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Stalled fishless cycle?


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Hi...this is Mr. Sharkbait here. At our old place, the Ph from the tap was 7.6 and quickly raised to 8.4 once in the tank and the carbon dioxide in the water out-gassed. Ph swings of this nature do not pose a risk to fish. But Ph shifts do to changes in TDS (total desolved substances) do pose a risk to fish.....it is the dissolved minerals (calcium, iron, magnesium and the like) that can cause a fish to have problems regulating how much water passes through its skin.

The best way to tell what is going on with your Ph is to do a Bucket Test. Test water straight from the tap for Ph, Kh and Gh. Fill a bucket with water, aerate it for 24 hours, and test for Ph, Kh and Gh. If only the Ph has changed between the Tap Water and Bucket Water, then your Ph swings are due to out-gassing of carbon dioxide or other acidic gasses (will show as an increase in Ph) or of oxygen and other alcaline gasses (will show as a drop in Ph) and do not pose a risk to your fish. If the Kh or Gh is significantly different between the Tap and Bucket...then you may face serious risk to your fishes.

Tim

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Hi...this is Mr. Sharkbait here. At our old place, the Ph from the tap was 7.6 and quickly raised to 8.4 once in the tank and the carbon dioxide in the water out-gassed. Ph swings of this nature do not pose a risk to fish. But Ph shifts do to changes in TDS (total desolved substances) do pose a risk to fish.....it is the dissolved minerals (calcium, iron, magnesium and the like) that can cause a fish to have problems regulating how much water passes through its skin.

The best way to tell what is going on with your Ph is to do a Bucket Test. Test water straight from the tap for Ph, Kh and Gh. Fill a bucket with water, aerate it for 24 hours, and test for Ph, Kh and Gh. If only the Ph has changed between the Tap Water and Bucket Water, then your Ph swings are due to out-gassing of carbon dioxide or other acidic gasses (will show as an increase in Ph) or of oxygen and other alcaline gasses (will show as a drop in Ph) and do not pose a risk to your fish. If the Kh or Gh is significantly different between the Tap and Bucket...then you may face serious risk to your fishes.

Tim

Hi Tim. I have done the kg and gh test and it is the same between my tap and the tank (which has plenty of aeration) - both taking the exact same amount of drops. And it only takes 4 hours for my tap ph to match my tank. Are you saying that i won't have to age my water for water changes? I can do the test again just to be sure, but so far no one else has mentioned anything like you have although i find it very interesting. Did you also have a hard time getting your tank to cycle? Mine has been a true pita so far, very stubborn. I appreciate your information and am curious to see what others have to say about it.

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The numbers aren't great, but I did make a good observation!

Ammonia - a verry pretty 0ppm

Nitrite - 5ppm. BUT! It started out blue when it used to start out purple, so that's something!

Nitrates - very close to 160, but not quite.

I added back full ammonia. I hope this was good news!

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One thing that I have learned is that excessively high nitrates can slow down a fishless cycle. I haven't had to cycle a tank from scratch for many a year, but lots of folks on my fish forum hangout (Oscarfish.com) do fishless cycles as they add new or larger tanks...and in nearly all cases, excessively high nitrates have been linked to a slower cycling.

Try stepping up your water changes to get nitrates down to a more healthy 20 to 40 ppm (I keep nitrates below 20 ppm at all times, and generallly strive to keep them below 10 ppm....our fishies live long healthy lives). The fact that your ammonia is being totally converted to nitrites is a very good sign that the cycle is going well....but the high nitrates may very well be preventing the nitrite consuming bacteria from developing a sufficiently strong colony in your filter media.

Back to your Ph for a moment. As I stated previously, we had high Ph water at our old place (8.4 in the tank, 7.6 out of the tap). I can't remember the Kh and Gh results....but they were INSANE! One was well over 300 and the other was so high that it could not be tested with the liquid reagent test kit....the vial simply was not large enough to hold the number of drops needed to get a result.

I tried lowering the Ph....and NOTHING worked for more than a few minutes. Ph Down, Instant PH 7.0....they lowered the Ph a bit for just a few minutes, but the Ph would go right back up to 8.4. I said Phooey on it and just ran with the water I had to work with. My fish, mostly all South American Cichlids, did very well in that water for years.

Having a precise Ph level is not all that vital in today's fish keeping hobby. The fish we buy from pet stores have been bred in water far removed from the water that their wild counter parts live in. The only real concern is that there is not a sudden and drastic swing in Ph due to a change in total dissolved substances. And with a high Ph, ammonia and nitrites are more poisonous to our fish...so ensuring that our tanks have superb biological filtration is essential.

Mr. Sharkbat

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The numbers aren't great, but I did make a good observation!

Ammonia - a verry pretty 0ppm

Nitrite - 5ppm. BUT! It started out blue when it used to start out purple, so that's something!

Nitrates - very close to 160, but not quite.

I added back full ammonia. I hope this was good news!

That is good new hun :thumb:

Ok since the nitrates are so high now... Lets do a 40% water change and add in the ammonia... Test in 24 hours :thumb:

Doing good hun :thumb:

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One thing that I have learned is that excessively high nitrates can slow down a fishless cycle. I haven't had to cycle a tank from scratch for many a year, but lots of folks on my fish forum hangout (Oscarfish.com) do fishless cycles as they add new or larger tanks...and in nearly all cases, excessively high nitrates have been linked to a slower cycling.

Try stepping up your water changes to get nitrates down to a more healthy 20 to 40 ppm (I keep nitrates below 20 ppm at all times, and generallly strive to keep them below 10 ppm....our fishies live long healthy lives). The fact that your ammonia is being totally converted to nitrites is a very good sign that the cycle is going well....but the high nitrates may very well be preventing the nitrite consuming bacteria from developing a sufficiently strong colony in your filter media.

Thanks for all the advice. This is my first time fishless cycling a tank so i don't quite have the confidence to decide to do water changes by myself and know 100% that's what i should be doing. Koko has been a great help with that, though. :)

The numbers aren't great, but I did make a good observation!

Ammonia - a verry pretty 0ppm

Nitrite - 5ppm. BUT! It started out blue when it used to start out purple, so that's something!

Nitrates - very close to 160, but not quite.

I added back full ammonia. I hope this was good news!

That is good new hun :thumb:

Ok since the nitrates are so high now... Lets do a 40% water change and add in the ammonia... Test in 24 hours :thumb:

Doing good hun :thumb:

I wasn't home yesterday, so i will do the water change this evening after work. I hope this is it this time and my nitrites won't spike again! Lol.

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No problem hun.... When you can just let me know whatcha did to the tank and the readings. Its not really a big deal if you do miss, it just takes longer to cycle :lol3

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No problem hun.... When you can just let me know whatcha did to the tank and the readings. Its not really a big deal if you do miss, it just takes longer to cycle :lol3

As if it isn't already taking long enough. :P The readings were unexciting...

Ammonia - 0 - .25ppm. It just had a very slight green tint.

Nitrite - Still high, between 2 and 5ppm.

Nitrates - between 40 - 80ppm.

I have to admit... this is getting a little discouraging. :(

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Do me a Favor test your Tap water again just to make sure it doesnt have any ammonia, nitrites or nitrates lately :thumb:

Also lets just to the ammonia...... Also if you want to try it, sometimes it works sometimes not. :( But get a bottle of "cycle" and place that in there too... Either with the ammonia or wait a little :thumb:

Your tank is being stubborn I tell ya :(

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Alrighty, I tested my tap and here were the results:

Ammonia - absolute 0ppm

Nitrite - absolute 0ppm

Nitrates - 5ppm

I haven't tested the tank yet as I added around 8pm or so last night. I have added Nutrafin Cycle near the beginning of my cycling and it did help me see my nitrites, but it didn't help past that. Do you think it would be worth trying again now? It definitely is being stubborn... hopefully this means when it does finally cycle I will have some strong bb's!

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Alrighty, I tested my tap and here were the results:

Ammonia - absolute 0ppm

Nitrite - absolute 0ppm

Nitrates - 5ppm

I haven't tested the tank yet as I added around 8pm or so last night. I have added Nutrafin Cycle near the beginning of my cycling and it did help me see my nitrites, but it didn't help past that. Do you think it would be worth trying again now? It definitely is being stubborn... hopefully this means when it does finally cycle I will have some strong bb's!

Ok hun... So lets add the "Nutrafin Cycle" now, since the ammonia was late last night. Then Test before you add the ammonia in so I can have a base line :thumb:

then test again 24 hours later :thumb:

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Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! I am so excited i could hardly contain myself! Now, my tank isn't quite cycled, but i am seeing new results and that's enough for me!

Ammonia: 0ppm

Nitrite: .5ppm!

Nitrates: Close to 160

I am thrilled. I really hope the cycle goes through this time. I feel like we've been working at this for forever!

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Would 20 or 30 percent be better?

a 20-30% water change then your ammonia... We want to see if it will hold :thumb:

I did a 20% change and added my ammonia. The results last night were:

Ammonia - 0ppm

Nitrite - .25ppm! Good news!

Nitrates - 80ppm

I will not be here tonight or tomorrow night, will it be okay to add extra ammonia early today to hold me over til Sun.?

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Yay!!! you are getting so close :D

Eeeee! I know! :D

I saw yours cycled!! Congratulations! Will you get another little love when you move your boy over from QT?

Yay!!! you are getting so close :D

Eeeee! I know! :D

I saw yours cycled!! Congratulations! Will you get another little love when you move your boy over from QT?

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Would 20 or 30 percent be better?

a 20-30% water change then your ammonia... We want to see if it will hold :thumb:

I did a 20% change and added my ammonia. The results last night were:

Ammonia - 0ppm

Nitrite - .25ppm! Good news!

Nitrates - 80ppm

I will not be here tonight or tomorrow night, will it be okay to add extra ammonia early today to hold me over til Sun.?

How much are we adding right now hun? My brain is lost today :lol

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I am adding a little less than 1/4 tap at the moment. Unfortunately the cycle did now hold. I showed my sister how to do it while i was gone over the weekend so i wouldn't have to worry about it. Test results for both yesterday and today were:

Ammonia - 0ppm

Nitrite - .5ppm

Nitrates - 160ppm

My brother was saying he'd like to start a tank again and honestly... if i can't get the cycle to hold in the next 2 weeks i think i will break down the tank and give it to him. He lives in a different area, so hopefully he would have better luck. :(

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I am adding a little less than 1/4 tap at the moment. Unfortunately the cycle did now hold. I showed my sister how to do it while i was gone over the weekend so i wouldn't have to worry about it. Test results for both yesterday and today were:

Ammonia - 0ppm

Nitrite - .5ppm

Nitrates - 160ppm

My brother was saying he'd like to start a tank again and honestly... if i can't get the cycle to hold in the next 2 weeks i think i will break down the tank and give it to him. He lives in a different area, so hopefully he would have better luck. :(

You are so close hun.... So so close... Please dont give up. Its trying... your nitrites are now to .5 meaning its now at the point of total cycle.

I would like you to do since the nitrates are up to 160, do a 30% water change. Then add in 1ppm ammonia then report in 24 hours hun ..... You are almost at the point that "MissColonel" was at a few days ago.... :thumb:

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You super duper close please don't give up :) I am sure it will finish very very soon, it is sooooo close ^_^

Edited by MissColonel
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