Perpetually "half-cycled" Fluval Edge - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-27-2012, 05:17 PM Thread Starter
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Perpetually "half-cycled" Fluval Edge

I've got an interesting problem.

Fluval Edge-6 Gallon
Substrate: Fluourite Red+PFS here and there.
2 small Amazon Swords and a few wimpy ludwigia repens
1 Betta, 2 Serpae tetras (I know, I know, but they were all that survived a bad tank crash and I didn't have anywhere else to put them while that tank re-cycles...its interesting how wellm they've done though, considering that the Betta is a known killer of tetras)

pH 7.2
NH4-0
NO2-OFF THE CHART. Deep purple on API test
NO3-0

This thing has been running now for nearly 6 months. I have tried everything...the ammonia stays down, but the nitrites never do anything but build up in the tank. I have squeezed out filter media from my aquaclears on established tanks into this one, and have even tried literally swapping out the filter media from an aquaclear 20 in an established tank.

No effect.

The cultures that break down the nitrite don't seem able to survive in the tank, but the ones that break down ammonia are present and doing their job. I'm out of ideas about what could possibly be causing this.

This is my first nano, but still, it seems like others have had no trouble getting these things cycled.

I can do a massive water change, but a couple days later the nitrite is off the scale again. Ammonia stays steady. After half a year, this routine is getting old.

What gives?
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-27-2012, 05:20 PM
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How old is your test kit?


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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-27-2012, 05:32 PM Thread Starter
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Test kit expiration date is 2016. Kit is fine, works accurately on my other tanks.
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-27-2012, 05:44 PM
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Are you using prime? That can give a false reading. Test 48 hours after using prime and see what you get.

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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-27-2012, 05:49 PM Thread Starter
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No, no prime has ever been in the tank. Kinda leery of chemicals in such a small volume of water with so little surface exchange...
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-27-2012, 05:57 PM
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My 20 tall did the same thing so I just let it go. No water changes just a pinch of fish food every day right into the HOB and it finished in less then 2 weeks. I didnt have live stock in it.
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-27-2012, 06:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kyrol View Post
My 20 tall did the same thing so I just let it go. No water changes just a pinch of fish food every day right into the HOB and it finished in less then 2 weeks. I didnt have live stock in it.
thing is you can't really do that when there IS livestock in the tank :/
i guess you could dose massive amounts of prime to detoxify the NO2 (OP, you pretty much can't overdose on prime)
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-27-2012, 06:20 PM
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If you don't use prime, do you use anything to dechlorinate your water then, or just adding tap water full of possible chloramine?

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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-27-2012, 06:48 PM Thread Starter
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Yes, I do dechlorinate tapwater. (Amquel)

I should mention I've been keeping fishtanks for about 15 years, but tanks failing to cycle after this long is a new one.

I'll go ahead and dose some additional amquel, I suppose, tomarrow if the NO2 spikes as per the usual. Amquel should be more than sufficient one would think. Works the same way as Prime, iirc. I've got some prime somewhere, bottle is pretty old though...
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-27-2012, 09:52 PM
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add a small bottle of tetra safe start
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post #11 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-28-2012, 12:29 AM
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Add some salt (NaCl) to the water to protect the fish. Chloride prevents the NO2 from crossing the gills and entering the blood. 1 teaspoon per 20 gallons is the standard dose.

Nitrite removing bacteria grow more slowly than the ammonia removing species, but 6 months is pretty bad.

Both groups of bacteria need some minerals. Make sure the GH and KH are over 3 German degrees of hardness.

The nitrite removing bacteria do not grow well when the nitrite is over 5 ppm. I would do some things to keep the NO2 lower:

1) Set up a sump or side-by-side tank that is HEAVILY planted, especially with plants that grow above the surface of the water. House plants or aquarium plants. These plants can act as a nitrogen sink, removing ammonia before it even becomes nitrite.

2) Lock up all the nitrogens with Amquel Plus, Prime or other (read the label for accurate dosing. Some of these can be dosed double strength when there is a problem).

3) LOTS of water changes.

4) Vacuum the substrate really well to be sure there is nothing in there that may be decomposing and adding to the problem.

5) Feed as little as the fish will let you. (I would be more worried about the Serpaes attacking the Betta. Serpaes are known nippers, especially in small numbers) If the fish will eat low protein food, this is lower in nitrogen than high protein foods. Usually the low protein foods are high algae or plant based, and not all fish really like them.

6) Remove some fish. I know you said you had no other place for them, but ASAP.

7) Use zeolite to remove the ammonia, and keep on changing it out regularly.

8) I know you have added some bacteria from your other cycled tanks, but perhaps add even more as suggested by lipad: Look for Nitrospiros species of bacteria. Do not waste your money on other cycle-in-a-bottle products. They have the wrong species of bacteria.
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