Help with my first nitrogen cycle?
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Old 07-23-2013, 12:44 AM   #1
junaid368
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Help with my first nitrogen cycle?


Hi all, i'm working on my first fishless cycle. Tank is a 29 gal long with aquaclear 70 and stock light, 150w heater.

Here is a log I have kept since I started this cycle.

Day 1 : Ammonia added to bring it up to 5PPM from 0. PH=7.6.
Day 2 : Ammonia: 1PPM, Nitrite: 0, Nitrate: Around 4-5PPM
Ammonia added again to bring it to 5PPM.
Day 3: Ammonia: 2PPM, Nitrite: 0, Nitrate: Around 10PPM
Ammonia added again to bring it to around 5PPM.
Day 4: Ammonia: 5PPM, Nitrite: 0, Nitrate: 10PPM
Day 5: Ammonia: 5PPM, Nitrite: 0, Nitrate: 10PPM

I added Tetra Safestart on day one as I had no other source of bacteria.

Firstly, my PH has stayed at 7.6 pretty much the whole time. Second, is it normal to not see any nitrites like this? Should I do a small water change or just wait ?

Thanks!
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Old 07-23-2013, 01:41 AM   #2
ngrubich
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I like to put a little bit of fish food in the filter so the bacteria have other stuff to take care of instead of just ammonia, but that's just me.

When I used the SafeStart, I noticed that I had nitrites for about 2 days, then they were gone. Unfortunately I can't remember how long it took until the tank got to that point, though. Maybe about a week?
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Old 07-23-2013, 02:09 AM   #3
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Did you add ammonia on days 4 and 5 to bring it back up to 5 ppm?

Jump starting the cycle with Tetra Safe Start seems to have done an almost instant cycle for you!
Yes, seeing zero nitrites is not unknown. The bacteria in Tetra Safe Start are doing a great job of turning the ammonia into nitrite then nitrate.
Seeing NO2 for just a brief time is common, too.

Continue to feed the bacteria with enough ammonia to test 3 ppm once a day until you are ready to add fish. Then do a water change.
No problem if you want to do more water changes, just keep feeding the bacteria.
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Old 07-23-2013, 03:39 AM   #4
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I wish I was this lucky! :S Would love to see a picture of your tank.
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Old 07-23-2013, 12:27 PM   #5
junaid368
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thanks for the reply. I did add some food on day 1, perhaps I should add more now. I didn't add ammo on day 4 & 5 as it was already at 5PPM.

I did another test today and ammonia is still at 5PPM, but I finally saw some trace of nitrite (.25 PPM). I think at this point i'll just wait a few more days before doing anything. Attached is a pic of me tank. The wisteria is really starting to take off, but the vals, not so much.

Good luck to all others with their cycles. I will continue to post updates.

Thanks
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Old 07-24-2013, 01:38 AM   #6
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In that case, ammonia is not budging, then the bacteria are not getting going so well. :-(
I wonder why the ammonia levels dropped for a couple of days, making it look like things were getting off to a great start?
There are not enough plants in there to affect nitrogen levels.

I would allow the ammonia to drop to 3 ppm, or do a water change.
Some plants do not like that much ammonia, and 3 ppm is just fine to cycle the tank.
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Old 07-24-2013, 07:38 PM   #7
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Ok Ammonia finally came down to about 3PPM today, and nitrites are at .5PPM. Nitrates are at about 12PPM.

Just wanted to make sure, is 3PPM ammonia enough even if i wanted to stock my tank all at once?
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Old 07-24-2013, 09:16 PM   #8
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http://www.cichlid-forum.com/article...less_cycle.php

http://www.cichlid-forum.com/article...istry_list.php
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Old 07-24-2013, 10:45 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by junaid368 View Post
Ok Ammonia finally came down to about 3PPM today, and nitrites are at .5PPM. Nitrates are at about 12PPM.

Just wanted to make sure, is 3PPM ammonia enough even if i wanted to stock my tank all at once?
You shouldn't have any ammonia in the tank (although there is a chart that indicates that very small amounts are okay, depending on the size of the tank) or nitrites.
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Old 07-25-2013, 12:53 AM   #10
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Ammonia at 3 ppm to cycle is just perfect. You will be able to fully stock the tank when the cycle is done.

ngrubich, this person is doing the fishless cycle. Read through it here:

Cycle: To grow the beneficial bacteria that remove ammonia and nitrite from the aquarium.

Fish-In Cycle: To expose fish to toxins while using them as the source of ammonia to grow nitrogen cycle bacteria. Exposure to ammonia burns the gills and other soft tissue, stresses the fish and lowers their immunity. Exposure to nitrite makes the blood unable to carry oxygen. Research methemglobinemia for details.

Fishless Cycle: The safe way to grow more bacteria, faster, in an aquarium, pond or riparium.

The method I give here was developed by 2 scientists who wanted to quickly grow enough bacteria to fully stock a tank all at one time, with no plants helping, and overstock it as is common with Rift Lake Cichlid tanks.

1a) Set up the tank and all the equipment. You can plant if you want. Include the proper dose of dechlorinator with the water.
Optimum water chemistry:
GH and KH above 3 German degrees of hardness. A lot harder is just fine.
pH above 7, and into the mid 8s is just fine.
Temperature in the upper 70s F (mid 20s C) is good. Higher is OK if the water is well aerated.
A trace of other minerals may help. Usually this comes in with the water, but if you have a pinch of KH2PO4, that may be helpful.
High oxygen level. Make sure the filter and power heads are running well. Plenty of water circulation.
No toxins in the tank. If you washed the tank, or any part of the system with any sort of cleanser, soap, detergent, bleach or anything else make sure it is well rinsed. Do not put your hands in the tank when you are wearing any sort of cosmetics, perfume or hand lotion. No fish medicines of any sort.
A trace of salt (sodium chloride) is OK, but not required.
This method of growing bacteria will work in a marine system, too. The species of bacteria are different.

1b) Optional: Add any source of the bacteria that you are growing to seed the tank. Cycled media from a healthy tank is good. Decor or some gravel from a cycled tank is OK. Live plants or plastic are OK. Bottled bacteria is great, but only if it contains Nitrospira species of bacteria. Read the label and do not waste your money on anything else.
At the time this was written the right species could be found in:
Dr. Tims One and Only
Tetra Safe Start
Microbe Lift Nite Out II
...and perhaps others.
You do not have to jump start the cycle. The right species of bacteria are all around, and will find the tank pretty fast.

2) Add ammonia until the test reads 5 ppm. This ammonia is the cheapest you can find. No surfactants, no perfumes. Read the fine print. This is often found at discount stores like Dollar Tree, or hardware stores like Ace. You could also use a dead shrimp form the grocery store, or fish food. Protein breaks down to become ammonia. You do not have good control over the ammonia level, though.
Some substrates release ammonia when they are submerged for the first time. Monitor the level and do enough water changes to keep the ammonia at the levels detailed below.

3) Test daily. For the first few days not much will happen, but the bacteria that remove ammonia are getting started. Finally the ammonia starts to drop. Add a little more, once a day, to test 5 ppm.

4) Test for nitrite. A day or so after the ammonia starts to drop the nitrite will show up. When it does allow the ammonia to drop to 3 ppm.

5) Test daily. Add ammonia to 3 ppm once a day. If the nitrite or ammonia go to 5 ppm do a water change to get these lower. The ammonia removing species and the nitrite removing species (Nitrospira) do not do well when the ammonia or nitrite are over 5 ppm.

6) When the ammonia and nitrite both hit zero 24 hours after you have added the ammonia the cycle is done. You can challenge the bacteria by adding a bit more than 3 ppm ammonia, and it should be able to handle that, too, within 24 hours.

7) Now test the nitrate. Probably sky high!
Do as big a water change as needed to lower the nitrate until it is safe for fish. Certainly well under 20, and a lot lower is better. This may call for more than one water change, and up to 100% water change is not a problem. Remember the dechlor!
If you will be stocking right away (within 24 hours) no need to add more ammonia. If stocking will be delayed keep feeding the bacteria by adding ammonia to 3 ppm once a day. You will need to do another water change right before adding the fish.
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Helpful hints:

A) You can run a fishless cycle in a bucket to grow bacteria on almost any filter media like bio balls, sponges, ceramic bio noodles, lava rock or Matala mats. Simply set up any sort of water circulation such as a fountain pump or air bubbler and add the media to the bucket. Follow the directions for the fishless cycle. When the cycle is done add the media to the filter. I have run a canister filter in a bucket and done the fishless cycle.

B) The nitrogen cycle bacteria will live under a wide range of conditions and bounce back from minor set backs. By following the set up suggestions in part 1b) you are setting up optimum conditions for fastest reproduction and growth.
GH and KH can be as low as 1 degree, but watch it! These bacteria use the carbon in carbonates, and if it is all used up (KH = 0) the bacteria may die off.
pH as low as 6.5 is OK, but by 6.0 the bacteria are not going to be doing very well. They are still there, and will recover pretty well when conditions get better.
Temperature almost to freezing is OK, but they must not freeze, and they are not very active at all. They do survive in a pond, but they are slow to warm up and get going in the spring. This is where you might need to grow some in a bucket in a warm place and supplement the pond population. Too warm is not good, either. Tropical or room temperature tank temperatures are best. (68 to 85*F or 20 to 28*C)
Moderate oxygen can be tolerated for a while. However, to remove lots of ammonia and nitrite these bacteria must have oxygen. They turn one into the other by adding oxygen. If you must stop running the filter for an hour or so, no problem. If longer, remove the media and keep it where it will get more oxygen.
Once the bacteria are established they can tolerate some fish medicines. This is because they live in a complex film called Bio film on all the surfaces in the filter and the tank. Medicines do not enter the bio film well.
These bacteria do not need to live under water. They do just fine in a humid location. They live in healthy garden soil, as well as wet locations.

C) Planted tanks may not tolerate 3 ppm or 5 ppm ammonia. It is possible to cycle the tank at lower levels of ammonia so the plants do not get ammonia burn. Add ammonia to only 1 ppm, but test twice a day, and add ammonia as needed to keep it at 1 ppm. The plants are also part of the bio filter, and you may be able to add the fish sooner, if the plants are thriving.
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Old 07-25-2013, 02:46 AM   #11
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I'm well aware of the fishless cycle, Diana.
The way the OP asked the question, it appeared [to me] that they were asking if it was okay to add fish into the tank even though the ammonia was at 3ppm.
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Old 07-25-2013, 01:19 PM   #12
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Oh hell no. Success in this hobby requires patience. It is key. Wait til the cycle is completed please.
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Old 07-25-2013, 01:47 PM   #13
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Hi sorry, didn't mean to phrase it that way. Thanks for the help! Nitrates are up to 20PPM today, i'll try to do a small water change.
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Old 07-25-2013, 01:53 PM   #14
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20ppm is fine. I generally try to keep mine between 10-20ppm just cause it's the safe zone. Unless it goes up way more i'd leave it alone for now. Hows your ammonia, and nitrite readings?
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Old 07-25-2013, 03:07 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CrypticLifeStyle View Post
20ppm is fine. I generally try to keep mine between 10-20ppm just cause it's the safe zone. Unless it goes up way more i'd leave it alone for now. Hows your ammonia, and nitrite readings?
Ammonia had dropped to 1PPM this morning, so I added some to get it around 3PPM. Nitrite seemed to be around 5PPM. Well the purple color for nitrite at 2PPM and 5PPM looks very similiar, so it could be 2 or 5 :P

Oh and PH is still at 7.6
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