I guess this part of my story is a great guide on some things not to do when it comes to cycling.
I started my fishless cycle moderately well informed, thanks to this community! But I still did a couple dumb things that have dramatically prolonged my cycle. According to my spreadsheet (yes, I’m one of those, I try to record everything), I began the fishless cycle on March 23rd. Here’s what happened.
** All readings are API master liquid test kit
Mistake #1. I initially dosed to 4ppm ammonia. I have a 20g high. Ammo dropped to 0ppm 5 days later and I redosed... to 4ppm. Nine days later it was stuck at .75ppm (for about 5 days).
At some point after overdosing my tank with ammonia, I got a nice bacterial bloom. First it was just cloudy water. Then it was a gross filmy substance covering the surfaces of the tank. It was unsightly, and right about the time the cycle stalled as well.
Mistake #2. Instead of letting the tank do it’s thing and bring the ammonia to 0, I re-dosed ammonia to 2ppm. The ammonia dropped to 1.5ppm where it stayed for, well, a while.
Mistake #3. While my tank was stalled I eventually stopped tracking in the workbook when I found the ammonia still at 1.5. I was discouraged by the stall, and the bloomy fuzzy stuff. There is a gap between the last reading of 1.5ppm on 4/9 (I tested for a while after this), and on 5/20 when I tested on a whim and found ammonia at 0. At some point between those two dates, I redosed the tank to 2ppm.
Mistake #4. I had also decided to clean the tank surfaces of the slimy white stuff from the bacterial bloom at some point in the cycle. It has since plagued my tank. After I broke the film into millions of pieces, instead of covering the glass, it settled on all surfaces plants, decorations, gravel. While it doesn’t seem to be alive or growing any longer, it’s everywhere.
Mistake #5. In what really should be Mistake #1, but for the purposes of this post we will call 5, is that I really did have inadequate filtration during most of the cycle. I was running a Penguin 150 (rated 30g), and flow was probably not enough. I added (alongside the HOB) the EHEIM Classic 2213 on 5/24. It may be a bit overkill with it running at full blast (just for the cycle), but I need the water cleared and my previous filtration was definitely not enough.
And for what’s perhaps my last mistake, is that I’m NOT yet fully cycled, and I am doing water changes. It has been in the last week or two, and I’ve done 2x 30%. It helps to clear out the white grime from the bloom.
At this point, both Ites and Ates are off the charts. Ites are an unreadable magenta, and Ates are maybe 120-140. Neither water change altered these readings. Ammonia drops to zero in 2 or 3 days.
Those are some things NOT to do while cycling. I am looking forward to finishing this cycle so I can add some fish friends.
I have no idea how long the rest of my cycle is going to take, but at this point, what’s a little longer? I am thinking of adding a school of cherry barbs and maybe a couple shrimp.
I’m attaching pics of some of the white stuff (algae?), maybe someone here knows what it is. I think it’s harmless, but I am not sure.