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Old 07-01-2013, 11:30 PM   #1 
CluelessinCA
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Question Fishless Cycle - Please Help!

Hi, we are 4 weeks into a fishless cycle and we need some help. (We have no fish yet, this is all part of our work to prepare the best home possible for my daughter's future fish. She is finding it very hard to wait but understands that this work makes a better home for her fish and less work for her caring for her fish...) We have a 5 gal Marineland Hex tank with a filter and a heater. We've been keeping the temp around 78-80. We don't know anyone else with fish so we didn't have any seeding material so we went with a bottled product recommended at our LFS (MicroBacter7). I am using pure ammonia as my ammonia source. API Master Test Kit for our testing (drops and tubes).

So, at right around 3 weeks my nitrites skyrocketed, off-the-charts. All the reading and instructions I'd seen indicated the next step was to wait a few days for nitrites to come down and start testing for nitrAtes.

Then I saw somewhere (probably on here somewhere) something that made me think I should test those nitrAtes anyway. So I did, and they were high - around 80ppm. So I concluded a PWC was needed so we did a 50%. NitrAtes came down, nitrItes still off the charts. Meanwhile my ammonia, NEVER comes all the way down to zero. My tap water tests at .50, and the lowest I've ever tested the tank was .25...

So I redose the ammonia back to 2ppm, and wait 24hrs. Nothing has really changed with the nitrItes. So we do another 50% WC. After that change nitrItes were STILL off the charts.

Redosed with ammonia and now we are 24hrs later and my tank data looks like:

Ammonia: .25
NitrIte: >5ppm
NitrAte: 20ppm (I'm really guessing on this as I can't tell the diff between 10 and 20 on my chart)

My question is, what do we do now? Do we need to do a 100% change to reboot the nitrites?

I've read just about every thread on here on this topic, but still feel clueless, and am I the only one who has a hard time reading these tests? I feel like maybe I'm color-blind and I never knew it before!

Thank you in advance to any who can help!!!
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Old 07-02-2013, 01:03 AM   #2 
darkangel
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if you have nitrates, your tank is cycled. don't add anymore ammonia, wait for your nitrites to be all converted to nitrate. if you have ammonia in tap water, try using prime, it makes ammonia non-toxic until your cycle convert it.

good luck!! perks to you have doing research first!! I wasn't that smart!
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Old 07-02-2013, 05:53 AM   #3 
VJM
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Is it planted? I have ammonia in my tap, but the plants suck it up almost immediately. Prime keeps it locked initially, and then it disappears.
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Old 07-02-2013, 10:02 AM   #4 
CluelessinCA
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Thank you both! I am using Prime as my water conditioner.

VJM - no we have no plants, I thought about it, but was worried about dealing with added complexity at first. We may add something simple once we get going.

darkangel - don't I need to keep adding ammonia to feed the ammonia-eating BB? I thought if I didn't do that they would start to die off?

Thank you again so much!!
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Old 07-02-2013, 12:09 PM   #5 
VJM
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For me, not having plants was more complex. They provide a nice buffer against a host of issues.

Depending on your substrate, you could just use root tabs under heavy root feeders, and API Leaf Zone or Flourish for everything else.

Good luck! It sounds like you are doing a great job getting ready.
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Old 07-02-2013, 12:29 PM   #6 
darkangel
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CluelessinCA View Post
darkangel - don't I need to keep adding ammonia to feed the ammonia-eating BB? I thought if I didn't do that they would start to die off?
they won't all die off right away, you will need to not have any ammonia for weeks before they all die. your fish is not going to make waste, probably like 0.25ppm per day so most of the bacteria will die anyways.

once you have super high nitrate, it means all the bacteria is there already. just wait for them to sort it out. they will convert all the ammonia to nitrate eventually. test the water a couple days from now to see if nitrite is 0.

when I cycled, I just made 1 dose of ammonia at 5ppm and never re-dosed, I had seeded filter media and 2 weeks later I had around 10ppm nitrate and 0 for ammonia and nitrite. I added plants & my betta, now my nitrate is around 2-3ppm only but everything else is still 0. if your getting 80ppm of nitrate, I assume you are adding lots of ammonia, your making a huge bacteria colony which you probably don't need.

if you only have 1 betta in a tank, they are going to make very little ammonia, you might get 0.25ppm per week if your tank is like 10 gallons.
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Old 07-02-2013, 02:58 PM   #7 
CluelessinCA
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Thank you both so much! Really appreciate the advice!
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