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Fishless cycle help

justin85

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1 Jul 2012
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I need to run the last 2 days of results passed you guys as something has happened I was not expecting.

results.jpg



Ok, so as you can see i dosed the ammonia back up to 4ppm yesterday, and it has already gone back down to 0, wasn't expecting that, the other levels are sky high so I am guessing I should carry on dosing untill nitrite drop's, but should I do a water change to bring down the nirtrates ?
 

Tim Harrison

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That is perfectly normal what has happened is that nitrification is well under way. Nitrite, and nitrate are becoming higher because denitrification is now also well under way; nitrates will not kill your fish.

It's all part of the process keep monitoring it until nitrite levels are around zero.
 

san-ho-zay

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I've done a few fishless cycles and the ammonia does disappear all of a sudden around the end of the first week. In my experience you can really cut back on the ammonia dose now. The nitrite is the slow part. I think last time I went down to a 2ppm dose but only every three days. You won't lose the capacity to consume ammonia and you'll save having to do lots of big water changes because the nitrite is climbing too fast. Expect another two weeks before its cycled now.

I left one tank a week without adding ammonia and it all worked ok. I think the common recipes do tend to add far too much ammonia. You can still put a 4ppm dose in at the end and see how quickly it disappears.
 

rehman73

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I agree with what troi has said,i took me four weeks to cycle my tank and i saw similar results like yours in nitrogen cycle stage.its been four weeks now my tank is up and runing no issues.
 

LancsRick

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Interesting that you guys a precise on the ammonia you dose - I tend to throw in some crud and leave it for a few weeks, is this not a viable approach? (I do of course test levels at the end before adding any bioload).
 

san-ho-zay

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I never did a precise dose and just used the kit to indicate the presence or absence of ammonia/nitrite. IIRC one teaspoon of typical household ammonia per 25 litres gives approximately 4mg/l. I never worried about anything more accurate than teaspoons and half teaspoons and only topped up ammonia after the kit showed zero. Very much dose and let it get on with it.
 

Iain Sutherland

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justin85 said:
Whitey89 said:
Clive's going to tell you off :lol:

Tell me off ? lol

Thanks for all the replys, I just wasn't expecting the ammonia to drop so soon. I still need to rasie my PH and GH and KH but i guess doing that now is pointless because i will need to do a massive water change once the cycle is complete.

tell you off for not burning your guess kits yet ;)
 

justin85

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easerthegeezer said:
justin85 said:
Whitey89 said:
Clive's going to tell you off :lol:

Tell me off ? lol

Thanks for all the replys, I just wasn't expecting the ammonia to drop so soon. I still need to rasie my PH and GH and KH but i guess doing that now is pointless because i will need to do a massive water change once the cycle is complete.

tell you off for not burning your guess kits yet ;)


Am i missing somthing here ? What test kit should i be using
 

Nealeg

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21 Feb 2013
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I'm just starting out with my first fish-less cycle and I think this thread will help me understand the process. My goal is to eventually keep shrimp as my tank is only 30L but before I introduce the shrimp I want to establish a good planted environment and get a good understanding of what is good an bad practice with both water management and types of plants that are suited to the environment that I create.

My first question:- After I have decided on my tank design/layout with bog-wood and substrate, can I then add the plants and then fill the tank with water? and do I then add my tap water purifier ( I was intending using Seachem Prime)? My second question is what do I do next?
 

mark4785

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4 Jan 2011
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Derbyshire, UK.
I'm just starting out with my first fish-less cycle and I think this thread will help me understand the process. My goal is to eventually keep shrimp as my tank is only 30L but before I introduce the shrimp I want to establish a good planted environment and get a good understanding of what is good an bad practice with both water management and types of plants that are suited to the environment that I create.

My first question:- After I have decided on my tank design/layout with bog-wood and substrate, can I then add the plants and then fill the tank with water? and do I then add my tap water purifier ( I was intending using Seachem Prime)? My second question is what do I do next?

If I were you I'd complete your fishless cycle without anything in the aquarium other than dechlorinated water. Adding pure ammonia to an aquarium encourages all sorts of algae formations so you don't want your substrate and other structures getting clogged up with that stuff.

I'm not sure how knowledgable you are so I will assume you know nothing:

- Add tap water to a 10 litre bucket and de-chlorinate the water (I use Aqua Safe). Try and ensure the water is 28 degrees C as an ammonia cycle is most efficient at this temperature. Maintain this temperature in the aquarium at all times during the fishless cycle. Add this water to the aquarium. Repeat this step until the aquarium is full.

- Add a 1.25ml solution of ammonia that will allow your ammonia concentration to reach 4 ppm in a 30 litre body of water.

- Re-add 1.25ml every time the ammonia level drops to 0 ppm (it will typically drop to 0 ppm on the 7th day after you first began to add ammonia to the water).

- Now begin testing for ammonia, nitrite and nitrate every day, continually adding the 1.25ml of ammonia every time the ammonia level drops to 0 ppm.

- If your nitrate level goes above 80 ppm, do a water change to reduce it as a high nitrate level can interrupt the nitrsomonas and nitrobacter cycling bacteria.

- Once your ammonia and nitrite levels reduce to 0ppm every 12 hours for a period of 2 weeks, you can official certify yourself as having a cycled aquarium.

- Remove all of the water from the aquarium to remove any excess nitrates, set the heater to an appropriate temperature (based on what you want to stock in there), add the substrate and plants and re-fill with fully de-chlorinated water.

- Do a check of your ammonia, nitrite and nitrate levels to ensure that they are 0 ppm, 0ppm and 10-25 ppm respectively.

- Now add your fish within 24 hours
 

Spnl

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21 Mar 2013
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I thought I would add my own experience, having just set up a new planted tank. I last had fish tanks in the late 80s when things were very different. We all knew about new tank syndrome and maturing filters, but I don't remember anything about most of the stuff discussed here, such as CO2 injection, even substrates, which is just as we'll as I used under gravel filters!
So fast fwd 25 yrs and the aquarium world is a very different and much better place.

I read all about fishless cycling and that is what I intended to do with my new tank, using basically the same approach as Mark4785 described above. And if I were setting up, say, a cichlid tank, that is what I would still do, but planted tanks are different.

I set up my Jewel Rio 300, about 350l with 7.5l Tropica substrate topped with gravel and planted it quite heavily, mostly with cuttings, bare rooted etc, and filled it with de chlorinated tap water on day 0.

Let it settle overnight then tested water with a brand new API Master test kit on day 1.
NH3 0.25 ppm, NO2 0, NO3 10-20.
I wasn't expecting the ammonia, so repeated the test, same result and tested tap water, which was neg, so I reckon the result was good. Now realise this NH3 must have come from substrate and/ or plants.

Obviously no need to add ammonia. Went away for a week.

Day 11 NH3 0.5, NO2 2ppm.
Day 14 NH3 0, NO2 5ppm
Day 21 NH3 0, NO2 1
Day 22 NH3 0, NO2 0

Repeated test on day 23, NO2 still 0 so did 50% water change and added 11 neon tetras. They looked very happy so a few days later I retested the water to confirm NO2 still 0 and added more fish this way over next 2 wks.

By 5-6 wks from putting water in a brand new tank with brand new filters, no seeding etc, I had 42 very healthy fish. I'll be the first to admit this was a bit quick.

Now about 7 wks, no losses, plants looking great, very happy with the whole thing. So I think I successfully cycled this tank by doing absolutely nothing!

Lessons:
Planted tanks are different. No need to add ammonia, just time.

Test kits not completely useless, but helpful if used carefully and cynically. Run simple checks if the results look odd, and look at your tank. I wasn't a bit surprised that my NO2 was 0 on day 22. Snails that must have come in on the plants were multiplying, I could see a few infusoria amongst plants close to the glass. The tank was starting to come alive.

Everything is easier in a big tank.
AND
No protocol should followed blindly, at least not when you are dealing with complex biological systems like aquaria.

I have read so many threads here and elsewhere where people seem to have had a terrible time with new tanks, so I hope this might reassure someone.

Steve
 

dw1305

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Hi all,
The first point is that ammonia (NH3) is highly toxic, and I wouldn't recommend adding more of it than occurs naturally to any tank. The pro's and con's of fishless cycling come up quite often as a subject, and have generated a large amount of debate, much of it fairly acrimonious, and I no longer post on some threads because of this. This was, and is, my position on it: <Cycling a planted tank | UK Aquatic Plant Society>

Without going over too much old ground, the other 2 major points are:
1. Test Kits tend to be unreliable in aquarium situations, mainly because there are lots of different ions present in the water that can interfere with the test result.

For some ions, like NO3-, this is particularly true and this affects ion selective electrodes as well.

Any dissolved gases are problematic because they are in equilibrium with the atmospheric conc. This means that we can't accurately test for NH3, DO or CO2, so we have to use a drop checker etc.

Some other parameters, such as pH, are more complex then they at first appear, which means that a pH value, even if accurate, needs some interpretation.
2. Filter cycling is much less relevant to the planted tank than an un-planted tank which relies of the microbial nitrification of NH3/NH4+ > NO2- > NO3-.

Plant/microbes systems are about an order of magnitude more efficient in ammonia removal, with plants also removing NO2- and NO3-.

There are a number of reasons for this increased efficiency, the primary ones being that the plants them selves remove fixed nitrogen and produce oxygen. Their secondary advantage is that they produce a much larger area for nitrification to occur in. Rather than relying on the filter media, you have the plant surfaces, and particularly the rhizosphere, the oxygenated zone around the roots within the substrate where nitrification reactions can occur.
 

biffster

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28 Apr 2010
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northeast uk
i can do a fish less cycle in a lot less than this with using ammonia a evolution aquarium pure
 

biffster

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FILTER MATURING

5/4/013 9.44 added 40ml of pure ammonia to a three foot tank 23.37 gallons to make it 4 ppm of ammonia
will test 24 hours later and see what results are will retest and make back up to 4ppm

6/4/013 tested tank and found no change within the first 24 hours will test again in another

24 hours will also test the ph .tank readings still 4 ppm

7/4/013 test tank for a drop in ammonia reading and re dose back to 4 ppm if needed (day three and no
drop in ammonia level still at 4 ppm will test and re dose if have to ) tested ph 7.6

8/4/013 test for drop in ammonia level no drop in ammonia level still at 4ppm going to add some
evolution pure aquarium then test tomorrow and see if there is a drop in the ammonia level

9/4/013 tested for ammonia after adding evolution aquarium pure found out it dropped from 4 ppm to 2 ppm within a 24 hour period will dose with 15 ml of pure ammonia to bring back up to 4 ppm will also add 4 pieces of evolution aquarium pure will test again in 24 hours

10/4/013 tested for ammonia the reading was 0.50ppm after 24 hours redosed upto 4ppm by adding 20ml of pure ammonia (added 4 pieces of evolution pure aquarium) will test again in 24 hours will also test for nitrite and nitrate then will test ph for stability

11/4.013 tested for ammonia the reading was 0ppm also tested the nitrite levels the reading was 5ppm of nitrite re dosed the tank with 20 ml of pure ammonia and added 2 pieces of evolution pure aquarium will test again in 24 hours

12/4/013 tested for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate and ph, ammonia reading 0ppm, nitrite reading 5.0ppm, nitrate reading 160ppm and ph 6.6..redosed with 20ml of pure ammonia upto 4ppm and added 4 pieces of evolution pure aquarium test again in 24 hours

13/4/013 tested for ammonia nitrite, nitrate and ph...earlier on today put quarter of a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda in the tank to alter the ph...the ph reading is still 6.6.ammonia reading 0,0 .nitrite reading is 2ppm, nitrate reading is 10ppm, redosed the tank with 20ml of pure ammonia and added 4 pieces of evolution aquarium pure test again in 24 hours

14/4/013 tested for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate and ph..ammonia reading 0ppm, nitrite reading 2.0pmm, nitrate 5.0ppm and ph 6.6...added a full teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda which brought the ph up to 7.6...redosed the tank with 20ml of pure ammonia and added 4 pieces of evolution pure aquarium test again in 24 hours

15/4/013 tested for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate and ph...ammonia 0ppm, nitrite 5.0ppm, nitrate 5.0ppm and the ph 7.2...redosed with 20ml of pure ammonia and added 4 pieces of evolution pure aquarium test again in 24 hours

16/4/013 tested for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate and ph...ammonia 0ppm, nitrite 2.0ppm, nitrate 5.0ppm and ph 6.8...added half teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda to bring the ph up, the reading went up to 7.2...redosed with 20ml of pure ammonia test again in 24 hours

17/4/013 tested for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate and ph...readings looked promising on all perimeters..ammonia 0ppm, nitrite 0ppm, nitrate 0ppm and the ph 7.2...added 20ml of pure ammonia to keep the filters active test again in 24 hours

18/4/013 tested for all the perimeters 0ppm on the ammonia, nitrite and nitrate, 7.0 ph..redosed with 20ml of pure ammonia..test again in 24 hours and do a water change

19/4/013 tested for all perimeters 0ppm on ammonia nitrite and nitrate ph 7.0 done water change the conclusion
is that the filters are now cycled and are ready for use on tanks i am moving them on to tanks to keep the filters
alive due to the fact that i can no longer find a source of ammonia so this will probably the last time i mature filters
this way which i find is a far friendly way than do a fish in cycle this is my sole findings i hope this can be helpful to some one



COPYRIGHT @A.COAKES 5/4/2013
 
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It works as biffster suggested. However, I personally would lower the ammonia dose to half the dose during the nitrIte spike as this can go out of hand and be in the hundreds of ppm, considerably slowing the cycle as this is the longer stage of the cycle. Or just do water changes when the nitrItes spike, then redose ammonia. After the nitrite spikes you can bump the ammonia again for a while if you are intending to fully stock the tank all at once. And it's good to test for a week that the levels indeed go down daily to 00s


I still need to rasie my PH and GH and KH but i guess doing that now is pointless because i will need to do a massive water change once the cycle is complete.

Why do you need to raise the Ph/Gh and Kh after the cycle? Is it needed for your fish?
It's not pointless to monitor Ph and Kh during fishless cycle.
The large ammonia amounts being converted acidifies the water to a point where the Ph can crash and the nitrifying bacteria you've grown so far doesn't function properly(below 6.5) so baking soda or water changes can combat that to bring the buffering capacity of the water back up during cycling. My water is hard so I never had issues that way but the Kh would go from 8 to 4 in no time and it's quite common in softer water to have constant Ph crashes, during which you'll notice the cycle to stall and not move at all.
 
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