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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I don’t know what to do. My tank won’t fully cycle no matter what I do. The tank was set up for weeks before I put anything in there. I added food to start ammonia and added a ton of bacteria to get it started, but it just won’t work. Now I have 20 crs, 6 amanos in there, and some mystery and nerite snails. I’m afraid everything is going to die because my tank won’t cycle. I also have plants in there and they aren’t doing well either. My water is super cloudy and even after water changes, it won’t go away. The crs aren’t active and I can’t find most of them. The amanos are more active than the crs but I can’t find all of them either. I have Fluval stratum and eco complete on the bottom with root tabs and cichlid sand cap. It’s a 40 gallon breeder with a fluval 207 filter and my ph is around 7.4. Temp fluctuates between 72-73 based on time of day. Haven’t been able to check gh or kh yet. I just have no idea what to do and I’ve already spent a ton of money getting this started and can’t spend more. The whole thing just makes me want to quit already. If anyone could give me advice on what to do it would be really helpful! Thank you!
 

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Why did you add sensitive livestock like shrimp if you knew your tank wasn't cycled? Remove your livestock and find a safe home for it until your tank is ready. Some others may try to walk you through keeping things alive but I don't like to mince words and it's clear you aren't ready to house living creatures in your tank. Get new livestock when your tank is ready if you have to give your current critters up.

Focus on getting your tank cycled. Put in the effort. Practice some patience. It will happen. May take 3 weeks, may take 6. But it'll happen.

Add your ammonia source - with no livestock in the tank - to get a concentration of about 3ppm. Keep it at that concentration (check it daily) until you have nitrite readings, which then turn into nitrate. Keep the 3ppm ammonia concentration. Once you no longer have nitrite readings and your tank can process 3ppm of ammonia into nitrate in under 24 hours, your tank is ready for livestock.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Why did you add sensitive livestock like shrimp if you knew your tank wasn't cycled? Remove your livestock and find a safe home for it until your tank is ready. Some others may try to walk you through keeping things alive but I don't like to mince words and it's clear you aren't ready to house living creatures in your tank. Get new livestock when your tank is ready if you have to give your current critters up.

Focus on getting your tank cycled. Put in the effort. Practice some patience. It will happen. May take 3 weeks, may take 6. But it'll happen.

Add your ammonia source - with no livestock in the tank - to get a concentration of about 3ppm. Keep it at that concentration (check it daily) until you have nitrite readings, which then turn into nitrate. Keep the 3ppm ammonia concentration. Once you no longer have nitrite readings and your tank can process 3ppm of ammonia into nitrate in under 24 hours, your tank is ready for livestock.
Why did you add sensitive livestock like shrimp if you knew your tank wasn't cycled? Remove your livestock and find a safe home for it until your tank is ready. Some others may try to walk you through keeping things alive but I don't like to mince words and it's clear you aren't ready to house living creatures in your tank. Get new livestock when your tank is ready if you have to give your current critters up.

Focus on getting your tank cycled. Put in the effort. Practice some patience. It will happen. May take 3 weeks, may take 6. But it'll happen.

Add your ammonia source - with no livestock in the tank - to get a concentration of about 3ppm. Keep it at that concentration (check it daily) until you have nitrite readings, which then turn into nitrate. Keep the 3ppm ammonia concentration. Once you no longer have nitrite readings and your tank can process 3ppm of ammonia into nitrate in under 24 hours, your tank is ready for livestock.
I didn’t really have another option and I figured it would be cycled by the day I got them. I work a weird schedule but I was off for a week so I ordered them because it was the only time I had to be able to acclimate them. I don’t have anywhere to move them.
 

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I didn't see you post the numbers for ammonia, nitrite and nitrate, can you test those parameters and post them?
 
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I don’t have anywhere to move them.
Looks like you aren't too far outside of a major city. Are there no aquarium shops you can contact to rehome them? Or no hobbyists in the local area that may be able to help you out - maybe even with a cycled sponge filter or something?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I didn't see you post the numbers for ammonia, nitrite and nitrate, can you test those parameters and post them?
So I actually checked this morning and had 0 ammonia and around .25 nitrite maybe a little less because the color wasn’t exactly that. The ammonia has been 0 for a couple days and the nitrite has gone from .25 to about 0 back up to .25 again. So is that bad? I put the shrimp in on Thursday and they seem okay sometimes, but then mostly they sit very still. I don’t see any deaths, but I also can’t find most of them. I’ll check levels again tonight.

Looks like you aren't too far outside of a major city. Are there no aquarium shops you can contact to rehome them? Or no hobbyists in the local area that may be able to help you out - maybe even with a cycled sponge filter or something?
I’d really rather not get rid of them…I spent over $100 on them and I don’t know anyone to give them to that would give them back. I also work weird hours and don’t have a lot of time off so idk when I’d be able to take them anywhere.
 

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I’d really rather not get rid of them…I spent over $100 on them and I don’t know anyone to give them to that would give them back. I also work weird hours and don’t have a lot of time off so idk when I’d be able to take them anywhere.
Life gets in the way for all of us. But if you want to make sure your shrimp stay alive, you're going to have to put in some effort. That means getting a live filter sponge from someone so you can keep them alive in a bucket or other container until your tank is ready for them.

Since you don't want to do that, you're going to need to move them into a separate container and do daily water changes until your tank is ready. You'll probably also want to use a product like Polyfilter (pretty expensive for what it is) to absorb ammonia.

In the immediate, you need to dose your tank with Prime to neutralize ammonia and nitrite, which are toxic for your shrimp. You'll need to do that along with making frequent water changes until your tank is stable enough to support shrimp if you don't want to do any of the above.

Note: If you've got CRS - Crystal Red Shrimp (Caridina) - you shouldn't be using something like cichlid sand that increases kH/hardness. So you'll want to remove that. If you've got RCS - Red Cherry Shrimp (Neocaridina) - you can probably leave it in the tank, as they can handle more water hardness than Crystals.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Life gets in the way for all of us. But if you want to make sure your shrimp stay alive, you're going to have to put in some effort. That means getting a live filter sponge from someone so you can keep them alive in a bucket or other container until your tank is ready for them.

Since you don't want to do that, you're going to need to move them into a separate container and do daily water changes until your tank is ready. You'll probably also want to use a product like Polyfilter (pretty expensive for what it is) to absorb ammonia.

In the immediate, you need to dose your tank with Prime to neutralize ammonia and nitrite, which are toxic for your shrimp. You'll need to do that along with making frequent water changes until your tank is stable enough to support shrimp if you don't want to do any of the above.

Note: If you've got CRS - Crystal Red Shrimp (Caridina) - you shouldn't be using something like cichlid sand that increases kH/hardness. So you'll want to remove that. If you've got RCS - Red Cherry Shrimp (Neocaridina) - you can probably leave it in the tank, as they can handle more water hardness than Crystals.
So I have polyfill in my filter already. And sorry they are red cherry shrimp not crystals. But I’ve been using prime and stability but it only kind of works? I have a post above about my levels. And I did a water change Sunday, but since it takes a long time to fill the tank back up (so I don’t shock them) I won’t be able to do another one until Saturday. Also I did put in a lot of plants right before I put the shrimp in. I washed them in dechlorinated water ( I used fritz complete, stability, and prime) in a bucket. I don’t think they’re leeching anything in because the snails are doing great and have been doing great the whole time. I had the snails in for a couple days before I even put the shrimp in.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Snails usually do fine regardless of parameters, though. Pond and bladder (the 2 most common pest snails) can live and populate a cycling tank no problem IME
Yeah but I figured if the plants were treated with lead or something, they would’ve died too so I don’t think it’s the plants. But idk I feel like my tank is maybe almost cycled but not quite? Also I guess I really need to figure out my gh and kh. I’m just hoping if I can get over this hump everything will be fine. Any tips on the cloudiness?

Yeah but I figured if the plants were treated with lead or something, they would’ve died too so I don’t think it’s the plants. But idk I feel like my tank is maybe almost cycled but not quite? Also I guess I really need to figure out my gh and kh. I’m just hoping if I can get over this hump everything will be fine. Any tips on the cloudiness?
Also not died too as in any shrimp have died. Cause I haven’t seen any deaths.
 

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You could cycle your filter separately in a bucket and act as the biological filtration on the tank by doing 100% water changes. Lots of work but less lethal. The other thing I can think of is to do up a couple gallon containers and used some cuttings to make it a more manageable size for water changing. Use those containers to house the shrimp and cycle your tank without them in it. I don't know how well they're going to fare through it. I've done the research into keeping shrimp and can ramble off the facts and figures but truth be told I have never kept them. Have you had your ammonia spike to 4 yet?
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
You could cycle your filter separately in a bucket and act as the biological filtration on the tank by doing 100% water changes. Lots of work but less lethal. The other thing I can think of is to do up a couple gallon containers and used some cuttings to make it a more manageable size for water changing. Use those containers to house the shrimp and cycle your tank without them in it. I don't know how well they're going to fare through it. I've done the research into keeping shrimp and can ramble off the facts and figures but truth be told I have never kept them. Have you had your ammonia spike to 4 yet?
If I do another container, I’d have to figure out how to acclimate them to it. I wouldn’t be able to do it until Saturday. And so my ammonia and nitrite were higher before. Not sure if 4 or not but now I have 0 ammonia and fluctuating between 0 and .25 nitrite. Is that not cycled?
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Have you had a nitrate spike of over 80 yet?
Yes my nitrite did get that high at one point. Also I just got home and checked on them. The rcs look mildly active. Some are kinda still and I can’t see all of them. The amanos that I do see are always very active. And I do have a good bit of algae in the tank and white fungus on the driftwood but the rcs don’t seem to want it. I have fed them other stuff like hikari crab cuisine and northfin food and they kind of pick at that but they don’t come running for it. I feel like most of them are hiding and I can’t find them.
 

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I still strongly suggest you set up a means of either rehoming them or containing them just in case things go south, which they may and quite quickly. Shrimp are super sensitive. I don't have personal experience in dwarf shrimp keeping at all. I have a 3 month old cube set up for them but have decided to hold off because I don't think I have adequate time/ attentiveness to be successful if that gives you an idea of my mind set. I wish you luck!!
 

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i've found that with just shrimp and snails you would already have a hard enough time just keeping a cycled tank from crashing over time because they can't put out enough waste so unless your dropping enough food that some is going to sit around a rot a bit. if your in a rush see if there is fish club near you and ask nicely in there forum if you could come and get/purchase some cycled media off them.

its also a completely unpopular opinion but there is usually someone with so many guppies around that there flushing them down the toilet if you dont have time or patience to do a fishless cycle or can't get some media from someone else get a handful of guppies and cycle it that way(i know why can you get guppies but not cycled media is valid but some people are weird or just don't understand why you want some of there filter)
 

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i've found that with just shrimp and snails you would already have a hard enough time just keeping a cycled tank from crashing over time because they can't put out enough waste so unless your dropping enough food that some is going to sit around a rot a bit. if your in a rush see if there is fish club near you and ask nicely in there forum if you could come and get/purchase some cycled media off them.

its also a completely unpopular opinion but there is usually someone with so many guppies around that there flushing them down the toilet if you dont have time or patience to do a fishless cycle or can't get some media from someone else get a handful of guppies and cycle it that way(i know why can you get guppies but not cycled media is valid but some people are weird or just don't understand why you want some of there filter)
Shrimp-only tanks don't crash because they don't produce enough to keep a tank going. That's not based at all in reality. Otherwise, people like me wouldn't have been able to keep shrimp-only tanks for more than 30 years. There are literally thousands of people on this forum alone doing the same thing. Nitrifying bacterial colonies exist in proportion to the supply of waste available for them. If you have a heavily-stocked tank? You're gonna have enough bacteria to keep up with that heavy stock. If you only have 30 shrimp in a tank? You're gonna have enough bacteria for those 30 shrimp. Populations will grow and change over time as your tank grows and changes. There's not some magical minimum amount of waste needed for bacteria to exist.

It's not just unpopular to suggest someone torture fish in order to cycle a tank, it's lazy and cruel. It's 2021. We have access to things like ammonia/ammonium and bottled nitrifying bacteria. And it takes no longer to "cycle" a tank without a fish than it does with.
 

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sorry i was on holiday i'm not saying its the right thing to do but if you already know someone who is flushing them down the toilet anyway why not make use of them, between all the kids with a million guppies and the hobbyists culling high end guppies to keep there lines right they are available if you are in a pinch
 

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sorry i was on holiday i'm not saying its the right thing to do but if you already know someone who is flushing them down the toilet anyway why not make use of them, between all the kids with a million guppies and the hobbyists culling high end guppies to keep there lines right they are available if you are in a pinch
If you already know it's not the right thing to do? Please don't suggest others do it. It's absolutely unnecessary in modern tanking. Suggesting someone unnecessarily torture a fish because they're lazy or in a pinch is one of the worst ways to encourage proper husbandry and tanking.
 
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