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chel
03-26-2009, 02:46 AM
I thought I'd post my progress in the hope that folks more knowledgeable about this than me will check in from time to time and let me know if I am on, or off, track. :goldfish: :goldfish: :goldfish:

March 16 Started fishless cycling by adding 1 tsp ammonia. Ammonia over 5 ppm
March 17 Added 2/3 tsp ammonia. Reading over 8 ppm
March 18 Ammonia at 8 ppm none added
March 19 Did 30% water change to reduce the amount of ammonia. New reading 4 ppm. No ammonia added. Added lava moss.
March 20-25 No ammonia added. Ammonia 4 ppm. No nitrites or Nitrates.

fins_n_fur
03-26-2009, 07:24 AM
Some questions:

1. Did you read the cycling threads by Lady Hobbs?
2. What is your temp set to?
3. Are you running an air stone, or is there sufficient surface turbulance to encourage oxygen exchange?

Lady Hobbs
03-26-2009, 07:55 AM
Links are here in my signature.

You need not add more ammonia until the first dose has dropped down. Turn your heat up, aerate and do NO cleaning. Always use dechlorinated water and leave the chemicals in the store! People use way too many chemicals to raise and lower pH, to reduce ammonia, to reduce nitrates, to do this and to do that. grrrrrrrrrrr (I'm now venting.)

Wild Turkey
03-26-2009, 11:20 AM
Agreed, take it slow, be patient, and dont add any ammo-lock for crying out loud!:hmm3grin2orange:

Air stone and heat up near 85 will speed up the process

chel
03-26-2009, 12:05 PM
Hey everyone,

Thanks for the input -- this is exactly what I need! :ssmile:

Yes, I've read lots, including the stuff on Lady Hobbs' tag, about fishless cycling but I'm sure I'm still bound to make missteps as this is all new to me.

I had my temp up at about 81 degrees until I added the lava moss and then scaled it back a notch, but it is still at 79. Perhaps I could remove the lava moss and just keep it in a bucket with water until I get closer to adding fish so that I can really crank up the heat unless you think the lava moss can withstand it -- I don't know enough about that.

I don't have an air stone, I've been thinking it would be good to get one. But there is significant water displacement because I intentionally left the water a little low for that very reason.

The only thing I've added to the tank (other than the ammonia) is dechlorinator. I've read that you can also just let the water sit out for the chlorine to evaporate -- any advice on how long it take for the chlorine to evaporate? But I agree with the not adding too much. From what I've read it seems like that is an early mistake that a lot of people make ... trying to put a little of this and a little of that and it ends up hurting the fish.

I did do a water change to lower the ammonia because I read that too much could inhibit bacteria growth, and that seemed to work but I haven't seen either the ammonia start to go down at all or any sign of bacteria. It's been 10 days, so perhaps it's just that this is normal and takes awhile which is okay...even though it's hard to wait! :hmm3grin2orange:

Wild Turkey
03-26-2009, 12:16 PM
Hey everyone,

Thanks for the input -- this is exactly what I need! :ssmile:

Yes, I've read lots, including the stuff on Lady Hobbs' tag, about fishless cycling but I'm sure I'm still bound to make missteps as this is all new to me.

I had my temp up at about 81 degrees until I added the lava moss and then scaled it back a notch, but it is still at 79. Perhaps I could remove the lava moss and just keep it in a bucket with water until I get closer to adding fish so that I can really crank up the heat unless you think the lava moss can withstand it -- I don't know enough about that.

Its not essential, 79 is fine, but i doubt a few more degrees will hurt the java moss terribly. I had mine growing in an 85 F tank for quite some time. The bacteria will grow at almost any temp though

I don't have an air stone, I've been thinking it would be good to get one. But there is significant water displacement because I intentionally left the water a little low for that very reason.

You will need a pump and line as well, a control valve never hurts. Total: 15-20 USD, its a good thing to have one on hand. However, what you are doing with the water line will suffice for this purpose.

The only thing I've added to the tank (other than the ammonia) is dechlorinator. I've read that you can also just let the water sit out for the chlorine to evaporate -- any advice on how long it take for the chlorine to evaporate? But I agree with the not adding too much. From what I've read it seems like that is an early mistake that a lot of people make ... trying to put a little of this and a little of that and it ends up hurting the fish.

I did do a water change to lower the ammonia because I read that too much could inhibit bacteria growth, and that seemed to work but I haven't seen either the ammonia start to go down at all or any sign of bacteria. It's been 10 days, so perhaps it's just that this is normal and takes awhile which is okay...even though it's hard to wait! :hmm3grin2orange:

Yup, this is the part where people loose their minds, once the bacteria starts growing you will have more to keep you busy, but for right now you are just waiting for the bacteria to start growing. If you need to take out anything, water changes are the best way, you got it

Northernguy
03-26-2009, 01:23 PM
Keep up the good work!
What are you other hobbies?It will take your mind off waiting through a cycle!

chel
03-26-2009, 04:10 PM
The funny thing is that I picked up this hobby to do something relaxing because I am so busy with a highly demanding job, two great kids & hubby, etc ... but then I became totally obsessed with it. LOL. Patience is not my strength but this is helping me learn patience. :hmm3grin2orange:

Lady Hobbs
03-26-2009, 04:14 PM
We have one member here that is just awesome at fishless cycling. He is very patient and would love helping you out.

His name is Mith.

Fraoch
03-26-2009, 06:44 PM
The only thing I've added to the tank (other than the ammonia) is dechlorinator. I've read that you can also just let the water sit out for the chlorine to evaporate -- any advice on how long it take for the chlorine to evaporate?

My Dad says 2 days or so...

However, be careful here. Many towns, cities and municipalities have switched to chloramine rather than chlorine. Chloramine will not evaporate from the water, it must be removed with a chemical. Most dechlorinators also eliminate chloramine - check the bottle though.

Where my parents live, the municipality still uses chlorine, but here, it's chloramine. You'll find most larger areas or ones that have recently updated their water treatment systems use chloramine, there are big drawbacks with chlorination systems these days (gaseous chlorine is very dangerous, overdosing is required to get a safe residual throughout the system, etc.)

Wild Turkey
03-26-2009, 06:46 PM
We have one member here that is just awesome at fishless cycling. He is very patient and would love helping you out.

His name is Mith.

ROFL SO SO TRUE:hmm3grin2orange: :hmm3grin2orange: :hmm3grin2orange:

chel
03-27-2009, 04:22 AM
Hmmm...another patient soul like myself? thumbs2:

Today: temp raised 84.5
Ammonia 4 ppm
Nitrate and Nitrite 0

Gemini
03-27-2009, 06:05 AM
We have one member here that is just awesome at fishless cycling. He is very patient and would love helping you out.

His name is Mith.
We need a knee slapping emoticon!! That's classic!
Seriously though - do a search on threads by Mith and you'll see what your in for. Having said that - it is all soooooo worth it!!
Keep up the write up! And good luck with the new tank thumbs2:

chel
03-27-2009, 08:19 PM
Thanks everyone!

Today I added an air wand, or whatever they are called. Lots more water displacement now.

Ammonia 4 ppm
Nitrate and nitrite: 0 ppm

chel
03-29-2009, 03:22 AM
Had a great day playing in my garden today ... first real day of spring and it was lovely. Still some snow patches but a great, sunny day after a long winter.

So, the good news is that I didn't obsess even a little bit about the lack of bacteria in my tank that has already been cycling for 2 weeks...

Ammonia 4 ppm ... still haven't added any after that second day.
Nitrite test looked like it might be inching up ... hard to tell but there is hope that some bacteria is present.
Nitrate 0 ppm

...and my yard looks fantastic.

Chel

chel
03-29-2009, 11:33 PM
No change.

Gemini
03-30-2009, 12:24 AM
Keep up the good work Chel thumbs2:

s72450
03-30-2009, 01:06 AM
Keep waiting, it does take alot of patience, I'm still waiting right with ya, but just think about how much better our tanks will be now that we're doing it the right way.

chel
03-30-2009, 03:00 AM
Thanks guys! thumbs2:

I have a bad cold which is probably for the best ... it counters being obsessed with bacteria levels! LOL. More soon.

Fraoch
03-30-2009, 01:35 PM
No change.

<Star Wars quote>

"Stay on target!"

chel
03-31-2009, 01:39 AM
ammonia still at 4 ppm, nitrate and nitrite don't seem changed. It will be so nice one of these days to see something different. :ssmile:

chel
04-02-2009, 05:41 PM
Well, 2 1/2 weeks and no bacteria counts :scry: but I've decided that the fact that I am starting to believe that I will never see any bacteria is a good sign because it will happen when you least expect it, right? At least that is what this eternal optimist is hoping for.

So, to recap:
3/16 started fishless cycle
3/19 high ammonia reading prompts me to do a partial water change (@ 30% I think)
3/31 added about 2 cups of gravel from a friends tank
4/1 still no nitrate or nitrite detectable, ammonia 4 ppm

I'll update again after I test tonight.

Fraoch
04-02-2009, 05:45 PM
Patience, it may take a month or more.

In the meantime be glad you aren't killing any fish.:ssmile:

chel
04-04-2009, 01:21 PM
The run down (she types patiently) :hmm3grin2orange:
4/3 no nitrate or nitrite detectable, ammonia 4 ppm (testing daily)
3/31 added about 2 cups of gravel from a friends tank
3/19 high ammonia reading prompts me to do a 30% water change
3/17 added .5 tsp of ammonia (resulting in high ammonia reading 8 ppm)
3/16 started fishless cycle (added 1 tsp of ammonia)
-Chel

chel
04-06-2009, 09:57 PM
I'm not sure how much longer I can hold back the troops from demanding fish in our tank ... and wondering if my lack of bacteria could be that I didn't add enough dechlorinator to the water? It's been 3 weeks and I haven't gotten a reading of any bacteria. So, the kids (and husband) have started seriously grumbling ... help! ... is there anything else I can do to help get things rolling?

4/6 no nitrate or nitrite detectable, ammonia 4 ppm (testing daily)
3/31 added about 2 cups of gravel from a friends tank
3/19 high ammonia reading prompts me to do a 30% water change
3/17 added .5 tsp of ammonia (resulting in high ammonia reading 8 ppm)
3/16 added 1 tsp of ammonia to start fishless cycle
3/13 set tank up

Sharon
04-06-2009, 11:16 PM
Your friend has a tank??? Why didn't you say so???:hmm3grin2orange: Borrow a little of her media to seed yours. It will speed things up. You really should be seeing something by now....

Fraoch
04-07-2009, 12:15 AM
I'm not sure how much longer I can hold back the troops from demanding fish in our tank

Well do the troops want live fish or dead ones?:ssmile:


... and wondering if my lack of bacteria could be that I didn't add enough dechlorinator to the water?

If you followed the directions precisely, it should work.

chel
04-07-2009, 12:51 AM
Hey guys, I did add in a couple cups of gravel about a week ago but still nothing ...

I'm wondering if I didn't add enough dechlorinator. The instructions said to use 4 drops per gallon, but more if my water has high chlorine. I don't know if it has high chlorine so I just added the four drops. Will it hurt to add more?

Are there other reasons why the bacteria isn't showing up after 3 weeks?

Fraoch
04-07-2009, 12:37 PM
I'm wondering if I didn't add enough dechlorinator. The instructions said to use 4 drops per gallon, but more if my water has high chlorine. I don't know if it has high chlorine so I just added the four drops. Will it hurt to add more?

If your water has high chlorine, you will probably smell or taste it right from the tap. A slight overdose of dechlorinator is probably best, but you have removed most of the chlorine.

And if it is chlorine (not chloramine) it will evaporate after a few days anyway.


Are there other reasons why the bacteria isn't showing up after 3 weeks?

Dumb luck? Environmental factors inside your home? The bacteria will have to come from the air, perhaps your home is extremely sterile? Maybe you could open some windows for a bit.

chel
04-10-2009, 05:39 PM
...well, after nearly a month of fishless cycling I still don't have any changes and I am officially discouraged. I've gotten gravel from a friend, had my LFS squeeze a sponge out for me (they wouldn't give me the filter), had the temp at 85 degrees...still nada. :scry:

Ammonia 4 ppm
nitrite 0 ppm
nitrate 0 ppm

Anyway, as you can tell, I'm feeling pretty discouraged, but I may try another LFS on my way home to see if they will give me a filter to see if I can get this on track.

Also, I am wondering about quarantine tanks ... do people recommend getting a second filter to run on the tank so that if you need to set up a quarantine tank it is easy to do? I'm thinking ahead to when I'll have fish and wondering what to do about that. If anyone had advice or can point me to other resources, I'd appreciate it. Thanks.

jackson17
04-10-2009, 06:16 PM
Probably not a bad idea for the filter thing. I doubt you'll get any fish store to give you there filter, just ask for the media. Also, try to have them not squeeze it out and put it in a fish bag with water.

I have two filter sponges right now in filter in case i need a QT. My original, and the one i got from the fish store. Strange to see your levels haven't changed once yet. I got used sponge and mine started dropping already.

chel
04-11-2009, 02:13 AM
What's the difference between a filter and media? I thought a filter was a type of media ... but my newness shows itself. :ssmile:

I went to my other local fish store and they wouldn't give me anything from their tanks but they did have Nutrafin Cycle ... any reviews out there on it? I am getting desperate so I got it and put it in tonight. I'll let you know if it does anything.

--Chel

jackson17
04-11-2009, 02:48 AM
I'm new to don't worry. And no the filter is the actual unit ( I think ) what everyone calls media is whats inside, usually a sponge type thing where the bacteria grow. If you haven't already tried or been to one, try a store that isn't a chain store. Explain your situation and why your asking for a used sponge. If the store has a decent filtration system on their tanks, they should have plenty of sponges laying around where they filter their water.

chel
04-11-2009, 05:41 PM
Well, I don't know what else to do ... and I'm about to give up on the fishless cycle if nothing changes in a couple of days. I am at my wits end.

4/11 still no nitrate or nitrite detectable, ammonia has remained constant at 4 ppm since 3/19; just tested KH & GH for the first time today KH=53.7 ppm; and GH was 71.6
3/31 added about 2 cups of gravel from a friends tank
3/21 increased temp of tank to 85 degrees
3/19 high ammonia reading prompts me to do a partial water change (@ 30% I think) got ammonia down to 4 ppm
3/17 added 1/2 tsp ammonia -- ammonia reading 8 ppm
3/16 started fishless cycle -- added 1 tsp ammonia
3/13 set up tank

I'm seriously considering dumping my water to get the ammonia down and starting a fish-in cycle.

Fraoch
04-11-2009, 07:46 PM
What's the difference between a filter and media?

The media is just the physical filtration material - sponge, floss, etc. The filter itself usually means the whole unit with the power connection, etc. Obviously they won't sell you a used filter :ssmile: but they may give you used media.


I went to my other local fish store and they wouldn't give me anything from their tanks but they did have Nutrafin Cycle ... any reviews out there on it?

Check the Equipment Review section here, Cycle is quite controversial. Many say it does nothing at all, others say the "new" Cycle works. However Tetra SafeStart, API Stress Zyme or Big Al's Bio-Support (rebranded Stress Zyme) do work for most people and are recommended by many - including me. In my experience, Bio-Support caused an instant drop in ammonia levels (although they were dropping already) and a very short nitrite cycle phase, about a week.

Fraoch
04-11-2009, 07:54 PM
Well, I don't know what else to do ... and I'm about to give up on the fishless cycle if nothing changes in a couple of days.

All I can say is that a fish-in cycle took me a month and killed two of my three fish. This is even with daily testing, daily water changes and AmQuel+ (de-toxifier).

It was a lot of work, a lot of worry and the results weren't even all that good. The two fish died slowly and pretty horribly. The toxin levels never even got instantly lethal, but they were enough to kill fish anyway.

I would gladly exchange 6 months' worth of fishless cycling for that experience.

bushwhacker
04-12-2009, 01:57 AM
this is exactly why i dont agree with fishless cycles, i understand the reasons behind it and i agree with the theory..but if its going to discourage a new fishkeeper then theres a problem..... chel change out the water in the tank go get 6 zebra danios and start testing every day when you see ammonia at 1.0 do a 50 % water change keep this up and your tank will cycle

chel
04-12-2009, 01:45 PM
well, luckily I'm not discouraged from fishkeeping all together ... just frustrated that I can't figure out what is going on. My tank isn't in a sunny location, I have lots of air in the tank, I don't use aerosols in the room ... perhaps I used the wrong ammonia. It doesn't list the contents but it was the main Ace brand that I'd read somewhere was good to use ...

Ah, well, I'll give it a couple days and then figure out what to do.