Good luck Houdini!!! You have many supporters!! Glad to hear you're trying again.
To get the cycle to work as fast as possible - keep the temperature as high as safe for the plants; feed ammonia only once a day to keep the level NO more than 1.0 ppm. The reason this is important is to allow other bacteria a chance to grow (the ones that convert nitrite into nitrate.)
You are over (for many of us) the most difficult part and that is seeing nitrites. Some (I bet) are being converted in the filter so in a week or so (maybe less), your nitrites will drop to zero and the tank is fully cycled!
During this process don't change the water and NEVER clean the filter media!!! That is where all the critical bacteria live. Aside: When you do have fish, the cleaning of the filter (rare) is done using old tank water to rinse out some of the debris.
Best of luck but you are well on your way.
When the filter media does cycle - remember to do a near 100% water change in the tank before adding the fish (this removes any remaining ammonia and gets rid of the high nitrates); also, fish MUST be added within 24 hours of stopping ammonia/water change or the bacteria in the filter will starve.
sorry about the loss of your fish. And as everyone has said, please don't be discouraged. When I got my first tank I cycled with fish and it was a nightmare of daily water changes and buckets. Eventually all settled down. You may have a few losses at first but as time goes by and you get more comfortable and more knowledgeable, it becomes a very relaxing hobby and the work you put into it in the beginning is well worth it. This forum was a wonderful resource for me as I learned and will be a resource for you as long as you want it to be.
30 g FW planted:corys, ABNP, blue angel, harleys, zebra danios, nerites & mystery snails
15 g FW planted: crown tail betta, neons, snails
90 g FW semi planted: Blood Parrots, severum, Jurupari, EBJD, congos, kribs, clown pleco, snails
90 Gal Journal: http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/aqua...ad.php?t=93939
Fishless cycling: http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/aqua...ead.php?t=5640
Cycling with fish: http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/aqua...ad.php?t=36492
First, thanks again for all the support. It makes all the difference, especially when entering this Brave New World of chemistry!!
Speaking of....here's my a.m. results:
I was pretty startled. Things ramped back up right away. Must have been some good stuff left in the filter, huh?
Those darn high nitrAtes are probably going to be an issue again, because apparently once they are up the only way to bring them down is with PWC....and I won't be doing any water changes until I've got 0 on ammo and nitrItes, for sure!
Well, I'm not in a hurry...and I'm going to be skeptical. Twice I hit 0 on ammo and nitrItes, thought I was cycled, then on day 3 or 4 hit a nitrIte spike. Curiouser and curiouser.
Mostly glad to see things are progressing right along. Maybe I'll have a couple fish for the new year (and yes, only TWO fish to start when the time is right, going to move really slowly this time).
Happy holidays to all my new fish friends.
Glad you are up and cycling; and yes, your filter media is doing good. Don't even measure the nitrates for now - irrelavent. Watch the nitrites (a 5 ppm is high.) Just to be safe, check the tap water you are using to be sure the nitrites, ammonia and nitrates are all zero (they may not be.) If not zero, just post the values. Don't worry if they are not - any issues there can be delt with later.
Strange your nitrites droped to zero and rose again; do keep an eye on that but I'd think within a week they fall to zero and stays there. To check, just readd enough ammonia for 1 ppm, and if that falls to zero and no nitrites, than you are done.
Remember, don't allow the ammonia to go much above 1.0 ppm (if it gets too high, a small water change can quickly bring it back.) Also, if it gets to 0.5 ppm 24 hours later, bring it back to 1.0 ppm. You do not want the bacteria's population to crash by going hungry. In a similar manner, after bring it back to 1.0 ppm wait a ful 24 hours before remeasuring and adding (as needed) any ammonia.
Do not add fish until the cycle is complete and you have changed the water (100% of the tank but don't touch the filter!)
Best of luck
Last edited by Cermet; 12-24-2013 at 03:14 PM.
^^ Great advice from Cermet, you are getting there!
As long as you dose with the proper amount of Prime (1 ml per 10 gallon of tap) I would not be concerned about it. The Prime will "bind" the ammonia (or ammonium) for 24 hours or so, rendering it harmless, until your BB (beneficial bacteria) have time to gobble it up.
I forget, how are you measuring your ammonia and Prime?....medicinal syringes work great, and are cheap and readily available. Most pharmacies will hand you one or two for free!
Glad to hear you are going to give it another try! There would have been some BB left in your filter media, but I'm betting there was/is even more in your substrate...
Once you are reading daily ammonia and nitrite at zero, you are ready to add fish. Once you do a water change to bring down nitrates, you can add your fish.
If you want to be sure things are ticking along ok before adding fish, after you do the big water change and drop your nitrates, you can add your usual dose of ammonia, and check the next day for levels. Your nitrates should only have gone up a little bit, if they are even detectable by our level of test kit after one day.
You gotta remember than you are always going to have nitrates, so it's not like you will get a zero reading on 'trates even if your cycle is perfectly established. Unless you have plants or other de-nitrifying agents in your tank, you will always have 'trates. That's why weekly (or whatever schedule) WCs are always necessary.
Are you dosing your tank with Prime while fishless cycling? If yes, I would stop...no need to condition the water if there are no fish in there, and then you are 100% sure the Prime is not skewing your readings.
Slap, when I was using Prime I just used a bit less than a capful because a capful is supposed to do 50g and I have a 40g tank.
For ammonia I'm back to dosing by # of drops which seems to work fine.
Prime is a big question mark for me. I did use it with water changes during the last go-round....but I have since done some reading and have held off on Prime with this most recent 95% water change (after I lost the fish with the nitrite spike). I have well water, no chlorine, no nitrites or nitrates, and so the only issue is the ammonia.
With the ammonia we get back to chemistry that may be over my head - but, my tap water tests zero for free ammonia which I understand to be the toxic stuff in aquariums. So again, I'm not really sure if Prime is necessary.
It looks like there are differing opinions, and to be honest I'm just not sure what is best...but for right now during the fishless cycle I've not used any Prime.