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Old 09-05-2012, 07:15 PM   #1 
RoxieStClaire
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Question Should I just start over?

So I've been trying to do a fishless cycle in my 5 gallon tank for 2 weeks now using raw shrimp. There's 3 medium size shrimp in there total. I've added nothing else to the water. My problem is that for the entire two weeks my ammonia level hasn't even hit 1ppm until JUST TODAY. I HAVE been doing partial (50%) water changes 2x a week, and smaller 25% ones every other day. I have not replaced any of the shrimp.

The tank IS filtered, and has two small java ferns in there (should I have taken those out?). I have the heater plugged in, and the water temp is at a stable 82 degrees. I have tested for both nitrites and nitrates and both of those tests keep coming back negative.

Since its taken this long to see any sort of progress at all, I'm contemplating doing at least a 90% water change and just trying to start over using a different method (the water's starting to look like toxic sludge, anyway, no matter how many water changes I do). If I did, I'd switch to just adding pure ammonia every day to reach the 2ppm mark. Is this a good idea?

I know cycling is supposed to take forever, but I still want it to cycle EVENTUALLY so I can get my betta out of his tiny little 3/4 gallon bowl. Any advice is greatly appreciated as I've never had to cycle a tank before.
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Old 09-05-2012, 07:43 PM   #2 
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Sounds like you messed up the cycle by doing the water changes. I did NOTHING to my tank other than continue to add dirty water from my betta qt tanks.

  • Turned up the heat as well, should be have been high 80's, but it was closer to 97 degrees or higher.
  • Left everything alone, no water changes at all. Only added dirty water from betta tanks. Fish ate more, got fatter and created waste that I used to feed the cycle.

Add some pure ammonia now, instead of more shrimp to raise your ammonia.

  • I cycled my tank in 5 days. But I did use every shortcut possible.

Do you have any photos of your toxic sludge tank?
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Old 09-05-2012, 07:51 PM   #3 
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Then should I just remove the shrimp now, and stick to pure ammonia?

Also, forgive my typo earlier I meant to say that I have one Java fern, one mystery plant (forget what its actually called), and a marimo (forgot about the marimo entirely).

And no I don't have pics but I can within the hour. If it helps now, I can tell you that its yellow, has a white-ish film at the top, and what I'm guessing is a white fuzzy water mold growing off of the shrimp (probably what's causing the clouding in the first place).
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Old 09-05-2012, 08:22 PM   #4 
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Ok got the pics uploaded.

This first one is the white filmy stuff on the surface:


This is what the tank water looks like on the whole:


And this is a little chunk of what I'm assuming is water mold that fell off the shrimp when I adjusted everything:
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Old 09-05-2012, 08:42 PM   #5 
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Oooh, you're having the same problem I am. Except I got ammonia after 2 days and a whole can of fish food. Does your tank stink? And I'm talking a stink that will just about knock you over. I'm considering dumping everything out and starting fresh with the FISH-IN method. There is a sticky for this at the top of the page by OFL. It seems easy and clean enough, but you HAVE to do the water changes. I was doing them anyway, so why not.
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Old 09-05-2012, 08:49 PM   #6 
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No, its weird, it barely smells at all. And that's considering there's three rotten shrimp in there!

I'd love to do a fish in cycle, but since my fish has fin rot and its easier to do large scale daily water changes in a smaller bowl anyway, I don't think that can happen. My hope was that by now it would be well into the cycle so that I could plop him in the new tank by the time his treatment's over, but it doesn't look like that will happen.
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Old 09-05-2012, 08:52 PM   #7 
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I have noticed that in the summer here my tanks get a weird film on top of the water if I don't have filters in the tanks to disturb the surface of the water. My tanks also tend to run between 80 and 83 degrees F in the summer without any heaters plugged in. I haven't had my tank water get that particular color before but this summer I have had a ton of problems with algae growing in my tanks, I think its because we have had a record breaking HOT summer so my tanks have been warmer then normal.
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Old 09-05-2012, 08:53 PM   #8 
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Wow those are some scary looking pictures.

Like I recommended to another person. Cook the shrimp, make a shrimp cocktail, but rinse the shells and toss them in the tank.

By cooking them it wouldn't create such a slimy mess. It definitely wouldn't be as bad as using raw shrimp. The person who suggested cycling with food quality shrimp should be whipped.

There's no doubt it stinks. After viewing the photos, I probably wouldn't have put the plants in there. I'm not sure how you would clean off the funk off the leaves without killing the plant.

Here's what my 10G tank looked like when I used all sort of less foul smelling shortcuts.



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Old 09-05-2012, 08:57 PM   #9 
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Hmmm might just have to clean it real well out tomorrow since its my day off and try to start over fresh.

So what short cuts did you use?
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Old 09-05-2012, 09:15 PM   #10 
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I'm trying to remember right now. I need to do the same thing to a 20G tank.

  • 4 filters running on that tank. All jam packed with filter floss/poly fill type foam from my BioWheel 400
  • 25W heater, turned up to max setting of 89F, but it actually heated the tank to 95f-97f. Never knew the heater would go that high. Good to know.
  • Didn't fill the tank all the way with water. Left it to about 5-6 gallons. Just high enough for the filters to run.
  • Fed my bettas 2x-3x more than normal. No gravel in their tanks so I could make sure they're not "chipmunking" their food
  • Added the top 10% of the from the dirty QT tanks were added to the filter every day.
  • All the plastic plants and gravel were setup and arranged before starting up the filter.
  • No live plants at all in the tank during the cycling.
  • Fattening up helps them recover from injuries. They were obese bettas, but very healthy & round.
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