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FISHLESS CYCLING Discussion Thread

Author Topic: FISHLESS CYCLING Discussion Thread  (Read 3889 times)

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Offline Natasha

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FISHLESS CYCLING Discussion Thread
« on: January 09, 2014, 03:10:05 PM »
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This thread is a discussion thread of the following fishless cycling method please feel free to read it, before contributing or asking in this discussion. Thanks!

Summary of using this new method of fishless cycling using 3ppm ammonia, for my Rio 180 tank



Day 1. Set up tank, turn tank lights off, let the water heat up to 28oC.

Day 2. Add 3ppm of ammonia. I used the Jeyes Kleen Off Ammonia which is supposed to be 9.5%, so I needed to add 0.3ml for every 10 litres in my tank which would equate to 5.4ml. However I took Sue’s advice and added less than that, as I know there is not 180 litres of water in my tank and am unsure of the real strength of the bottle of ammonia.
I added 2.25ml ammonia solution at first and let it mix in the tank for 30mins before testing, the water showed 1ppm of ammonia at this point. I added another 2.25ml ammonia solution and let it mix for 30mins before testing, the water showed about 2ppm ammonia at this point. I added 2ml more ammonia solution and left 30mins before testing, the water showed 3ppm at this point. From this I know that the full dose of ammonia solution for my tank is 6.5ml and therefore the maintenance dose is 2.17ml as it is one third of the full dose.

Day 3. Nothing today.

Day 4. Nothing today.

Day 5. Tested the tank water today, ammonia was 0.25ppm (under 0.75ppm) and nitrite was 3ppm (over 2ppm) so I could add my full dose of ammonia solution.

Day 6. Nothing today.

Day 7. Tested the water today, ammonia was 0ppm.

Day 8. Nothing today.

Day 9. Tested the water today, ammonia was 0ppm. As I had two consecutive readings of 0ppm for ammonia I then added the maintenance dose of ammonia solution.

Day 10. Tests today, ammonia was 0ppm (under 0.25ppm) and nitrite was 0.25ppm (under 1ppm) so the cycle is not finished but they are under the values at which I need to add more ammonia solution. Therefore I have added a full dose of ammonia solution.

Day 11. Tests today, ammonia was 0ppm and nitrite was 5ppm so the cycle has not finished and I have not added any more ammonia solution.

Day 12. Tests today, ammonia was 0ppm and nitrite was 0ppm. However, this does not mean that my cycle has finished as it is more than 24hours since I added any ammonia solution, so I have added a full dose of the ammonia solution.

Day 13. Tests today, ammonia was 0ppm and nitrite was 5ppm so the cycle has not finished and I have not added any more ammonia solution.

Day 14. Tests today, ammonia was 0ppm and nitrite was 0ppm. The cycle has not finished as it is over 24hrs since I added any ammonia solution, so I have added a full dose of the ammonia solution.

Day 15. Tests today, ammonia was 0ppm and nitrite was 5ppm. The cycle has not finished and I have not added any more ammonia solution.

Day 16. Tests today, ammonia was 0ppm and nitrite was 0ppm. The cycle has not finished as it is over 24hrs since I added any ammonia solution, so I have added a full dose of the ammonia solution.

Day 17. Tests today, ammonia was 0ppm and nitrite was 5ppm. The cycle has not finished and I have not added any more ammonia solution.

Day 18. Tests today, ammonia was 0ppm and nitrite was 0ppm. The cycle has not finished as it is over 24hrs since I added any ammonia solution, so I have added a full dose of the ammonia solution.

Day 19. Tests today, ammonia was 0ppm and nitrite was 5ppm. The cycle has not finished and I have not added any more ammonia solution.

Day 20. Unable to test today.

Day 21. Tests today, ammonia was 0ppm and nitrite was 0ppm. The cycle has not finished as it is over 24hrs since I added any ammonia solution, so I have added a full dose of the ammonia solution.

Day 22. Tests today, ammonia was 0ppm and nitrite was 5ppm. The cycle has not finished and I have not added any more ammonia solution.

Day 23. Tests today, ammonia was 0ppm and nitrite was 0ppm. The cycle has not finished as it is over 24hrs since I added any ammonia solution, so I have added a full dose of the ammonia solution.

Day 24. Tests today, ammonia was 0ppm and nitrite was 5ppm. The cycle has not finished and I have not added any more ammonia solution.

Day 25. Tests today, ammonia was 0ppm and nitrite was 0ppm. The cycle has not finished as it is over 24hrs since I added any ammonia solution, so I have added a full dose of the ammonia solution.

Day 26. Unable to test today.

Day 27. Unable to test today.

Day 28. Tests today, ammonia was 0ppm and nitrite was 0ppm. The cycle has not finished as it is over 24hrs since I added any ammonia solution, so I have added a full dose of the ammonia solution.

Day 29. Tests today, ammonia was 0ppm and nitrite was 5ppm. The cycle has not finished and I have not added any more ammonia solution.

Day 30. Tests today, ammonia was 0ppm and nitrite was 0ppm. The cycle has not finished as it is over 24hrs since I added any ammonia solution, so I have added a full dose of the ammonia solution.

Day 31. Unable to test today.

Day 32. Tests today, ammonia was 0ppm and nitrite was 0ppm. The cycle has not finished as it is over 24hrs since I added any ammonia solution, so I have added a full dose of the ammonia solution.

Day 33. Tests today, ammonia was 0ppm and nitrite was 5ppm. The cycle has not finished and I have not added any more ammonia solution. Today I also tested nitrate which was 80ppm.

Day 34. Tests today, ammonia was 0ppm and nitrite was 0ppm. I also tested pH which was 7.4 so perfectly within normal values. The cycle has not finished as it is over 24hrs since I added any ammonia solution. Today I added the maintenance dose of ammonia solution (1ppm) so that I can see how much nitrite is present after 24hrs when I add only 1ppm of ammonia.

Day 35. Tests today, ammonia was 0ppm and nitrite was 0ppm. The cycle has not finished as I only added 1ppm ammonia solution. Today I added 2ppm of ammonia as both the ammonia and nitrite tests showed that levels had dropped to 0ppm within 24hrs when I only added 1ppm.

Day 36. Tests today, ammonia was 0ppm and nitrite was 1ppm. The cycle has not finished and I have not added any more ammonia solution.

Day 37. Tests today, ammonia was 0ppm and nitrite was 0ppm. The cycle has not finished as it is over 24hrs since I added any ammonia solution,  I have added 2ppm of ammonia solution tonight.

Day 38. Unable to test today.

Day 39. Tests today, ammonia was 0ppm and nitrite was 0ppm. The cycle has not finished as it is over 24hrs since I added any ammonia solution, I have added 2ppm of ammonia tonight.

Day 40. Tests today, ammonia was 0ppm and nitrite was 0.5ppm. The cycle has not finished as both readings are not at zero,  I have added 2ppm of ammonia solution tonight.

Day 41. Tests today, ammonia was 0ppm and nitrite was 0.25ppm. The cycle has not finished as both readings are not at zero,  I have added 2ppm of ammonia solution tonight.

Day 42. Tests today, ammonia was 0ppm and nitrite was 0ppm. The cycle has not finished as I have only been adding 2ppm ammonia solution, I have added 3ppm of ammonia tonight.

Day 43. Tests today, ammonia was 0ppm and nitrite was 0ppm. YAY THE CYCLE IS FINISHED!! :D

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Offline engineer_tom

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Re: FISHLESS CYCLING Discussion Thread
« Reply #1 on: January 21, 2014, 01:12:58 PM »
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Just thought I would check that this is still the most up to date method before I start cycling my 100L tank.

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Online Sue

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Re: FISHLESS CYCLING Discussion Thread
« Reply #2 on: January 21, 2014, 03:21:58 PM »
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This is a recently devised method by someone on another forum - I pinched his idea  ;)

The problem with the older method (which involved adding up to 5ppm ammonia, waiting till it dropped, then re-dosing every time the ammonia level dropped to zero ) is that the nitrite level got too high and stalled the cycle. And our test kits don't measure high enough to know when this too-high level of nitrite had been reached. Research has shown that the ammonia eaters don't need to be fed every day and that 5ppm is more ammonia than is needed, 3ppm being more than enough for a tank full of fish.
This method was devised as a way of keeping the nitrite levels below that critical level, and takes advantage of not needing to dose every time the ammonia level drops to zero. It is said to be faster than the old method as nitrite does not get high enough to stall the cycle.




I have to admit that I haven't used this method myself. Last time I did a fishless cycle, about 9 months ago, this method hadn't been worked out. I used a modified version of the old method, dosing 1ppm ammonia initially, then again every time the ammonia reading dropped to zero. Once both ammonia and nitrite were dropping to zero in 24 hours, I increased the dose. This also kept the nitrite level under the critical amount while the nitrite eaters grew.
But if I'd known about this method then, I would have used it.

Offline Tommo

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Re: FISHLESS CYCLING Discussion Thread
« Reply #3 on: March 30, 2014, 10:52:42 AM »
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Hello all, I am new to fish keeping and have recently set up a tank. I am doing a fishless cycle prior to adding fish. One question regarding this new fishless cycle, when it says ON THE THIRD DAY AFTER ADDING AMMONIA, TEST FOR AMMONI AND NITRITES. Does this mean add you initial dose again and then test or just test the water. Same question for day six and so on?

Many thanks

Online Sue

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Re: FISHLESS CYCLING Discussion Thread
« Reply #4 on: March 30, 2014, 12:51:17 PM »
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Sorry for not being clear.

At the beginning, it is a watch and wait game. After the start dose of ammonia you don't add any more until you get results showing ammonia under 0.75 and nitrite over 2.0. The testing every three days is so that you catch the drop when it happens. It could take several tests before you see these readings. I did a fishless cycle last year using the old method, but it starts off the same, and it took 13 days for the ammonia level to drop.

One thing that fishless cycling teaches us is patience  :D

Offline Tommo

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Re: FISHLESS CYCLING Discussion Thread
« Reply #5 on: March 31, 2014, 01:55:58 PM »
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Thanks for the reply Sue, that has cleared it up. Probably would help if I wasn't reading the article tired as reading down it is explained better. I will have to wait a little longer for test results to start as I dosed 4 ml into my 165 lt tank prior to posting. Even though I can't wait to get fish in the tank I am enjoying the set up and fishless cycling and would rather have them in a stable tank. After waiting for a while to get the tank another month or two without fish is no hardship. Thanks again for advice, the whole topic/post is very helpful.

Justin

Offline Fiona

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Re: FISHLESS CYCLING Discussion Thread
« Reply #6 on: June 27, 2014, 10:23:45 PM »
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Call me Ms Cautious but I really didnt want to mess this up and this has taken me about 2 months due to replanting ect. I believe my tank is now full cycled but would just like some final advice Sue if you don't mind.

I still have the original filter pad in although I have rinsed it in aquarium water and I've followed the cycling steps although I've missed testing some days. Condensation was a real problem (have C-hood now)so I had to make frequent top ups of treated water .25 litres a day

Chemical readings for the last few days are as follows..

21st: Amon 0, Nitrite .25 full dose 1.5 ammon added
22nd:Amon .5, Nitrite 5 full dose 1.5 ammon added
24th: Amon 0, Nitrite 0 Nitrate 0 added maint dose .5 ammon
25th: Amon 0, Nitrite 0 added maint dose .5 Ammon
26th: Amon 0, Nitrite 0 added maint dose .5 Ammon
27th: Amon 0, Nitrite 0, Nitrate 0 added full dose 1 .5 Ammon

Tomorrow morning I'm going to test again for ammon, nitrite and nitrates and I'm going to visit an aquarium specialist to see if they have any of the fish I've researched as suitable. I'm quite excited about this bit :) I wont be bringing any fish home yet though.

My tank is now fully planted and all the plants are established and growing well and I think this may be why the nitrate levels are so low.

Should I change my filter pad tomorrow and wait to see test results, its been in situ since I started the aquarium? I want to make sure my fish have a ready home before I start stocking.

Thanks in advance for the advice.


Online Sue

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Re: FISHLESS CYCLING Discussion Thread
« Reply #7 on: June 28, 2014, 10:34:15 AM »
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If you change anything in the filter, you'll throw away all the bacteria in it that you have just spent 2 months growing. Why do you need to change the pad?
Is the pad the only thing in the filter or is there a lot of other media in there as well? If it only a small part of the media, you could change the pad and only lose a few bacteria but if it's the only thing, or a large proportion of the media you'll lose a lot of bacteria which will put you into a mini-cycle.

If you want to change the pad because the instructions say to, ignore them. They only say that to make you spend money.
The only media that does need changing is carbon, and then only if you need it to remove something like medication or tannins from wood as it gets full. Otherwise don't bother changing even carbon (although not using carbon at all is a better option)


Your results do suggest you are cycled, and if you have a lot of plants they will keep the nitrate low. They also use ammonia as food and in a very heavily planted tank (think underwater jungle) you can even get away without a filter. But most of us are not that heavily planted and do need a filter as well as the plants.

If it'll be a while before getting fish, add the maintenance dose of ammonia every 3 days till you get them. I know you don't have any nitrate, but I'd still do a water change the day before, or earlier the same day you do buy fish.

And be wary of the shop till you know you can trust them. You have researched the fish you want so you'll know if they start talking rubbish  :))

Offline Fiona

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Re: FISHLESS CYCLING Discussion Thread
« Reply #8 on: June 29, 2014, 02:59:12 PM »
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I've got a Marina i110 filter, it has 2 filter parts, 1 is called a bioscreen which is plastic with lots of holes in it for greater surface area for bacteria to grow on and is permanent, the other is called a power cartridge and that's the bit that you'er advised to change every 4 weeks or if water flow through the filter reduces noticably and that's the part I was going to change.

Online Sue

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Re: FISHLESS CYCLING Discussion Thread
« Reply #9 on: June 29, 2014, 04:11:39 PM »
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According to Hagen's website,

Quote
The outside of the power cartridge features polyester foam to trap fine particles; while the inside chambers contain carbon to remove pollutants and odors; and zeolite to eliminate toxic ammonia for a cleaner, healthier aquarium environment and crystal clear water.

I don't like these cartridges. They mostly contain carbon, but this one also contains zeolite, and it's main funtion is to remove ammonia. Some of the ammonia you have been adding will have been absorbed by the zeolite, but it will probably be saturated by now so it will not be absorbing ammonia at the moment. If you replace the cartridge, you will add new zeolite which will remove ammonia until that too is full. But by then you'll have fish, and when the zeolite gets full it will stop absorbing ammonia but there won't be quite enough bacteria to remove what the zeolite no longer absorbs. Yes, it will only take a short time for them to mulitiply, but then you change the cartridge again, the new zeolite removes ammonia, the numbers of bacteria decrease because there is less ammonia for them, and when the zeolite gets full there won't be enough bacteria.......and so on and on. You would be tied into replacing the cartridges before the zeolite got full for ever, or risk exposing the fish to repeated mini-cycles.


The simplest thing to do is cut open the cartridge, empty the carbon and zeolite and fill the polyester bag with filter sponge. Then you would only need to wash it when it got dirty. And no zeolite to cause problems. And no carbon either, but you don't really need that anyway. I haven't used carbon on a routine basis in any of my tanks for years.

If you do decide on this, do it before you get fish. There will be some bacteria on the carbon and zeolite, and you need to make sure you have enough bacteria after removing the carbon and zeolite before getting fish.

Offline Fiona

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Re: FISHLESS CYCLING Discussion Thread
« Reply #10 on: June 29, 2014, 04:50:08 PM »
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Oh blast I see what you mean now... I've just had a look at the new cartridges and the polyester foam is very thin and flimsey and is held in place by the plastic framework of the cartridge itself. I could have a try at doing what you suggested, the replacement cartridges arent that expensive so if it goes wrong it's not a problem. What sort of filter foam would you suggest Sue?

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Re: FISHLESS CYCLING Discussion Thread
« Reply #11 on: June 29, 2014, 05:00:42 PM »
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If the cartridge is flimsy you could try using just sponge. The only downside is that the polyester is probably better at catching very fine bits that sponge is. That's why the water flow through the cartridge slows down- it gets full of muck.
Any brand filter sponge would do, but obviously one that was only a bit bigger than you'd need so as not to waste much when you cut it down. It is safer sticking to something made for filters, any make, as sponges come in two types: those that soak up water and those that let water run through. You need the second type, and getting a sponge designed for filter use means it will be the right type. See what your local shop stocks. A fine sponge would be better for catching fine bits than a coarse sponge.

Offline Fiona

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Re: FISHLESS CYCLING Discussion Thread
« Reply #12 on: July 02, 2014, 12:54:04 AM »
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OK the update is... I've cut the filter pad sections open along the join, emptied them out and used fishing line to close them up again, I've wet the adapted filter in aquarium water and squeezed water from the old filter pad all over it and then inserted the ammended filter bck into the filter casing. I've added a full dose of ammonia and I'll test again tomorrow night, both readings tonight before my 'fiddling' were 0/0 ammon/nitrite

Lets see what happens tomorrow

ps: this kills my filter warrenty btw but it'll be an interesting experiment and as we have no fish atm its a good time to test it

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Re: FISHLESS CYCLING Discussion Thread
« Reply #13 on: July 02, 2014, 10:47:58 AM »
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That sounds like a good plan.



Offline Fiona

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Re: FISHLESS CYCLING Discussion Thread
« Reply #14 on: July 02, 2014, 05:51:22 PM »
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Thinking on what you've said I actually went one step further. I cut the old filter material from the old cartridge and inserted it in the space left when I removed the zeolite so hopefully I wont have lost too much bacteria

Offline Wulfy

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Re: FISHLESS CYCLING Discussion Thread
« Reply #15 on: July 27, 2014, 10:36:12 AM »
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Hi  I am on day 7 of the cycle, day 1 I dosed ammonia to 3ppm.  Day 4 I tested and ammonia and nitrites were both zero  Day 7, today, just tested and ammonia and nitrites are still zero? 

Should I be adding more ammonia?  I am using a combination of old and new filter material.

Thanks
Helen

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Online Sue

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Re: FISHLESS CYCLING Discussion Thread
« Reply #16 on: July 27, 2014, 12:40:04 PM »
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It looks like the old media is really helping.

Add a 3ppm dose of ammonia and test after 24 hours.
If both are zero, add another 3ppm dose and test after another 24 hours. If both are still zero, get fish.
If one or both are above zero, go to step #10 and follow from there until you do have double zeros 24 hours after adding a dose of ammonia.

Offline Aquamaid

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Re: FISHLESS CYCLING Discussion Thread
« Reply #17 on: September 08, 2014, 02:14:05 PM »
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Hi Sue, forgive my ignorance and if this has been asked here already, my rush at not reading properly. You state the initial ammonia dose for new tank as approx 0.2 ml, i have a 10 ml syringe, marked with 5 lines for each 2 4 6 8 10ml is it therefore not the 2 ml mark (which seems reasonable) but a lesser ammount, which seem very tiny? 

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Re: FISHLESS CYCLING Discussion Thread
« Reply #18 on: September 08, 2014, 02:30:53 PM »
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Ooops! just engaged brain, and realised it is 0.2 ml PER LTR ,so as i have approx 80 ltrs, 2 ml per ltr  would be too much, still not sure of quanitity though, will have to google later i think. Sorry for misunderstanding  :-[ :-[

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Re: FISHLESS CYCLING Discussion Thread
« Reply #19 on: September 08, 2014, 05:18:10 PM »
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80 litres of water would need 2.5ml of 9.5% ammonia for the 3ppm dose. For the 1ppm dose you'd need 0.8ml.

That's assuming you have 80 litres of water. Some manufacturers quote the thickness of glass in their volume so the amount of water that will fit in the tank is less than the stated volume; and even if the tank holds 80 litres water when empty, you'll displace some of that water when you put in substrate, filter, decor etc. Reckon to lose 10% for a lightly decorated tank or 15% for a tank with lots of stuff in it.

And make sure the ammonia solution is 9.5% as some makes differ. I know that Jeyes KleenOff ammonia is 9.5% even though it doesn't say on the bottle - I emailed them to ask when I bought some.

Offline Aquamaid

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Re: FISHLESS CYCLING Discussion Thread
« Reply #20 on: September 08, 2014, 07:04:12 PM »
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Thank you so much for the calculation Sue, (i'm artistic, not mathematical ) yes it is Jeyes Clean Off, and the tank is actually 90 ltr but ive filled it to 81 ltr and still have some cobbles to put in so i don't think it will be any more or less. Well i'm up and running and shall follow your fishless cycle method, so fingers crossed for me please lol : )

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Re: FISHLESS CYCLING Discussion Thread
« Reply #21 on: September 08, 2014, 07:09:14 PM »
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I'm hopeless at arty things but maths was my favourite subject at school. I got a grade 1 O level  ;D

Offline Wild Rover

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Re: FISHLESS CYCLING Discussion Thread
« Reply #22 on: September 17, 2014, 08:46:31 PM »
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Hi Sue,

Assuming you don't fully stock with fish straight after cycling is complete, is it likely that some bacteria would die in a 200 litre tank if left under stocked for a while, therefore requiring a slower build up of stock?

Thanks :)


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Online Sue

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Re: FISHLESS CYCLING Discussion Thread
« Reply #23 on: September 17, 2014, 09:15:05 PM »
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If you do get fish but not the full amount, not even 75% then yes, you would lose some bacteria over the weeks. The solution is either to keep adding ammonia until you can get most of your fish in one batch, or get some fish and add the rest a few at a time weeks/months later.
If you choose the latter, you could use less than 3ppm ammonia to cycle. For example, if you intended to get only a third of your final stock list straight away, you could get away with using enough ammonia to get 1.5ppm as the big dose and 0.5ppm as the smaller dose. Possibly even 1ppm as the big dose and 0.3 ppm as the smaller dose.
But you would need to add the remaining fish a few at a time if it is a few weeks after the first batch.

Offline Wild Rover

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Re: FISHLESS CYCLING Discussion Thread
« Reply #24 on: September 17, 2014, 09:29:22 PM »
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Much obliged. I'm not sure how many fish I will get straight away so may as well go the full dose. I'm assuming it wouldn't be any quicker either way.

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Online Sue

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Re: FISHLESS CYCLING Discussion Thread
« Reply #25 on: September 18, 2014, 01:06:02 PM »
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It takes very little longer to grow enough bacteria for 3ppm compared to 1ppm. It's getting them started that the slow bit. Under optimum conditions, they can double in 24 hours. So they can double from enough to dispose of 1ppm to 2ppm in around a day and around 2 days to go up to 3ppm.

Offline Fiona

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Re: FISHLESS CYCLING Discussion Thread
« Reply #26 on: May 06, 2015, 01:42:04 PM »
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Would I need to use 3ppm ammonia for my shrimpery? Its 15 litres.

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Re: FISHLESS CYCLING Discussion Thread
« Reply #27 on: May 06, 2015, 01:47:58 PM »
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For a shrimp only tank, I would think 1ppm as the big dose, with one third ppm as the snack dose, would be more than enough.

Offline Fiona

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Re: FISHLESS CYCLING Discussion Thread
« Reply #28 on: May 06, 2015, 02:10:37 PM »
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Thanks Sue

Offline chriswhy1967

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Re: FISHLESS CYCLING Discussion Thread
« Reply #29 on: September 02, 2015, 06:33:35 PM »
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The Range Household ammonia at £1.00 is no good it has an additive :(

Online Sue

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Re: FISHLESS CYCLING Discussion Thread
« Reply #30 on: September 02, 2015, 06:37:56 PM »
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Thank you for that info.

If you can find it, Kleen Off Household Ammonia is fine (make sure it is household ammonia as there are other products in the Kleen Off range) or failing that ammonia should be available on Ebay or Amazon. Some sellers even label it as ammonia for fishless cycling.

Offline chriswhy1967

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Re: FISHLESS CYCLING Discussion Thread
« Reply #31 on: September 02, 2015, 06:56:32 PM »
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That is what I have just done, could not find it in any of the local shops. and time is pushing now. Tank arrives in the shop tomorrow, so by Friday cabinet should be up and tank on top and 3d backgrounds stuck in and drying. Sand not here yet have 50kg on order. also when GF was not with me I ordered up a C02 system with refillable bottle, works out cheaper than the soda stream adapter.
do you have a link for crushed aragonite, bot seen it on Amazon yet.

Online Sue

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Re: FISHLESS CYCLING Discussion Thread
« Reply #32 on: September 02, 2015, 07:23:25 PM »
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I have seen aragonite mentioned on other forums, mainly because it contains magnesium as well as calcium. But I can't find crushed aragonite on UK sites - maybe that product is American. However, there are sellers of aragonite sand, with or without coral mixed in.
Caribsea make aragonite substrates suitable for African (Rift Lake) cichlids. If you could find a shop that specialises in Rift Lake cichlids, that would be the best place to look - these fish need very hard alkaline water.
I'm not sure about what Amazon calls live sand as this has bacteria on it, but marine bacteria rather than freshwater.


If all else fails, try looking for crushed coral. That should work too.

Offline chriswhy1967

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Re: FISHLESS CYCLING Discussion Thread
« Reply #33 on: September 02, 2015, 07:28:52 PM »
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going for south American type fish, I do not want to raise the PH , but you said I could do with the added hardness for the cycle, or will the bi carb be enough, plus if so what dose of Bi card am I looking at, no rush will be sunday I think before I start the cycle

Offline chriswhy1967

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Re: FISHLESS CYCLING Discussion Thread
« Reply #34 on: September 02, 2015, 07:35:12 PM »
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oh whilst I am thinking of it.. why does PH of tap water change over a 24 hour period, is it best to poor and keep the water for 24 hours before adding etc, years ago I just used to wait a few hours

I was using the ApI test kit high range on first pour and then low range 24 hours latter etc

Online Sue

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Re: FISHLESS CYCLING Discussion Thread
« Reply #35 on: September 02, 2015, 07:49:31 PM »
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Your hardness is very low so you do need to raise it a bit once you have fish. This will also raise the pH a bit but hardness is more important than pH. You don't have to raise it by much, nothing like what Rift Lake cichlid keepers need - they also have to add special salts if their tapwater isn't hard enough, using aragonite/coral isn't enough, and they usually use just that as a substrate to get more of it in the tank.

Bicarb - half a teaspoon in 100 litres water will raise the KH by 1 german degree. You need to get yours to at least 3 german deg while cycling. The best way to monitor this is with a KH tester. Bicarb is bicarbonate of soda which is sold in small tubs in the home baking section of the supermarket. Adding this will raise the KH fast, though it won't affect the GH. You need to use aragonite/ coral for that. But this is a slow process so boosting the KH fast is the quickest way to get the tank cycled. At the end of the cycle, you'll change 90% + of the water before getting fish which will get rid if the bicarb.

pH - some water companies add carbon dioxide to the water supply, which loweres the pH. Does yours change a lot on standing? Mine goes up by 0.2.
As for the testers, the way to use them is to start with the one labelled just pH. If that shows the highest colour, use the high range pH one. There is an overlap, my pH falls in this overlap so I call my water 7.5. With all the testers, if the value is off the top (or bottom) of the scale, the colour still shows as the top (or bottom) colour.
Unless the pH change on standing is huge, you don't need to let water stand before adding it to the tank during a water change.

Offline chriswhy1967

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Re: FISHLESS CYCLING Discussion Thread
« Reply #36 on: September 02, 2015, 07:58:21 PM »
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PH 7.8 on tap pouring and 6.6 24 hours latter

Online Sue

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Re: FISHLESS CYCLING Discussion Thread
« Reply #37 on: September 02, 2015, 09:14:38 PM »
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That is a big change! If you have somewhere you could leave the water change water to stand overnight, that might be an idea. Or alternatively, do 2 smaller water changes a week once you have fish rather than one bigger one.

Offline chriswhy1967

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Re: FISHLESS CYCLING Discussion Thread
« Reply #38 on: September 30, 2015, 03:22:13 PM »
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Four weeks in no good bacteria yet, kh at 5 Gh at 9. ammonia at least 3 ppm ph around 7
Snails doing well
Plants so far ok

Online Sue

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Re: FISHLESS CYCLING Discussion Thread
« Reply #39 on: September 30, 2015, 05:27:06 PM »
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Hmmm, that sounds odd. maybe your water company is extra good at disinfecting you water supply  ???

I have a suggestion for you to try, which you don't often hear. Go out and buy a bottle of Tetra Safe Start. Just that product, don't let the shop persuade you to get anything else. And don't get it on-line as that adds another possible stage for it to be deactivated in the post. Have a look through all the packs on the shelf and if there are packs with a later use by date, get one of those.
The instructions will be for if there are fish in the tank. Don't get fish, just assume the ammonia you've added comes from fish. I haven't used the product myself but I understand the instructions have to be followed closely. The bit about not using anything that 'detoxifies' ammonia won't apply even if your dechlorinator does this as it is a while since you filled the tank and the effect should have worn off by now.

Offline chriswhy1967

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Re: FISHLESS CYCLING Discussion Thread
« Reply #40 on: September 30, 2015, 08:22:28 PM »
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Will have a look at the weekend, I read that it could take longer being a large tank etc so was not to worried yet.

Online Sue

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Re: FISHLESS CYCLING Discussion Thread
« Reply #41 on: October 01, 2015, 01:36:50 PM »
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It doesn't take that much longer. Yes you do have to grow more bacteria because a bigger tank has more fish which make more ammonia. The bacteria can double in number in under a day, the long part is getting them started. If you think about the maths, if one bacterium survives the water company's attempts to kill them on day 1 you have 1 bacterium. On day 2 you have 2. Day 3 = 4. Day 4 = 8. Day 5 = 16. By day 10 you have 512. By day 20 you have 524288. It only takes 1 day extra to jump from a 50 litre tank's worth to a 100 litre tank's worth of bacteria.

I do realise that the real world won't work quite like that. Biological entities never follow a nice straight line - or even a nice smooth exponential curve  ;D

Offline chriswhy1967

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Re: FISHLESS CYCLING Discussion Thread
« Reply #42 on: October 05, 2015, 01:18:29 PM »
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Ok just need to check, boiled water should be zero ammonia ?

If so I tested a sample along with a tank sample and both are same dark yellow which I was reading as 0.5 / 1 ppm so I do have no ammonia when I thought I had none.
now I did use a Tetra safe start type product to begin with when I First started my tank,
It is planted and to date I have not had any positive Nitrite readings , they are always blue, used another test kit to check same results.
I did a full water change checked readings again, zero ammonia and Nitrite, nitrate either zero or very low.
Stuck 20 Cardinal tetras in for now and will check levels twice daily, they seem happy even thou the first day they all disappeared for the first six hours in the plants before starting to venture out and play , now they are zipping around the tank :fishy1:

Offline chriswhy1967

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Re: FISHLESS CYCLING Discussion Thread
« Reply #43 on: October 05, 2015, 01:23:01 PM »
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Plus any ammonia in my tank would be ammonium with my lower PH level 6.8'if the shade of pale green is correct if not it is lower. This is after the water change I cycled with the ph at 7.8

Online Sue

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Re: FISHLESS CYCLING Discussion Thread
« Reply #44 on: October 05, 2015, 01:34:25 PM »
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UK legislation allows up to 0.5ppm ammonia in tap water. But I think that it normally occurs in regions where chloramine is used as the disinfectant rather than chlorine. Do you know which your water company uses? It could be worth contacting them to find out.

But having said that, the API ammonia tester is quite tricky to read at very low levels, if that is the one you use. A lot of people always see the 0.25 colour even with a tank that has been running trouble free for years.
If you are using the API tester, in what lighting conditions are you reading it? Daylight or light bulb? And if under a light bulb, what kind, cfl, halogen or led?


And yes, at pH 6.8 the total ammonia as shown by the tester would have to be quite high for the toxic part to be at dangerous levels. A quick play with an ammonia calculator shows that at pH 6.8 and temp 250C, the total ammonia can go as high as 5.5 before the toxic bit reached 0.02 (the dangerous level)

Online Sue

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Re: FISHLESS CYCLING Discussion Thread
« Reply #45 on: February 29, 2016, 11:31:43 AM »
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I have just completed my first fishless cycle using this method. I have a 26 litre tank containing 1 male betta and 1 bee nerite snail. It had an internal filter which the betta used to sleep on, but it was forever falling off the glass - was that the betta's fault? I have replaced it with a sponge filter driven by an air pump. Because the two filters are totally incompatible I had to cycle the sponge filter in the quarantine tank before I could use it.


Tank size - 24 litres
Filter - Aqua One filter air 30; pump - JBL pro silent a50
Water temp 29oC

I have low KH so I added one level 5ml spoonful of bicarbonate of soda to increase the KH of the water.

My bottle of ammonia is very old and a lot has evaporated; the ammonia % is now a lot less than when I bought it. I will not give the volume of ammonia used, just the ppm.

Day 1
Added enough ammonia to give a reading between 2.0 and 4.0ppm

Tested every third day, readings ammonia between 2 and 4, nitrite zero

Day 28
Ammonia 0.5, nitrite over 5
Added ammonia to give a reading between 2 and 4

Tested every second day

Day 30
Ammonia zero, nitrite over 5

Day 32
Ammonia zero, nitrite over 5
Second zero ammonia so added 1ppm ammonia

Day 34
Ammonia zero, nitrite over 5

Day 36
Ammonia zero, nitrite over 5
Second zero ammonia so added 1ppm ammonia

Day 38
Ammonia zero, nitrite over 5

Day 40
Ammonia zero, nitrite over 5
Second zero ammonia so added 1ppm ammonia

Day 42
Ammonia zero, nitrite zero. Nitrite checked twice to make sure.
Added ammonia to between 2 and 4ppm

Day 43
Ammonia 0.25, nitrite 1.0

Day 44
Ammonia zero, nitrite zero
Added 3ppm ammonia
Electricity off all afternoon, after adding the ammonia

Day 45
Ammonia zero, nitrite 2.0

Day 46
Ammonia zero, nitrite zero
Added ammonia to between 2 and 4

Day 47
Ammonia zero, nitrite between 0.5 and 1.0
Added ammonia to between 2 and 4

Day 48
Ammonia zero, nitrite zero.
Moved sponge filter into betta's tank.


Did the power cut on day 44 affect the nitrite eaters? I was expecting the nitrite on day 45 to be a lot lower.



Offline Knight

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Re: FISHLESS CYCLING Discussion Thread
« Reply #46 on: March 01, 2016, 11:01:48 PM »
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Congratulations Sue!! See you did beat me after all lol

Offline Cornish Bayguy

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Re: FISHLESS CYCLING Discussion Thread
« Reply #47 on: March 06, 2016, 04:56:26 PM »
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Hi guys. I have been cycling for a week and did a water test yesterday. All I added at the start was bio boost which is what I was told to add and I have been adding liquid CO2 every day and yesterday I added liquid plant food. But my tests yesterday showed Ph7,nitrite 0 , ammonia 0 and nitrate 0. I think I have not added something. I am doing a fish less cycle. The guys at the shop said I did not need to add ammonia when I asked them at the beginning.

Online Sue

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Re: FISHLESS CYCLING Discussion Thread
« Reply #48 on: March 06, 2016, 05:13:50 PM »
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Hi  :wave:

On the whole shops either don't believe in fishless cycling or they don't understand it. They don't seem to understand that unless you add ammonia, either from a bottle or made by fish, the bacteria we want in the tank won't have any food to enable them to multiply. Your ammonia reading was zero because you haven't added any, and your nitrite was zero because there was no ammonia to make it from.

The safest thing to do (safest for fish, that is) is to add some ammonia. If the bioboost does anything it will speed up the cycle; it may speed up the whole thing or it may speed up growing the ammonia eaters but not the nitrite eaters as most of them contain the wrong species of nitrite eating bacteria.
Ammonia in real shops is getting hard to come by. I got my bottle of Jeyes Kleen Off Household Ammonia from my local DIY shop. Otherwise look at Ebay or Amazon.

The last week, plus a few more days waiting for the ammonia to arrive, won't be wasted. You are getting your plants off to a good start, and having lots of well growing plants also shortens the cycle as they use ammonia as food - you don't need to grow as many bacteria with plants to help.
Once you have a bottle of ammonia, if it says it is 9.5% add 0.32 ml ammonia for every 10 litres of tank water. If it doesn't say, add 2ml then test after half an hour. If necessary add more to get the reading to 3ppm. Make a note of the total amount of ammonia you add, then follow the instructions in the first post in this thread.
You might find a syringe helpful to measure awkward amounts.

Offline Littlefish

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Re: FISHLESS CYCLING Discussion Thread
« Reply #49 on: March 06, 2016, 06:44:59 PM »
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Hi Cornish Bayguy  :wave:

Welcome to the forum, best of luck with getting hold of the ammonia and doing your fishless cycle.

 :)

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