I'm attempting to cycle my ten gallon using fish food. It has no live plants, is heated and filtered.
Here's the problem:
I've been feeding the tank for about 4 weeks now, and I have seen nothing but ammonia levels between 2 and 4ppm. My tank is now disgusting because of all the rotting food. I changed the filter one week ago and nothing changed.
Is this normal? How long should I see high ammonia levels before the nitrite starts to make its move and ammonia drops off? Can I clean my tank or is that going to throw everything off completely?
My filter system has two "traps". One is the replaceable filter cartridge and the other is a permanent cartridge which accumulates the beneficial bacteria. I feel like leaving the replaceable cartridge in when it's full and dirty might overload the whole thing?
Have you considered doing fish-in? You seem to have all you need to test your ammonia, so in essence, the only difference between that and what youre doing now is more frequent water changes and checks :<
If youre willing to restart, then do what you think you should.
People use the shrimp because it constantly adds ammonia, which makes it easier. It smells though. (Naturally)
Id say add a cup, maybe? Not sure, tbh! Just dont over-do it, I guess, and monitor it. Wait for nitrites and whatnot.
I'm really hesitant to do fish-in. The first time I set up my sorority I did it fish-in but didn't monitor things properly and had a lot of problems. I don't want to lose any of my girls when they go in.
Maybe I should start over. I'm just not sure what's happening, since as soon as I started to add the fish food, the ammonia went way up and has stayed there, with nitrites and nitrates reading zero constantly.
It takes time... Have you considered adding stem plants (like anacharis, ludwigia, water sprite, hornwort, etc) to help speed up that cycle?
Ive only ever done fish-in, but with plants to help me it usually only takes about 1-3 weeks. It keeps the fish safer with the plants, because they eat up the ammonia while still allowing it to cycle out.
(Ive done fish in...get ready....15 times in 2 tanks over the course of 6 months x__X) I move a lot!
I've seriously considered doing real plants, but I would have to get all new substrate and I have this tank completely decked out in pantyhose-tested fakes and decorations . I just don't have money right now to go back to square one tank-wise.
EEEKK! When you're doing fish-in, how often do you do your water changes?