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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This is my first post to this forum, hello everyone.

I kept tropical fish many years (nearly 50 years ago) and interested in starting up the
hobby again. Things have changed since I last kept fish. Never heard of the aquarium cycle
or used any test kits. However, I just did things based on a schedule my dad taught me
(e.g. water changes etc...)

I have now found an old tank and have started an fishless cycle.
I have de-clorinated the water before placing in the tank

I have added bottled ammonia to 2ppm. I am using the NT Labs water test kit to check parameters.
I am trying bottled bacteria. SeaChem Stabilty.

I've set the temperature of the water to 80F.

I followed the steps for using SeaChem Stabilty and nothing much happened for the first few days

on Day 6 the water test results were:
Ammonia 2.0 ppm
Nitrite 0.5 ppm
Nitrate between 5.0 to 10.0 ppm
PH 7
KH 4
GH 6

on the evening of Day 6 I noticed a BACTERIA BLOOM in the tank.

On Day 7 I tested the water parameters
Ammonia 0 ppm
Nitrite 0 ppm
Nitrate 0 ppm

I am not sure what was going on. I wonder if the bacteria bloom is the good bacteria from SeaChem Stabilty awakening
and consuming all the ammonia. Not sure why the Nitrate level is at zero ?

I also wondered if I was somehow close to the end of the cycle. So planning to re-dose ammonia to 2.0 ppm
and see if it all gets consumed within 24 hours for the next 3 days.

So I re-dosed ammonia and checked with my water test kit and verified it was 2.0 ppm

This morning (DAY 8) I tested the water and these are the results
Ammonia 2.0 ppm
Nitrite 0 ppm
Nitatrate 0 ppm

Also the bacteria bloom is beginning to clear

So I am wondering if anyone on the forum can clarify what is going on. Has the cycle reset itself ?
Has the bacteria bloom helped or hindered the aquarium cycle ?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
sure, no problems with increasing the ammonia level to 3.0

however, I would be pleased if someone could explain the puzzling situation on Day 7 when water parameters read zero for ammonia, nitrite & nitrate.
If ammonia levels were 2.0ppm the previous day and now at 0ppm on day7 I would assume the aquarium had
autotrophic bacteria to consume the ammonia. If so, where has this bacteria gone the following day
as I topped-up the ammonia levels back to 2.0ppm but none seemed to be consumed ?
Also the nitrate levels the previous day were between 5.0 to 10.0 ppm and on day7 they were zero. Why ?

Do you think the cloudiness of the water was due to autotrophic bacteria (SeaChem Stability) or heterotrophic bacteria ?
 

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Pleco n bn breeder n BOSS
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I would forgo the stability till cycle is done. Readings probably zero'ed out as you weren't adding ammonia. When cycling a tank you want to keep adding the ammonia when it starts dropping below 2.0 and bring it back to 3.0. soon you will be showing nitrites, once you start showing nitrates and nitrites will start dropping. The tank will be cycled when you add ammonia to 3.0 and it drops to 0.0 in 24 hours do a large water change (50%) to bring nitrates down. tank will be cycled, add fish but keep an eye on your parameters, and do weekly water changes.
Hope I explained this good enough as I am not that good at explanations.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I always topped up my ammonia when it fell below 2.0 and I did water tests every day so I don't think there was any time for bacteria to die off. So still wondering why nitrite & nitrate levels dropped to zero.
Anyway to update you, I still got nitrite & nitrate levels of zero for the next few days. So decided to start from scratch.

This time I swapped SeaChem Stability for Tetra SafeStart.

The cycle started the same as before, and after a few days I got nitrite & nitrate levels..... but then the same thing happened nitrite & nitrate levels fell to zero and stayed there for the next few days

Was really puzzled so asked the advise of the fish store. They recommended I go back to using SeaChem Stability and also get a bottle of SeaChem Prime as they both work well together

So, hopng I have better luck on my THIRD TRY !

So the 3rd cycle, things happend the same as before, and after a few days I got nitrite & nitrate levels..... but then the same thing happened nitrite & nitrate levels fell to zero and stayed there for the next few days

so what is happening ??? why are the cycles crashing and nitrite & nitrate levels are zeroing after a few days. I am totally puzzled as to what is happening. Can someone help ?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Do you have a lot of plants?
I added a couple of plants and gravel (2cm depth) just so that I don't keep staring at an empty aquarium.

Today I retested and got the same results as yesterday

Ammonia 0.5ppm
Nitrites 0 ppm
Nitrates 0 ppm

I was curious as to why I am getting these results so did further tests

PH 6.5

my initial PH was 7 so what was causing it to lower. I read that aquarium cycles do cause PH to lower and also active bacteria might not populate if the PH is low and recommend PH of 7 or above. So does my lower PH a cause of the stalled/slowed cycle ?

I also tested KH. With the NT Labs test your initial water colour should be blue and you keep adding drops until it turns yellow. With my first drop it was yellow !!!

KH 1 dkh

so wondering if this is stalling my cycle.

to raise my PH I've heard you can use baking soda/bicarbonate of soda or do a water change. Which would you recommend (or with either do) ?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
additional ...

I have some water de-chlorinated with SeaChem PRIME ready to do a water change, so I tested its KH

added the first drop and the water was yellow !

then I tested my tap water

added the first drop and the water was blue

then added the second drop and the water turned yellow

so

de-chlorinate water (via PRIME) KH 1 dkh

tap water KH 2dkh

so it seems I really need something to raise my KH and suspect this might be causing my problems in the aquarium cycle

recommendations please
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
additional ...

I have some water de-chlorinated with SeaChem PRIME ready to do a water change, so I tested its KH

added the first drop and the water was yellow !

then I tested my tap water

added the first drop and the water was blue

then added the second drop and the water turned yellow

so

de-chlorinate water (via PRIME) KH 1 dkh

tap water KH 2dkh

so it seems I really need something to raise my KH and suspect this might be causing my problems in the aquarium cycle

recommendations please
 

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Pleco n bn breeder n BOSS
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No, you don't need to raise ph It will cycle just fine. Lower ph can be caused by out gassing from tap. Take a glass of water, test ph, let stand 24 hours, then test ph again. Add more plants, it will help. don't mess with ph unless you plan on keeping cichlids
 
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