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....has no life....
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I went with fishless cycling for my new tank. If everyone has read general guidance on how much ammonia to add (drops per 10g) in fishless cycling articles, be prepared to dramatically increase the amount for a large tank. I started with 10 drops per 10g. After waiting 10 minutes or so for the water to circulate.....barely a reading for ammonia. I put down the dropper after 250 drops.

To make a long story short, to get the ammonia reading in the 4-5ppm area, I add 6 teaspoons of ammonia. I know this can vary based on the concentration of ammonia in whatever source you are using. Just a FYI. Just got the tank all setup about 12hrs ago. Nothing in it yet but gravel.
 

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Queen Platy
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Try raising the ammonia to 6ppm. I believe it will cycle faster.
 

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....has no life....
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I did bump up the ammonia to 8 teaspoons. We'll see how long nitrites take to show up. I have some seeded material in the tank and in the filter. Hopefully it will help.
 

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Keep taking it nice and slow. I followed the instructions on one of the threads on the forum that said to add 1/2 a cup for a 50g or larger tank. WAAAAAYYYYY too much. I do not know if I will ever get the ammonia levels down. Just kidding! I'll get there, but I think the "faster" method is turning into the "longer" method. lol
 

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If you have added seeded material to your filter it should go pretty quick. I did a 120 gallon tank back in March. I had taken the ceramic rings from two AC 110 and put them in a 75 gallon tank I had running and left them there for about a month. Once I started the 120 gallon I started adding the ammonia and it cycled in about a week. The first two days the ammonia did not drop. Then on the third and 4th day my nitrites when sky high (off the charts of my API kit). I was advised by someone to do a water change to help get out of the nitrite phase and it worked. About two days later ammonia and nitrites were at 0. I could dose it with ammonia to 2 ppm and it would be zero in 12 hours.
 

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....has no life....
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I added 7 teaspoons this morning. Ammonia is hanging in the 5-6ppm range. 0 nitrites and haven't even attempted nitrate test yet. Tank has been going for less than 48hrs.

I'm using a Fluval FX5 for this tank. I took the ceramic biomax from both of my HOB filters on my other tank and put them both in as one of my layers of filtration. I had replacements for my HOB filters that had been sitting in the bottom of my tank for about 10 days - these went into my 2 HOB filters in my other tank to replace what was removed. I also had a nylon bag of gravel from my local fish store that had been in my tank for about a month that now sits in the bottom of the 125g tank.
 

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....has no life....
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
After 4.5 days of fishless cycling I think I detected the start of the nitrites. I say start because I had a slight purple-ish color to my test result against the usual baby blue color - purple being the first color to indicate a nitrate reading. Hopefully what I read is correct and it won't be much longer.
 

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....has no life....
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Nitrite readings confirmed now and a reading of 1. Tomorrow will half the daily dose of ammonia to 3 teaspoons. I have been taking my filter sponges in my Aquaclear 70s on my other tak and rinsing them out in this tank every few days. I think I'm detecting a slight color difference in the nitrate test, but difficult to confirm.
 

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....has no life....
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
It's been nearly six full days and my readings this morning are ammonia 8, nitrite 2, and nitrate 5. This is after a dose of 3 teaspoons of ammonia.
 

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Just curious what size dropper you are using? You said that 250 drops wasn't enough to get the ammonia up so you had to add 6 tea spoons. It seems to me that 250 drops would be way more then 6 tea spoons. Maybe not but just thought about that when i was reading this.
Anyway it sounds like the cycles is going. When I did mine with ammonia my nitrites went off the charts and they wouldn't come down. Several people told me to do a water change (which I didn't think you should do during a fishless cycle). I did one water change and my nitrites dropped down and within a few days they converted to nitrates and it then was cycled. I could dose it to 2 ppm ammonia and within 12 hours ammonia and nitrites would be at zero.
 

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....has no life....
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I actually had a nearly used up ammonia test bottle that I removed the top on and rinsed out and added ammonia.

Readings this morning are ammonia 8, nitrite 5, and nitrate somewhere between 10 and 20 (anyone notice how close the colors are between 10 and 20?). Dosed the tank this morning. Going to stop until I see the ammonia start to decrease.
 

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....has no life....
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Day 10 - ammonia .25, nitrite 5, nitrate 10. For some reason my nitrates decreased. Can't explain it. Anyone ever encounter this? I conduct tests multiple times if the reading is a big change from the previous reading. When I first read 20, I confirmed with another test. Whatever happened, it seems it stalled it a little.
 

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The difference between 10 and 20ppm nitrates with most test kits is probably more a sensitivity/precision of the test itself. Additionally some tests will read more nitrates if nitrItes are high.
 

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How much time passed from when you went from 6 ppm ammonia to .25? It sounds like you are almost there. Like I said at the end of my cycle I could dose my ammonia up to about 2ppm in the evening and the next morning before I went to work it would be back to zero. Its a good feeling.
 

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....has no life....
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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Took about 8 days to get to .25 on ammonia. Seems like the cycle has stalled some. Ammonia is low still, but nitrites don't want to come down. I did about a 30% water change to see if it will help. It brought my nitrites down to a readable level. Will see how it goes from here, I guess. I'm patient. If it takes another week I'm okay with that. Not like I got fish waiting in buckets ready to go in. Ordering my fish through the mail this time anyway.
 

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My cycle went pretty quick because I had some seeded media in the tank. However I did have nitrites that were off the charts. I did a water change like you did and within a few days it was done. Hopefully the water change will get you out of the nitrite phase.
 

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....has no life....
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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Didn't think it would take this long for my tank to cycle (today makes 17 days). My nitrite levels just don't seem to fade at all - even after a 50% water change. Noticed an increase in nitrates this morning. Checked it twice. Hopefully this will signify an eventual decrease in nitrite levels. Would like to order my fish and get them in this weekend.
 

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Didn't think it would take this long for my tank to cycle (today makes 17 days). My nitrite levels just don't seem to fade at all - even after a 50% water change. Noticed an increase in nitrates this morning. Checked it twice. Hopefully this will signify an eventual decrease in nitrite levels. Would like to order my fish and get them in this weekend.
You nitrItes were probably "pegging" the test kit. So lowering of values would not yet register.

Before I started using plants, I would not add food when I added a fish especially that first fish. For a week or so. NitrItes would peg the api test kit (5ppm I think) for a couple of days then drop down to 0. After that I could add food with no spike. I just had to get through that initial spike.

Perhaps you need to stop adding the ammonia for a few days and let the nitrItes drop down. Then try the ammonia again and see if you are over the nitrIte spikes.

But then I don't use fishless cycleing so what do I know. *old dude

my .02
 
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