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Old 07-16-2013, 11:05 PM   #1 
jman828
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How do you know if your cycle is stalled?

Now that I understand the concept of cycling a tank unlike the first time I did it (just winging it with a lot of PWC), I've gone fishless this time. But I've been reading posts of people saying theirs "stall" because their levels are high. I've noticed mine getting really high really fast...every day all the levels go a lot higher sometimes doubling. Currently, my ammonia is almost off the chart about 7.5-8ppm Nitrite is off the chart so >5ppm same for Nitrate so >160ppm. Today is day 11 of the cycle. So, what is stalling and how can you tell. I'm assuming you would stop it by doing a PWC, correct me if I'm wrong. Thanks :)
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Old 07-16-2013, 11:09 PM   #2 
LebronTheBetta
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Oh my, oh my. Your levels are so high!

Your cycle will 'stall' when ammonia and nitrite are over 5ppm. The level has to be really high that there is too much ammonia overwhelming the beneficial bacteria that they will stop eating and die off. Either that or the toxicity just kills the BB. You can tell if it's stalled when the levels will stay the same.

I would do an 80% change right away. Is there any ammonia, nitrite, or nitrate in your tap water?
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Old 07-16-2013, 11:17 PM   #3 
Flyby Stardancer
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How are you performing the fishless cycle? How much ammonia are you adding and how are you adding it? Those levels are very high!
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Old 07-17-2013, 12:09 AM   #4 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LebronTheBetta View Post
Oh my, oh my. Your levels are so high!

Your cycle will 'stall' when ammonia and nitrite are over 5ppm. The level has to be really high that there is too much ammonia overwhelming the beneficial bacteria that they will stop eating and die off. Either that or the toxicity just kills the BB. You can tell if it's stalled when the levels will stay the same.

I would do an 80% change right away. Is there any ammonia, nitrite, or nitrate in your tap water?
There is none in my water, I probably just overdid it. Does that mean I have to start over (the BB have to grow all over again) or will it just quit stalling an resume from where it was.
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Originally Posted by Flyby Stardancer View Post
How are you performing the fishless cycle? How much ammonia are you adding and how are you adding it? Those levels are very high!
I'm using prawns (as I'm away a lot for July) so I didn't have I be there to add ammonia. I added just a little at first but it only had 1ppm ammonia for days so I put more in. I must've added way to much, I will take most of it out, do a water change and keep it lower! I really didn't think that was normal thinking back to last time.
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Old 07-17-2013, 12:20 AM   #5 
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Okay, yeah, do water changes to get your water levels down to more normal levels.
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Old 07-17-2013, 01:21 PM   #6 
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I just changed about 55-60% of the water, and took out all the prawns. It was getting too out of control as we all know! I should be able to get ammonia in now every day if it needs it. You only dose ammonia once per day no matter what right? I plan to keep ammonia levels around 4ppm (good?). I'll keep testing and do a PWC again if it gets crazy once more. As for now, my new results are:

Ammonia: Hard to read, between 2 and 3 ppm
Nitrite: Still Off The Chart >5ppm (Not nearly as deep a colour, so it's gone down at least)
Nitrate: Really hard to read, I think it's off the chart >160ppm otherwise it's really close to 160ppm.

Should I change more to get the nitrite and nitrate readable?
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Old 07-18-2013, 11:31 AM   #7 
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Okay, I learned from a very experienced member here that nitrite and nitrate do not stall the cycle. Only ammonia above 5ppm does. ^.^ Keep the ammonia around 4ppm until it's fully cycled. The more ammonia the BB eat, the faster they multiply.

Let's try an experiment. Do a water change; any amount you desire. Dose ammonia up to 2ppm-3ppm. NOT 4ppm. Let the BB eat it for a day and test the parameters again. The nitrite and nitrate shouldn't be as high as before; that is my hypothesis. Good luck! :D
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Old 07-18-2013, 12:00 PM   #8 
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Originally Posted by LebronTheBetta View Post
Okay, I learned from a very experienced member here that nitrite and nitrate do not stall the cycle. Only ammonia above 5ppm does. ^.^ Keep the ammonia around 4ppm until it's fully cycled. The more ammonia the BB eat, the faster they multiply.

Let's try an experiment. Do a water change; any amount you desire. Dose ammonia up to 2ppm-3ppm. NOT 4ppm. Let the BB eat it for a day and test the parameters again. The nitrite and nitrate shouldn't be as high as before; that is my hypothesis. Good luck! :D
I was thinking maybe do that but I wasn't sure if it was okay to dose lower. Before your reply, just about 20 minutes ago I changed about 80% just to be safe and the new results are:

Ammonia: 0ppm (went from 2ppm to 0 from yesterday to today before change) I will dose to 2 or 3ppm. But you only dose ammonia once per day right? Even if its consumed before the next day, correct?
Nitrite: Still off the chart >5ppm.
Nitrate: 10ppm

It's really good to know that only ammonia crashes it because it is easy to control the levels just by adding less. Thank you for finding that out. And it looks like I'm in the Nitrite spike right now because my ammonia was gone and nitrtes are still way off the chart but nitrates went down after today's 80% PWC.
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Old 07-18-2013, 12:55 PM   #9 
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Well, I guess not all of the experienced aquarist agree because the ones I've been in contact with say that too high levels for a week or more of ammonia, nitrites or nitrates can stall a cycle. So can too low a Ph. What sized tank is this? If its 10g or less ammonia of 2-3 is sufficient for cycling unless you plan to have really messy fish then you'll want more BB. The extra BB is going to die off once you stock your tank because there will only be enough for the bio load you have. IMO, test once daily & dose ammonia if its 1 or less.
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Old 07-18-2013, 01:23 PM   #10 
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Well, I guess not all of the experienced aquarist agree because the ones I've been in contact with say that too high levels for a week or more of ammonia, nitrites or nitrates can stall a cycle. So can too low a Ph. What sized tank is this? If its 10g or less ammonia of 2-3 is sufficient for cycling unless you plan to have really messy fish then you'll want more BB. The extra BB is going to die off once you stock your tank because there will only be enough for the bio load you have. IMO, test once daily & dose ammonia if its 1 or less.
Good to know... It's a 20Gal.
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