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  1. Just for everyone's information.....After a year and a half of pulling my hair out, I discovered this (above) was the reason my tanks refused to cycle. Evidently, there is an ingredient, most likely the Aloe, that absolutely prevents cycling from occurring. Apparently, it is intended ONLY for small tanks and bowls that are NOT intended to be cycled. Nothing in the documentation makes this clear. Only after I stopped using the product above, and a few water changes over a couple of weeks, did I get ANY nitrites and nitrates. I now have two fully cycled tanks. And, the third fishless tank I was attempting to cycle is now well on it's way. Also, my tank and filters are no longer being gunked up with a yellowish slime. I believe this is important information everyone should be aware of.
  2. I have also discovered that phenomena. My tap water tests clear of ammonia. But, after dechlorination, I get a reading of .25 ppm ammonia. If you are getting your tap water from a local municipality, it is likely being disinfected using chloramine, which basically is a relatively unstable compound of chlorine and ammonia. By law, they are permitted to emit up to 4 ppm chloramine. When we add dechlorinator, the chlorine is bound rendering it harmless, but the ammonia is released.
  3. Wow!!! This is a busy forum. And, it's already been four days since I posted this. FWIW...I have been slowly reducing the amount of pH Down I've been using. So as to change the pH very slowly over a period of time. When I did my water change on Wednesday, both of my filters failed to restart. So, it was necessary to clean the motor housing and impellers. I've had to do this at least once a month. Everything was coated in a brown muck, which I can only hope is desirable bacteria. But, since I don't have a quality microscope and practical lab technique, I have no way to verify this. Thursday, I had forgotten to add more Ammo Lock to delay the water change until Friday. This is something that had been recommended. However, when I got home on Friday, I was upset to find my Bettas swimming frantically and erratically. Something I had never seen before. So, I added the Ammo Lock until I could do a water change later that evening. Their behavior returned to normal. Thank you for all of the advice. As I originally stated, I want to be able to cycle the fishless tank first before performing any more experiments on my Bettas.
  4. For me to follow all of this advice, I would have to believe that my test kit is giving me grossly false readings, and I have no way to accurately monitor the conditions in my aquariums. Right now, it tells me I have potentially lethal amounts of ammonia in my inhabited tanks. My fishless tank is unchanged at a steady 2.0 ppm under the conditions you all are recommending. It's my understanding that even without adding bacteria, there should be enough present in the environment to start a cycle albeit more slowly. I forgot to mention that a few months ago I also bought two Seachem Ammonia Alert devices. It's my understanding they monitor only "free" ammonia (NH3). In which case, with the Ammo Lock used, I have no more than .05 ppm free ammonia. Whereas, the API test kit measures all ammonia....bound and unbound. Ammo Lock serves the same purpose as Seachem Prime regarding ammonia. Since both lose their effectiveness after 48 hours, it's fair to assume the bound ammonium (NH4) will become unbound ammonia (NH3) if the pH is 7.0 or above. At a reading of 8 ppm, that would be lethal. So, you see my dilemma. It's my understanding that nitrifying bacteria should consume the ammonia in either state. As I alluded to, for most of the last year, I have done only a superficial vacuuming of the gravel. It's only recently that I've done a much more thorough job. That was because, even with the massive water changes, the water was becoming increasingly cloudy (muddy) even after one day. Vacuuming the gravel will not destroy all of the bacteria adhering to the surface of the gravel. I was merely cleaning the excessive accumulated detritus. The nitrifying bacteria grows on surfaces....not in the water.
  5. Hello James. Well, all I can tell you is what the test kit tells me. And, it is not out of date, by the way. From day one, after two days I would get ammonia readings of 8 ppm (or greater), which I understand can stall, or prevent a cycle. I never thought one little fish could foul a tank so quickly. After a couple of months, I cut them back to one feeding a day. At first, all I had was a Top Fin BF5 Betta-Flo internal filter, which has the standard floss and carbon cartridge. When I set up these tanks, I used an entire bottle of Tetra Safe Start Plus between them. After a few months of frustration, I added Aquatop's smallest sponge filter. This changed nothing. I have to admit, I was not doing a thorough gravel vacuuming like I believed I was, but that has changed. Even so, the test results are the same. I have never measured ANY nitrites or nitrates in any of my tanks....ever. If I had, the ammonia readings should not be consistently so high. My tap water has no ammonia initially. However, after dechlorination, I get an ammonia reading of .25 ppm, which indicates chloramine is in the water. Like I said, after two days, the reading is up to 8 ppm, or higher. My Bettas are in 5.5 gallon tanks. I give them a 3 gallon water change every other day. And, because of the high ammonia readings, I add API Ammo Lock. If I use Ammo Lock again after two days to delay the water change for a day, it drops the pH even more. Every few weeks, I will do a 4 gallon water change to dilute any residual Ammo Lock. I'd really love to have cycled tanks, so I wouldn't have to subject my little buddies to so much chemicals, and I wouldn't have to do massive water changes so often. But, I can't even cycle a fishless tank.
  6. Greetings. It was suggested to me to bring my question here. I've been reading and researching for over a year and haven't come up with any solutions. I am the caretaker of two beautiful male Bettas. To preface my question, I got the two Bettas on February 14th of 2020. When I saw them, I knew I HAD to have them, so they were given 5.5 gallon uncycled tanks, and I assumed I would be able to do a fish-in cycle. After all, it's only one little fish, right? A year and two months later, I have had no luck. Don 't worry.....they are healthy and happy. I however am not. Six weeks ago, I started a new 5.5 gallon tank with the intent to do a fishless cycle and give them a temporary home (one at a time) until I could cycle their tanks properly. In the new tank, I have two sponge filters with air stone modification and gravel substrate. It's been kept at a pH of 7.4, a temperature of 79 degrees F, ammonia at 2.0 ppm using Fritz Fishless Fuel and a healthy dose of Fritz Zyme 7. It's my understanding, these should be ideal conditions for a cycle to develop. But, there is still no hint of cycling activity. I am frustrated beyond belief. I use tap water, which has a pH of 8.4, a GH of at least 180, a KH between 40-60. I use API pH Down to bring the pH down to near neutral. I use API Betta Water Conditioner for dechlorination. I've even used chlorine test strips to verify that it is working. It shows there is chorine present, but there is near zero "free" chlorine. I am at a complete loss as to understand what could be preventing a cycle. Oh....I use an API Master Test kit. One thing I need to mention....At the time I started the new tank, my mother had an "air scrubber" installed in our HVAC system. Besides UV, it claims to create "sanitizing ions" and hydro peroxides. You can smell them when you enter the house from outside. The odor is not nearly as strong in the basement where my aquariums are, but I am concerned it might be having an adverse effect. Does anyone else use one of these air scrubbers?
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