View Full Version : Messed up Cycle -- What to do

01-27-2009, 12:49 AM
I've been cycling my old 10-gallon tank for a while now and I wonder if I shouldn't just dump it out and start over. I started in early January with it. I left the filter in it that I was using before I took my fish out. I also put a panty hose of the old gravel in it. It started to show nitrites about 7-8 days after I added ammonia. After showing nitrites for 6-8 days, I decided to change the filter and take out the old gravel. That was 1/15. It showed nitrites for another two days (1/16 & 1/17) and then they went away. I assume that it killed the cycle to change the filter and remove the gravel. I dosed the ammonia back to 4 ppm on 1/18. Nitrites showed up again on the morning of 1/22. By that afternoon, they were gone again and have not shown up 1/22 - 1/26. My 6-year-old has been helping me cycle the tank for her science project. Today, she wanted to test the pH, just because she had never done it before. It tested at 6.0, our tap water is religiously 7.6, as is the tank that has fish in it. I tested it three times just to make sure I did it right. I used the API master freshwater kit. Tested the tap water to make sure the test was still working and it tested at 7.6. Should I change the water and start over?

Lady Hobbs
01-27-2009, 12:52 AM
Ammonia is supposed to be added daily as it drops. You stop adding it and the bacteria dies.

01-27-2009, 12:55 AM
I read that when you cycle ,you are not supposed to touch the gravel or anything eles. Don't take my word for it though (I am a beginner) Also your cycling is not that long, compared to what I have gone through and currently STILL GOING THROUGH , its almost done though (THANK GOD) X_X" Iv been cycling for way over 2 months now, LOL due to the fact that I over dosed the CRAP out of my tank with ammonia.

Lady Hobbs
01-27-2009, 01:27 AM
Lava, you would be exactly correct. The bacteria lives in the filter so changing all that out he just set the cycle back to day one again.

01-27-2009, 01:37 AM
Do you still have fish in the tank or are they dead from adding ammonia?
never add ammonia when there is fish in the tank!
What are youur perameters now?
Your ph is great at 7.6,I wish mine was.
A Healthy cycled tank will be Ammonia 0,Nitrite 0,Nitrate under 20.
As long as your ph is stable leave it alone.
Get some Tetra Safe Start or Seachem Stability to boost your cycle.

01-27-2009, 12:14 PM
It is a fishless cycle northernguy. Note I said it was the filter from when I used to have my fish in the tank -- they moved to their new home in the 46g. I figured I set it back some by changing the filter but I had no choice as it is a HOB filter and the little cloth bag was deteriorating to the point it was polluting the tank :-)

The pH is what was really concerning me ... being at 6.0 ... it was 7.6 a few weeks ago when I checked it ... what would make it change so drastically?

01-27-2009, 03:11 PM
It tested at 6.0, our tap water is religiously 7.6, as is the tank that has fish in it.
I guess I got confused when reading this.I didn't see anything about a fishless cycle.
What is in your tank that is buffering the water?
Have you started over or did add more ammonia to keep your up to 5ppm?

Lady Hobbs
01-27-2009, 03:20 PM
You lost your cycle but you may get a quick recover and hopefully didn't loose all of it. In a tank that is uncycled, you will have random pH results. Sometimes different ones even at water changes and later that night. Messing with the pH at all is very bad for fish.

The nasty stuff in that filter could have been rinsed out in old tank water rather than throwing it out but what's done is done so now nothing to do but start over.

01-27-2009, 04:32 PM
Yeah, I figured the cycle died when I took the old filter and gravel out and then the nitrites disappeared. I had hoped that having it in there for approx. two weeks would have seeded enough bacteria in the new gravel to keep the cycle going. I did also rinse that filter and gravel out in the water before I threw them out to try to keep some of the bacteria. Anyways, since then I have rinsed my filters from my 46g tank in the water almost every other day trying to jump start it. I expect the cycle will start back soon.

Like I said, it was just the bizzare pH reading that I was worried about. I'm not sure the people I am prepping this tank for would want fish that live outside a 7ish pH range.

Northernguy: There is nothing in the tank that should be throwing off the pH. The only things in it are some black pea gravel and stones and plastic plants. Since I'm giving it away, I just filled it with stuff I had lying around. I don't add any kind of pH buffer to my water, just a dechlorinator.

01-27-2009, 04:36 PM
Try testing your dechlorinator tonight.
Get two containers of water one with dechlorinator and one without.
Test when you fill them and test in the morning.
Find out if its your dechlor. dropping your ph.
What brand do you use?

01-27-2009, 04:45 PM
it's API and it has never dropped the pH on any of my tanks ... maybe I'll check the pH on my 46g just to be sure ... but I just tested it last weeked after the w/c and it was fine