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Sir Tristen
10-05-2008, 04:01 PM
Hello all,

I've been cycling my tank for about 5 days now, so not too long. I added about 1/4 tbsp to a little under 20 gallons the first day (I think it was probably too much.) The second day, I tested around two, so I tried to add around half that, but accidentaly dumped a little in (DOH!) so I don't know how much I put in. The third day it was reading abou 3, so I put 1ml in. And in the past couple days I have not seen any change. It read 3 yesterday, so I didn't put anymore in. It is reading 3 still this morning. I'm using a no name pure ammonia from the dollar store, my visitherm is set for 84 degrees (no thermometer yet to test this. Ph read at 8.2 (which sucks cuz I want corys!)

I guess my main questions are is this normal to not see ammonia levels go down even after 5 or so days of cycling, and should I add more ammonia when I'm not yet seeing a drop on the reading? I'm using a newly purchased API freshwater test kit, and the only conditioner I added was seachem prime.

Any advice would be appreciated, cuz it's my first cycle, and I just want to do it right to make my future fishies happy.

fins_n_fur
10-05-2008, 04:09 PM
If you are doing a fishless cycle, there's no real point is wasting your Prime (LOL) and that could be messing with your ammonia levels. Stop dosing Prime until you get fish. Did you test for nitrites? You should be adding enough ammonia daily to keep your ammonia at about 4-5 ppm. A constant steady source of ammonia will ensure constant, stable growth of the bacteria.

Edit: Didn't you used to be somebody else, i.e., have you changed your user name?

Sir Tristen
10-05-2008, 04:12 PM
I only used the prime to condition, and I haven't added any more since. I just wanted to know if it could effect the cycle. Should I still add more ammonia when the level really hasn't fallen for a couple days?

fins_n_fur
10-05-2008, 04:22 PM
Here's my thoughts on dosing with ammonia: If you dose enough ammonia daily to keep to 4-5ppm you are providing a steady source of food for the bacteria. A stead source of food means steady growth of the beneficial bacteria and a quicker cycle. You didn't answer my other question for the nitrite test.

Sir Tristen
10-05-2008, 06:18 PM
I haven't bothered to test for nitrite yet. I was thinking that things needed to get moving with the ammonia first. I figured with the ammonia holding in place, that nitrites wouldn't be forming yet. I decided to add about 1ml of ammonia. I'll see what's happening and check for nitrites as well tomorrow.

Any further advice in the meantime?

Sir Tristen
10-06-2008, 03:16 PM
Tested this morning.

Ammonia 2-3 added 1ml
Nitrite 0

Sir Tristen
10-07-2008, 03:14 PM
Day 7

Ammonia 3-4 added .5ml
Nitrite 0

Hmmm. I think ammonia might be going down a little each day, but no nitrite readings yet. Does this sound more or less normal?

Sir Tristen
10-07-2008, 03:16 PM
Edit: Didn't you used to be somebody else, i.e., have you changed your user name?

Yeah, I changed my name from tyandnan to Sir Tristen. I didn't know that the name we used to sign up for the account would be our forum name. I'm somewhat surprised that anybody noticed.

fins_n_fur
10-07-2008, 03:26 PM
I only noticed because I usually remember when people ask cycling questions and posts and yours sounded familiar.

Sir Tristen
10-08-2008, 03:04 PM
Day 8

Same readings.

Added a few drops of ammonia.

Could something be stalling out my cycle? I haven't even gottent to phase 2 after over a week, and I thought the first phase was supposed to be somewhat faster. Maybe I'm just being way too impatient?

Sir Tristen
10-09-2008, 02:52 PM
Day 8

Ammonia maybe around 2
Nitrites still 0 :c11:

Added a few ml of ammonia. Hope I didn't overdo it, but I'm getting really impatient!

Sir Tristen
10-09-2008, 04:05 PM
I have my water down a little low right now, about a few inches from the top, because I want the power filter to hel oxygenate the water, but it looks like it may be fine from the top. It's an ac 70 on a 20 long, so there's quite a water disturbance. My question is: is it going to have adverse effects on my cycle or my readings if I use seachem prime to condition the water. Its the only conditioner I have right now, and I have a ton, so I'm not really worried about wasting it. I just dont want it to skew my readings or slow down my cycle.

Sir Tristen
10-10-2008, 02:53 PM
Day 9

ammonia aroun 4
nitrite 0

did nothing.

Sir Tristen
10-11-2008, 03:03 PM
Day 10

Same. No changes, except my driftwood is leeching some tannins into the water, and it looks kinda nice.

Sir Tristen
10-13-2008, 02:37 PM
Day 10 -Wasn't home
Day 11

Ammonia around 2
Nitrite-0

Added 1.5ml ammonia.

Sir Tristen
10-14-2008, 03:20 PM
Day 12

Amm around 2
Nitrite 0

Added 1.5ml ammonia.

Still waiting for the nitrite spike. Do lights affect the cycle one way or the other? I know temp does, and I keep it set on the heater at 86, but I was wondering about the lighting? I don't really keep lights on much, because I don't have fish and haven't bought plants yet.

terrapin24h
10-15-2008, 02:15 AM
do you have any niTRATE yet? Perhaps your 2nd stage bacteria grew fast enough you didn't get a spike? If you are using the api master test kit, make sure to read how to do the TRATE test, lots of shaking is involved and if you don't so it right youll get an incorrect reading. keep us posted

--chris

Lady Hobbs
10-15-2008, 04:16 AM
Make sure when you test that the liquid in the tube sits for about 5 minutes. You do not get an accurate reading immediately. And make sure you shake those liquids before mixing. Do you have heat in that tank? A cold tank can take a while to cycle. Bacteria loves heat so turn your temps up.

kaybee
10-15-2008, 10:21 AM
...It's an ac 70 on a 20 long, so there's quite a water disturbance. My question is: is it going to have adverse effects on my cycle or my readings if I use seachem prime to condition the water...

Surface agitation will not adversely effect the cycle, and neither will Prime (it converts ammonia to a less toxic form but still leaves it available for bacteria to utilize.

Sir Tristen
10-15-2008, 03:37 PM
Make sure when you test that the liquid in the tube sits for about 5 minutes. You do not get an accurate reading immediately. And make sure you shake those liquids before mixing. Do you have heat in that tank? A cold tank can take a while to cycle. Bacteria loves heat so turn your temps up.

I do let the test tube sit for 5 minutes. I have heat in the tank, around 85 degrees. I don't shake up the bottles before adding to the tubes, should I be with each?


do you have any niTRATE yet? Perhaps your 2nd stage bacteria grew fast enough you didn't get a spike?

Is this a somewhat common occurence? I hadn't done the nitrate test, because I figured I needed to get -trite first. I guess I can do that test. However, it should be noted that ammonia is never getting below 2 in a 24 hour period from about a 4.

I appreaciate all your comments, because this is my first cycle, and I keep wondering if I'm doing everything right. I tend to complicate things.

What about lights? Do they affect the cycle one way or the other?

Sir Tristen
10-16-2008, 05:00 PM
Tests today (day 13)

Ammonia 1.5
Nitrite 0
Nitrate 0 or 5 (hard to tell, probably 0)
Added 2ml ammonia

I just put some plants in yesterday: 1 java fern, 2 hornwort, 1 water wisteria. Also got a couple MTS with the plants for free. Hope they aren't suffering too badly. At least they make the tank a little more interesting.

Sir Tristen
10-17-2008, 02:59 PM
Day 14

Ammonia 2ish
Nitrite regestering between 0 and .25, but definately some purple:22:
Nitrate a somewhat dark 0
ph stinking 8 (I wish I wanted cichlids)

So I finally got some nitrites! I can say that the two week wait for nitrites tested my patience. :4: It isn't really a spike though. Just a light showing. I'll have to read the post on cycling again to see where I go next. I've read somewhere that when the nitrite starts showing up that I want to keep the ammonia closer to 2 rather than 4, is this correct?

fins_n_fur
10-17-2008, 03:02 PM
Indeed, correct.

Sir Tristen
10-17-2008, 03:15 PM
Thanks fins! I read through the guide in the forum to confirm and got your answer. That's why this forum is so great!:19:

Sir Tristen
10-18-2008, 02:48 PM
Day 15

Ammonia 2ish (is this test a little hard to read for anybody else? the greens all kind of look the same. Or maybe my test just keeps falling right in between.)

Nitrite solid .25

added several drops of ammonia.

Now I need to start considering stocking. . .

Sir Tristen
10-19-2008, 02:42 PM
Day 16

Ammonia < 2
Nitrite > .5
Added about .2 ml ammonia

The nitrites are definately rising. Now the bacteria just need to start eating and growing.

And the wait continues :4:

Sir Tristen
10-20-2008, 03:04 PM
Day 17

Ammonia 1.5
Nitrite 1
Added .5 ml ammonia

Well, it looks like the nitrites have spiked. Now I just got to wait for the bacteria to develop and bring them down. (ghost) I hope that doesn't take more than a week, but as things have been going, it'll probably take at least two.

terrapin24h
10-20-2008, 03:15 PM
Day 17

Ammonia 1.5
Nitrite 1
Added .5 ml ammonia

Well, it looks like the nitrites have spiked. Now I just got to wait for the bacteria to develop and bring them down. (ghost) I hope that doesn't take more than a week, but as things have been going, it'll probably take at least two.

Way to go, you're on your way! My new tank has been at 4.0 amm for over week, so i know how ya feel :)

--chris

Sir Tristen
10-20-2008, 03:27 PM
Way to go, you're on your way! My new tank has been at 4.0 amm for over week, so i know how ya feel :)

--chris

Yeah, it took around 2 weeks for me to see any nitrites, now I'm looking at a couple more. . .(pumpkin)

terrapin24h
10-20-2008, 03:56 PM
Yeah, it took around 2 weeks for me to see any nitrites, now I'm looking at a couple more. . .(pumpkin)

It takes what it takes, it stinks that we can't really do anything to speed it up, other than jack up the temp

--chris

Sir Tristen
10-21-2008, 03:17 PM
Day 18

Ammonia 1.5
Nitrite >1 (hard to tell when the color gets higher than 1)

I'm getting snails in my tank from the plants I purchased. At least there's some life in there. I wish they were all MTS's, but I only have the two bigger ones I started out with, the others, still really tiny, are more rounded, some spiraled some not.

terrapin24h
10-21-2008, 05:40 PM
common pond snails maybe?

--chris

CHurst5841
10-21-2008, 09:57 PM
Where did you get your bacteria from?

Sir Tristen
10-22-2008, 02:59 PM
Day 19

Ammonia 1
Nitrite 5 (holy bacterial growth, Batman, a spike)(Vampire)
Nitrate (didn't test myself, but had water tested at petsmart yesterday and they said it was showing @ about a 5.



Where did you get your bacteria from?

The bacteria is naturally in the water, you just have to feed it enough (ammonia) to get it to grow into a nice colony in your filter media and other solid surfaces.

Sir Tristen
10-22-2008, 03:00 PM
common pond snails maybe?

--chris

I'm assuming that some are common pond snails if not all. We'll see when they get bigger.

Sir Tristen
10-23-2008, 03:13 PM
Day 20

Ammonia < .5
Nitrite 5 or more

Does it take a while for the nitrite eathing bacteria (nitrobactor?) to develop?

Sir Tristen
10-24-2008, 03:00 PM
Day 21

Ammonia < .25 (yay! getting real low now) added .6 ml
Nitrite < 5 (also starting to drop from the spike, it seems)

I'm not too worried about the nitrates. I'll check them when the nitrites are low or gone then do my water change.

If I add schooling fish (i.e. tetras thinking cardinals or glowlights ph 8) can I add up to 5 or 6 at once when the cycle finishes,or should I add only a few at a time? Or could I add the whole school of 9 that I'm planning?

Would it be better to start out with a dwarf gourami?

Any other recommendatoins for fun beginner fish that would fit in a freshwater 20 long with an ac 70 and low light plants?(Vampire)

Sir Tristen
10-25-2008, 03:12 PM
Day 22

Ammonia 0 or just over added .6 ml
Nitrite around 5
Nitrate 10

Looks like things are going okay. I got a new heater and upped the temp yesterday, and it climbed to 84, but my wisteria didn't really like that, so I've lowered it again. Also, my 3 mts's have gotten really sluggish (no pun intended) even for snails. They just sit around and hardly move. Would the temp or high nitrites be affecting them?

Sir Tristen
10-26-2008, 02:21 PM
Day 23

Ammonia 0 added .6 ml
Nitrite still around 5
Didn't bother to check for nitrates

Things are looking like they are still progressing.

I might miss a day of adding ammonia next week, will this mess things up? I know that the ammonia will be as good as gone after one day, and with no food, will the bacteria start dying in one day?

Snails still looking on the verge of death, have hardly moved. poor guys!

Sir Tristen
10-27-2008, 02:31 PM
Day 24

Ammonia 0
Nitrite <5

terrapin24h
10-27-2008, 03:29 PM
looks like you are just about done! Keep an eye on your trite. IIRC, it will hover, fall, then hover again, then plummet to 0. At that point do a WC and then you can add fish(YAY) From what i've read, you *really* don't want those snails surviving, because once the cycle is over they will over run your tank. Once you are ready to add fish you can do so in large numbers as you will have a huge bacteria colony in the tank. IIRC the method you have used results in roughly the same amount of bacteria a given tank would have if it were fully stocked. So, you could add your first set of fish, wait a day or two then add the second, etc. In fact, you almost have to add fish in large qty otherwise you will have a bacterial die off. My 10 gal cycle is not moving yet :(

--chris

Sir Tristen
10-27-2008, 03:48 PM
I'm hoping the nitrite level works on plummeting soon! Patience wears thin.(zfish)

Sir Tristen
10-28-2008, 03:22 PM
Day 25

Didn't test for ammonia, will tomorrow. Added same amount.
Nitrite was a little lighter.

Still moving along, slower than my suffering snails.

Sir Tristen
10-30-2008, 02:52 PM
Day 26

Same

Day 27

Nitrite still around 4-5
Nitrate 20! Something's definately happening.(zfish)

fins_n_fur
10-30-2008, 03:11 PM
Sounds like it's coming right along! Nice one!

Sir Tristen
11-02-2008, 04:12 PM
Day 28

Same

Day 29

I was gone, so I didnt' add ammonia until night

Day 30 (today)

I checked levels today, and the ammonia added last night was gone, and even better NITRITE 0!!! I added .6ml ammonia again, and I'll check all levels tomorrow, but I may be done!!! (crosses fingers and starts chanting I hope, I hope, I hope.)

Sir Tristen
11-03-2008, 04:54 PM
Day 31

Ammonia 0
Nitrite 0
Nitrate 20

Nitrate not as high as I thought. Must be the plants sucking up nitrates. Anyway, the cycle is complete. FINALLY!!! I'm going to go get fish today. I already did about a 50 % water change and things are just starting settle back down. I'm thinking of getting a trio of sunburst plattys (my wife's favorite fish right now) and a dwarf gourami. Does this sound like a good start? I don't want to overload the tank for starters. If there are a few male cherry barbs, I will probably get a small school of those instead of the list above. Or maybe, as we browse, my wife and I will decide to get something completely different. . . I'm sounding giddy, so I'll shut up.:hmm3grin2orange:

s72450
11-03-2008, 10:28 PM
That sounds like a good start to me. I have two sunset plattys and I really like them. I had a few sunburst ones but they didn't make it sadly.