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poler_28
04-06-2009, 01:43 PM
So I'm about 2 weeks into my fishless cycle....
Here's my readings from last night:
Ammonia 0
Nitrite 5
Nitrate 9

I then added 1 tsp. of ammonia to bump it up to 2-3.

Now, my question is:
After I see the Nitrite drop, my cycle should be completed, right?
At that time, how much of a water change should I do?
Should I change my carbon filter?
Will cleaning and siphoning/stirring up the sand disrupt the cycle? I want to clean the tank as well as possible before adding fish. My driftwood is making everything slimey.
How long do I have to add fish if I don't add anymore ammonia to keep the bacteria alive?
I'm soooo excited that this is working! :19: :19: :19: :19:

BTW: I just noticed I'm a PLATY!! yay!

Fraoch
04-06-2009, 02:34 PM
After I see the Nitrite drop, my cycle should be completed, right?

Drop to 0, yes.


At that time, how much of a water change should I do?

The gold standard http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/aquariumforum/showthread.php?t=5640 (Lady Hobbs' fishless cycle sticky) states enough to bring nitrates below 20. So if your nitrates are 40, do a 50% water change minimum. 20 and under...do a large water change anyway just to keep nitrates in check. They will only continue to accumulate and you'll have to do a larger water change eventually, plus water changes stress fish. Might as well do a large water change now to get nitrates as low as possible before you add fish.


Should I change my carbon filter?

I asked that question here: http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/aquariumforum/showthread.php?t=39073 Don't change it in a way that will significantly disrupt the filter media - that's where almost all your beneficial bacteria are. The thread is mixed regarding whether keeping old carbon in will have any negative effects. I removed my carbon, keeping the rest of the filter intact and undisturbed, and everything went fine.


Will cleaning and siphoning/stirring up the sand disrupt the cycle? I want to clean the tank as well as possible before adding fish. My driftwood is making everything slimey.

There are some beneficial bacteria in the sand, but it does have to be cleaned. I was thinking about this, perhaps a good compromise is to clean certain sections at a time, other sections at another water change.


How long do I have to add fish if I don't add anymore ammonia to keep the bacteria alive?

Most sources say 12-24 hours, the sticky states "within a few hours". Ideally you would add fish the same day you stop adding ammonia (i.e. instead of adding ammonia, add fish!)


I'm soooo excited that this is working! :19:

Good for you! thumbs2:

poler_28
04-06-2009, 04:21 PM
Thanks for the detailed response!

I have a biowheel w/ an extra space for misc. filter media (right now I have sponge material in there) and it also has a space for the carbon filter. I don't think I would have a major change in bacteria level if I replace the carbon since I have the bio wheel and the sponge. I don't have a problem with totally eliminating the carbon filter eventually, but I wanted to use it for a while until my driftwood stops leaching a lot of tannins (I've boiled the crap out of it, and it's still a medium tea colored water~ too dark for my taste) What do you think?

Is a 90-100% water change a bad idea? It's just slimey and murky from my driftwood. That way I wouldn't have to do another water change until after my fish get used to their new digs.

Fraoch
04-06-2009, 05:13 PM
I have a biowheel w/ an extra space for misc. filter media (right now I have sponge material in there) and it also has a space for the carbon filter. I don't think I would have a major change in bacteria level if I replace the carbon since I have the bio wheel and the sponge.

Since I'm a newbie myself, I'm not familiar with a BioWheel, but if you remove the carbon filter you should replace it with a sponge filter to replace the bacteria sites.

Is there extra space in this filter arrangement to "season" a new filter media assembly? If so, put it in there right now so it'll start growing bacteria. Just swap it in when you're ready to remove the carbon. My filter has a floss envelope around carbon, I jammed a sponge filter media pad behind the carbon filter. Almost 3 weeks later, I opened the envelope, removed the carbon and stuck the sponge media in. Worked like a charm, no ammonia spike.


I don't have a problem with totally eliminating the carbon filter eventually, but I wanted to use it for a while until my driftwood stops leaching a lot of tannins (I've boiled the crap out of it, and it's still a medium tea colored water~ too dark for my taste) What do you think?

I'll leave that for someone else. I don't use driftwood and don't know how activated carbon and tannins interact - I believe activated carbon works very well at removing colour though, so it is probably providing a benefit to you at the moment.


Is a 90-100% water change a bad idea? It's just slimey and murky from my driftwood. That way I wouldn't have to do another water change until after my fish get used to their new digs.

I don't see how it would hurt as long as you provide an ammonia source afterward, either fish or ammonia. You'd also have to be careful not to disturb things too much with a 100% water change, adding the new water could really stir things up and make the water even murkier.

robflanker
04-06-2009, 08:58 PM
Fraoch your turning yourself into a cycling guru huh? thumbs2:

Fraoch
04-06-2009, 09:05 PM
Fraoch your turning yourself into a cycling guru huh? thumbs2:

I learned the hard way!:22:

poler_28
04-07-2009, 06:38 PM
Now....I'm stumped.

Here's my readings:
Ammonia 0 (I keep adding daily to bring it to 2-3, and it comes down within 24 hrs.)
Trite 2-5 (hard to tell, although I think it's closer to 5 bc it's redder)
Trate 5-10 (I think it's just under 10...these color charts suck! haha)

They have been this way for 5 days now.
Today I decided to do a 50% water change, the trites stayed the same and the trate came down to 2-5.

Is my cycle stalled out? or is this going to take patients? Should I keep adding ammonia to bring it all the way up to 3? I just think that will keep my trites too high? HELP! This is getting a little frustrating!

ps...I decided to take the driftwood out completely until it's cycled...I gave it a good scrub, it was so disgusting!

poler_28
04-07-2009, 08:14 PM
hahaha...I meant patience. lol

chipper
04-07-2009, 08:18 PM
let it keep going. I am the same way no has to be fast. But here you have to wait and wait and wait. Keep it cool

Fraoch
04-08-2009, 04:39 AM
Ammonia 0 (I keep adding daily to bring it to 2-3, and it comes down within 24 hrs.)

This is good, these bacteria are established.


Trite 2-5 (hard to tell, although I think it's closer to 5 bc it's redder)
Trate 5-10 (I think it's just under 10...these color charts suck! haha)

The nitrates are an indication there is a little nitrite->nitrate conversion going on.


Today I decided to do a 50% water change, the trites stayed the same and the trate came down to 2-5.

The nitrites didn't go down because they were being generated from the ammonia->nitrite conversion.

Since the nitrates did go down, there's not that much nitrite->nitrate conversion going on yet.


Is my cycle stalled out? or is this going to take patients?

Check Lady Hobbs' sticky, yes, you may feel that the cycle is stalled, but just a little more patience...


Should I keep adding ammonia to bring it all the way up to 3?

Ammonia fuels the cycle. If you stop adding ammonia all your beneficial bacteria die in 12-24 hours and you have to start all over again.

DO NOT stop adding ammonia! Check the sticky, after you saw nitrites appear you should have reduced the ammonia you add, but don't stop adding it altogether.


I just think that will keep my trites too high? HELP! This is getting a little frustrating!

But that's the point, you have to generate nitrites to establish and feed the nitrite->nitrate converting bacteria, and since you don't have fish in there, high nitrites aren't harming anything.

poler_28
04-08-2009, 04:51 AM
I totally get the way the cycle works, I was just a little concerned (bc of the sticky info) that the nitrites were TOO high and that the cycle may stall.

I am continuing to add ammonia daily (I actually check the level am and pm) After my trites started to increase, I started to decrease the amount of ammonia I added. I am adding enough to bring the level to around 2-3. My question was, should I add MORE to bring it to 4, or is that level ok?

I then re-read the sticky and found out that the trites may stay high for as long as 1-2 weeks while the trates grow.

I just needed some reassurance that all is normal and that it is going to take a little bit more time, so THANK YOU to everyone (especially Fraoch)! who has been helping me along!!
I can't wait to add all the little beautiful fishies...it's going to be so rewarding! Delayed gratification isn't something that happens as much as it should. ;~)

Fraoch
04-08-2009, 04:56 AM
Your experience sure seems to be following the sticky to the letter - you even have the "stall" stage. The sticky is pretty clear that once you start seeing nitrates you should reduce your ammonia addition by half so that the ammonia level is 2-3, no more or it will truly stall.

Stay the course!

And yeah, in these days of instant-everything, cycling definitely does not fit and it will teach you the ancient art of patience. Even once you have fish, you still need to be patient because sudden changes will kill them.