You need 1/2 to 1 cup of substrate. See my post above. Some people pooh-pooh use of products like Stability; but it worked for me. I think I may have suggested you might try it early on but I can't remember.
Last edited by RussellTheShihTzu; 05-21-2013 at 08:49 PM.
I feel a bit odd stating this when so many people have chimed in and I'm newer, but: If you have fish in, you should not be adding ammonia; the fish produce the ammonia as waste. You are getting low ammonia, which is great, and 0 nitrites, which is great, and high nitrates. What you should be doing is water changes to reduce the nitrates and ammonia rather than adding ammonia back in.
The cycle works this way: ammonia turns into nitrites, which turn into nitrates. If your cycle wasn't done, you wouldn't be seeing the nitrates. You need to reduce ammonia, not add it.
Process: So, fish have been added. They will produce the ammonia to get the cycle going. If you choose to do a fish in cycle, it is best to start with a small amount of fish in the tank to keep things under control. Doing 25% water changes whenever ammonia hits .25ppm is recommended. There will still be minute amounts of ammonia starting your bacterial colony, even after water changes. Eventually, nitrites will start showing up. Again, 25% water change whenever nitrites hit .25ppm. Once you start seeing nitrates, you know you have made it through the cycle with your fish! With the fish in cycle, you want to add fish slowly over the course of several weeks to your tank. Once your tank is fully stocked and everything is in order, you can start a regular water change schedule of 30-50% a week.
Here's another quote from that thread, though, for the fishless cycling:
For your final test, wait until your ammonia is pretty much at zero, and dose to 2ppm. When ammonia falls to 0ppm within 24 hours (or less) your tank is cycled!
Now, do a large water change, 75-85%, and you are ready to add your fish!
But how do I know how much ammonia to add?
With your trusty 5mm syringe and ammonia bottle in hand, head over here.
The calculator is at the bottom- “Fishless Cycling- Ammonia Required.” Fill in the information, and it will tell you how many mL of ammonia you need. Be sure not to forget to change the settings to gallons if that’s what you use! The % of Ammonia strength will be written on the bottle.
*If your tank already has 1ppm of ammonia, just calculate enough for 3ppm to get it back to 4ppm.
I trust, with that last bit in bold, that you want to add only enough to get it back to 2ppm, as the first bolded bit notes. Are you adding only enough ammonia to get it back to 2ppm and then checking? I just find it difficult to believe that the cycle isn't finished if you're seeing nitrates like that.
Stability and Stresszyme are older products that do not contain the two types pf bacteria directly responsible for the nitrogen cycle.
Safestart, Dr Tim's One-and-Only and ATM Colony contain nitrosomonas and nitrospira --- live bacteria. They have a shelf-life of over six months. If you buy them fresh, they work best.
BL14, 1/8 cup of seeded gravel in your filter or equivalent seeded filter media. That's the first thing you should have done. Sorry I didn't pick up on it earlier.
Is your ammonia reducing to 0.0ppm in a few days? Your readings sounded almost cycled a couple of weeks ago. If your tank is creating nitrate and you have 0.0ppm nitrite you can populate the tank with one Betta and use Prime every other day to keep the ammonia converted to harmless ammonium.
I also recommend getting some floating plants for security. Hornwort, Anacharis/Elodea, Water Sprite, Duckweed are all good ammonia eaters. See the plant section for more suggestions.
Hallyx: i actually asked around and read reviews and bought Stress Zyme... actually just got home from Petsmart round 30mins ago. i just bought it so i'm going to try it out. it cant hurt anything since it is meant to boost the nitrogen cycle. and i don't have Dr. tim's product's around here sooo Stress Zyme or Seachem Stability were my choices; i chose Stress Zyme because it looked and seemed more easy and helpful with speeding up cycles. i will dose it tonight and get back to yall tomorrow for an update!
i heard Stress Zyme is a great product so why not try it
i also will consider getting some floaty plants to add hiding spots and secure places.
AND yes, my ammo usually winds down to inbetween .25ppm and 0ppm in 3 days. but i usually test the water daily. my nitrites havent increased at all, staying at 0 which is good :3.
Last edited by bettaluver14; 05-22-2013 at 08:18 PM.
One of the things that OldFishLady had to drum into my head (because I am am advocate of fishless cycling) is that bacteria grow or diminish to process the exact amount of ammonia they are provided. In practice, this means that most of us who perform a fishless cycle wind up with much more bacteria than is needed by the stock. The bacteria actually winds up dying back.
Stresszyme is an excellent product which will probably help your cycle. It's been a valuable tool for many years. If your nitrite is 0.0ppm and your nitrate increases every week, you're effectively cycled. My ammonia consistently reads >0.0ppm. I think it's just my lights and my eyes. I've noticed the API color chart varies from kit to kit.
Throw in some plants and stock your tank, already.