Originally Posted by kuklachica
I have a Whisper Power filter, and the tank is set at 82*.
I did do all the crazy shaking and dropping correctly... wow - the nitrates are a pain!
When I do water changes, should I vacuum the bottom as well, or leave the waste so it it starts breaking down?
Can I add stress-zyme at this point or is it too late/not worth it?
I would recommend not vacuuming the gravel at all until your cycle is complete(zero Ammonia, zero NitrIte, and a NitrAte reading). Don't touch anything on the filter either; that includes the mechanical filtration (filter floss pads or whatever the whisper uses). Just leave it all until your done...any disturbance could result in a longer period of time for your cycle to complete. The bacteria you're slowly cultivating lives on the surface area that your substrate and filter provide. Just keep up with your partial water changes to reduce the stress on the fish as much as possible.
What is your PH? Ammonia toxicity depends heavily on how acidic or alkaline you're water is. Lower PH (more acidic) results in less toxic ammonia, and a higher PH (more alkaline) makes it much more so.
Here is a chart so when you test for ammonia you can gauge how toxic it will be to you're fish, thus allowing you to better gauge how long you can go before changing the water.
82 degree's is a great temp to cycle tanks. In my experience the higher the temp, the quicker everything seems to happen.
I added stress-zyme to my first tank and it did absolutely nothing unfortunately. :( The only way to cheat is if you know someone with an already cycled tank. You can take some of they're filter media and use it to seed yours. I've done this successfully multiple times with my tanks in the past.
Keep us posted!