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25 Days Into Fishless Cycle Not Much Happening

Author Topic: 25 days into fishless cycle not much happening  (Read 5321 times)

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Offline Tommo

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25 days into fishless cycle not much happening
« on: April 20, 2014, 09:01:43 PM »
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Hi all, I am currently 25 days into fishless cycle and there does not seem to be any movement in water measurements . Tank is running at 30 deg c. Ph is 8.2. Kh 8. Had to dose kh with bicarbonate as my tap water was very soft ( thanks Sue) to offset potential future crash . Dosed tank to 3 ppm on the 27th march, had a nitrite reading of 0.25 on the 2nd of April and the 5th, with a drop in ammonia as well. Added bicarbonate on the 6th. Nothing happened for days and nitrite disappeared, ammonia stayed at 2 ppm. Added tetra safe start on the 11th and had a nitrite showing of 0.25. Ammonia staying at 2 ppm. Nitrite has since gone and has read Zero since the 12th.

Have been testing ph and kh every few days and they have remained constant at 8.2 ph and 8 deg German. I am banging hell out of the test kit bottles and a vigorous shake before use, am using API test kit.

Am I doing anything wrong or should I just be more patient. I am just confused that nitrItes showed up slightly then buggered off and have had a drop in ammonia.  I did add declorinator at the initial water filling to the dosage of bottle.

Tank is not planted and has pea gravel with a fertilising substrate layer below (JBL) .

I have just done a NitrIte test with 4 parts tap water to 1 part tank water and it read 0, duck egg blue.

Would double dosing tank with dechlorinator harm the cycle as I have read on other sites that high chlorine could be a problem and obviously kill beneficial bacteria. When I have a glass of tap water I can smell chlorine straight away.

Many thanks

Offline Tommo

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Re: 25 days into fishless cycle not much happening
« Reply #1 on: April 21, 2014, 10:21:26 AM »
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Forgot to add, I also have a large piece of bogwood In the tank that I have taken out and put back in to re-soak it, as the water was brown. I did boil it first and on it's second soaking I dosed the bucket with dechlorinator. It is now back in.

Offline Sue

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Re: 25 days into fishless cycle not much happening
« Reply #2 on: April 21, 2014, 12:34:30 PM »
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Some cycles do take ages because there aren't many bacteria survive the water company's treatment. The fact that your tap water smells of chlorine possibly means your company is extra good at killing bacteria.
You can dose dechlorinator at twice the rate on the bottle, but not much more. But if the chlorine has killed the bacteria in your water supply it won't help.

Tetra safe start is the bottled bacteria that is most likely to work, but if it has been stored incorrectly at any time since manufacture, it may not.

Do you know anyone else who has a fish tank? Even a friend of a friend?

Offline Tommo

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Re: 25 days into fishless cycle not much happening
« Reply #3 on: April 23, 2014, 12:07:42 PM »
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Hi Sue, thanks for all the replies. I have tried safe start and didn't see any result, apart from the fact that I had 0.25 ppm of nitrites a day prior to addition, then they have disappeared after I dosed the tank to recommended. Worth a shot and 18 quid :o. In regard to friends with tanks, I have one with a marine tank and another with a 40l tropical, but the tropical tank has had a recent disease so don't really want to add that to my tank. I have added another full dose of dechlorinator to tank to make sure all chlorine/chloramines are gone. Going away for the weekend so hope when I return my nitrites are on the rise.

Offline Tommo

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Re: 25 days into fishless cycle not much happening
« Reply #4 on: April 24, 2014, 12:32:48 PM »
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Day 29, ammonia has dropped to 0.50 ppm and nitrites still at zero, what do I do? Is this normal?

Just tested for nitrAtes have a reading of just above 0, it's hard to tell but it's slightly darker than the base tap water test I have put next to it which is definitely bright yellow 0.

In regard to the nitrIte test I am banging them both before testing, using API

Ph is still 8.

Many thanks

Justin

Offline Sue

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Re: 25 days into fishless cycle not much happening
« Reply #5 on: April 24, 2014, 03:04:13 PM »
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The ammonia has to go somewhere.

If there are plants, they can use ammonia which would prevent nitrite or nitrate being made. If there are no plants but some mature media has been used it is possible for there to be enough nitrite eaters that you don't see any nitrite but you would see an increase in nitrate. If there are no plants and no mature media there should be some nitrite showing up as the ammonia level drops. And if that somehow got missed, some nitrate should be there. 1ppm ammonia gets turned into around 2.5ppm nitrite and 3.5ppm nitrate. So a small drop in ammonia should result in a bigger increase in either nitrite or nitrate.


Just a quick question - you say you have banged both nitrite bottles before testing - do you mean both nitrate bottles as the API nitrite tester has only one bottle? Just checking you are using the right bottles  ;)


You could try adding another 3ppm dose of ammonia and see what happens.

Offline Tommo

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Re: 25 days into fishless cycle not much happening
« Reply #6 on: April 24, 2014, 03:51:03 PM »
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Hi Sue, sorry yeah only using one bottle for nitrite test, but banging them all when testing across the range. Duck egg blue has become my least favourite colour!! I'll dose back up to 3ppm and hopefully on my return from weekend away I may see a drop of purple for nitrite test! Thanks again


Offline Tommo

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Re: 25 days into fishless cycle not much happening
« Reply #7 on: May 02, 2014, 06:33:14 PM »
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DAY 37- ammonia 2 ppm. NitrIte 0. NitrAte 6 - 8 ppm (hard to tell) Dosed ammonia in tank back up to 3 ppm at day 30 due to ammonia dropping to 1 ppm. Have had no positive nitrite tests since adding tetra safe start on day 16.

Ph stable at 8 and kh at 7 deg.

Still no sign of nitrite but a higher nitrate reading. Is this normal? Should I consider buying another nitrIte tester to exclude a faulty test kit?

Tank is not planted.

My patience is being stretched to the max!!!

Offline Sue

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Re: 25 days into fishless cycle not much happening
« Reply #8 on: May 02, 2014, 06:51:33 PM »
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It is possible the safe start has actually worked on this occasion - it is one of the two products that has the right species of nitrite eaters.


It is possible that your nitrite tester is faulty. The nitrate one works by converting the nitrate into nitrite and then testing for nitrite. In theory, if you have a lot of nitrite the nitrate tester could be picking that up. Rather than rush out and buy a new nitrite tester, take a sample to a shop and see what they make of it. If they get a reading for nitrite you'll know it is the test kit that's at fault. If they come up with zero too, your tester if OK. If they do get a reading ask them for the number.

In the meantime, whenever your ammonia falls to zero, wait a couple of days then add 1ppm ammonia. Once we know if your nitrite tester can be trusted we can go forward from there.

Offline SteveS

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Re: 25 days into fishless cycle not much happening
« Reply #9 on: May 02, 2014, 08:13:21 PM »
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Do you leave your lights on? Plants use ammonia, I know your tank has no plants, but algae count as plants too! And "lights + ammonia = Algae". So turn them off. There is no reason for them to be on at this stage.

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Offline Tommo

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Re: 25 days into fishless cycle not much happening
« Reply #10 on: May 05, 2014, 09:29:17 AM »
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Thanks for replies, it's all very helpful. Nitrate still over 5 ppm but not over 8. Ammonia 2 ppm. No nitrites, have been testing everyday

Offline Tommo

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Re: 25 days into fishless cycle not much happening
« Reply #11 on: May 13, 2014, 11:01:49 AM »
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Me again! I have found a friend with a fish tank and am waiting to arrange to pick up a load of filter media from him. It will be a smash and grab, no stopping for tea and stickies. I'll be transporting the media in a sandwich bag that ill wash out with tank water first, do you think that is ok? I was also wandering whether it would be beneficial to do a large water change prior to the addition of the used media as my current water is over 46 days old and at least I can then see exactly where I stand after the media is added.

Test as of yesterday was ammonia 1.5ppm, nitrIte 0, nitrAte 5 - 8 ppm, ph 8.2 and kh 7.

All help appreciated

Also are there any reasons aside from a faulty test as to why I have nitrates and no nitrItes

Thanks again

Offline SteveS

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Re: 25 days into fishless cycle not much happening
« Reply #12 on: May 13, 2014, 12:00:32 PM »
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In a mature tank, ammonia is caused by the respiration of your livestock and the decomposition of organic matter in the tank. You don't have either of these at this stage so you are adding ammonia artificially.  In turn, nitrItes are caused by the metabolisation of ammonia by bacteria in the filter. You don't have these bacteria, so you have no nitrItes yet. In turn, again, nitrAtes are caused by the metabolisation of nitrItes by different bacteria in the filter. This is the nitrogen cycle we are trying to create in a biological filter.

This is all standard stuff. However, you are asking about the nitrAtes in your water if you don't have the bacteria to create them.  This is normal. NitrAtes are introduced into your tank via tap-water. There are regulations regarding what contaminants tap-water may legally hold. Whilst the acceptable values for ammonia and nitrItes are zero, the acceptable value for nitrAtes is up to 50ppm. There are two reasons for this. Firstly, there is a biological filtration system at your local water-works that will introduce nitrAtes into any recycled water. and secondly there will be fertiliser residue in the ground water used for your supply that is washed out of any arable land in the catchment area for your supply. This residue is nitrAtes!

To handle mature media, treat it as if it were a fish. Fill your plastic bag 1/3 full of water, add the media and tie it off with a large air-gap at the top. Use tank water;do NOT use tap-water. And don't break your neck getting home, you have a certain amount of leeway. You can even have a cuppa if you want. As for a water change, well I can't think of any reason either way to be honest.

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Offline Tommo

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Re: 25 days into fishless cycle not much happening
« Reply #13 on: May 13, 2014, 12:55:50 PM »
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Thanks for the reply Steve. I should have added that my tap water nitrate reading is 0. Does this change things?

Offline SteveS

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Re: 25 days into fishless cycle not much happening
« Reply #14 on: May 13, 2014, 01:47:57 PM »
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Nitrate readings in tap water are variable. It is seasonal; farmer's use more fertiliser in the summer than in the winter, and weather dependent, rain-water washes off the fertiliser, if it hasn't rained, there is less nitrate. It's also dependent upon the proportion of water that has been reclaimed from the water works rather than drawn from fresh supplies. It's probably dependent upon lots of other stuff too. So, no it doesn't really change things.

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