Fishless cycle advice - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 29 (permalink) Old 09-10-2011, 12:18 AM Thread Starter
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Fishless cycle advice

Hi, I'm about a week into my first attempt at a fishless cycle and wanted some advice about where I'm at in the process. A little little background on my 10 gal tank:

initial ammonia level : ~4.0ppm
current ammonia level : 0.25 - 0.50ppm
current nitrite level : ~4.0ppm
current nitrate level : ~15ppm

How far along am I? What should I be doing next and what should I be watching for? Thanks for the help!
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post #2 of 29 (permalink) Old 09-10-2011, 12:24 AM
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Are you adding ammonia each day or do you have a steady supply of ammonia in the tank in the form of rotting food?

The cycle is coming along nicely, altho it's impossible to really say where you are at in the process. But you have both nitrite and nitrate readings which means that both your colonies of bacteria are getting well established. Just keep adding ammonia and checking the parameters. Once your readings a few hours after adding ammonia are 0, 0, and readable nitrates then you are done.
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post #3 of 29 (permalink) Old 09-10-2011, 04:18 AM Thread Starter
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I hadn't added ammonia since the first time. I felt like I put in a ton that time so I was holding back. I just added some to the tank, maybe 10-12 drops. In a 10 gal, is that enough to keep the ammonia breakie-downie bacteria happy?
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post #4 of 29 (permalink) Old 09-10-2011, 04:41 AM
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Yeah should be. Some people measure it but I just poured a little bit in when I did it.
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post #5 of 29 (permalink) Old 09-11-2011, 09:15 PM Thread Starter
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I took readings again today and nothing has changed except my ammonia level is right at .25ppm - do I need to wait and get a reading of 0ppm before I start adding supplemental ammonia to the tank like I did the other day?
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post #6 of 29 (permalink) Old 09-11-2011, 09:46 PM
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I've never used liquid ammonia to cycle a tank; I find it easier to use fish food. Just put a pea- or marbled-sized lump of food (I like using gel food for cycling, but you can use dry foods, too) in the tank and test for nitrate every week or so. Once you have nitrate, test for ammonia. If there's no ammonia, you're good to go. If you want, you can use SeaChem Stability to speed up the cycle so that it only takes about a week.

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post #7 of 29 (permalink) Old 09-11-2011, 10:11 PM Thread Starter
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Today I registered between 10-20ppm nitrates and 0.25ppm ammonia. When my ammonia finally drops to 0ppm, I know I'm going to have to keep adding small amounts of ammonia to the tank to feed those bacteria that break down ammonia (at least until I can add fish to the tank).
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post #8 of 29 (permalink) Old 09-12-2011, 12:12 AM
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Do you still have nitrites? Keep adding ammonia - once the tank is cycled ammonia and nitrite will drop down to 0 within a few hours of adding ammonia. At that point you can do a large water change and start slowly adding fish.

Do you plan to have a large bioload? The more ammonia you use, the larger your bacteria colonies will be and the more fish you can safely add.
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post #9 of 29 (permalink) Old 09-12-2011, 01:36 AM
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Cannonbolt-
It sounds like you did a great job cycling your tank. You clearly have the bacteria that change ammonia to nitrites. You also have the bacteria that change nitrites to nitrates (as you have described)

This is the point where I always ask myself, "How long do I keep adding ammonia?" Once I see a substantial increase in nitrates...and a significant decrease in nitrites...I usually do a huge water change and add my fish or shrimp. From your numbers...you sound pretty close.
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post #10 of 29 (permalink) Old 09-12-2011, 02:46 AM
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I suggest letting nitrites get all the way down to 0 - it is as dangerous to livestock as ammonia.
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post #11 of 29 (permalink) Old 09-12-2011, 04:45 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wendyjo View Post
Do you still have nitrites? Keep adding ammonia - once the tank is cycled ammonia and nitrite will drop down to 0 within a few hours of adding ammonia. At that point you can do a large water change and start slowly adding fish.

Do you plan to have a large bioload? The more ammonia you use, the larger your bacteria colonies will be and the more fish you can safely add.
My nitrites stayed at same (between 2 and 5 ppm). I do plan to run a decent bioload, I will make sure to keep adding ammonia to the tank.
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post #12 of 29 (permalink) Old 09-12-2011, 04:46 PM Thread Starter
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I will test again tonight and post up my readings for interpretation.
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post #13 of 29 (permalink) Old 09-13-2011, 04:43 AM Thread Starter
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Today's reading, not much different from the last reading I took.

pH: ~7.6 (is this ok?)
Ammonia: .25ppm
Nitrites: 2-5ppm
Nitrates: 5-10ppm

Nitrites/ates are a little vague, it's hard to tell the difference in color, there's practically no difference in shades.
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post #14 of 29 (permalink) Old 09-13-2011, 04:56 AM
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What's your pH from the tap?

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post #15 of 29 (permalink) Old 09-13-2011, 09:45 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fishly View Post
What's your pH from the tap?
Around 8.4
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