Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: NW Suburbs of Chicago
Ugh.. cycling help pls
I'm not new to this hobby, but I'm not a veteran either. This said, I've successfully cycled 6 aquariums, mostly fishless, with little difficulty... until now. My newest setup is taking much longer than usual and I'm getting some odd readings when I test. So I'm setting my pride aside and creating yet another "cycling help" thread.
I started the process 7 weeks ago by dosing 4ppm ammonia into a bare aquarium. Past cycles have taken 4-6 weeks. Im not using any cycled media from other tanks because I don't want to risk any snail hitchhikers (and I'm not in a big hurry). I did add some Prodibio starter bacteria that I was given at a convention. I don't normally use bottled bacteria, but it was free so I didn't see a down side. A month and a half later, I'm still sitting at 4ppm ammonia. I haven't bothered to test nitrite yet.
Water temp has been 73F, which is the temperature I plan on maintaining once I add fish. However, a few days ago I did up it to 77F in hopes that it might move things along. That's closer to what I cycled and keep other tanks at.
The pH is a more complicated issue. I started with my tap water, which is a high 8.6. About a month later, when I added substrate and hardscape, I emptied the tank but kept some in a bucket for the filter to keep running on. I refilled the tank with remineralized RODI water with a pH of 7. Other than the water inside the filter, there shouldn't bee any ammonia, so I dosed back up to 4ppm. Last week I started injecting CO2, which dropped the pH to 6.
My API Ammonia test kit was pretty old, so I considered the possibility of false readings. I picked up a new set and am getting the same results.
Tomorrow I'll be adding some plants. I plan on letting them get pretty established before I add fish, so again no rush. However, I do need the cycle to finish eventually.
Any thoughts or advice? While I don't put much stock in the bottled bacteria, I've started looking into the Dr Tims stuff or Stability as I get more desperate.