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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I’m 2 weeks into my fishless cycle and I feel like I am not getting the expected spikes. I may be too impatient, or doing something wrong. Since this is my first time really watching the cycle since it is my first serious tank, I am hoping some people here with much more experience than me can help me out.

Tank Info:
Substrate: ADA Aquasoil
Plants: I would say medium planted, not filled in, 1 week of cycle lightly planted, 1 week with the rest.
Livestock: No live stock
Co2: DIY co2, but having issues with it
Filter: Canister filter (kind of, integrated with the tank since I built it, doesn't fully have foam yet)
Ferts: Dosing excel for the last 4 days, since I had co2 problems

Water:
I am filling and using tap water, it is well water not city. Not copper Pipes, my testing of straight tap water shows nothing crazy parameter wise

Issues I am Experiencing:
1) Having problems with plants, I am hoping it is just melt from getting adjusted to new tank but it is too early for most of the plants to tell. Dwarf hair-grass is doing well and its only medium(ish) light but we will see how they rooted and spread. Pretty sure I have algae, but I am researching type and if it really is tonight.
2) The problem I am worrying about is that I haven't seen the nitrate/nitrite spikes.

Water Parameters:
PH: Going crazy ranging between low 6.2-7.4 but I am saying the cause of this is the diy co2 problems I have experienced combined with my driftwood releasing less tannins as it becomes water logged.
Ammonia: Slowly going down, spike at 1+ now is at .5ppm.
Nitrates/Nitrites: Nitrates and Nitrites are always at 0, I thought I should expect a spike of them with the lowering of ammonia but I am not.

Areas Which I think I might be doing something wrong:
1) I keep muddying up the water moving aquasoil around so I change out the water
2) When I got the second batch of plant I did a 90% water change to make planting easier
3) Right after my last water testing I decided I did not like the way the dwarf hair grass looked, so I pulled it and re-planted it… Again 90% water Change

Things I have tried:
1) I got some substrate within the roots of the dwarf hairgrass I bought, though a small amount I put these between to filter pads hoping to start the bacteria growing.
2) Threw in an old filter pad I had, though it was dry for about 2-3 years so I am guessing that hasn’t helped
3) Some plants where RAOK so I am assuming them had some good bacteria on them.

I am thinking about trying unless otherwise told not to:
Going and buying a few feeder fish from pet smart to help the cycle along. Figured this would load the system slightly and usually they are pretty hardy fish I can them give to a friend to use as feeder fish.

Any help or suggestions would be greatly appreciated even if it is a “calm down, you are in too big of a rush”

Thank you,
Chris

 

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When i was fishless cycling, i only checked ammo and started to check nitrites once ammo his 0.0. Are you adding anything for ammo? (pure, fish food...) you need a source to get the bacteria formed. If you're starting a cycle without any previous bb, it might take more than a month. The dry filter pad won't do any good, bb needs to be constantly oxygenated through water for it to live. If you have a heater, crank it to ~86, warm water will help the bb grow faster. The ph you listed is fine, you shouldn't have to worry unless you add ph specific fish. The key is patience, don't expect a fast cycle unless you're using a seeded filter, substrate, and fully planted.


If you have any local contacts, ask about having a piece of their filter floss/foam. if you can get some swish it in the tank water, then place it in your filter. i know some LFS sell seeded filters (its cheaper to just ask a local hobbiest)
 

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You need a ammonia source I wouldn't use feeder fish because of the chance of disease and introducing parasites.
See if can find a pure ammonia I found some at Ace Hardware I stress pure ammonia no lemon scented,dyes,soaps etc. Also don't use the Wal-Mart brand I found this one leaves a deposit when it evaporates.
Just add 5ml per 10 gallon per day until you get a nitrite reading then reduce to 3ml per 10 gallons per day until you get a 0 ammonia and nitrites.
Just remember to test for ammonia and nitrites everyday.
Ammonia should reach 3 to 5 ppm and nitrites should read 2 to 5 ppm several days later.
Note if nitrites should reach 5 or more do a water change to much nitrites limits bacteria growth.
 

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You don't need to add any ammonia if your using Aquasoil that's new. It will give you all the ammonia you need to start your cycle.

I would suggest you be a little more patient and let things progress.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Conflicted statements, which to be honest is what I expected. I know the cycle is one of the many parts of planted tanks that opinions widely vary. So to ask about all the statements in one post if I could in order to clear some thing up for me.

Ammonia should spike to 3? Wow that much higher then I expect, maybe my reading on cycling is not complete.

My understanding was when using aqua soil, it already had the ammonia needed for a faster cycling. Would my large and frequent water changes mess with that?

OK, no feeder fish. I don't think any of my planned fish are hardy enough to add at this point (celestial pearl dainos, otos, shrimp... all delicate fish). So no livestock yet.

No contacts sadly... maybe can talk to LFS... though the easiest is just pet smart/co which I'm sure won't... maybe lunch tomorrow I can make it out to the better one. I'll post in the Michigan forum.

Thank you,
Chris

Sent from my DROID RAZR using Tapatalk
 

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unless you have a lare amount of seed material and a very small tank, 2 weeks won't be too far into a cycle. I have no experience with aquasol, I use inert substrate (or none during cycling) and dose pure ammonia daily. Keeping a good constant ammonia level helps the cycle, good aeration and warm-ish water help bacteria colonize faster too. I'd suspect the fluxing ph is not good for BB, they're sensitive like fish/inverts and need something stable.
Here's a site I always find useful when tank cycling, good info, generalized graphed 'time line', and dosing calculator if you want to use.
Clicky
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
It worked

When i was fishless cycling, i only checked ammo and started to check nitrites once ammo his 0.0. Are you adding anything for ammo? (pure, fish food...) you need a source to get the bacteria formed. If you're starting a cycle without any previous bb, it might take more than a month. The dry filter pad won't do any good, bb needs to be constantly oxygenated through water for it to live. If you have a heater, crank it to ~86, warm water will help the bb grow faster. The ph you listed is fine, you shouldn't have to worry unless you add ph specific fish. The key is patience, don't expect a fast cycle unless you're using a seeded filter, substrate, and fully planted.


If you have any local contacts, ask about having a piece of their filter floss/foam. if you can get some swish it in the tank water, then place it in your filter. i know some LFS sell seeded filters (its cheaper to just ask a local hobbiest)
Hey I just wanted to say thank you, this advice worked amazingly. I went to the better LFS in my area and they gave me part of a filter for free... I dirtied my tank a decent amount but again was free.

I turned my heater up to 86-88 and bought some pure ammonia dosing .4ml daily is keeping me at 3ppm at night. With in 1 day I finally saw some nitrites, I am continuing the process till I see 0 ammonia at night, and 0 nitrites. From what I understand then the tank will be cycled.

There are different opinions on once nitrites are seen whether you should keep 3ppm ammonia goal, or just dose it in the "safe zone" (which honestly I don't know off hand where that is at).

Any ways, drastic change once I took everyone's suggestions. Thank you.

Chris
 

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There really is no need to crank the heat. The last tank I cycled fishless had no heater and was around 72F and it took me 10days. Your plants will not like sustained temps in that range.
 
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