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Help! Cycling stalled or just slow?

Subject: Help! Cycling stalled or just slow?
by EvaBee on 2/2/2021 20:14:15

Hello!
We are newbies here. I bought my daughter an 85l tank for Christmas, set it up 2 weeks before and we’ve been cycling it since following your fishless cycle guide. It was all going well, albeit slowly, until now.

Ammonia has been coming down to 0 every 24 hours for the last 3 weeks with nitrites rising steadily. A week or so ago we got excited because it looked like nitrites coming down and nitrates going up, but in reality from a lot of googling it looks like the test kits were just reading weirdly due to sky high nitrites. PH has also been dropping during this ongoing nitrite phase so we have been adding bicarbonate of soda to boost up.

We are now stuck and desperate for some help as this seems never ending. Questions:

Do we need to bring the nitrites down with water changes? From reading things it says really high nitrites can stall cycles.

Do we continue with daily ammonia dosing or is this just compounding the problem? If we stop or reduce dosing then do the bb die quickly (we don’t want to be back at beginning!). Have been dosing to 3ppm as per instructions. Haven’t added yet today as want some advice.

Does soft water stall or prevent cycling? KH Test (NT labs) is 2 drops to turn yellow (our tap water is only 1 drop!) so I think the ph boosting is also boosting this as well a little. Normal tap pH is 7.0.

Do we continue and hope that one day the nitrite eating bacteria arrive?

Any advice would be fab as I feel we are stuck and confused now having been so proud of ourselves at the first stage.

Water parameters from water provider are:

“Hardness Information: Total Hardness level of 19 mg/l Ca
Your water is classified as Soft
48 parts per million
3 Clarke degrees
5 French degrees
3 German degrees”

Tap water has 0 nitrates in.

Many thanks for your help,
Louise