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15gal Shrimp Tank w/ UGF Refusing To Cycle


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Hi everyone,

A quick breakdown on the specs/methods of tank:

  • 15 gallon tank w/ UGF box made for 15 gal tanks
  • "Freshwater" from local aquarium supply store used (~0 TDS and around 7.2pH)
  • Water sits at around 6.9pH.
  • Following Shrimp Manias cycling method (natural with addition of BacterAE) with estimated 10-12 week cycling time.
  • Hygger light with 10 hour 100% on period
  • ADA Amazonia Ver 2 substrate

Some summary/timeline to the tank:

  • Started about > 90 days ago early October.
  • Some very slight biofilm/algae growth in the first 30 days but quickly dissipated.
  • Had a very stinky smelly phase for a week 3 weeks in.
  • Ammonia hit >5ppm late October due to substrate and after several water changes, brought down to 1ppm early December. If ammonia was an issue, cycling time has only been about 30-40 days.
  • Absolutely no changes to nitrites/nitrates.
  • Mid-December added SeaChem Stability but did not affect water parameters.

Not exactly certain where to go from here except a hard reset by changing out substrate and full water change. Trying to avoid this as it will require tons of water changes to bring the ammonia down again due to the substrate. Any help appreciated!


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I think nitrifying bacteria need KH to metabolize ammonia into nitrate.

And ADA leaches a ton of ammonia. At least that's what George Farmer says. He recommends 50% water changes for a week then down to 40% for 4 days, then 30% for 3, etc

Edited by Schuyler
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