View Full Version : Fishless cycling - is my tank ready?

09-03-2008, 12:43 PM
Hi, I am very new to this but have been reading up quite a bit and (despite objections from the chap in the fish shop) decided that fishless cycling was the best way to start up so that my kiddies won't be watching our new fish die after a few days!

The tank has been running with light, filter, gravel etc (no real plants) for 2 weeks and I have a proper Nutrafin Mini Master test kit - trouble is, I'm having trouble working out from the readings if my tank is ok to add fish!!

So I need some help... please :)

Today my readings are PH 8, Ammonia 0, Nitrate 110, Nitrite 1.6
7 days ago they were PH 7.5, Ammonia 0.6, Nitrate(not measured) Nitrite 0.3

From what I can work out, the Nitrate is toxic for the fish? What do I need to do to make the tank ready?

Any help from you experts would be greatly appreciated, thanks :c3:

doug z
09-03-2008, 01:27 PM

Welcome to the forum!

What have you been cycling the tank with? Seems to have cycled pretty fast!

Also not sure why your pH would be swinging so much, though I know it is very hard to tell from MY API test kit what the actual pH, etc is..

Keep going, and when BOTH ammonia and nitrite are zero, all you have to do to get rid of the nitrate all you need to do is a large water change.

Keep adding ammonia right up until you are ready to add the fish, keep up the water changes and keep the nitrates down to under 50.

Lady Hobbs
09-03-2008, 01:48 PM
Pure ammonia?

Your tank has finished cycled when your ammonia registers 0, your nitrites register 0 and you have high nitrates. You will then do a large water change (no cleaning) and bring those nitrates down to around 10. (Anything under 20 is OK.)

Were you adding ammonia daily?

Quick Tips for Newbies: How To Cycle (http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/aquariumforum/showthread.php?t=5640)

09-03-2008, 02:06 PM
Hi, and thanks for the quick replies :)

I used washed garden gravel with a layer of shop-bought gravel on top - maybe that helped? My friend gave me some 'Stress Zyme' and 'Ammo Lock' and I thought it couldn't hurt to use those as well. Also I put in a few flakes of fish food on my friend's advice 'to get things going'!

If I did anything right it was pure coincidence!!

So, my nitrite level has gone up, I need to wait for that to go down to zero, then do a large (how much?) water change to get rid of nitrates - sounds easy enough :)

Then start adding fish slowly? I get the impression that Danios are good to start with?

Thanks very much :c3:

09-03-2008, 02:08 PM
I forgot to say - I haven't been adding any ammonia at all????

Is this bad ?

Lady Hobbs
09-03-2008, 02:14 PM
You have to have a source of ammonia or all you have sitting there is a tank of water. You can start with several danio's or buy pure ammonia and use that for your ammonia source.

What size is your tank?

09-03-2008, 02:34 PM
Hi, my tank is 30" long 15" high and 12" deep.

Does this mean that I've just wasted 2 weeks leaving the tank sitting there???


Lady Hobbs
09-03-2008, 02:40 PM
Yes it does and it also means the seasoned gravel you used no longer has living bacteria. Bacteria dies in a short time without being fed (ammonia.)

So, you now have a couple choices. Pick up some PURE ammonia or some danio's or some feeder goldfish to start your cycle.

doug z
09-03-2008, 05:59 PM
Wow, that sucks..

Devil's in the details, eh? :)

You're starting at square 1, unfortunately..

Danios are very hardy, and if you keep up on your water changes, NOT cleaning like Hobbs says, you should be able to keep them alive, if not as happy as they would be in an already cycled tank.

Just change the water VERY frequently..

Apparently, though I haven't tried it myself, if you get Seachem's Stability and add it as the same time as the fish, you can lessen the harmful affects from the tank going through it's nitrogen cycle (high ammonia, nitrite)..


Hope that helps!

09-03-2008, 06:21 PM
get some pure ammonia in your tank fast. I'm willing to bet you still have some bacteria left(you do afterall have trite and trate) and you can probably save them by adding ammomia. Get the level up to about 3 or 4 then watch it. If it starts to drop after a day or 2 you saved the bacterium. If not, just sit tight and you'll get some more. Let us know how you make out