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Thread: Am I cycled?

  1. #1

    Default Am I cycled?

    0 Not allowed!
    I've tried to make this brief but it didn't work.

    I have been working on a fishless cycle on my 55g bowfront since 1/19/13. I have an Aqueon 55/75 filter running and initially installed 2 air stones. I dosed the ammonia to 4ppm and added some powdered fish flakes. By 2/10/13 it had dropped to 1ppm and I dosed it to 3ppm. During that time my ph rose from 6/2 to 8.2. The temperature has remained 84. By 2/20/13 it had dropped to 1ppm and was still at 1ppm on 2/23/13 when I dosed it to 4ppm again. It dropped to 2ppm by 3/3/13 and I thought I was stuck when I added 4 cups gravel from a tank at my lfs. Nothing happened and on 3/7/13 it still read 2ppm and I did a 50% wc and installed a sponge filter purchased online from angels plus that was to have had all the bacteria needed and added more ground up flakes. I know impatience was getting to me. Then a funny thing happened. (My nitrItes and nitrAtes had been 0 this whole time)

    On 3/9/13 the ammonia dropped to 1ppm and my nitrAtes were at 5. No nitrItes.

    On 3/14/13 the ammonia dropped to 0 and nitrAtes were at 10. No nitrItes. I dosed the ammonia back up to only 1ppm and added some more flakes. It seemed to me 4ppm was way to high for my tank.

    On 3/15/13 the ammonia dropped to .5 (after 12 hours) and dropped to 0 on 3/16/13 (after 36 additional hours). I dosed it back up to 1ppm and again added some ground up flakes. NitrAtes were now at 20. NO nitrItes.

    This morning 3/17/13 after 12 hours it again had dropped to .5ppm ammonia, nitrAtes are now at 40 but still no nitrItes.

    My big question is Ė is my tank cycled? My patience is back and this is almost like an experiment now. I donít think my ammonia is dropping to 0 fast enough, but I also don't know how much ammonia my future fish will produce (gold & cherry barbs, cory's and ghost shrimp) I almost feel like dosing the ammonia to 2ppm just to see what happens but I donít want to over do it.

    Does anyone have any suggestions, or if youíve used an established filter before is it common for the nitrItes to never show up? Any suggestions would be appreciated. Iíve been reading everything I can find and really like this site. Thanks for all the help you've given me without even knowing it!

  2. #2


    0 Not allowed!
    A few observations from me:

    Don't dose ammonia until it reads zero. You will stall the cycle if you don't wait for it to drop.

    Don't do water changes during a cycle.

    If you are dosing ammonia you need not dose fish flakes as well - this will only make it difficult to know what amount of ammonia is in the tank.

    If your ammonia is dropping you should be seeing nitrites - unless you completely missed that part of the cycle?

    Test: Do a huge water change. 75% or thereabouts. Dose to 3ppm ammonia and test the water for all three every 12 hours. Let us know how long it takes to get 0 ammonia and what you got for your nitrite and nitrate during this time. Do not put food in. Do not change any more water after that.
    "Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known." Carl Sagan

    ~ 350 Litre Tank Journal ~ ~ 30 Litre Tank Journal ~

  3. #3


    0 Not allowed!
    The last several times I have let the ammonia drop to 0 since I think I may have been stalled, but I was afraid to dose back to 3 or 4ppm.

    I'll do the water change tonight and dose to 3ppm and post the results later this week. Keeping my fingers crossed. Thanks for your help.

  4. #4


    0 Not allowed!
    Have you read the cycling sticky in the beginners section? If not, do. It should be followed to the letter. It's easy to stall a cycle if you deviate from the instructions.
    "Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known." Carl Sagan

    ~ 350 Litre Tank Journal ~ ~ 30 Litre Tank Journal ~

  5. #5


    0 Not allowed!
    I did a large water change Monday afternoon, dosed the tank to 3ppm and havenít touched the tank since. Hereís the readings Iíve gotten:

    Monday 7pm ammonia 3 nitrite 0 nitrate 20
    Tuesday 7am ammonia <2 nitrite 0 nitrate <40
    7pm ammonia 1 nitrite 0 nitrate 40+
    Wednesday 7am ammonia .25 nitrite 0 nitrate 40-80
    6pm ammonia 0 nitrite 0 nitrate 40-80

    The nitrates are somewhat hard to read (40 looks too similar to 80) but it doesn't seem to be increasing as fast as they were.

    Since the ammonia is at zero, should I leave the water alone and dose the tank again? Any help would be appreciated. Thanks.
    Last edited by mrsrienzi; 03-20-2013 at 10:49 PM. Reason: easier to read

  6. #6


    0 Not allowed!
    I've seen threads posted where individuals have missed the nitrite stage. I believe you have missed that stage. I'm not an expert but the last numbers suggest you are cycled. I suggest a last water change to get the nitrates under 20 ppm and you should be fine. If you are just not sure dose to 1 ppm one last time and wait another 24 hours. If ammo and nitrites are both 0 with sky high nitrates you are cycled.

  7. #7


    0 Not allowed!
    Do you think I should dose the ammonia higher one more time? I believe I've read somewhere that you should be able to turn 3 or 4 ppm ammonia to 0 in 24 hours to make sure you have a strong filter going. I'm not there yet but it does seem to be dropping faster and faster. I'm also not sure at all about the high nitrates, it seems if I added some fish that I'd be doing water changes every couple of days. Do you reach a point where the nitrates slow down their growth so a weekly pwc would be sufficient? Thanks again for the help.

  8. #8


    0 Not allowed!
    I don't think you have to. You can change 90 percent of your water which should take your nitrates down to around 10 ppm. From here use a API liquid test kit to monitor your ammo, nitrites, nitrates, and ph levels weekly. A lot of forum members change 50 percent or more of there water on a weekly basis. Remember to treat your water with prime or some other water conditioner. Keep us posted and good luck.

  9. #9


    0 Not allowed!
    I'll keep you posted and keep the tank going until this weekend when I can get to the lfs. Till then I'll be continuing research on fish compatibility and stocking levels. Thanks.

  10. #10


    0 Not allowed!
    Given that it has taken two days for your ammonia to be dealt with I do not believe your cycle is complete. I would re-dose the ammonia to 2ppm and follow the results again.

    Ammonia should be broken down within hours...not days...when fully cycled.
    "Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known." Carl Sagan

    ~ 350 Litre Tank Journal ~ ~ 30 Litre Tank Journal ~

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