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Old 04-12-2013, 11:33 AM   #21 
SnowySurface
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I was debating replying to this thread because I only have experience with fishless cycling, but you seem worried. So I wanted to let you know that the ammonia you are seeing is natural (in more ways than one since its present in your tap water). The ammonia spikes mean you have entered the ammonia-to-nitrITE step which involves the presence of ammonia in your set up.

Fish-in cycling is a balancing act because you can't take out so much ammonia that the ammonia-to-nitrITE step is halted, but you can't leave in enough ammonia to kill fish. There will be no "peace of mind" for you until the ammonia-to-nitrITE step finishes and the nitrITE-to-nitrATE step begins. You will need a nitrATE test kit to see when the nitrATEs have begun to grow because that is the time to slow up the water changes to about 25% once a week.

I repeat. The ammonia you see is a sign that you are doing it right. Everything is doing what it is supposed to do. For now, you are at the point where you keep ammonia low at about 0.1-0.2ppm to protect the fish and above 0ppm to feed the nitrITEs. Until enough nitrITEs become nitrATEs to keep the ammonia down at 0ppm without the help of chemicals, you are stuck baby-sitting the set up.

But don't lose heart. The ammonia-to-nitrITE step can be as quick as 1-2 weeks. It's the nitrITE-to-nitrATE step that takes nearly a month. XD
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Old 04-12-2013, 12:26 PM   #22 
Rilly10
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Thanks! I just did a 50% change with the bottled water in the tank with the fish who seems stressed (4 gallon). He is perking up a bit so hope I helped and didn't hurt him more. In the larger tank (6.8 gallon) I just added more Prime and will probably only do a 25% change later since he seems fine and the ammonia is lower.

I just hope my fish make it though the cycle. If I ever do this again I will be planning on a no fish cycle! This is very stressful for me especially with now knowing my tap water has ammonia in it to begin with :(
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Old 04-12-2013, 01:45 PM   #23 
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Yeah. When you do a fishless cycle you can cut the ammonia-to-nitrITE step in half by over dosing with ammonia. I've upped the ammonia to 4.0ppm to fast-forward into the slower nitrITE-to-nitrATE step. Even if you can only half the natural ammonia levels in your water to 0.25ppm your fish should be fine. Then, once the tank is cycled, you won't have to worry about your tap water because the BB will remove the 0.5ppm ammonia for you. :)
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