Thanks both 😊 My daughter has had her heart set on neon tetras since the beginning so that’s good news! We were thinking a group of these, as well as some corydoras and otos - and thanks, the numbers are useful indicators too. Will probably have to leave getting the otos until we have built up more algae for them though. Will look into the gouramis. So, are these all ok with a ph of 6.6 and KH of 1 drop? Do we just leave it alone and all will be ok or do we add some bicarbonate of soda as Fishlady suggests anyway, and if so, how much/to what KH? Someone suggested adding broken oyster shells to substrate - is this better or needed? Or will it do a similar job to your limestone as in not much?! Our KH does seem to be really low (tank and tap same).
Hello, an update on our cycling and a few more questions... Thanks to your really helpful advice above I think we are finally at the end. We followed your instructions and now getting 0 readings for nitrites (and ammonia too) 24 hours after adding full dose of 3ppm 😊 I think we had definitely suffered from a stalled cycle because once we had done those water changes and dosed smaller amounts every other day things got moving quite quickly. So, before we do the big water change and race out to buy fish, I just wanted to check about ph and KH. Ours is boosted at the minute with bicarbonate of soda but this will be removed with water change. Our tap water is 1 drop KH - does that mean we are at risk of a ph crash and if so, what can we do about it if fish are in the tank? Don’t want to go the shop and get wrong advice so wanted to check here first for expert opinion! Also, does the rapid change in ph/KH levels caused by the massive water change hurt the beneficial bacteria we have built up? Thanks again!
Hello! Thanks so much for your help. A quick update...
We’ve done 3 x 50% water changes over the last couple of days and skipped ammonia dosing. Finally got nitrite and nitrate readings back on the charts so must have been ridiculously high!
Now water parameters are: PH: 7.6 Ammonia: 0 Nitrite: 0.50 Nitrate: 20 KH: 3 drops
Have redosed ammonia to 2ppm. So will wait to see what happens tomorrow. Do we just let the nitrites climb again and leave it now for a bit? Or do we do more water changes to keep within test ranges? And do we continue with 2ppm ammonia daily or every other day?
Have been adding bicarbonate of soda to boost pH and KH (now got up to 3 drops) but what levels of KH should we be aiming for (for this cycling phase) to prevent stalling again?
We are happy to carry on being patient as we want to get this right but feel like we need a bit of guidance so we don’t mess up now.
Thanks. We will skip the ammonia dosing for today then. Do you think we should do another water change to try to lower nitrites to levels within the test ranges?
We have gravel (I can get back to you on exact make if needed), a few plastic plants (made by Betta or Aqua One), and a couple of Greek statue/building ornaments made by Betta (as my daughter wanted those!). The ammonia levels, along with all other readings, were a steady 0 for a week before we came across this site and others re fishless cycling (as others’ stories the fish shop didn’t tell us this, just to set up and leave alone for a couple of weeks 😳), and then were 0 till I got hold of some ammonia. So I don’t think the substrate should be causing problems but will leave that to your expert opinion!
It took exactly 3 weeks from adding first ammonia dose for nitrites to appear. That was on the 6th Jan but they are just not coming down. Ammonia steady 0 since 13th Jan (and daily dosing up to now) so that took exactly 4 weeks to go to 0 from initial dose.
All readings today exactly as yesterday (above post) except I added a bit more bicarbonate of soda to boost ph and kh a bit.
If we’ve skipped the ammonia dosing for today we have to add some tomorrow right? And to 2ppm again or less/more?
Many thanks for your reply. It’s reassuring that we are hopefully doing ok. So, we did a 30% water change yesterday and then dosed to 2ppm as I was too scared to omit it. (Glad to see your suggestion of reducing to 2ppm as that was a bit of a guess!) Today the readings were: Ammonia = 0 Nitrite = >5.0 (API test, purple for entire 5 mins so could be much higher but at least not turning grey as day before so water change must have brought down a bit - is that correct?) Nitrate = 5.0 (API) PH = 7.0 (NT labs) 6.8/7.0 (API) KH = 2 drops (NT labs)
Using NT labs nitrite and nitrate tests we get 8.0 and 80+ (were going strange peach/orange color but now remaining pink). It was this nitrite test that got our hopes up 10 days ago as it suddenly seemed to go a lighter shade but now dark pink again.
Have dosed again to 2ppm this evening but happy to omit tomorrow if you think that would be a good idea, or do more water changes. Do we need to try to bring nitrite levels down to readable levels? We’ve got temperature to 28 and lid off, no light. What else have we missed??!
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”