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Aquarium not cycling after 2+ months?


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Hello Everyone,

I started trying to cycle my second aquarium, which is a 5.5g with two of the Aquarium Co-Op nano sponge filters (cycling two sponges so I can downsize a sponge filter in my other aquarium), on 04/24/21 but as of right now, over two months later, the parameters are sitting at: Ammonia = 5.0ppm, Nitrites = 0.25ppm, and Nitrates = 0ppm. I was able to detect nitrites starting in mid-May, but the concentration has literally sat unchanged as well as the concentrations for Ammonia and of course Nitrate.

The only difference I can think of between cycling this tank and cycling my last one is that the last time I tried cycling an aquarium, I had a shrimp/planted tank substrate so perhaps that gave more porous surfaces for bacteria to grow on. I didn't think that would be necessary though, especially with an extra sponge that could help nitrite colonize, but I'm wondering if it's maybe due to my area's very hard water?

Please help if you can! I'm anxious to get my next aquarium going. ūüė≠

Edited by sparklymoonshrimp
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If you have a cycled tank, remove some water from your 5 gallon (maybe 2 gallons or so) and add some water from an established aquarium and see if that helps. Honestly 5ppm ammonia is a lot for initial cycle. I usually recommend aiming for 2ppm because ammonia higher than that can actually stall the bacterial growth. 

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On 7/5/2021 at 9:38 PM, Nirvanaquatics said:

If you have a cycled tank, remove some water from your 5 gallon (maybe 2 gallons or so) and add some water from an established aquarium and see if that helps. Honestly 5ppm ammonia is a lot for initial cycle. I usually recommend aiming for 2ppm because ammonia higher than that can actually stall the bacterial growth. 

Oh, good point. Should I do a large water change in general, as well, like two-thirds? Would it help if I used one of those bacteria/cycling-boosting products?

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On 7/5/2021 at 10:07 PM, sparklymoonshrimp said:

Oh, good point. Should I do a large water change in general, as well, like two-thirds? Would it help if I used one of those bacteria/cycling-boosting products?

Eh if you don't already have some kicking around, don't bother buying bottled bacteria. The used tank water will probably do roughly the same thing. Scrape the glass in an established tank and you'll get plenty of bacterial starter lol. As for the amount of water, you could do 2/3rds for sure. 

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I accidently dosed my 29 gallon to 5 ppm ammonia.  I used Fritzyme 7 bottled stuff and it had it gone in 2 weeks....I now have shrimp and snails going to town in it and its only been a little over 3 weeks.  Agree with @Nirvanaquaticsammonia that high will stall a cycle, I guess since I was dosing every other day with the Fritz it kept it moving along. YMMV

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On 7/5/2021 at 10:38 PM, Nirvanaquatics said:

If you have a cycled tank, remove some water from your 5 gallon (maybe 2 gallons or so) and add some water from an established aquarium and see if that helps. Honestly 5ppm ammonia is a lot for initial cycle. I usually recommend aiming for 2ppm because ammonia higher than that can actually stall the bacterial growth. 

It will also help if you can use any hard scape or substrate from existing tank even if you just move it temporarily to get the good stuff into the new tank

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If you have a cycled tank, move the extra sponge filter into the cycled tank for a couple of weeks and then move it back. Or you could move some other filter media from the cycled tank to your new tank.

Two things: 1) Beneficial bacteria grows on surfaces; there is very little in the water; and 2) beneficial bacteria grows in much greater numbers where there is flow, so there is a lot more in filter media - like the sponge filter - than on gravel, rocks, etc.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I'm a newbie, so I don't know much, but here's what I've done with my tank, it always has 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites, 0 nitrates. I obtained cycled media from a local fish facebook group member, and I also put a whole bunch of pothos in. I have about 10 small pothos cuttings which I've floated at the back of my tank, all of which have grown extensive roots by now. Plants actually favor taking up ammonia to nitrates, so I'm not sure, but I feel like if I didn't obtain cycled media and just adopted my betta when the pothos had grown extensive roots, that I'd still be at 0,0,0. And the bacteria colony could take however long it wanted to establish itself. So long as you read 0,0,0 it doesn't really matter right? 

 

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