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Old 11-23-2010, 09:22 AM   #1 
julesAI
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5 gal cycling question

My little betta buddy, Marty, is being patient awaiting his new larger home... I'm a different story, however. I'm not sure if if I should do a major water change and switch to pure ammonia or fish food or just be patient.

5 gallon Eclipse corner tank with filter (one of those foam pads and the bio-wheel)

1 live plant (petite anubias)

Baseline from tap: ph 7.5; ammonia .5

Began fishless cycle using raw fish on Nov 7.

Ammonia quickly reached 8.0. Took out the raw fish per another thread I read. Ammonia has stayed that high and the nitrites have remained at .5

Using liquid test for ammonia. API test strips for nitrite and nitrate.

I added a Hydro Theo 50w heater on Nov 20th. Still no change.

Any other info you need?

Thanks kindly.
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Old 11-23-2010, 11:22 AM   #2 
CatherineMPLS
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A pH of 7.5-8 is ideal for these bacteria to grow.

With the ammonia at 8ppm you shouldn't need to add any more at this point.
But, when you see your ammonia go down to 1ppm, then add more to bring it back to 3-5ppm. You need to keep feeding the "ammonia > nitrite converting" bacteria while the "nitrite > nitrate converting" bacteria grow.

I'm not too familiar with the "raw fish" method though.
I used household ammonia.

I also added 2 pulverized fish flakes (literally TWO flakes - you want the amount of a grain of rice) to give the bacteria the phosphate and other trace elements they need to grow. (I got a free sample of tropical flakes with my tank and used those.) Phosphate deficiencies are known to cause the cycle to stall and/or stop. You can also use 1-2 drops of a pH down solution, if you have it.


Does your heater have a thermostat?
If so, what temp do you have it set to?
Bacteria grow much faster at higher temps. When I cycled, I cranked mine up to 85 degrees F.

Also, water surface agitation helps a lot too.
If the water is somewhat still, try adjusting the water level in the tank to create more.
This will add more oxygen, which the bacteria need to grow.

Another note: Keep lights off to prevent an algae bloom; the bacteria don't need light to grow anyways.

Last edited by CatherineMPLS; 11-23-2010 at 11:32 AM.
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Old 11-23-2010, 11:37 AM   #3 
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Thanks, Catherine. The temperature is at 80 degrees. I'll turn it up per your suggestion.

The bio-wheel filter thingie provides some surface agitation.

It just seems that in everything I've read the nitrites should start rising by now... but I guess it has only been about two weeks!

Sounds like patience is needed. :)
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Old 12-01-2010, 06:55 PM   #4 
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Things have finally started to happen! Patience is its own reward, I guess.

Tonight the ammonia looks to be around 1.0ppm, the nitrites are at around 10 ppm, and nitrates at 160ppm. I hope I am reading these little cards right!

What a cool process.
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Old 12-01-2010, 09:29 PM   #5 
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Get a liquid test kit, the strips can be sketchy
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Old 12-03-2010, 01:26 AM   #6 
wallywestisthebest333
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I've read that when the ammonia is above 4.0ppm that the bacteria can't survive.

doing a small water change should help.=]

Good luck with your cycle! =]
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Old 12-03-2010, 06:24 PM   #7 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wallywestisthebest333 View Post
I've read that when the ammonia is above 4.0ppm that the bacteria can't survive.

doing a small water change should help.=]

Good luck with your cycle! =]
Thank you for responding. I do appreciate that! But I'm totally confused by your kind advice. My ammonia is no longer above 4.0ppm but at (no longer 1pmm) .25ppm. Are you saying I should still do a water change before the nitrites fall to zero? Or the nitrites will never fall to zero because my ammonia was once 8.0ppm?

My nitrites and nitrates seem to be having at each other... nitrates at around 10ppm and nitrates at 160-200ppm.

kind regards,
julie
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Old 12-04-2010, 05:59 PM   #8 
wallywestisthebest333
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as long as it's below 4ppm it should theoretically be fine but I'm no expert. :P My cycling hasn't been going well either.

So did your chunk of fish mold or is it just mine? o_O;

I'd PM OldFishLady if you have a question that you're really not sure about and can't get any info from the forums. =]
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Old 12-04-2010, 06:12 PM   #9 
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I did get some very nice advice up there near top of the thread. I added a heater based on that. And then I reported in that everything seemed to be moving along but had card reading anxiety. Ammonia is way down, nitrites are still high but I do have nitrates at work.

Re. the raw fish... nah, it didn't mold: I removed my fish after a week when the ammonia was 8ppm. I had read this thread here and followed that advice.

This is certainly the first time I've ever cycled a tank "properly." It does cause some anxiousness for a newbie... trying to be patient for my Betta's new home so I can get him out of that tiny tank he is in!

Kind regards. Thanks for the pointer to a wise fish lady to PM!
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Old 12-04-2010, 06:56 PM   #10 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by julesAI View Post
I did get some very nice advice up there near top of the thread. I added a heater based on that. And then I reported in that everything seemed to be moving along but had card reading anxiety. Ammonia is way down, nitrites are still high but I do have nitrates at work.

Re. the raw fish... nah, it didn't mold: I removed my fish after a week when the ammonia was 8ppm. I had read this thread here and followed that advice.

This is certainly the first time I've ever cycled a tank "properly." It does cause some anxiousness for a newbie... trying to be patient for my Betta's new home so I can get him out of that tiny tank he is in!

Kind regards. Thanks for the pointer to a wise fish lady to PM!
XD I read the entire thread already. I know about those posts. =]

I didn't mean that great info hadn't been shared in this thread already. =P The first couple of response posts have awesome reliable info in them! =]

I just meant if you have another question in the future that for some reason no one can give you any info on, then OFL might have an answer for you. =]

Thanks for the thread. =] I'm a lot less worried about my own tank now. =]

Last edited by wallywestisthebest333; 12-04-2010 at 06:59 PM.
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