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Nitrogen cycle not started after 4 months of fish-in


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On 5/10/2021 at 6:45 PM, DShelton said:

Prime should only be added to fresh water during a water change.


What does your tap water look like? Is it known to have chlorine (hypochlorite), or chloramine? You do not have enough ammonia in the water to merit a water change IMO. A concentration of .25 ppm ammonia at a pH of 6.8 is not is not toxic to your fish. If it is chloramine, a water change only adds more ammonia to the tank (a product of the reaction between the dechlorinator and chloramine) and in an established tank this is absolutely no issue since the established bio filter sucks that ammonia up almost instantly. 

I would not a water change at this point.


The pH is fine. I would not chase any water chemistry. 


What is the pH of your tap water?

It has been 12 days and this is where I am at, and still totally at a loss.  


The pH of the water from the tap is reading 7.0 with the API master test kit.

The pH of the tank water has been reading 7.6 pretty consistently the pat 12 days.  When I test the High pH it is showing 7.4.

The ammonia has still not gotten over .25ppm.

Nitrite is still reading 0

Nitrate is still reading 0.

I have stopped adding prime to control ammonia based on your advice.  I did add prime to the tap water to do 1 25% water change after 1 week.  

I also did do 1 dose of the MicroBacter Start XLF to try and help the nitro cycle along.  I am not sure where to go from here.  

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Any chance you could post a picture of your tank?

I think you’re doing fine—the cycle may be slow to get started, but nothing seems wrong yet.

The difference in pH may come down to the substrate (gravel) you’re using. No big deal, as long as it stays relatively consistent.

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Morning from ga, in a newbie but had a similar issue. My ph was at a 6 bc I had gotten the wrong plant substrate in beginning that lowers my already low ph 🤦‍♀️🥴. It stayed like this for a month before I found this forum. I have vary soft water. Kh1 gh3 at best so my ph couldn’t rise. I’ve used crushed coral bags in filter and in my aquarium either just sprinkled or in bags. I’ve the lower your ph the faster coral and minerals dissolve bringing up your ph. I’m now in the 7s consistently. And finally in month 2 getting readings up. My big box store lead me a bit wrong thinking I could do this with my betta in tank. So I’m kinda in same boat is what I’m getting at. Get your ph up that will help. I do my water changes 1-2x a week @ 25%  for my 5 gal betta tank. I hope this helps encourage you. Hang in there friend, it’s a tough road but. With all these peeps help we can do it. ☺️ 
I dose prime but only once my api master test kit reads above .25 ammonia and use 1ml until I get 2ppm ammonia or I get a combination of ammonia and nitrite. Then add numbers together to dose correctly.. I use fritz zyme 7 for live bacteria. And slowly switching to their version of water conditioner as it works better than prime from what I hear. I use wonder shell to help bring up my gh as well. Live plants are awesome in my process. I use api stress coat some times, and betta fix all from my big box stores. When I think his fins are getting funny. I agree with the others if it’s really bad fin rot get a sponge filter place him in tote with that and medicate in there. While you continue to cycle your actual tank. 

I hope all this helps. @Isaac Mhas been helping me a lot. 

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