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stuck cycle

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55 gallon planted tank. Miracle-Gro organic soil capped with 1/4 - 1/2" of gravel with seiryu stone. CO2 running 6 hours/day at 2-3 bubbles/sec with 200+ watts of T5HO. PH pre CO2 7.4 and after 6 hours it's about 6.6. I dose flourish 3 times/week. I have two Penn Plax 1000's with fluval rings and lava rock pushing 400 gph.

I started my first fishless cycle over a month ago and I used Dr. Tims ammonia and bacteria. I followed the instructions from his video. The ammonia dropped and nitrites rose about 4 days after I started. Using the API kit my nitrites have typically not matched the chart (in room or outdoor light). Its deep purple with a burgundy tinge so I imagine it's off the chart high. Nitrates are always about 5.

I've performed four 75% water changes since starting, and until yesterday's wc I never saw Nitrite budge much. but yesterday it was at 0.25. However, today it's back up to at least 5.

I have 0.25 ammonia in my tap water. I dose Seachem Safe during water changes. Ammonia still fluctuates between 0 and 0.5 which, from what I've read here and other places, may be attributed to the dirt. My plants seem to be doing well but obviously I can't add my fish.

Is the ph change from the CO2 to blame? Am I close to being done? Is there something I'm doing that I shouldn't? Dr. Tim says not to add ammonia unless Nitrites and ammonia are both near zero. I haven't added any since the first day.
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I would stop the big water changes until the nitrate level gets high.

What are the nitrates at now?

How many ppm ammonia did you add to start the fishless cycle?

You are done cycling the tank when 1ppm ammonia is eaten up buy the BB in 24 hours or less, and there is no nitrite or ammonia present.
Runn the 1ppm ammonia test a few times when you get to that point,
the tank should eat up the ammonia in a day every time with no nitrites or ammonia present.

If you have between 0 and .5 ppm ammonia it wouldn't hurt to add 1ppm ammonia and see what it does in a day.

And co2 will lower your ph. When co2 is added to a tank it makes carbonic acid that lowers the ph.
a 1 point ph drop is a good start, witch is about where you are at.
If you pull the ph down too far with the co2 you could start gassing fish.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the reply. Right now ammonia is at somewhere between 0 and .25, nitrites are at 5, and nitrates are 5.

I initially added 4 drops/gallon of ammonia per Dr. Tim's instructions. It's a little confusing because they updated the video with text to indicate adding 4 drops/gallon, but in the video Dr. Tim says 1 d/g equals 2ppm of ammonia. Regardless, I followed the instructions on the bottle and the ammonia did drop eventually. When I contacted Dr. Tim he stated that the CO2 and dirt would prolong things "a little" but geez.

I've cycled new tanks before with fish and water and mulm from established tanks and it usually took 2 weeks. I decided to experiment, and now, here I am.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Well, I bought Seachem Stability and that fixed it. Nitrites came down to 0 in 24 hours. I added Dr. Tims ammonia to reach 2ppm. 12 hours later I had no ammonia and 5 nitrite. 12 hours after that, no nitrite. I'll continue to monitor and add the Stability for the next few days. Neons are in and are happy.

I think Dr. Tim's works well in a tank with just water and gravel, but when you add things that cause the water parameters to change, like CO2, the bacteria in the product die.
 
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