Trouble cycling, ammonia never goes down - The Planted Tank Forum
Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
post #1 of 33 (permalink) Old 06-19-2008, 06:49 PM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Sarasota, FL
Posts: 72
Trouble cycling, ammonia never goes down

I've been cycling my 65G high for 26 days. I have 6 zebra danios. I ALWAYS have trouble with ammonia--at first I thought my test kit was still registering the 'non-toxic' ammonia still in the water after treating with amquel.

After 1 week the ammonia started to drop and nitrATES went up. Around 2 weeks the nitrITES started to go up. After about 5 days, the nitrITES started to drop, which I thought was the sign we were approaching the end of the cycle. The nitrATES continued to climb however and I got a lot of algae so I did my first water change.

That was 4 days ago. Ammonia started to climb again, no nitrITES again, and nitrATES skyrocketing again.

So my question is: Do I have any bacteria changing ammonia into nitrites at all? Or is my bio load too big? Why am I getting ammonia again? Or is my test kit testing both kinds of ammonia (Supposedly it doesn't, but if I test my tap water after adding amquel it still shows ammonia)?

I have a plant order ready to ship once I'm cycled and I think it's time. The plants will help take up excess ammonia, but I really would like to understand what's happening in there. I admit I pretty much failed chemistry in High School, so any help would be appreciated.
buddhabackpacker is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 33 (permalink) Old 06-19-2008, 08:35 PM
Fresh Fish Freak
 
lauraleellbp's Avatar
 
PTrader: (70/100%)
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Tampa, Florida
Posts: 24,403
N-bacteria convert ammonia into nitrItes, and then nitrItes into nitrAtes. NitrAtes are the least toxic of these 3 chemicals, and in a planted tank 10-20ppm nitrAtes is usually a good range where enough are available for plant use yet not toxic to most livestock.

Your tank simply isn't done cycling. This process can take a while, and the levels of all three of these compounds may fluctuate wildly as the populations of bacteria bloom, crash, and finally stabilize.

The sooner you can get plants in there, the better. You also need to keep up the water changes for the sake of the danios. Eventually you'll be able to do water changes and the next day still read 0 ppm ammonia and nitrItes. Once that happens, the tank's cycle will have finished.

I am not sure how long Amquel + locks up ammonia, but I do know that in extreme pH situations such as can happen during a tank cycle, the water in the tank can actually become too acidic and toxic to N-bacteria. You may have some of this going on- which is just one more reason to make sure you're doing daily water changes on this tank.

If you or a friend have another established tank, adding some established filter media or mulm from the established tank will be one of the easiest and best things you can do to help along the cycle. This would boost the N-bacteria colony in your tank. There are also products on the market that claim to contain the right bacteria (I have some doubts about the worth of these products personally, but others report success with them.)

GL and keep us posted!





To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
- Next meeting Monday, Oct 13, 2014 @ 7:15pm- See ya there!

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.



To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
lauraleellbp is offline  
post #3 of 33 (permalink) Old 06-19-2008, 09:11 PM
Wannabe Guru
 
ColeMan's Avatar
 
PTrader: (14/100%)
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Tulsa, OK
Posts: 1,739
For what it's worth, I've been cycling my tank for.....hmm...since 04/21 and I've still got ammonia readings somewhere between 0 - .25 (these cheap test kits are just such a pain to interpret). Nevertheless, it's still not at 0 and to be quite frank I don't expect it to be really any time soon. I've been using zeolite in the filter which, although I'm sure it's helped, hasn't mitigated the problem completely. I do at least bi-weekly 50%+ water changes...you just have to wait this one out. Systems like this are unpredictable at best, hence the wild variation in cycling time from tank to tank; there are simply too many variables that need to be considered when considering how long a tank will take to cycle to suggest even a generalized time frame. I've heard of some tanks that cycle in literally 10 days (sometimes even less), and some that have taken over 8 weeks+ before they are anywhere close to stable. Like LL said, if you've still got ammonia readings above 0, your tank simply isn't cycled yet. Be patient, there's really not much else you can do.
ColeMan is offline  
 
post #4 of 33 (permalink) Old 06-19-2008, 09:41 PM
Wannabe Guru
 
MedRed's Avatar
 
PTrader: (27/100%)
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Posts: 1,617
Superbac or Bio Spira... that is all. wait... not really. what do you have in the tank as far as wildlife goes?


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

I have slain all of the Dragons! You owe me!
MedRed is offline  
post #5 of 33 (permalink) Old 06-20-2008, 01:51 AM
HC 'Cuba' Guru
 
CmLaracy's Avatar
 
PTrader: (21/100%)
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Brooklyn, NY
Posts: 1,887
Quote:
Originally Posted by ColeMan View Post
For what it's worth, I've been cycling my tank for.....hmm...since 04/21 and I've still got ammonia readings somewhere between 0 - .25 (these cheap test kits are just such a pain to interpret). Nevertheless, it's still not at 0 and to be quite frank I don't expect it to be really any time soon. I've been using zeolite in the filter which, although I'm sure it's helped, hasn't mitigated the problem completely. I do at least bi-weekly 50%+ water changes...you just have to wait this one out. Systems like this are unpredictable at best, hence the wild variation in cycling time from tank to tank; there are simply too many variables that need to be considered when considering how long a tank will take to cycle to suggest even a generalized time frame. I've heard of some tanks that cycle in literally 10 days (sometimes even less), and some that have taken over 8 weeks+ before they are anywhere close to stable. Like LL said, if you've still got ammonia readings above 0, your tank simply isn't cycled yet. Be patient, there's really not much else you can do.
I've been going at it since May 18th and I didn't handle it correctly like I did the first time and the Aquasoil slapped me in the face big time. I'm in the same situation where I'm reading between 0-.25 all the time, except after large water changes, where it goes down to 0. I'm ready to get the plants back in there, but don't have all of em. Any of you guys waiting on the progress, I'm promising right now that it is going to be OUTRAGEOUS. In a good way of course. What am I doing, I'm completely jackin this dudes thread... well I really outdid myself and my wallet is all I'm gonna say. Just watch for the update

Good luck with your cycle bro, its a royal PITA and patience and tons of WC's ar ethe only answer. Keep your photoperiod short, and maintenance frequent. TONS OF WC's!! I can't emphasize the WC's enough...


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
CmLaracy is offline  
post #6 of 33 (permalink) Old 06-20-2008, 02:10 AM
Wannabe Guru
 
MedRed's Avatar
 
PTrader: (27/100%)
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Posts: 1,617
Quote:
Originally Posted by CmLaracy View Post
...patience and tons of WC's ar ethe only answer. Keep your photoperiod short, and maintenance frequent. TONS OF WC's!! I can't emphasize the WC's enough...
Or you can use SuperBac or Bio Spira... lol


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

I have slain all of the Dragons! You owe me!
MedRed is offline  
post #7 of 33 (permalink) Old 06-20-2008, 02:23 AM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Sarasota, FL
Posts: 72
Just the 6 zebra danios. I was afraid something in my tap water killed off the bacteria because the cycle seemed to have stopped and started over when I did the water change.

I'll keep at the WCs until I see some stabilization. I'm using half RO water and half tap now since our water is so bad.

I guess it's just the waiting game. THanks for all the input.
buddhabackpacker is offline  
post #8 of 33 (permalink) Old 06-20-2008, 02:38 AM
Fresh Fish Freak
 
lauraleellbp's Avatar
 
PTrader: (70/100%)
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Tampa, Florida
Posts: 24,403
Are you using dechlorinator/water conditioner to the water before adding it to the tank? If not- that could be your answer right there.





To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
- Next meeting Monday, Oct 13, 2014 @ 7:15pm- See ya there!

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.



To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
lauraleellbp is offline  
post #9 of 33 (permalink) Old 06-20-2008, 02:48 AM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Sarasota, FL
Posts: 72
Yes, of course. I'm using amquel. It could be the case that my ammonia test registers the non-toxic ammonia left after amquel alters it. If I could get hold of Bio-spira, I'd definitely try it, but so far have only found one dealer online carrying it. It's $19 for the Bio-Spira, but another $40 to overnight it since it needs to stay cold. Oh well.
buddhabackpacker is offline  
post #10 of 33 (permalink) Old 06-20-2008, 03:51 AM
Wannabe Guru
 
MedRed's Avatar
 
PTrader: (27/100%)
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Posts: 1,617
Quote:
Originally Posted by buddhabackpacker View Post
Yes, of course. I'm using amquel. It could be the case that my ammonia test registers the non-toxic ammonia left after amquel alters it. If I could get hold of Bio-spira, I'd definitely try it, but so far have only found one dealer online carrying it. It's $19 for the Bio-Spira, but another $40 to overnight it since it needs to stay cold. Oh well.
I just switched to Superbac because it doesn't require refrigeration. I do know that they are working on a non refrigerated version of bio spira as well. I've used SuperBac on 4 new tanks and it works just as well as bio spira. The only thing i've had so far with the superbac is that the initial dosing will use up a lot of the available oxygen. I cycled my 5.5 gallon with the appropriate dose and my drop checker was yellow all night.


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

I have slain all of the Dragons! You owe me!
MedRed is offline  
post #11 of 33 (permalink) Old 06-21-2008, 08:01 AM
Algae Grower
 
SuperDragon's Avatar
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: San Diego
Posts: 41
I use the RightNow! bacteria and from my experience have pretty good success with it on my saltwater and freshwater tanks.
It's stored on a dried bran flake (using microbiology techniques)
http://www.cabri.org/guidelines/micr...M300Ap508.html
and dosn't require refrigeration good for 5 years shelf life according to the manufactuer. Though I have yet to have stored it that long. www.hdltd.com
Speeds up cycling and also uses oxygen (aerobic bacteria).

Once your tank is balanced with bacterial flora (from any manufacturer) ammonia shouldn't be a problem.
HTH


RightNow!
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
Reef
RightNow!
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
Reef

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
SuperDragon is offline  
post #12 of 33 (permalink) Old 06-21-2008, 01:20 PM
Planted Tank Obsessed
 
spinycheek's Avatar
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Lakewood, CO
Posts: 379
The best bacteria are the autotrophic kind which are only found in liquid solutions and cannot live beyond 6 months in that condition. The dried kind, and some liquids are heterotrophic bacteria which have a longer shelf life, but are much less efficient at nitrifying.

To establish your bacteria, the optimum water parameters for them are a pH of around 7.5, high dissolved oxygen, water temperature above 80 F, and a dark place to grow. They also have nutrient requirements like plants where the need phosphorous and other micronutrients like iron and calcium, but because you are using tap water, these are probably not the problem. All nitrification will stop at pH 6.0 and ammonia nitrification will stop at pH 6.5

You can buy the good bacteria at http://aquaticeco.com but it is expensive.


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
spinycheek is offline  
post #13 of 33 (permalink) Old 06-23-2008, 05:10 PM
HC 'Cuba' Guru
 
CmLaracy's Avatar
 
PTrader: (21/100%)
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Brooklyn, NY
Posts: 1,887
finished the other day... fwiw


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
CmLaracy is offline  
post #14 of 33 (permalink) Old 06-23-2008, 05:43 PM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Sarasota, FL
Posts: 72
I might be finished cycling.

I had to take 3 days off testing. Started again yesterday. . . no ammonia, no nitrites and nitrates 10.

Here's what I think happened: When I treat my tap water with Amquel, it converts toxic ammonia into the non-toxic kind (ammonium?). But that ammonia still registers on my test and the bacteria still has to convert it.

So after a water change, even with 50% RI water, it takes a couple days for the bacteria to convert it and my test kit to register 0 ammonia. I'll find out on my next water change this week.
buddhabackpacker is offline  
post #15 of 33 (permalink) Old 06-23-2008, 06:51 PM
Planted Tank Obsessed
 
spinycheek's Avatar
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Lakewood, CO
Posts: 379
According to Amquel's website, the neutralized ammonia doesn't register on normal test kits. It will however register with nessler reagent test kits which are rare and more for measuring high levels of ammonia >5 ppm.


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
spinycheek is offline  
Reply

Tags
None

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now



In order to be able to post messages on the The Planted Tank Forum forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.

Password:


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:
OR

Log-in










Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page
Display Modes
Linear Mode Linear Mode



Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

 
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome