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Old 08-12-2013, 08:37 PM   #1 
JamieL
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Angry Fishless cycling...what am I doing wrong??

I currently have three tanks...I moved the juvenile betta to a 2.5 gal (ok, so I have 4 tanks) so I could fishless cycle his 5.5, then use it to seed the other two. I had been changing water 50% every other day while he was in there, for about 2 1/2 months. Even though it wasnt cycled I used some filter media from that tank in the two other tanks' filters when setting them up, since i figured it couldnt hurt, and I continued changing water every other day in those two in the meantime.

It's been two weeks of fishless cycling with ammonia, I had high nitrites for a day, then they were gone, never nitrates. The ammonia just wasnt moving. After a week it went down to 4 from 5ppm, I dosed a little again today. I know this part of the cycle can take a long time but it seems like nothing is happening at all, ammonia isn't even going down. Temp is 84, ph is 7.6.

I wouldnt be too worried about it, except now in the fish IN tanks, today the 10g had 0 ammonia, VERY high nitrites (don't worry, I took care of it), and 10ppm nitrates. In the other 5.5 gal with one betta (which has only been set up maybe 3 weeks) today I did a 100% wc, rinsed out the tank itself with hot water and replaced the gravel with sand...a couple hours later that tank had 0 ammonia, low nitrites and 0 nitrate. My tap water has .5ppm ammonia so I was shocked to see that number, especially after such a huge change.

Anyway, that was long...what am I doing wrong in the fishless tank?? At this rate the other tanks will be cycled and ill be seeding that one from the others! Sorry that was long, and I hope it made sense. I'm just frustrated and I don't know what I'm missing here. Am I not dosing ammonia enough?? I only added more twice, because it wasn't going down much if at all. Should I dose a tiny bit every day or two regardless? I added conditioned water to it two days ago, because the water level went down and the splashing from the filter was too noisy. I don't know. Help? I'm about to just scrap the fishless cycle and seed this tank from the 10g in a week or two.
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Old 08-12-2013, 09:36 PM   #2 
lilnaugrim
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Okay have you been dosing your ammonia and checking that tank every day?
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Old 08-12-2013, 10:28 PM   #3 
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I haven't been dosing every day...I was going off a thread that said to dose initially, then add ammonia as needed, but my ammonia never seemed to come down, so I only added more a few times because it never dropped below 4-5ppm. Is that where I went wrong, should I be lightly dosing daily regardless? I have needed to add water twice, and my tap water has .5ppm so I figured that was kind of like dosing .5ppm...no?

I was looking at a thread on another forum where someone said to dose ammonia daily, that extremely high ammonia doesn't stall the cycle and to just slam the tank with ammonia until it handles it, but I'm only stocking one betta in this tank, so it's not ever going to need to handle a huge bioload.
I don't know. I thought I had this figured out and I could get it squared away in a couple weeks but I'm doing something wrong. It was 4ppm earlier, I dosed about .25 ml a few nods ago, I'll test it again in the morning.
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Old 08-12-2013, 10:36 PM   #4 
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Okay, yeah sorry I didn't mean dose daily regardless. You dose every time the ammonia drops from 4ppm. 4ppm is a good place to be at, anything over 5ppm will stall the cycle and so from 2-4ppm is a good place to be, it will go faster. I know it won't need to have a huge bio-load but it will go faster the more you put in, at least under 5ppm.

So you've been doing it right. And you do have filter, that's important lol and actually extra aeration will help the BB grow, I know it's noisy but it will help. I usually recommend to let the water line drop so that it does splash but the added heat should really help them, don't know why it's not.

I know sometimes the cycle, even Fish-less can go slower and be almost a Fish-In cycle but regardless, it will eventually cycle and it will be better off for your fish anyway, so just be patient it doesn't always happen in just two weeks.
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Old 08-12-2013, 11:02 PM   #5 
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Ok, thanks. It's just frustrating to see the other tanks progressing quicker...diamond sky's tank is only 3 weeks old, and I just replaced all the substrate and rinsed it all with hot water and its still processing ammonia! And I took filter media from the fishless tank and put it in his filter when I set up his tank, so it's confusing to see his tank using whatever kick start he got from that, but the other tank just doing nothing.

bubblefishys temporary home is in the kitchen, I caught him flaring at a frying pan.
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Old 08-12-2013, 11:03 PM   #6 
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lol that's cute about Bubblefishy XD silly boy, he want's too cook? That'd be the first time a man said that to me!! haha j/k

Yeah it is frustrating that I know. I hope it does pick up soon because you really haven't done anything wrong
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Old 08-13-2013, 05:42 PM   #7 
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Alright I got annoyed too soon. Yesterday ammonia was 4ppm, I dosed a small amount, but I didn't test it again until today, today it was 4ppm still and I finally had nitrites, between .25 and .5ppm. Hooray. I don't know what the ammonia went up to after my dose yesterday, but I went back to 4, so I guess it went down from whatever I dosed it to.

Do you think I should add another small dose of ammonia today, or just wait and test again tomorrow?
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Old 08-13-2013, 05:59 PM   #8 
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Only add ammonia when it's under 4ppm because you don't want to stall your cycle and then you'll be angry at that haha, so just be patient and it will work ^_^
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Old 08-16-2013, 05:27 AM   #9 
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In a 5g tank, a single Betta won't produce >0.01ppm/day ammonia. Now that you're seeing nitrite you can cut back on your ammonia dosing. This will speed up your cycle a little. If your tank can process ~1.0ppm/day ammonia, you're cycled (if you're seeing nitrate).

Of course, use Prime with water changes to detoxify your sourcewater.
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Old 08-16-2013, 08:48 AM   #10 
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From the last time I dosed it and went down to 4ppm it still hasn't budged! I still have barely detectable nitrites, they haven't gone up at all. 0-.25ppm. Not .25, but definitely reading higher than my tap water. Yesterday I got my hands on some gravel from an established tank and I put it in a stocking and put it in my filter, I'll test it again in a little while. If that doesn't move anything, maybe I should do a water change??
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