still shows the 5 ppm colour. It could be 5 or 10 or 50 ppm and it will still read as 5. This is why the method of cycling on here was written. if followed exactly, nitrite can never get high enough to stall the cycle.

    In your case, your tests show just 2 ppm. So unless your tester is behaving oddly, you don't have enough nitrite to stall the cycle. Having said that, it has been known for very high nitrite to cause some odd readings. This is why I suggested emptying the tank, just in case. Yes, it will be hard work with 45 gallons, but all new water will reset the levels back to tap water levels. Adding just 1 ppm ammonia will either result in zero nitrite very quickly or you'll get a reading of around 2 ppm nitrite next day. Then at least you'll know where you are.
     
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  7. Agus

    Agus New Member

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    That might be true, I got 5 ppm nitrite already at day 7 and I keep added 3 ppm ammonia few times. Also it's quite difficult to see the difference between 2 and 5 ppm from API test kit, so what I saw as 2 ppm could be wrong. Ok, I will empty the tank tonight and add 1 ppm ammonia.
     
  8. PheonixKingZ

    PheonixKingZ Fish Herder
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    I agree it is hard to see the difference in the 2 and the 5ppm. Your not going to preform a 100% water change are you? o_O
     
  9. Agus

    Agus New Member

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    Well I just did, not 100% because there still 1cm water above the sand and also some inside the canister...may I ask why?
     
  10. essjay

    essjay Moderator
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    I suspect PhoenixKingZ is a bit awestruck at the idea of changing all the water in a tank that size :)
     
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  11. PheonixKingZ

    PheonixKingZ Fish Herder
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    What, why you shouldn’t do a 100% water change?

    It depends. If you are going to take care of it right away, and are going to fill it up again in less than 5 min. Then you should be ok. If you leave your tank dry for over 5 minutes, beneficial bacteria will dye. :)
     
  12. PheonixKingZ

    PheonixKingZ Fish Herder
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    That to! :lol:
     
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  13. essjay

    essjay Moderator
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    The bacteria will not die in the time it takes to refill the tank. The substrate and filter media will still be wet and the bacteria will survive in just damp.

    The idea behind the big water change is to get the water conditions the same as tap water and go forwards from there since there is some problem with nitrite (either it really is 2 ppm or it is much higher).
     
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  14. Agus

    Agus New Member

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    It's crazy how my municipal tap water PH is changing from 8.2 to 7.2, will this have a bad impact to the cycle?

    Ok, I know this is too early but I can't resist my curiosity so after 12 hours I did a test and the result was ammonia 0, nitrite 5. Changing 95% of water still haven't lower the nitrite, what now? another big wc?

    ps. One thing I notice when did the nitrite test was the solution is changing from blue to purple slowly, while before was suddenly change to purple since beginning. This might be explained how high the nitrite before.
     
    #14 Agus, Sep 23, 2019
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2019
  15. essjay

    essjay Moderator
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    You could try a very rough dilution test. It won't give terribly accurate results as you need very accurate measuring equipment for that. Try testing a 50:50 mix of tank and tap water. If that still shows 5 ppm, try a 25:75 mix of tank and tap. If that is also 5 ppm you'll know that the actual nitrite level is over 20 ppm which is well past stall point.
    But if the 50:50 mix gives a reading less than 5, it's just a question of waiting without adding any more ammonia to push the nitrite higher.

    The pH is nothing to worry about. It's when it drops below 6 that the cycle can be affected.
     
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