Should I keep adding ammonia? fishless cycle - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-05-2012, 07:04 PM Thread Starter
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Exclamation Should I keep adding ammonia? fishless cycle

I have been doing cycling my tank (fishless cycle) for almost a month now (setup the tank on 7/8/2012).

Tank specs
-55 gallon brand new tank
-Rena xp3 filter
-Hydor Koralia nano 425 power head
-100 lbs (3 inches) of eco-complete
-plants: wisteria, carolina fanwort, java moss, micro swords
-lighting: just switched to a better lighting system about 5 days ago.. Catalina 1 T5HO bulb.. 3 inches above the tank.. light is diffused through black screen mesh

Data:
For the first three or so weeks, I was just adding about 2 pinches of fish flake food every 2-3 days. some of it would float around the tank, some of it would sink to the bottom.. i would then test my water parameters once every 3 or 4 days ( i probably should have tested more). But when I used the fish flakes, I never really saw much ammonia or nitrite. My nitrate though would started at 0ppm and went to about 10-20ppm.

8/1/2012- I decided to use real ammonia and added 1 spoonful to the tank to boost up the ammonia to about 4ppm.

8/2/2012- The next day I tested again and:
-ammonia 1-2ppm, nitrite 0.5ppm, nitrate 10-20ppm

8/3/2012- Then the day after:
-ammonia 0.5-1.0ppm, nitrite 5.0+ (shot up), and nitrate to 40-80ppm

8/4/2012- Then the day after (morning):
-ammonia 0.0ppm, nitrite 5.0+ (too high for the scale again), and nitrate 80

8/4/2012- Then same day (morning) I added another spoonful of liquid ammonia to boost the ammonia up again since it was 0.0. This brought it up to 1.0ppm

8/4/2012- Same day (evening):
-ammonia 0.5, nitrite 5.0+ (too high for the scale), and nitrate 40-80

8/5/2012- Today/morning:
-ammonia 0.25ppm, nitrite 5.0+ (too high for the scale), nitrate 40-80

Question
Sorry for the long post, but as you can see from the past 5 days or so since I've been using liquid ammonia rather than fish flakes, my higher concentrations of ammonia have been converted quickly to nitrite.. and then nitrite is off the scale.. way too high. however i'm guessing some of it is being used up because my nitrates are high as well (40-80ppm).

so my question is.. should I continue to dose 1 spoonful of ammonia every day/other day to keep the ammonia in the 1.0ppm? continuing to add ammonia.. it'll get converted to nitrite and there is just so much nitrite that isn't getting converted to nitrate quick enough. From my understanding, after I add ammonia, the next day or so, the ammonia and nitrite readings should be 0.0ppm and only the nitrate should have a number? that's when it'll be cycled?Also from reading this forum, since I'm doing a fishless cycle, I believe it is not necessary to do a water change to get the nitrite levels down? I just want to know if I should keep continuing to add ammonia or not.. if do, it seems the nitrites won't ever go down?
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-05-2012, 07:32 PM
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That means that the nitrite to nitrate bacteria isn't established yet. I'd say you can add more ammonia but in smaller quantities just to keep the ammonia to nitrite bacteria present but not so much ammonia that you'll have an over abundance of nitrite.

One way to make the cycle faster is raising the temp and keeping the ph around neutral/slightly alkaline.


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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-05-2012, 07:43 PM
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Do enough water changes to keep the NO2 under 5 ppm. The bacteria do not grow well when the NO2 gets higher.

Keep dosing ammonia to 3 ppm. You need to keep feeding the cycle.

Eventually the population of nitrite removing bacteria will catch up. They are slower growing than the first (ammonia removing) bacteria, so give it time.

Readings will fluctuate, with the NO2 trying to spike (keep up the water changes) then suddenly you will dose one day and 24 hours later both ammonia and nitrite will be 0 ppm. I would keep on dosing ammonia for another few days, sometimes the first time the numbers hit 0 ppm they will fluctuate a bit for a couple of days.

At that point the NO3 might be sky high. Do a massive water change, or a couple of large changes back to back, and you can then add a full load of fish. Maintaining the ammonia at 3 ppm has grown more bacteria than are needed to fully stock the tank.
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-05-2012, 07:48 PM
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your cycle is coming a long nicely. I would keep the ammonia in the 1 to 2 ppm range. if you google cichlid forum fishless cycle there is a pretty nice write up that works well.
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-06-2012, 12:45 AM
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Actually I have posted the instructions here several times.
See page 2, post 24:

https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/sh...s+cycle&page=2
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-06-2012, 06:53 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Diana View Post
Do enough water changes to keep the NO2 under 5 ppm. The bacteria do not grow well when the NO2 gets higher.

Keep dosing ammonia to 3 ppm. You need to keep feeding the cycle.

Eventually the population of nitrite removing bacteria will catch up. They are slower growing than the first (ammonia removing) bacteria, so give it time.

Readings will fluctuate, with the NO2 trying to spike (keep up the water changes) then suddenly you will dose one day and 24 hours later both ammonia and nitrite will be 0 ppm. I would keep on dosing ammonia for another few days, sometimes the first time the numbers hit 0 ppm they will fluctuate a bit for a couple of days.

At that point the NO3 might be sky high. Do a massive water change, or a couple of large changes back to back, and you can then add a full load of fish. Maintaining the ammonia at 3 ppm has grown more bacteria than are needed to fully stock the tank.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Diana View Post
Actually I have posted the instructions here several times.
See page 2, post 24:

https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/sh...s+cycle&page=2
Thank you Diana!

Every evening I will be adding 1-2 spoonfuls of ammonia to bring it up to 3 or 4ppm. and testing parameters in the evenings as well (before and after adding ammonia).

when the tank is cycled (getting 0 ammonia and 0 nitrite daily after adding ammnia the night before), i should do one large or multiple back-to-back water changes to get the nitrates down right? once the tank is cycled and i do this large water change to get the nitrates down, can i immediately add fish or should i wait a few hours/day before adding fish after doing the water changes?
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-06-2012, 08:27 PM
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Actually its good to add fish right away, if you are not, then you would want to keep feeding the BB 1ppm of ammonia a day to keep it active for when you do add fish.


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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-07-2012, 12:38 AM
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Once you have done the water change you can instantly add fish.
The bacteria will live without food for a day or two, no problem, but the longer they go without food the more of them die.
If you do the massive water change then change your mind about getting the fish right away, then keep on feeding the bacteria just like you are doing the fishless cycle. 3 ppm ammonia daily. You will then need to do another big water change when the fish actually arrive (or the day before).
If you know the fish are not arriving right away, then when you do the water change is up to you. Ammonia and nitrite need to be kept low (5ppm max, and the big bacteria colony is doing this just fine) but it does not seem that the nitrates cause problems at any level that might be reached during the fishless cycle.
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-09-2012, 12:24 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Diana View Post
Once you have done the water change you can instantly add fish.
The bacteria will live without food for a day or two, no problem, but the longer they go without food the more of them die.
If you do the massive water change then change your mind about getting the fish right away, then keep on feeding the bacteria just like you are doing the fishless cycle. 3 ppm ammonia daily. You will then need to do another big water change when the fish actually arrive (or the day before).
If you know the fish are not arriving right away, then when you do the water change is up to you. Ammonia and nitrite need to be kept low (5ppm max, and the big bacteria colony is doing this just fine) but it does not seem that the nitrates cause problems at any level that might be reached during the fishless cycle.
so the nitrite dropped.. then i added 1 spoonful of ammonia which brought the ammonia to about 4ppm. the next day i checked, the ammonia was at 0ppm and the nitrite was at about 5ppm. i was about to do a 50% water change, but decided to wait a night. the next day i checked, the ammonia was still at 0ppm, nitrites at 0ppm, and the nitrates had gone up to around 40ppm or so.

then i repeated.. added another spoonful of ammonia bringing it back up to 4ppm. then i checked the next night (tonight) and the ammonia was converted to nitrite, and now the nitrite went from 0 to 5ppm again.

my question is.. it seems it takes about a day for my 55gallon tank to convert the 4ppm of ammonia to nitrite.. then other day for the nitrite to convert to nitrate. so after 2 days everything reads 0 except nitrate. is still what is supposed to happen or should everything be converted within 24 hours rather than around 48 hours? i just want to make sure my tank is cycled before adding fish. thanks!
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-11-2012, 06:54 AM
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You are cycled, go ahead and add your fish as long as ammonia and nitrites are still 0. Nitrates will probably continue to climb after the fish get in the mix depending on how heavily planted the tank is. You might consider a water change if they get higher than 40.

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post #11 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-22-2018, 02:57 AM
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I am a newbie.. I am cycling a 32 gallon..The biggest thing you need is patience.. and water tests.. not everything is an instant gratification.. no matter how much we want..

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post #12 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-23-2018, 01:13 AM
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My tank cycled all the way yesterday.... I will wait one more day and do a water change and seek my first fish on Sunday...0 ammonia, 0 nitrites and nitrates are 0. My tank is planted.. the plants are growing...looks all good.

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