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Old 04-16-2014, 08:53 PM   #1 
rpadgett37
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Cycle going nowhere - I'm stumped

There isn't really a good place to put this question, so here seems the best place.

I understand the nitrogen cycle pretty well, but I've run into something that has me stumped.

First the question: Is there a direct relationship between KH and the growth of Nitrifying Bacteria?

Here's why I ask: I am cycling a tank at the moment with ammonia. I have a starting point of 5ppm ammonia concentration in the water.

The starting water parameters are PH 7.9, KH 1dK and temp 78-80 degrees.

I have seeded the tank with Bacteria, a couple of different products actually (Seachem Stability for 7 days, then Nutrafin Safe Start Plus on day 8). After 9 days, I am seeing no movement whatsoever either in ammonia or nitrite levels. I've used tests by API and Nutrafin each time I measure to be sure I am getting accurate measurements. The tank I cycled previously showed nitrites on day 3 after seeding the tank, and I am stumped as to why nothing is happening in this tank.

Someone suggested to me that my low kH levels are inhibit nitrifying bacteria growth and function. I know that as PH values lessen, nitrifying bacteria growth and function slow and eventually stop altogether at around PH 6, and that there is a direct relationship between PH and KH. As my starting kH is so low, this comment piqued my interest.

The only problem is I can find nothing on the internet that corroborates a relationship between kh and these bacteria. Only about PH. Now I know that nitrifying bacteria use (among other things) carbon in the water to do their thing, so does that mean if the carbon source in the water is either very limited or non existent, they stop working or fail to grow at all?

Of course I may be missing the boat entirely, in which case, I'd love to know what is going on. There you have it. Your comments and experience are welcome.

Last edited by rpadgett37; 04-16-2014 at 09:00 PM.
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Old 04-16-2014, 10:49 PM   #2 
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Boy, I ask the damnedest questions, don't I?... lol. I really gotta stop that

What I really want to know is if anybody has any ideas about why my cycle isn't going anywhere. Ph and Temp are good, ammonia in the water, bacteria seeded.... Nothings happening after 9 days.
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Old 04-17-2014, 08:04 PM   #3 
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Would love to see if anyone has an answer to your question. I've been unable to cycle a tank after over 2 months. And I use store-bought drinking water and am starting to wonder if it's the water's "lack of hardness" or being "too pure" that's keeping the cycle from progressing.
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Old 04-17-2014, 08:53 PM   #4 
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I'm following this thread, too. I had a 2.5 gal that didn't cycle in 6 weeks after getting a sponge filter. I test for ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates, but I haven't tested for pH, hardness, etc. I figured I didn't need to test for them, since most folks here recommend not messing with those anyway. But I am curious to know if there is something that makes my water more difficult to cycle.

Where are those chemistry experts? :)
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Old 04-17-2014, 10:39 PM   #5 
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Did you test for nitrAtes? With all the jump start stuff you've added, if the tank went and cycled itself already, you'd only see nitrAtes. If ammonia is still showing, maybe it's too much for the BB to handle, as it's settling into a newly started cycle.
I don't know about KH affecting a cycle, so can't help you there. I just figgured I'd see if you were testing for the nitrates, since you didn't mention those, just nitrites.
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Old 04-18-2014, 11:50 AM   #6 
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Your ammonia starting point is too high. Aim for 3ppm. That's what's inhibiting the cycle.
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Old 04-18-2014, 02:02 PM   #7 
rpadgett37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Betta Nut View Post
Did you test for nitrAtes? With all the jump start stuff you've added, if the tank went and cycled itself already, you'd only see nitrAtes. If ammonia is still showing, maybe it's too much for the BB to handle, as it's settling into a newly started cycle.
I don't know about KH affecting a cycle, so can't help you there. I just figgured I'd see if you were testing for the nitrates, since you didn't mention those, just nitrites.
That's a fair question, and yes, I have measured Nitrates daily. Always 0. I wouldn't expect to see any just yet as the ammonia concentration in the water remains constant.

Quote:
Your ammonia starting point is too high. Aim for 3ppm. That's what's inhibiting the cycle.
A guy at my LFS also suggested the ammonia levels are too high, that it may have shocked the nitrifying bacteria; however, I am having an extended conversation with someone on a different forum about this topic. He's clearly very knowledgeable about it, and he told me the ammonia levels are not the issue.

In no way do I mean that as an insult givemethatfish. I am sure that you are also experienced in this area. I'm not ruling the ammonia level out just yet, but I want to see where this conversation goes.

Also, I restarted the cycle that is starting with these parameters. KH 3dk, PH 7.4 (came down after adding the sodium bi-carbonate to the water), Temp same. Have not yet added ammonia due to the extended conversations and ideas I am reading and talking about.

I appreciate all of the input and I am seriously considering each piece of information that comes in. I feel like I am gradually zooming in on the answer here. I'll post what I find.
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Old 04-18-2014, 02:29 PM   #8 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1RainbowBetta View Post
Would love to see if anyone has an answer to your question. I've been unable to cycle a tank after over 2 months. And I use store-bought drinking water and am starting to wonder if it's the water's "lack of hardness" or being "too pure" that's keeping the cycle from progressing.
If you have been really stuck, I would suggest trying Dr Tim's One and Only. I was stuck for three weeks and ordered a bottle. My ammonia was going down due to evaporation or plant consumption. The next day I had nitrites. After 3 weeks of Dr Tim's, my cycle is almost done. ;D I wish I ordered it from the start. It definitely gave me the boost that I needed and it isn't the type of bacteria in a bottle that you have to keep adding back into the tank (redosing). Maybe I should start a thread on Dr. Tims. It's wonderful stuff, especially when you have no access to seeded media or when nothing seems to be happening.
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Old 04-18-2014, 02:58 PM   #9 
givemethatfish
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What?? Nobody knows more about anything than I do!!!
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Old 04-18-2014, 03:04 PM   #10 
rpadgett37
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Originally Posted by givemethatfish View Post
what?? Nobody knows more about anything than i do!!!
lol...
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