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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
So, I've had my cycling tank set up now for about a week and a half. I dosed it pretty heavily with betta flakes. My question is, can too much ammonia hinder the growth of the ammonia-converting bacteria? I've got readings now of at least 8.0ppm, and it hasn't gone down ANY over the past several days, despite having several lives plants in the tank as well. For the first few days of the cycle, I only dosed it lightly, getting my ammonia up to .50ppm. Then, I read somewhere that someone recommended a dosage of about half a cap full of flakes, so I did so. Then a few days later, I added more (about a 1/4 cap full that time). Did I waaaaay over do it? Should I do a partial water change?

In case anyone wants to ask: My live plants are wisteria and live/growing bulbs (waterlily and aponogeton). I used to have two onion bulbs, two java fern, more wisteria, and a C plant... can't remember what its called. Its not cabomba. I mentioned it somewhere in a previous post of mine, so I'll go and see if I can't find it.

Edit: Compacta is the other plant that I have.
 

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I would do a water change 5 ppm + causes bad bacteria to grow. The type that converts nitrates back into nitrites
 

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.... 5 ppm + causes bad bacteria to grow. The type that converts nitrates back into nitrites
I've been doing quite a lot of research about this lately, but haven't run across this interesting fact. Would you please give us more information on this?

You may have gone a little overboard on the food, Watty. Hard to say how much, because the color increment between 4.0ppm and 8.0ppm is very close. In any case, as you haven't added any live bacteria to your cycle, you shouldn't expect to see any drop in ammonia (preceding a rise in nitrites) for several more weeks, at least.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Drat. Well, I did do a partial water change (less than 50%) and I'm certain that its at least 8.0ppm as the color is so dark, and changes so rapidly (less than a minute). I didn't realize it would take several weeks for just the first step. I thought it would only take a few per step. I guess my patience will really be put to the test then!
 

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I didn't realize it would take several weeks for just the first step. I thought it would only take a few per step. I guess my patience will really be put to the test then!
I'm sorry I didn't make this clear. Unless you can add live nitrifying bacteria, you'll have to rely on it literally falling from the air. This can take over a month in the best of conditions. Once they start multiplying (doubling every three days) and your ammonia starts to drop, you're just days away from being cycled.

One vulture to another perched on a dead tree: "Patience, hell, I'm gonna kill something."
 

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Discussion Starter #7
XD Well, I might have to go get some of that bacteria in a bottle. Just to see if adding some might speed it up. I have to pick up some more conditioner anyway, as I'm running out. Plus, I like wandering around PetCo :D

If it hasn't hit my tank by payday next week, I'll have to see if I can't find the smallest bottle available. Anyone had any luck with some of the brands out there?
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I've done two more water changes today, and finally managed to bring my ammonia levels down to a manageable level of 4.0ppm. I did about 70% each time, and on the last two I used my gravel vac to suck up some crud on the bottom (some of it from my live plants, other bits from my bulbs, and some of it is probably food). I don't have my tank really stocked with live plants, so they won't absorb all this ammonia quickly, leaving some of it for the bacteria.

If my ammonia levels start to drop (not rapidly) to 2.0ppm, and there's no nitrite yet, should I hit it again with betta flakes? And if there is nitrite, should I leave it alone, or hit it again?
 

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do you have an established tank? if you do put some of the filter material in the cycling tank, or a decoration or even some substrate, it will introduce some of the bacteria you want and help speed things up (i usually just take some gravel from another tank)
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Nope, no established tanks. I have two: One that's occupied (uncycled) and one that I'm trying to cycle. I wish there was someone I knew up here who had an established tank so I might be able to steal some gravel from them, or something. But, I don't. The faster I can get my cycle set up, the faster I'll be comfortable with my betta, as I've just had all sorts of problems with the 3 gallon he's in.
 

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If my ammonia levels start to drop (not rapidly) to 2.0ppm, and there's no nitrite yet, should I hit it again with betta flakes?
Yes.
And if there is nitrite, should I leave it alone, or hit it again?
Keep dosing until both ammonia and nitrite return to 0.0 within a day or so after dosing. By that point your nitrates should have peaked.

Do a big change to cut nitrate and you're done.

Watty, would you post a write-up here: http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/...ts-accessories/cycle-logs-104242/#post1116183

Thank you.
 
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