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Old 01-31-2012, 02:27 PM   #1 
SpookyTooth
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Fishless cycle - wanting to check the facts

I've been doing a fishless cycle in my 14 gallon long aquarium using the fish food method... things seem okay so far but I wanted to double check a couple of things so I can make sure I don't mess up my cycle and can tell when it's completed. I'd also like to mention that I added a mature sponge from our year old downstairs aquarium to the filter and have two bacteria cultures that were used as well.

I've done a lot of research but just wanted to clarify a couple of things. I understand that the purpose of a cycle is to establish a colony of beneficial bacteria that converts ammonia to nitrite which is then converted to nitrate. Of course these things need to be tested for... introducing my partner in "crime": the API Master Test Kit, which I will use to test the water every day. If I am understanding correctly...

At first I should get a reading of ammonia, which will gradually rise. It will spike and after should gradually begin to fall as nitrites rise in its place.

After a while the nitrite levels should peak and then gradually start to fall as nitrates become apparent.

Once ammonia and nitrites reach 0ppm and nitrates are being read at a consistant level the cycle is complete.

Is the above correct? Is there anything I've missed or gotten wrong? I did a water test today and got the following results:

Ammonia - 0 ppm
Nitrites - 2.0 ppm
Nitrates - 10 ppm

My results confused and worried me a little, I suppose I'm looking for reassurance as to whether or not these readings are normal during a cycle and if there is anything I need to do to lower/increase the readings further. Do I need to do any form of water changes during the cycle or is it better to leave well alone until its complete? I'm sorry for asking a question that may have been asked countless times as well.
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Old 01-31-2012, 03:12 PM   #2 
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I did a few 50% changes during my cycling process, I believe both ammonia and nitrites should always be at 0. It takes about a month but maybe shorter for you since you were able to introduce bacteria from another tank.

HA! Listen to me, now I'm an expert *preens*
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Old 01-31-2012, 05:17 PM   #3 
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Registered: during a fishless cycle ammonia and nitrites should both spike. If they are always at zero and never spike, your tank is not cycled.

Spooky: Your levels are fine. Just keep feeding the tank til you get the readings you need, then do a final water change. :) Don't do any water changes til then unless you overdose the tank.
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Old 01-31-2012, 06:53 PM   #4 
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They spiked, now they are at 0. Will they spike again? Even with 50% water changes once a week?
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Old 02-01-2012, 02:43 AM   #5 
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No, they shouldn't spike again unless you have an accident like adding too many fish at once. :)
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Old 02-01-2012, 02:45 AM   #6 
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Thank you very much for the responses! That's good to know. Going to feed the tank again this morning and test the water this evening.

Take care!
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