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Fishless Cycled Stalled, Help!!
04-12-2013, 03:06 AM,
#1
RobbinZombie Offline
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First Proper Fishless Cycle (am I doing it right?)
I have done a Fishless cycle before, but never like this so I want to make sure i am doing it correctly.

I have a 29gallon tall tank that I setup on Sunday. During the first 24hrs the only thing I did was add water conditioner to take out chlorine. At 24 hrs my tank was 85 degrees (turned it up to help with the cycle) ammonia was at 0.5ppm and pH was 7.6 but when I did a high pH test it was 7.4. Is 7.4 the actual pH? I am testing using API FreshWater Test Kit. So At 7am on Monday I added ammonia to make it 2ppm because I want to add fish gradually at 9pm I added Tetra SafeStart.

The next day at 7am the ammonia was still 2ppm which I figured was normal because it was less than 12hrs from adding the bacteria. At 6pm ammonia was 0.5, nitrate was 5.0ppm high pH was 7.4 and nitrite was 0. Which I thought interesting because it had converted it to nitrate and had no nitrite at all. I dosed it at that time to 2ppm of ammonia.

Yesterday at 7am ammonia was 1ppm and I dosed it to 2ppm. At 5:30 pm nitrite was 0 ammonia was 1ppm, and nitrate was 5.0. The only time I dosed was that morning

This morning ammonia was 0.5ppm and I dosed it to 2ppm.

I just want to make sure I am doing this correctly. I am not sure if I should be dosing once at day in the morning or in the morning and at night.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,
RobbinZombie
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04-12-2013, 06:20 AM, (This post was last modified: 04-12-2013, 06:21 AM by Ram.)
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RE: First Proper Fishless Cycle (am I doing it right?)
Hi Robbie,
You are doing a great job on fishless cycling. With the help of Tetra SafeStart, your fishless cycle is going incredibly fast because of the jump start resulted from the bacteria seeding. The reason for 0 nitrite reading at first was obviously due to the fact the nitrite converting bacteria was doing faster or equal job to the ammonia converting bacteria. All the nitrite produced from ammonia were converted to nitrate.

How much ammonia you dose is depended on your goal. If you plan to have only a lightly stocked aquarium, then 2ppm dosage of ammonia on daily basis should be sufficient. If you plan to add full stock of fish at once, then you might want to add 5~6ppm of ammonia daily by the end of the fishless cycle.
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04-12-2013, 06:52 AM,
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Thor Offline
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RE: First Proper Fishless Cycle (am I doing it right?)
Welcome to the forum!

The PH might be 7.4 or 7.6 in your case. It isn't a problem you should be worry about. Both are just fine. It is possible that the PH had dropped from 7.6 to 7.4, and it is normal. My own tap water has PH of 8.0, but once it's added into my aquarium it is 7.8~7.9.

What filter system are you using?

You are doing just fine from the look of it. While some people might tell you that there is no need to add ammonia twice a day, my personal opinion is you can slightly boost the bacteria growth by always have ammonia in your tank during the entire fishless cycling. Sure the bacteria won't starve to death right away when the ammonia is down to 0ppm, but they won't continue to grow in number either after the food source (ammonia) has run out. Wink

During my own fishless cycling, I was adding ammonia once a day but I dosed more than 5ppm each time. By the end of my cycling, my aquarium was naturally able to convert all the 5ppm+ ammonia to nitrate within 24 hours. I added full stock of fish no problem with no trace of ammonia or nitrite.

What you need to be careful about is the sudden PH crash from too much nitrate. The production process of nitrate is acidic, and it will eat away the water buffer. Once all the water buffer is gone, you might see your PH suddenly become 6, 5, or even lower. Bacteria don't grow well in acidic environment. So when that happens, you will need to immediately do a large percentage partial water change to restore the water buffer and PH.

Tetra safestart is indeed a wonderful live bacteria product. You can finish your fishless cycling within days. In the worse case, it should be no more than 2 weeks.

Please keep us updated. Don't forget to post some photos after you add fish.

Good luck! Thumbsup
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04-16-2013, 11:40 PM,
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RobbinZombie Offline
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RE: First Proper Fishless Cycle (am I doing it right?)
Since my last post my tank has stopped "eating" the ammonia. Everyday for 7 days it was "eating" 1ppm of ammonia. I decided that I should buy another small bottle of Tetra SafeStart and dose the tank with it to nudge it. On Saturday my levels were 1ppm of ammonia, 0 nitrite, 10-20ppm of nitrate, and high pH of 7.4. I dosed it to 2 ppm and then later that day I dosed it with the SafeStart and now every morning and night when I check the tank it reads 2 ppm of ammonia. I have not added any ammonia since Saturday and I don't know what to do. My levels this morning were 2 ppm of ammonia, 0 nitrite, and 10-20ppm of nitrate. Please Help!
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04-18-2013, 01:49 AM,
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Ram Offline
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RE: Fishless Cycled Stalled, Help!!
Don't use "high PH" test. Just the other PH test. I suspect your PH might have crashed due to the build up of nitrate. If you see your PH is below 7 and dropping, you might want to do at least a 50% water change.

How much ammonia are you adding every day right now? Do you mean your ammonia only drop by 1ppm every day for 7 days straight? If that is the case, I would do the test again to be sure. Make sure you use the test kit correctly. Some tests do require extensive shaking the test tubes.
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04-18-2013, 05:15 AM,
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RobbinZombie Offline
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RE: Fishless Cycled Stalled, Help!!
I use the high pH test because the regular pH test says it is 7.6. Every morning I would dose my tank to 2ppm of ammonia and 24 hours later the ammonia dropped to 1 ppm so I would dose it again to 2ppm, but now my tank isn't doing that. The last day I dosed my tank with ammonia was Saturday. Saturday morning it was 1ppm so I dosed it to 2 ppm and then at 2pm I added more tetra safe start. Then Sunday morning my ammonia was still 2ppm and I thought it was because the bacteria from the SafeStart needed time. Then on Monday morning it still read 2ppm so I did nothing, Tuesday the same thing and today the same thing. I have not added ammonia since Saturday and my tank still reads 2ppm of ammonia. I just don't know what to do to get it to cycle the ammonia like it had been.
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04-18-2013, 09:08 AM,
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Thor Offline
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RE: Fishless Cycled Stalled, Help!!
Well you never answered the question. Smile

What filter are you using?



Now I have more questions for you.

What water conditioner are you using?

If the filter system isn't sufficient for the tank size, it won't be able to convert a lot of ammonia. That is why under-filtered or overstocked tank are more likely to have ammonia even when they are cycled.
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04-18-2013, 09:23 AM,
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RobbinZombie Offline
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RE: Fishless Cycled Stalled, Help!!
I have a 29 gallon tank, I am using API water conditioner, and my filter is a marine land penguin 200 which is for up to a 50 gallon tank.
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04-18-2013, 09:47 AM,
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Thor Offline
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RE: Fishless Cycled Stalled, Help!!
Forgot to ask, what source of ammonia are you using for your fishless cycling?

How long did you wait to test ammonia after you add it? It takes a while to get an accurate reading.

You should also know that the regular fishless cycle without heavy seeding can take up to 6 weeks or even more than 2 months in some cases. Tetra safestart will speed things up by a lot, but it is not instant cycle. The effectiveness of Tetra safestart is also vary from case to case.

How long have you been cycling?
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04-18-2013, 10:04 AM,
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RobbinZombie Offline
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RE: Fishless Cycled Stalled, Help!!
I am using an ammonia solution that is 10% ammonia and 90% water. I test the water 12 hours after I dose it. I have been cycling for a little over one week, I was just concerned because my tank was eating 1ppm every 24 hours, but now it isn't eating any ammonia at all. My tank has stayed at 2ppm since Saturday even though I haven't dosed it with ammonia since Saturday morning.
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04-18-2013, 11:19 PM,
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Thor Offline
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RE: Fishless Cycled Stalled, Help!!
Make sure the filter is running fine. You are not using any ammonia absorbing pads in there, are you?

With water temperature at 85F, there is very little oxygen in the water. Make sure you have air pump and air stones creating enough bubbles for surface movement. These bacteria require oxygen to live.

The ammonia test should also be done carefully, or it might result in inaccurate readings.
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04-19-2013, 04:40 AM,
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RobbinZombie Offline
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RE: Fishless Cycled Stalled, Help!!
I am not using any ammonia absorbing pads, just the regular charcoal filter. I will try the air stone and see if that works. Thanks for your help, I'll update my progress as it happens.
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04-21-2013, 02:12 PM,
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Thor Offline
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RE: Fishless Cycled Stalled, Help!!
You don't need activated carbon in your filter. It serves no purpose. What other pads do you have in your filter? If the activated carbon is the only thing you have in there, then you have a problem. Good bacteria for aquarium nitrogen cycle require the filter media such as sponge to grow on.
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04-22-2013, 10:15 PM,
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RE: Fishless Cycled Stalled, Help!!
The marine land Penguin 200 that I use has a bio wheel that is designed to grow bacteria. The filter cartridge has a sponge like screen to screen out debris and activated carbon inside the cartridge.
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04-24-2013, 08:07 AM,
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RobbinZombie Offline
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RE: Fishless Cycled Stalled, Help!!
Ok so when I tested my tank on Monday the ammonia finally went down to 0.5ppm, I think the air pump helped, but now my pH is 8-8.2. My pH needs to be between 7-7.5, what should I do? Should I do a water change or use some pH down chemical? My nitrite was 0 and my nitrate was 20ppm on Monday.
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04-24-2013, 05:00 PM, (This post was last modified: 04-24-2013, 05:01 PM by Ram.)
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RE: Fishless Cycled Stalled, Help!!
You should never try to manually mess with your water PH by using chemicals. It will do more harm than good. Leave it alone and stay away from "PH up" or "PH down" or any similar products. They are dangerous for aquariums.

What is the PH of your local tap water?

PH should not have gone up. It should have gone down instead because of the build up of nitrate. Nonetheless, 8.0~8.2 PH is still perfectly fine and you should not worry about it.

On the other hand, acidic PH (below 7) might slow the bacteria growth, and at below 5~6 it might stall the cycle, because the bacteria do not like acidic environment. When that happens, it's time for a partial water change.
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04-24-2013, 11:51 PM,
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RE: Fishless Cycled Stalled, Help!!
The pH of my local tap water is 7.4 and my tank has been 7.4 until just recently. I just can't figure out why the pH jumped because in a normal cycle it drops.

Thanks for the heads up on using pH up or pH down, I figured they weren't good but I wasn't sure.

I was just worried since the pH jumped and the community fish I want to put in my tank require a pH of 7-7.5. I'm planning on mollies and platies.
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04-25-2013, 03:30 PM,
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Thor Offline
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RE: Fishless Cycled Stalled, Help!!
Mollies and Platies are hardy fish. Like most fish, they can adapt to a wide range of PH if you introduce them into a tank slowly instead of just dump them in. There is nothing to worry about over high or low PH.

What you need to worry is sudden PH swing. Products like PH up and PH down will do just that. They can kill the fish.
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05-12-2013, 03:00 AM, (This post was last modified: 05-12-2013, 03:17 AM by TheBrit.)
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RE: Fishless Cycled Stalled, Help!!
I am wondering if you are using a sponge type power filter?. Have you decided to wash out the sponge?. If you have you have killed off the seeding nitrifying bacteria and basically the filtering process has stalled.
I always used to seed any new tank with a nitrifying kit (ammonia based) waited till the nitrite levels dropped then SLOWLY started to add my first hardy community fish.

Oops sorry I really don't want to fall out with anyone but I would not recommend putting mollies into a community tank in which you wish to keep the like of tetras and other species. Unless you ph is very high 8, 8.2 mollies will almost always develope white spot (ich) and fungal problems.
They are a hardwater species and will even live quiet happily in a slightly brackish tank. With the added benefit that they will start to breed like rabbits. Good Luck
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