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Fishless Cycling Guidance
11-04-2015, 03:20 PM,
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ShonJohn74 Offline
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Fishless Cycling Guidance
Hi All! New member here!
Looking for some guidance as I'm in the middle of cycling a 29 gallon freshwater planted tank. I have been dosing ammonia daily, and am seeing results, so I know I'm on the right track, but just need a little clarification.

Tested this morning with readings as follows (using APA test kit):
Ammonia 1.0
Nitrites - .50 ppm
Nitrates - 5.0 ppm

Dosed ammonia back up to around 4.0 and left for work. Came home and tested around 12 hours later and readings were as follows:
Ammonia 1.0
Nitrites - looked closer to 2.0 ppm (I may be off a bit as the colors on the chart are VERY similar in the 2 to 5 ppm area)
Nitrates - still around 5.0 ppm

Since the nitrites jumped up quite a bit, should I wait and dose ammonia again in the morning and just add some additional bacteria tonight instead? I have been using seachem stability as bacteria source, and added some seeded materials from an established 10 gallon last week.

I have not tested pH this evening, but it tests 7.6 consistently since I started. Just not sure if I should dose ammonia now, or bacteria now and ammonia in the morning.
Oh!! And I have a planted+ led light that I have been keeping off during the last several days, as it was strongly recommended to keep algae from forming. I turn the lights on full blast for around 2 hrs in the evening so the plans have something - but I am worried that they will start to suffer with the a continued absence of light.

Thanks in advance for any/all guidance! Smile
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11-05-2015, 01:31 AM,
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Thor Online
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RE: Fishless Cycling Guidance
Hi ShonJohn74, Welcome to the forum!

I am glad you are doing fishless cycling before getting the fish. Wink
When it comes to live bacteria products, I always use up an entire bottle at the very beginning. Two reasons for it. First, once you have opened the seal, the product will not last long. Second, when you seed the live bacteria, you want as much as possible to give a true jump start.

From your readings, it seems to be getting close to the final stage of fishless cycling since you got both nitrite and nitrate. There is definitely the need for more nitrite eating bacteria, and it will take time for them to develop.

I'd dose ammonia every 24 hours instead of every 12 hours. Minimal 2ppm is required. Aim for 5~6ppm concentrate of ammonia if you plan to add a lot of fish at once.

Yes, you might get an algae boom if the ammonia and nitrate concentrate stay high. You may do water changes once nitrate get higher. Plants need at least 7~8 hours of lights a day, but any more than 10~12 hours will be asking for algae boom.

If you have any more questions, feel free to ask.
Good luck on fishless cycling. I look forward to see you aquarium when it is fully stocked with fish. Wink
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11-06-2015, 12:14 PM,
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ShonJohn74 Offline
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RE: Fishless Cycling Guidance
Thanks for responding Thor! Came home and tested this evening and readings are as follows:
Ammonia 0.25
Nitrites 2.0 to 5.0 (still not sure because those two are SO close on the color chart)
Nitrates 20

I have been keeping the light off and only running for around 2 hours at night (so I can monitor how long they are on) - but noticed that my planted anubias nana is slowly dying. Sad I trimmed off the dead leaves in hopes that it will bounce back, but it's just discouraging to watch it slowly rot.
Also noticed that there is brown looking dust all over my driftwood and laying on my heater. Is this algae?? It settles quickly after its stirred up, but just concerning.

I added ammonia to get levels back up and raised it to 1.0, but should I put in the remainder of the bottle of bacteria (there's not much left) and get the ammonia up higher?? I soooo wanted to be able to add some fish this weekend, but know I need to "stay the course" until we are at 0's on ammonia AND nitrite. Being patient just sucks sometimes...

Thanks again for the help!!
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11-07-2015, 09:37 AM,
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Thor Online
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RE: Fishless Cycling Guidance
It sounds like you need a lot more bacteria to take care of nitrite, on the top of a little bit more bacteria for ammonia.

I do not believe it is algae. It could be debris from rotting plants.

The leftover live bacteria in an opened bottle won't do you much good if you do not use it up quickly. Once the unsealed, it will degrade rather fast.

I know the waiting is painful. Consider you are already using live bacteria product, it will take you way less time than those people who do not have such luxury. Without the heavy seeding from live bacteria, it could take a month and half or even longer.

I am gladly to do my best to answer your questions. Smile
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11-07-2015, 03:20 PM,
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ShonJohn74 Offline
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RE: Fishless Cycling Guidance
Hi again! Smile I wanted to share a promising 24 hour update! I tested again this evening after dosing ammonia back up to 1.00 ppm last night ( I am taking your advice and dosing every 24 hours), and when tested this evening, my ammonia was at 0 and my nitrites have dropped to what looks to be between 1-2 ppm. Nitrates have jumped up to 4, so I am happy! I went ahead and dumped in what was left of the bottle of bacteria (Stability), waited around 30-45 minutes, then dosed ammonia back up to 2. So hopefully tomorrow, even more progress to share!!
Thanks again for the guidance, I appreciate it so much!!
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11-08-2015, 02:16 AM,
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Thor Online
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RE: Fishless Cycling Guidance
Keep dosing ammonia once every day. It won't be done until the system can convert every last bit of ammonia you throw at it to nitrate. Even after you get the readings of 0 ammonia and 0 nitrite, you still need to keep doing it for a few more days to make sure it is indeed cycled before you can safely add fish.

I know we all want to get fish as soon as possible. It is why we set up the aquariums in the first place. Wink As the matter of fact, I did not use any heavy seeding during the first time I cycled an aquarium. It took painfully long. You are lucky enough to have live bacteria with you. Think about it and be happy lol.
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