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Help With Fish Tank Cycle Please

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Offline Paddy60

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Help with fish tank cycle please
« on: December 11, 2016, 10:29:22 AM »
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started cycling my 120ltr tank five weeks ago ,dosed filter sponges with dirty water from my small tank(cycled).
Started getting good readings ammonia nitrate nitrates,then after two weeks after redosing to 3ppm ammonia it would not drop, i had added all the artificial plants and ornaments ,and i think i used some aquacare bio boost .
Something seemed to have stooped the cycle. I did an 80% water change and dosed to 3ppm ammonia ,starting cycle over again.Am now 21 days in and ammonia has not moved from 3ppm.I am now a bit concerened because of the stop in cycle after two weeks ,and now three weeks in after starting again,and no change . So does this look ok,on track, or any steps  i need  to take please ?
appolagies if i have posted about cycling this tank before

Offline Sue

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Re: help with cycle please
« Reply #1 on: December 11, 2016, 11:18:09 AM »
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It took 28 days for my ammonia to drop. If it wasn't for the fact that I already had three tanks running I would have got very frustrated (it was a sponge filter to replace the internal in my betta's tank and I cycled it in the quarantine tank).

Is it possible to take a bit of actual media from your small tank and put that inside the bigger tank's filter? It is safe to take up a third of the media from an established filter, though it is wise to keep an eye on the ammonia & nitrite in that tank for a few days.
The water from the small tank would have had virtually no filter bacteria in it because they are attached to surfaces not free floating. But the bacteria are attached to filter media, which is why using media works better.

Offline Paddy60

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Re: help with cycle please
« Reply #2 on: December 11, 2016, 02:12:05 PM »
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ok thanks sue, so yours didnt drop at all for 28 days ?

Offline Sue

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Re: help with cycle please
« Reply #3 on: December 11, 2016, 02:43:57 PM »
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This is the data I recorded for the fishless cycle I did in Jan 2016

Because this tank is 26 litres and has just one male betta and one small nerite snail, I initially added ammonia to just 1 to 2 ppm as this is more than enough for that bioload. The colour was between 1 and 2.


Day 1 - added ammonia Stage #1
Day 4 - no change
Day 7 - no change
Day 10 - no change
Day 13 - no change
Day 16 - ammonia still same but just a hint of nitrite though still well below 0.25
Day 19 - same as day 16
Day 21 - ammonia still showing between 1 and 2 and nitrite the merest hint. Got frustrated and did a 100% water change then added ammonia to give a reading between 2 and 4 ppm.
Day 24 - ammonia between 1 and 2, nitrite 0. The ammonia dropped from 2 - 4 to 1 -2 but no idea where it went.
Day 26 - tested after 2 days because getting fed up. Ammonia 1 to 2. Nitrite merest hint.
Day 28 - ammonia 0.5 nitrite > 5 (off the top of the chart). Added ammonia to ~ 3ppm Stage #6
Day 30 - ammonia 0, nitrite >5
Day 32 - ammonia 0, nitrite >5. Zero ammonia on 2 test 2 days apart, added the one third dose of ammonia. Stage #8
Day 34 - ammonia 0, nitrite >5
Day 36 - ammonia 0, nitrite >5. Zero ammonia in 2 tests 2 day apart, added the one third dose of ammonia Stage #8 again
Day 38 - ammonia 0, nitrite >5
Day 40 - ammonia 0, nitrite >5. Zero ammonia on 2 tests 2 days apart, added a one third dose of ammonia. Stage #8 again
Day 42 - ammonia 0, nitrite 0. Added a 2 to 4 ppm dose ammonia Stage #10
Day 43 - ammonia 0.25, nitrite 1.0
Day 44 - ammonia 0, nitrite 0. Added 2 to 4 ppm ammonia. Stage #10 again Then power went off for 4 hours.
Day 45 - ammonia 0, nitrite 2 - was the cycle affected by the power cut?
Day 46 - ammonia 0, nitrite 0. Added ammonia to 2 to 4 ppm Stage #10 again
Day 47 - ammonia 0, nitrite between 0.5 and 1. Added ammonia to between 2 and 4 ppm Stage #10 yet again
Day 48 - ammonia 0, nitrite 0. Finally stage #14

Ammonia and nitrite both zero 24 hours after adding full dose ammonia = cycle finished.



As you can see, ammonia finally dropped on day 28. And nitrite dropped from off the top of the chart to zero between days 40 and 42.



Offline Paddy60

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Re: help with cycle please
« Reply #4 on: December 11, 2016, 03:09:20 PM »
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great alot of help ,gives me some idea now,thanks sue  :)

Offline Paddy60

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Re: help with cycle please
« Reply #5 on: December 25, 2016, 09:29:04 AM »
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38 days into cycle no change, ammonia still 3ppm ,nitrite 0 ,nitrates same as tap water 10ppm ,chlorines 0
Still concerned , are some of the artificial plants and ornaments affecting the cycle ?
Have added another dose of water conditioner for 120ltrs to the tank.
I am going to add a bag of bio max from my 23ltr cycled tank to try and kick start , have three bags of bio rings and af isponge in small tank ,so one bag less ,is less than 1/3 of bio filter as advised by @Sue .
Still concerened about plants etc .Has any one else had any problems with artificial decor and cycling ?

ps Happy christmas all

Offline Matt

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Re: help with cycle please
« Reply #6 on: December 25, 2016, 10:30:03 AM »
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The plants etc won't cause a problem, the cycled media should make a massive difference though
  :cheers:

Offline Paddy60

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Re: help with cycle please
« Reply #7 on: December 25, 2016, 10:41:39 AM »
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ok thanks Matt.  :cheers:

Offline Paddy60

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Re: help with cycle please
« Reply #8 on: December 26, 2016, 06:31:49 PM »
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any body know anthing about acuacare bio boost? does it do the same as tetra safe start?

Offline Sue

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Re: help with cycle please
« Reply #9 on: December 26, 2016, 07:17:17 PM »
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As far as I'm aware, there are only two 'bottled bacteria' products that contain the correct species of nitrite eating bacteria - Dr Tim's One & Only (very hard to get outside the USA) and Tetra Safe Start.
At first it was thought that the nitrite eaters were the same species found in waste treatment works (Nitrobacter), then Dr Tim Hovanec, working for an American company which has since been taken over by Tetra, discovered the correct species which grows in aquaria (Nitrospira). The use of this species was copyrighted or whatever the correct term is so that only he and Tetra can make a bottled bacteria containing this species.

Most other products do contain the right ammonia eaters, just the wrong nitrite eaters.

It could still be worth trying a different brand of bottled bacteria, it should help kick start the ammonia eaters.
The correct species of nitrite eaters function at the low concentrations found in tank, but the wrong ones need higher concentrations of nitrite. These bacteria will help during cycling where the amount of nitrite is high compared to in a cycled tank, but will die off as the level drops, something to bear in mind when interpreting test results.




If anyone knows of any other product which contains Nitrospira rather than Nitrobacter, please let us know.

Offline Paddy60

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Re: help with cycle please
« Reply #10 on: December 29, 2016, 03:18:28 PM »
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realy getting stressed out now,read evrything i can and still no results .cycled my 23ltr tank lately and all is going fine but cannot get my 120ltr to cycle. so hears the update ,seeded 120tank with dirty water from 23ltr tank got good reedings and all looking good , added all the decor , redosed to 3ppm ammonia then it would not drop.Did 80%water change and re dosed to 3ppm.I am now at 44days since that water change no drop in ammonia,added a bag of biomax from small tank to this filter three days ago,also started adding pinch of crumbled fish flakes every day, turned of air pump incase flow to great ,added tetra safe start 24hrs ago ,STILL NO DROP still concerns me why i had readings and a liitle while after adding decor stuck at 3ppm ammonia.
So still no drop urgent advise what to do needed as it seems nothing working please please please

Offline Littlefish

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Re: help with cycle please
« Reply #11 on: December 29, 2016, 03:37:42 PM »
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Hi @Paddy60

Sorry to hear that you are still having problems with your 120L tank.
I would have thought that the bag of biomax from the small tank would have helped. Have you put them in to your filter - that will help the bacteria on the biomax grow into your filter media.
Have you had any problems with your pH? Just a wild shot but thought I'd ask because a drop in pH can cause a cycle to crash.

I'm no @Sue  when it comes to cycling tanks, and my experience has generally been with having a lot of mature media available from several tanks to be able to move into a new tank, so any cycling I deal with tends to have had a very big kick start. It has been over a year since I've had to cycle a tank "properly" rather than just moving mature media around. I've not used products like Bio Boost or Safe Start, so can't comment on them.

If it is any help then I am more than happy to send you a larger amount of mature media to help you with your tank. It may have to wait until the new year as I can't imagine what the postal service would be like until then, but it might be worth a go.

Offline Paddy60

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Re: help with cycle please
« Reply #12 on: December 29, 2016, 03:49:57 PM »
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hi @Littlefish thanks for your replie i will see if @Sue  has any ideas why this is not happening then i will take you up on your offer of sending me some media.

Offline Sue

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Re: help with cycle please
« Reply #13 on: December 29, 2016, 04:59:06 PM »
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The biomax should have done something.


Is there any possibility something is in the tank that shouldn't be? You've used dechlorinator - which one? - so there shouldn't be any chlorine in there.
Did you use anything to clean the tank before starting the cycle? Any trace of a cleaner could do harm.
Are the two tanks in the same room? If the 23 litre is OK and they are in the same room, there shouldn't be any air born pollutant getting in the 120. If they are in different room, check for aerosols or air fresheners of any type.
And just to be sure, you do have pure ammonia not ammonia with detergent added?

Offline Paddy60

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Re: help with cycle please
« Reply #14 on: December 29, 2016, 05:39:28 PM »
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both tanks in same room,using same dechloranator which is fluval aquaplus,have tested for chlorine with strips which is reading 0, did not clean tank with any products .just seemed to stop after adding decor .have another bottle of safe start from different source dont no weather to add it. does it work with ammonia at 3ppm

Offline Paddy60

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Re: help with cycle please
« Reply #15 on: December 29, 2016, 05:40:32 PM »
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am using kleenoff ammonia

Offline Sue

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Re: help with cycle please
« Reply #16 on: December 29, 2016, 07:05:35 PM »
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You have eliminated contamination from everything but the decor - and you say the problems started after adding decor.

So now I'll ask, what decor did you add and where did you get it from, a fish shop or somewhere else?


Tetra Safe Start doesn't work if it has been stored incorrectly at some point between the factory and your tank. If you want to try another bottle, get it from a different shop - and not just a different branch of the same shop as they'll have the same wholesaler.

Offline Paddy60

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Re: help with cycle please
« Reply #17 on: December 29, 2016, 07:18:31 PM »
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ok have 4 ornaments and quite a few plants all but two ornaments where bought at maidenhead aquatics.The two ornament where bought on line one is a bridge ,and from china it looks like its made of resin but the bridge ropes are made of some other plastic. I have removed both now, will try this ,if this does not work i will strip all decor out and try that

Offline Andy The Minion

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Re: help with cycle please
« Reply #18 on: December 29, 2016, 09:05:18 PM »
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@Paddy60 As Littlefish mentioned, what is your pH please.

Offline Matt

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Re: help with cycle please
« Reply #19 on: December 29, 2016, 09:08:57 PM »
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Now you've removed the 2 bits of suspect decor I would do a large water change and re add ammonia to reach 3ppm. This will mean that whatever is in the tank from the decor you removed is also removed if this is the issue.  Either way it reduces the possibility of this being a factor going forwards  :cheers:

Offline Paddy60

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Re: help with cycle please
« Reply #20 on: December 30, 2016, 07:28:15 AM »
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@Andy the minion  @Matt The ph is a steady 8.2/8.3  . Will do a large water change today ,have noticed one of the other plants is losing a bit of its paint only a few small amounts though ,but going to remove this aswell

Offline Matt

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Re: help with cycle please
« Reply #21 on: December 30, 2016, 07:47:25 AM »
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Is there anything else in the tank Paddy that you are not totally sure is aquarium safe?

Offline Paddy60

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Re: help with cycle please
« Reply #22 on: December 30, 2016, 07:55:57 AM »
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@Matt everything else bought from the fish shop maidenhead aquatics

Offline Littlefish

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Re: help with cycle please
« Reply #23 on: December 30, 2016, 07:58:41 AM »
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Your pH is similar to mine, and unlikely to drop/crash.
I'd have thought that anything bought from MA should be safe for your tank.

Offline Paddy60

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Re: help with cycle please
« Reply #24 on: December 30, 2016, 08:03:05 AM »
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@Littlefish  i would have thought so. have removed the online stuff and will remove the plant with the paint chipping,will do large water change and see from there

Offline Littlefish

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Re: help with cycle please
« Reply #25 on: December 30, 2016, 08:10:00 AM »
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Best of luck.  :)

Offline Andy The Minion

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Re: help with cycle please
« Reply #26 on: December 30, 2016, 08:42:43 AM »
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@Paddy60  With that pH the bacterial should also loving it, if is only it were below 6 then they would struggle. I'm at a loss, the only thing I can suggest is adding more established biological media

Offline Paddy60

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Re: help with cycle please
« Reply #27 on: December 30, 2016, 10:26:50 AM »
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@Littlefish @Matt @Andy the minion  Decided to strip the tank down and start again ,did want to eventually move the tank slightly anyway.
Have just stripped all the plastic plants out and under inspection have found maidenhead aquatics have put a label on the bottom of the base which possibly the glue is toxic to fish

Offline Littlefish

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Re: help with cycle please
« Reply #28 on: December 30, 2016, 12:33:33 PM »
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Now is a good time to move the tank, so much better than when everything is up and running and the fish have settled in.  :)

Offline Paddy60

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Re: help with cycle please
« Reply #29 on: December 30, 2016, 12:49:58 PM »
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yes  i agree didnt want to move it when it was running.
Anyway have not only found labels on the bottom of the plants ,but there was a load of gunk on the heater which was realy hard to clean off.

Offline Sue

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Re: help with cycle please
« Reply #30 on: December 30, 2016, 02:30:41 PM »
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One other thought occurs to me. It might be worth taking some tap water to a fish shop and asking them to test the KH. With your pH it should be fairly high but you never know. If it does turn out to be low you can boost it artificially for cycling as the bacteria do need carbonate to multiply.

This isn't a likely scenario but it is one that can easily be eliminated.

Offline Paddy60

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Re: help with cycle please
« Reply #31 on: December 30, 2016, 04:11:48 PM »
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@Sue  have looked on thames water site they say my gh should be 16  which iv tested with strips also kh is testing at between 10 and 15 .
Have stripped tank out now scrubbed everything including wash gravel.Had three plants with labels on base which i haven't been able to get the glue off yet so have not put those back in.I had a glue substance on the heater which has taken a good while to clean off,dont no what it was,it was not there when i set up last time.
Now everything back in place and filled up.Will dechlorinate with double dose in a few hours,just letting things run a while.Going to dose ammonia to 2ppm to start with, and try tetra safe start.I read that safe start does not like high ammonia level so going with 2ppm.
Well thats kept me busy  today just finished .Lets hope this gets it done .Back to the patience game now.

Offline Sue

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Re: help with cycle please
« Reply #32 on: December 30, 2016, 04:16:35 PM »
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I didn't really think it would be the KH with that high pH but it needed to be checked just on the off chance.


Starting with a lower dose of ammonia is fine, you can even use just 1 ppm. Once the bacteria start growing then you can increase to 3 ppm. Maybe even wait till the tank is cycled with 1 ppm and then increase to 3.

Offline Paddy60

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Re: help with cycle please
« Reply #33 on: December 30, 2016, 04:20:21 PM »
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@Sue i willprobably doe that keep it low at first.Thanks to you and the others for your help.fingers crossed now

Offline Paddy60

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Re: help with cycle please
« Reply #34 on: January 12, 2017, 08:03:36 AM »
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have been running the new cycle for 11days now and once again have a hard white build up
on the heater. is this a concern. could it be down to water hardness.
advice needed  please

Offline Sue

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Re: help with cycle please
« Reply #35 on: January 12, 2017, 10:15:32 AM »
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White deposits in a tank where the water is hard could be just limescale. These usually occur round the surface of the water where the minerals in the water are deposited as water evaporates.
There is also a softer white deposit that appears on things like heaters - I have softish water and I get this second deposit.



Offline Paddy60

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Re: help with cycle please
« Reply #36 on: January 12, 2017, 10:46:58 AM »
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my other tank has these soft deposits round the heater top. This tank has like a hard deposit on the heater tube and very difficult to remove. I had to use a razor blade and nail  brush last time. you could liken the deposit as a hard boild sweet stuck to a surface and gone hard. I have no idea what this is or where its coming from. I did consider is it coming from the plastic heater bracket. This is concerning me that it could  be the reason the tank would not cycle

Offline Matt

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Re: help with cycle please
« Reply #37 on: January 13, 2017, 08:54:40 PM »
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What make is your heater?

Offline Paddy60

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Re: help with cycle please
« Reply #38 on: January 13, 2017, 09:16:30 PM »
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fluval

Offline Matt

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Re: help with cycle please
« Reply #39 on: January 14, 2017, 07:02:06 AM »
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Have you had any progress with the cycle, now 13 days in?

Offline Paddy60

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Re: help with cycle please
« Reply #40 on: January 14, 2017, 07:29:15 AM »
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@Matt ammonia and nitritre no change. Have now dropped tank temp to 27degC as i have read around 30degC and above can kill the bacteria and can possibly cause more limestone build up on heater. Had previous temp running at 29.5 degC

Offline Matt

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Re: help with cycle please
« Reply #41 on: January 14, 2017, 07:31:40 AM »
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Good shout this was going to be my next suggestion.

Offline Paddy60

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Re: help with cycle please
« Reply #42 on: January 14, 2017, 07:34:16 AM »
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ph has risen a few points as well  which i believe happens during cycling, so maybe a good  sighn

Offline Paddy60

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Re: help with cycle please
« Reply #43 on: January 18, 2017, 07:38:29 PM »
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have re checked KH and now think i might havegot the reading wrong ,as the strips are hard to read.I told @Sue it was above 10 ,but i now think its between 3 and 5.
I believe i can adjust this with baking soda ,what reading do i need to aim at ?

Offline fcmf

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Re: help with cycle please
« Reply #44 on: January 18, 2017, 07:46:09 PM »
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have re checked KH and now think i might havegot the reading wrong ,as the strips are hard to read.
While I do like the test strips for nitrate, nitrite and chlorine, I don't find them at all reliable for KH and GH - they inflate the readings considerably, and tend to give me a lower PH reading (in comparison with my water/utility website and liquid-based tests). I'd read them with caution for those particular ones.

Offline Sue

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Re: help with cycle please
« Reply #45 on: January 18, 2017, 07:50:24 PM »
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For during cycling, aim for 10. Remove a bit of tank water, dissolve the bicarb in that then pour it back into the tank.
Start off small, 1 level teaspoonful for 50 litres tank water. Test again after half an hour and if it is still below 10, add some more - the level from 1 spoonful per 50 litres will tell you how much more you need to add.

When the cycle finishes you will need to do as big a water change as possible, near 100% leaving just what's in the substrate, to get rid of the bicarb.

Offline Paddy60

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Re: help with cycle please
« Reply #46 on: January 18, 2017, 08:07:51 PM »
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ok thanks @Sue and @fcmf, i dont like the strips, and did find they where giving a low ph reading  and really hard to read KH.
So i am going to asume my reading is at 4 and will boost up to 10 tomorrow

Offline Paddy60

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Re: help with cycle please
« Reply #47 on: January 28, 2017, 01:51:55 PM »
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 update .   28 days into new cycle after strip down and no ammonia drop or nitrite,have used two lots of tetra safestart from different suppliers,have seeded tank with biomax and filter sponge from my 23ltr cycled tank, have dosed to 1.5 ppm with kleen off ammonia ,have been adding some fish food and a prawn to try and get things going still no change.
ammonia 1.5
nitrite 0
nitrate 20 same as tap
gh 10
kh 10
chlorine 0
temp 27.5 deg C
fluval u3 filter with carbon clean and clear catridges removed leaving just sponge media.running at high turnover
something still does not seem right,thought i would have some change by now.
any suggestions or thoughts on this please

Offline Matt

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Re: help with cycle please
« Reply #48 on: January 28, 2017, 06:29:07 PM »
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Am I reading right that your ammonia has dropped from 1.5ppm to 0ppm?

Have to redosed with ammonia?

Offline Paddy60

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Re: help with cycle please
« Reply #49 on: January 28, 2017, 06:33:22 PM »
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@Matt  no sorry have modifyed that .It is still at 1.5 ppm

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