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Evie76 Evie76
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  • Posted on: 18/12/2019 12:28
I don't know what I need to do next with my fishless cycling! #1
Hi all i'm new here. Please could someone help?

I have never owned fish before but last month we bought a 64L tank for my daughter. We set it up at the end of November, water was treated for chlorine, a filter and a heater installed (set at 74 degrees) I couldn't get hold of pure ammonia so each day we put some fish food in the tank (just a pinch)
i didn't bother testing for anything immediately and then 2 weeks ago i started testing:

PH is 7.6+ (my API test kit only goes up to that and the result is a slightly darker blue than the highest one on the test kit) I tested my tap water at it measured at 20ppm nitrates

initially it was 1ppm ammonia for the first few days then it went up to 2ppm, a couple of days later it was between 2-4 ppm (was hard to tell) and then by Dec 10th it was at 4ppm. I started measuring nitrites at this point, they are something between 2-5 ppm but it's really hard to tell from the test colour. The levels for both have not changed since (I did add some Quick Start as well) . I had some fish food in a pair of tights in the water (tip from another site) which i took out a couple of days ago as i felt nothing was happening (I had tested for nitrates and they seemed to be at 10-20ppm which i thought was odd).
Nothing changed since, ammonia was 4ppm and nitrites at 2-5ppm.

yesterday i checked again for nitrites and they had gone down to a clear (ish) 2ppm, so i felt frustrated and today i've done a 30% water change (primed the water and added some Quick Start)

I'm not sure if i'm doing something wrong, or just not being patient enough...? should i keep adding ammonia, or leave it alone? (I have managed to get some Dr Tim's ammonia online but haven't used it yet)

I don't know what i'm doing!! this is much more complicated than i had expected..
Fishlady Fishlady
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  • Posted on: 18/12/2019 14:17
Re: I don't know what I need to do next with my fishless cycling! #2
Check your current ammonia level and if necessary top up to 2-3 ppm. Test daily, and when it falls close to 0 top up again. Nitrites should continue rising. When nitrite starts to be processed, nitrate will rise. At that point, keep on topping up the ammonia when it falls to 0 until you find that 24 hours after adding a dose of ammonia you have 0 readings for both ammonia and nitrite. That means the cycle is complete. Nitrate will be very high indeed so you'll need to do a huge (80-90%) water change before buying fish.

This article explains the nitrogen cycle, how to fishless cycle and includes an ammonia calculator to work out how much you need to add when topping up: https://www.fishkeeping.co.uk/articles ... hless-cycling-article.htm
Evie76 Evie76
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  • Posted on: 18/12/2019 17:52
Re: I don't know what I need to do next with my fishless cycling! #3
Thanks for your reply! I was topping up and the ammonia level was staying at 4ppm but i just couldn't work out whether i needed to continue and be patient or whether i'd messed up somewhere.
I've got the pure ammonia now so i'll start using that as of tomorrow and fingers crossed something will start happening soon. The fish were meant to be a Christmas present...!! oops
AmiJane AmiJane
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  • Posted on: 26/12/2019 22:53
Re: I don't know what I need to do next with my fishless cycling! #4
Sorry to jump on this post but thought better than having yet another cycling post. I’m confused by the cycling article and need a bit of help please

3) The following day use the ammonia test kit to measure the ammonia in the tank.If it’s below 3ppm (parts per million) use the ammonia calculator below to calculate how much ammonia to add to bring the level back to 3ppm. It may take several days before you see a significant drop.
4) Repeat step 3 every day. This process is to start the cycle off (the initial bacterial growth) and keep the bacteria alive by feeding them ammonia at the correct concentrations in the tank water.
5) After about a week you can start to test for nitrite in the water. Ammonia is converted to Nitrite in the first part of the cycle so when you can detect it, it means the cycle has started.
6) Continue testing for ammonia every day. Whenever it drops below 3ppm add enough ammonia to bring the level back up to 3ppm using the calculator to obtain the correct dose. Also test for nitrite every other day. You should see nitrite rise and then start falling after a few weeks

Adding Fish
When ammonia and nitrite readings have returned to zero the cycle has completed. If your nitrate reading is above 40 you will need to do some water changes to bring this down. Test your tap water for nitrate first, it may be too high to use to dilute the nitrate in the tank.
The bacteria will need a constant supply of ammonia to keep the cycle going so if you have a cycled tank and aren’t adding fish just yet you need to keep the bacteria alive by continuously adding ammonia or food.

If the ammonia reading needs to be 0 but you have to keep topping it up to say 3ppm how do you know when it has actually finished the cycle as surely will always have an ammonia reading from where you keep adding it?

From the above post am I right in saying if the ammonia reading is 0 and you add more to top up to 3ppm then after 24 hours both ammonia and nitrite are 0 that’s then it? Just want to be 100% sure!
Fishlady Fishlady
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  • Posted on: 27/12/2019 8:21
Re: I don't know what I need to do next with my fishless cycling! #5
Yes, that's it. You might want to see that happen a couple of days in a row to be sure.
AmiJane AmiJane
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Re: I don't know what I need to do next with my fishless cycling! #6
Fab thanks. Is it worth adding that to the article??
Evie76 Evie76
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  • Posted on: 27/12/2019 17:55
Re: I don't know what I need to do next with my fishless cycling! #7
So I dosed up with pure ammonia on the 18th Dec, (I had also done a water change - about 30% and used some quick start and the dechorinator stuff)

i then left it all alone and have not added anything else to it.

the ammonia level stayed around 2ppm for about 4 days then it was somewhere between 2-4ppm (hard to tell from the test), the nitrates have also stayed somewhere between 2-5ppm (again - it's really hard to tell from the test kit)

i left it over christmas and have checked again just now and nothing has changed - ammonia still 2-4ppm and nitrites still 2-5ppm

do i just need to wait?? i don't know if i'm just being impatient or if I've messed up somewhere.

(tank is a nice 24 degrees with a filter running continuously and occasionally an air stone)

thanks! this is so frustrating!

Attach file:



jpg  Ammonia and Nitrite.jpg (123.71 KB)
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Fishlady Fishlady
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  • Posted on: 28/12/2019 13:26
Re: I don't know what I need to do next with my fishless cycling! #8
Hi

Ammonia shouldn't be rising unless you are adding another dose, so only dose when it drops to 0. If you still have any food in there, remove it. Check your pH, if it's close to 6 or lower, add a teaspoonful of bicarbonate of soda to raise the pH which will assist the cycle. Raise the tank temperature to 28C and make sure there's good aeration by aiming the filter output up towards the water surface so it causes ripples.
Evie76 Evie76
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Re: I don't know what I need to do next with my fishless cycling! #9
Thank you!

PH is 7.6+ (it's slightly darker blue that the highest level of 7.6 on my API colour chart)

I've put the temp up to 28 degrees

I've tested the ammonia again today and it looks like a clear 2ppm to me. Tomorrow i will do a little water change to remove any left over food on the bottom.

Fingers crossed i get some changes soon! thanks for your help
Evie76 Evie76
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  • Posted on: 30/12/2019 18:41
Re: I don't know what I need to do next with my fishless cycling! #10
So we have SOME progress (I think!)

I turned the temp up yesterday to 28 degrees (i didn't do a water change because i wanted to wait and see what happened) I have tested the water today and have the following:

Ammonia - gone down to 0ppm! yay!!

Nitrites seem to be between 2-5ppm which seems like a good sign to me.

but.... nitrates are coming up as 0ppm..... that seems odd to me? with the ammonia going down i would have expected to see some nitrates?

sooo.... does it seem like i'm going in the right direction at least?

now ammonia is at 0 i'm going to dose it to 2ppm this evening and will test it all again tomorrow.