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My little tank is torturing me with its strangeness.

I set it up nearly a month ago, on December 28th, and I began officially trying to cycle it about a week later (I had some botched attempts that caused me to start over). I got my ammonia up to about 2ppm with pure ammonia, and for a while I was getting low nitrite readings and low nitrate readings, Then I got distracted and didn't check the tank for a few days. When I checked it again, the ammonia had dropped to 0.25, and my nitrites AND nitrate were both zero.

Since then, I've been feeding the tank daily, but it's stagnant. Every day I add a drop of ammonia to get it back up to ~2ppm, but my nitrites and nitrates remain at zero. I wonder if the ammonia is just evaporating off.

It's been doing this for a week and a half now, with no signs of progress. What can I do to kick-start it? I tried some stuff called stability that claims to help establish the cycle, but it doesn't seem to be helping any. I've heard good things about bio-spira... This is so frustrating. :(

Any other thoughts about what would cause a tank to just not cycle at all? I'm tired of looking at my "silk plants and slimy piece of driftwood tank." I want a fishy!
 

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I think u need to get the ammonia to 8ppm before nitrites start to go up.
 

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Yes, raise your ammonia level to 5 ppm. My nitrites and nitrates were at 0 for almost a week and a half (I think, forgot now) before they started going up. Just be patient. A total of about 4.5 to 5 weeks completely cycled my tank.
 

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One thing that helped jumpstart my tank was adding some water and gravel from a friend's fully-cycled tank. It introduced some bacteria that helped things quickly stabilize.

Also, I know the prevailing wisdom is not to add fish until the tank is cycled, but the people I've talked to at my local pet store (great quality products, knowledgeable staff) all insist that adding fish in the beginning helps it to stabilize quicker. Get something hardy - I started off with a few bloodfin tetra - and they'll help things balance out. At least they did for me.

I didn't monitor the nitrates or 'trites, started with some tough plants (two batches of crypts, which are now *huge*) and my tetra (which are happy and fat), added just a bit of water and gravel from a friend's cycled tank, and my tank was cycled after only three weeks!

edit - also did every-other-day water changes of about 1/4 the water in the tank
 

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One thing that helped jumpstart my tank was adding some water and gravel from a friend's fully-cycled tank. It introduced some bacteria that helped things quickly stabilize.

Also, I know the prevailing wisdom is not to add fish until the tank is cycled, but the people I've talked to at my local pet store (great quality products, knowledgeable staff) all insist that adding fish in the beginning helps it to stabilize quicker. Get something hardy - I started off with a few bloodfin tetra - and they'll help things balance out. At least they did for me.

I didn't monitor the nitrates or 'trites, started with some tough plants (two batches of crypts, which are now *huge*) and my tetra (which are happy and fat), added just a bit of water and gravel from a friend's cycled tank, and my tank was cycled after only three weeks!

edit - also did every-other-day water changes of about 1/4 the water in the tank
cycling tanks iwth live fish is animal abuse IMO:( and doing water changes while the tank is cycling can actually slow the cycle rather than speed it up.
 

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cycling tanks iwth live fish is animal abuse IMO:( and doing water changes while the tank is cycling can actually slow the cycle rather than speed it up.
so is keeping a fish in a glass box.



I use zebra danios for starter fish, 1 because they are very hearty fish and alot are bred for this (why they recommend the smaller zebras) and 2 because the ammonia will not rise to a deadly level with up to 4 zebra danios in a 10g.

They are not heavy bio load and will not die or be abused in these situations.

I am very skeptical of artificial cycling and I personally dont know anyone in my clubs and friends that use this method. Its inconsistent and takes alot longer to cycle.

Id drain it, start over with some danios and some gravel or sponges from a friend or LFS.

Thats my opinion on the matter.

Edit- addition


As cledus stated, use some hearty low light low tech plants and my go to 4 danios per 10g zebra danios, not glo-fish but just zebra danios(long or regular fin doesnt matter) set it up, let the tank gas off for 24 hours(run the tank without a hood basically. then add the plants, let it go for a few days then add the fish and forget it for 4-6 weeks, I mean keep and eye on the fish and if you want to drop test your water weekly. If you touch it and mess with it the tank will not stabilize correctly and the environment it is making will be incomplete for a long while if not forever until it gets torn down. Ive been through it, lost some nice fish to it but started over and did it the way we used to do it and the tank is running great. Its just the way I do things and always will, it was the only method for years and years and years and never failed and still never fails.
 

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Many people argue over cycling with fish and I won't start that up. But I don't think you can say that adding a few fish cycles a tank faster then a fishless cycle. The low bioload of a few live fish will not establish bacteria nearly as fast as keeping you're ammonia at 5. With a fishless cycle you have to do water changes keeping the ammonia level low enough for the fish to survive that it slows the cycle. Even though some fish can survive a cycle it is also known that they due suffer from it and it will shorten their life span.
 

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Many people argue over cycling with fish and I won't start that up. But I don't think you can say that adding a few fish cycles a tank faster then a fishless cycle. The low bioload of a few live fish will not establish bacteria nearly as fast as keeping you're ammonia at 5. With a fishless cycle you have to do water changes keeping the ammonia level low enough for the fish to survive that it slows the cycle. Even though some fish can survive a cycle it is also known that they due suffer from it and it will shorten their life span.
I always cycle with fish and never loose a fish. I don't see it as torture if done correctly. I hear of people taking forever to cycle fishless. Most go for a month or more. With a fish cycle the average I see is 3 weeks. With plants and fish the time drops to about a 1 1/2 weeks.

This does not mean that after the above time, I can fully stock my tank, not sure if that is the case with fishless cycling or not.

One other thing I would like to point out is that there are different types of bacteria that break down ammonia to nitrite and nitrite to nitrate. Some are more temp hearty, and anti-medication hearty, so I am not sure if you end up with the "same" kind of bacteria doing it fishless vs with fish. For more info, also check out this chemical called Stability which explains more about various bacteria cultures used. It is what I use in a new tank or after medication:
Seachem. Stability
 

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those few fish bio load will contribute to the bio load you put on the tank by feeding the fish, and its natural process of bacteria growth.

poo and soluble food seem a more natural form of cycling then adding a processed chemical.
 

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I just know when I tried to cycle a 75 gal tank last fall with fish it went very slow. I had 4 black skirt tetras and 2 white skirt tetras, 2 anubias, an amazon sword and 2 java fern. After about 8 weeks my bacteria would stay around .50 or less and I never did have any nitrites or nitrates. I ended up using Tetra Safe Start and had it going in about 10 days.
 

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so is keeping a fish in a glass box.
so is hunting
Hah right back at ya LOL

cycling with live fish is bad. but dead fish-raw fish from the supermarket-can start a cycle right up. in fact i think i need some in my tank, since it has a chemical inbalance of .50NH4, .25NO2, 5.0NO3. i think it is my tapwater, because the ammonia is rising while the other 2 have been the same. but if i add the raw fish or shrimp, im pretty sure the tank will have its cycle complete soon as the ammonia will shoot it up. i think u should try using raw fish from the supermarket.
 

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throw a pork loin in thar for good measure*r2*r2*pc
 
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