View Full Version : Trying again ...

04-14-2009, 12:04 PM
Well, I was a complete failure at the fishless cycle (see Chel's fishless cycle blog for details of my utter lack of bacteria growth). Anyway, after 4 weeks I dumped out virtually all of the water (down to the gravel), refilled it halfway using dechlorinated water, emptied that back down to the gravel, and then filled it up the whole way with dechlorinated water.

The only problem is that my ammonia is still at 1 ppm. I haven't added fish yet ... that is just what it is with the tap and the tiny amount left over from my fishless cycling fiasco. Any ideas? should I just keep changing it out till it gets lower? Could there be ammonia in the tap water?

04-14-2009, 12:07 PM
test the water out of the tap for ammonia. are you gonna retry a fishless cycle or try with fish this time.

04-14-2009, 12:09 PM
By the way, here are the readings I got on the tap:

pH = at least 7.6 (same at tank)
Ammonia = .5-1.0
Nitrite and Nitrate = 0

TAP (SITTING for 24 hours):
pH = 7.2 (but after it had sat for awhile it was a totally different color and didn't really correspond with any of the colors -- is that normal?)
Ammonia = .5
Nitrate and nitrite = 0

04-14-2009, 12:16 PM
you have to read the ph tests right after you put in the drops. and the others at 5mins. that is the accurate readings, after that they all fade and change colors so yes its normal.
how do you plan on cycling your tank?

04-14-2009, 12:17 PM
see now ive got a very similar problem.

Tank is doing a fishless cycle and there is no change in the bacteria levels or levels of toxins. So im doing a cycle with fish in, and am following what I did with my first community tank.

So this is what ive done so far.

1. Added water and leave it to stand for 24 hours before adding stress zyme or tetra start while getting the water to temp adn filtering with bateria filled sponge culture from my established tank.
2. 2 fish with live plants in and testing the water daily, feeding light once per day. tank illuminated 7 hours per day strictly timed.

As normal, I keep a journal fo reach of my tanks, from the first point I add water detailing as much information as possible for reference.

My point is I think you may want to look at doing it this way, as long as youre not keeping fragile fish, and I wouldnt put a plec in at all at thsi stage as the ammonia wil go through the roof, or any other super wasteful fish for that matter.

Also, its worth saying that its important that you test each day, perform regular water changes with dechlorinated water at least twice a week ranging from 20-40%.

Thsi process of cycling takes at least 6 weeks, but is more grounded and thorough I find, but its alot of hard work.

Hope this helps


04-14-2009, 01:05 PM
I'm planning on doing a fish-in cycle because I got really discouraged with the fishless ... but I am concerned about the ammonia readings from my tap being at 1 ppm ... that will hurt my fish, right?? I've read not to use the ammo-lock so how do I deal with it?

I've been doing daily readings on my tank for a month now and will continue that, along with water changes, with the fish-in. I don't have another tank going so I don't have any media to use but I am going to get a bacteria booster and add it with the fish.

04-14-2009, 02:01 PM
ok. any ammonia is stressful for the fish. do another big water change before you add the fish. add the dechlor of course and the prime or stress zyme also before fish. keep the ammomia as low as possible. preferably around ,5-1ppm or less. since you have ammonia coming out of the tap you really have to stay on top of testing and water changes. what type of fish were you thinking of getting.

04-14-2009, 02:35 PM
Okay, I just called my LFS and he said that our city water is terrible it can have really high chloramine levels so since it is coming out of the tap at 1 ppm I don't think doing a big water change to get it down is going to help. ... he suggested buying water! I'm going to call a friend who is on a well and see if I can fill up a 5 gallon jug at their house and just test, test, test. I'm planning to get a 4 zebra danios to start the cycle...I've heard they are good for cycling and I like how they look.

04-14-2009, 02:43 PM
i was thinking that buying water at first would be a good option as well. once you get your tank cycled you should be able to use tap water (could be wrong) i think the bacteria will take care of the ammonia fairly quick. i like danios they are one of my favorite fish and excellent for cycling!
i hope you have good luck this time around.:11:

04-14-2009, 02:51 PM
Use your dechlorinator!
You may want to get some Tetra Safe Start! It will help you get through the cycle and your fish will appreciate it!You still have to monitor your tank and do W/Cs when necesary!

04-14-2009, 04:28 PM
Do I have to use dechlorinator with store bought spring water?

Captivated by Fish
04-14-2009, 04:31 PM
It would probably be easier just to use dechlorinator (on your tap water), cheaper too, most likely.
Most bottled water is just tap water filtered anyways.

Lady Hobbs
04-14-2009, 05:02 PM
The only time a fishless cycle doesn't work is when someone jinx's it themselves by either not using dechlorinator or cleaning or removing the filter pad. Bacteria has to grow whether fish are in the tank or liquid ammonia is in the tank but the fishless method means no water changes, no dead fish and no work.

I agree to just use dechlorinatored water and tap water. No point in having to buy water.

04-14-2009, 05:13 PM
Well, I used dechlorinator and other than doing a 30% water change right after the fishless cycle started because I'd added too much ammonia I left the tank alone ... didn't clean the tank, the filter, I don't use aerosols, made sure no lotion or soaps were on my hand. Kept the ammonia level at 4 ppm ... and no nitrites or nitrates grew in 4 weeks. The only thing that I can think is that if the tap water is really horrible maybe I wasn't using enough dechlorinator. I did the regular dose initially and added a bit more about 10 days ago because I started thinking that might be the problem.

So, anyway, I know it was probably something I was doing or not doing but I sure can't figure it out...which is frustrating. I'll pick up a chlorine kit at the fish store just so I can keep a close eye on that. Any other advice?

04-14-2009, 07:53 PM
Wow, 4 weeks and no nitrites?

I will tell you this... If you're having difficulties cycling your tank without fish, nothing about adding fish will make it any easier. In fact, it will make it much harder, since you cannot control the ammonia levels, it will take longer, and since you now have live fish to worry about.

Read through the forums here and I think you'll probably notice that quite a few threads posted by people who cycle with fish end up asking for help because all the fish start dying and they don't know if their cycle is complete or not, or whether something else is killing their fish.

If you can't start your cycle without fish, something is wrong and the fish probably wont correct it. There's really aren't any reasons to cycle with fish when liquid ammonia is available for a fishless cycle.

Check your water temperature, keep it at 80F at least, make sure there's room for gas exchange at the water's surface, make sure you have sponge or bio-filter media in your filter, make sure your test kit hasn't expired, make sure your ammonia doesn't contain any soaps or likewise harmful additives, make sure you follow the instructions very carefully, and do exactly as they say, don't be afraid to use a little extra dechlorinator, opinions here seem to be that the stuff is pretty hard to overdose with.

If despite

-Warm water temperature
-Oxygen in the water
-Ammonia levels at 4ppm before nitrites, and 2-3ppm after nitrites
-Sufficient dechlorinator used
-Appropriate filter media being used
-The ammonia is pure enough that it isn't putting anything bad into the water

and you still cannot achieve nitrites, I would be suspicious of your tap water. Tap water can contain bacteria, it can contain a whole bunch of stuff API master test wont test for. If you are 100% certain that you have done everything correctly, and followed the instructions to the point, it may very well be that something in your water is preventing the nitrosomonas from establishing themselves and creating those nitrites because otherwise, cycling is pretty much guaranteed self-performing if you created the right conditions and were careful not to sabotage yourself in the setup.