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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I started a new 20g 10 days ago and still waiting for that ammonia spike. What I have done was squeezed the filter sponge from another established tank in this new tank, added 3-4 endler's guppies, a few of their frys couple of days after the foam squeeze. So the fishes has been in this tank for a week, no ammonia spike yet, nitrite and nitrate both zero. I haven't fed them during this duration, they have been very active and worked hard on scraping the driftwoods for algae.

Still too early or just these small fishes has been produce enough waste to trigger the cycling?

Any suggestions?
 

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What I have done was squeezed the filter sponge from another established tank in this new tank, added 3-4 endler's guppies, a few of their frys couple of days after the foam squeeze
That pretyy much answer your question, you probably added the bacteria from that old sponge into your system. So you may never see a spike.
 

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Yes, too early. You are at the very begining. It will take a while for those little guys to produce enough ammonia for you to measure. You have very little ammonia and you have some BB already working to remove it. Also, with a fish-in cycle you don't want an ammonia spike. You will need to do water changes to prevent a spike because you have to protect your fish. Just keep an eye on your parameters. Your testing will tell you what's happening and what you need to do.
 

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I started a new 20g 10 days ago and still waiting for that ammonia spike. What I have done was squeezed the filter sponge from another established tank in this new tank, added 3-4 endler's guppies, a few of their frys couple of days after the foam squeeze. So the fishes has been in this tank for a week, no ammonia spike yet, nitrite and nitrate both zero. I haven't fed them during this duration, they have been very active and worked hard on scraping the driftwoods for algae.

Still too early or just these small fishes has been produce enough waste to trigger the cycling?

Any suggestions?
What? Why would you do a fish-in cycle when you could avoid the cruelty? And you're not even feeding them? This is a terrible practice and I'm saying it here so newcomers to the hobby don't try this kind of thing. It may have been a common practice decades ago but it is no longer. You may not like hearing this but it's true. Please don't do this or encourage others to do this on the forum.

The fish you've added aren't large enough to produce enough waste for you to notice a spike. By the time there's enough detectible ammonia, you'll already be in the process of killing your fish. Their gills will be burning, they'll stop being able to obtain oxygen and will die.

Nitrifying bacteria live on surfaces - on the sponge itself. While a few may come off when squeezing a filter, it's unlikely that you'd be able to have enough to colonize a tank this quickly. You'd need to leave the sponge in the tank for that to occur.

My advice is to remove the fish. Find a safe ammonia source like Dr. Tim's, Fritz or surfactant-free ammonia from a hardware store. Add enough to bring the tank to about 3PPM. Test daily. When it drops, add enough ammonia to bring it back up to 3PPM. Do that until there's a nitrite spike, nitrites disappear, nitrates rise. Once the tank can fully process 3PPM of ammonia in 24 hours or less with no nitrite? It'll be safe for livestock once you do a 100% water change.

(Could also just remove the fish and add a big pinch of food to the tank - let it decompose and monitor parameters. Even a piece of cocktail shrimp works. Plenty of alternative ammonia sources.)
 

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I started a new 20g 10 days ago and still waiting for that ammonia spike. What I have done was squeezed the filter sponge from another established tank in this new tank, added 3-4 endler's guppies, a few of their frys couple of days after the foam squeeze. So the fishes has been in this tank for a week, no ammonia spike yet, nitrite and nitrate both zero. I haven't fed them during this duration, they have been very active and worked hard on scraping the driftwoods for algae.

Still too early or just these small fishes has been produce enough waste to trigger the cycling?

Any suggestions?
Why don’t you just put the fish back where they came from and do a fish-less cycle?

You understand that any detectable ammonia during a cycle with fish IN the tank means you are actively killing your fish, right?


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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Why don’t you just put the fish back where they came from and do a fish-less cycle?

You understand that any detectable ammonia during a cycle with fish IN the tank means you are actively killing your fish, right?


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Not sure why would I want to do that? There's no ammonia in my new tank, and the fishes are very active and no reason to think that they are not well.
 

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Not sure why would I want to do that? There's no ammonia in my new tank, and the fishes are very active and no reason to think that they are not well.
Because you are the one asking why there hasn’t been ammonia spike, indicating that you are expecting one.

If the expected ammonia spike does happen with your not-cycled filter, yes, you will be actively killing your fish. There’s a reason ammonia is sold by speciality fishkeeping companies these days: to avoid exactly this scenario.


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Take the fish out, get some ammonia from a fish store and add about 5ppm max and do a fish-less cycle, shouldn’t take too long if you’ve already got BB.

Then just keep feeding the BB until they can get rid off all ammonia in 24 hours and you’re good to go with fish, much easier than having dead fish


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Not sure why would I want to do that? There's no ammonia in my new tank, and the fishes are very active and no reason to think that they are not well.
You know fully well why you would do that. It's been explained to you. What you're doing is cruel and you're now intentionally playing coy.

You asked for help and it was provided. Multiple people told you to take a different course of action. I suggest you take it. It's what's best for your fish and your tank. You clearly have the means to do the right thing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
4th day into feeding daily, no ammonia, no nitrite, but yes, there's nitrate 20 or so ppm. Fishes are very active, good appetite. Though you all like an update,.
 

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4th day into feeding daily, no ammonia, no nitrite, but yes, there's nitrate 20 or so ppm. Fishes are very active, good appetite. Though you all like an update,.
Are you able to remove the fish for a week and buy some ammonia and get all this over within a week or two?


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4th day into feeding daily, no ammonia, no nitrite, but yes, there's nitrate 20 or so ppm. Fishes are very active, good appetite. Though you all like an update,.
Sounds like all is good...
I've done a similar type of cycle with using mulm, some plants, and a few guppies w/ no issues though a bottle of Seachem Prime was always handy. I did wait a few days without fish (just plants) though.

Depending on substrate and water pH and # of fish ammonia levels shouldn't really be un- manageable nor detrimental.

Personally it is the Nitrite spike that is the one to watch out for.
Getting nitrates and no nitrite is indicative of things working well.

No guppies were harmed in taking this photograph..

Plant Green Rectangle Grass Terrestrial plant
 
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks guys, I have been testing twice a day, morning and evening, ready for action if anything headed south. Praise the fish God, all is well SO FAR. Fish load is very light of course and endlers are pretty hardy little fellas. Will add a betta in couple of days and see what happens. Got to say I was happy to see nitrate show up on testing strips,
 

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I’ve started new tanks using older filters and/or water from other tanks. Never had a problem with ammonia or nitrite spikes. And sounds like you added drift wood from another tank since it had algae on there for them to eat. Between the filter poo and the driftwood I would say you added enough bacteria to jump start the tank.
 

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and/or water from other tanks
It's important for us not to confuse newcomers to the hobby with unintentional misinformation. The beneficial nitrifying bacteria we talk about in tanks live on surfaces - not in the water itself.

Moving hardscape and filter media over definitely helps populate a tank.

I was happy to see nitrate show up on testing strips,
Have you tested with a fresh liquid kit at all? If not, you'll definitely want to do that. Test strips, despite being unfortunately notoriously inaccurate, use compounds for detecting nitrate (and hardness) that expire super-fast.
 
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