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How to know when cycle is done completely?


Bigdog99
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I am doing the fishless cycle and on day 26 of it using the one only bacteria product(which I have learned does NOT take 5-7 days) with dr Tim’s ammonia chloride solution. Question,I added more ammonia yesterday as nitrite FINALLY reached 0 ppm with already days before it reached 0 ppm and this morning the ammonia is .50 ppm and nitrite 2 ppm. Do I add more until it can go down to 0 ppm within 24 hours? This is a freshwater aquarium. Has a heater and filter. I am seeing 20 ppm nitrates right now but present nitrite it is probably not reading it right…..do I add more ammonia???

Or do wait a couple more hours as I waiting 24 from when I added yesterday…

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Can you share a picture of the tank? That will help answer a lot of questions.

What is your pH?

If you have another tank with a sponge filter or anything you can pull out, then you can move it over or squeeze the sponge out into the tank and that will jump start things really fast.

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On 1/25/2024 at 9:33 AM, Schuyler said:

Can you share a picture of the tank? That will help answer a lot of questions.

What is your pH?

If you have another tank with a sponge filter or anything you can pull out, then you can move it over or squeeze the sponge out into the tank and that will jump start things really fast.

Water has evaporated a LOT since the start of things….ph is 7.4 I believe. I don’t use sponge filters and have never sooooo what do u mean by me showing a pic? I am already in the btw….

 

On 1/25/2024 at 9:33 AM, Schuyler said:

If you have another tank with a sponge filter or anything you can pull out, then you can move it over or squeeze the sponge out into the tank and that will jump start things really fast.

??? This a 10 gal…. Do I add ammonia or no…

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Edited by Bigdog99
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On 1/25/2024 at 7:13 AM, Bigdog99 said:

I am doing the fishless cycle and on day 26 of it using the one only bacteria product(which I have learned does NOT take 5-7 days) with dr Tim’s ammonia chloride solution. Question,I added more ammonia yesterday as nitrite FINALLY reached 0 ppm with already days before it reached 0 ppm and this morning the ammonia is .50 ppm and nitrite 2 ppm. Do I add more until it can go down to 0 ppm within 24 hours? This is a freshwater aquarium. Has a heater and filter. I am seeing 20 ppm nitrates right now but present nitrite it is probably not reading it right…..do I add more ammonia???

Or do wait a couple more hours as I waiting 24 from when I added yesterday…

You know your cycle is done when the water tastes like Cotton Candy.

 

 

Spit the water out, I was kidding. On a real note, I would say don't add any Ammonia if there is still ammonia showing up on your tests.  I have never used the product you mentioned but the idea of a "fully cycled" tank is that it will convert Ammonia all the way into Nitrate in 24 hours.  If Ammonia is still present then the nitrifying bacteria already has "food". Add more once the Ammonia is gone.  Your tank will be fully cycled when you can add ammonia and the water 24 hours later and only detect Nitrate. If there is any Nitrite or Ammonia, your bacteria colony isn't sufficient.

I usually do a fish in cycle to avoid the whole add ammonia or don't add ammonia scenario. Yes it takes a lot of work for the first couple of weeks as you have to do daily or every other day water changes but I find that it cycles the tank MUCH quicker and the ammonia source is natural.

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Fishless cycling is tricky. There's a lot of chemistry involved. Breaking down ammonia creates acids. A low pH can make it difficult for bacteria to reproduce and turns ammonia into a less reactive form. On top of that, too much ammonia (or maybe it's nitrates) can be toxic for the bacteria too. Bottled bacteria has it's problems too. If it got too hot or too cold in shipping it could have been killed off. If you want to start a fight, ask an online aquarium group if bottled bacteria actually works.

My point is that it's hard to do.

Personally, I would do a 50% water change, fill the tank all the way, and then get ammonia back up to 2 ppm or whatever the recommended amount is. Your pH has likely dropped.

I asked for a picture of the tank because that tells me tank size, filtration type, if you have live plants, and what kinds of decorations/rock you have in the tank. All those things can play a role in some way.

Does you other tank use the same type of filter cartridge? If it does, then I'd just swap the cartridges. If you do that your cycle will probably be done in a few days.

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I believe this is the second time you’ve had it down to 0 ammonia? If nitrites are also down to 0. Go ahead and put in a small number of fish. I would not change the filter insert. Most of your bacteria will be living there currently. If you do have a fully cycled other tank with same filter, yes, you could swap them. More bacteria on older filter. After adding fish you’ll want to do daily water tests and if you see ammonia climb you’ll need to do about a 50% water change and add some seachem Prime. Adding fish at this stage is appropriate it gives you a constant source of ammonia. Just not too many or you’ll overload your bacteria colony 

Edited by Tony s
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On 1/25/2024 at 10:32 AM, Schuyler said:

Fishless cycling is tricky. There's a lot of chemistry involved. Breaking down ammonia creates acids. A low pH can make it difficult for bacteria to reproduce and turns ammonia into a less reactive form. On top of that, too much ammonia (or maybe it's nitrates) can be toxic for the bacteria too. Bottled bacteria has it's problems too. If it got too hot or too cold in shipping it could have been killed off. If you want to start a fight, ask an online aquarium group if bottled bacteria actually works.

My point is that it's hard to do.

Personally, I would do a 50% water change, fill the tank all the way, and then get ammonia back up to 2 ppm or whatever the recommended amount is. Your pH has likely dropped.

I asked for a picture of the tank because that tells me tank size, filtration type, if you have live plants, and what kinds of decorations/rock you have in the tank. All those things can play a role in some way.

Does you other tank use the same type of filter cartridge? If it does, then I'd just swap the cartridges. If you do that your cycle will probably be done in a few days.

Ok….so I guess I will wait till Ammonia is 0 and more and continue to do that until it can go down within 24 hours???? Does present nitrite matter at this stage?

On 1/25/2024 at 10:46 AM, Tony s said:

I believe this is the second time you’ve had it down to 0 ammonia? If nitrites are also down to 0. Go ahead and put in a small number of fish. I would not change the filter insert. Most of your bacteria will be living there currently. If you do have a fully cycled other tank with same filter, yes, you could swap them. More bacteria on older filter. After adding fish you’ll want to do daily water tests and if you see ammonia climb you’ll need to do about a 50% water change and add some seachem Prime. Adding fish at this stage is appropriate it gives you a constant source of ammonia. Just not too many or you’ll overload your bacteria colony 

I do have the same cartridge in the other tank…actually it is the same exact tank but the older one is smaller.

On 1/25/2024 at 10:07 AM, NOLANANO said:

You know your cycle is done when the water tastes like Cotton Candy.

 

 

Spit the water out, I was kidding. On a real note, I would say don't add any Ammonia if there is still ammonia showing up on your tests.  I have never used the product you mentioned but the idea of a "fully cycled" tank is that it will convert Ammonia all the way into Nitrate in 24 hours.  If Ammonia is still present then the nitrifying bacteria already has "food". Add more once the Ammonia is gone.  Your tank will be fully cycled when you can add ammonia and the water 24 hours later and only detect Nitrate. If there is any Nitrite or Ammonia, your bacteria colony isn't sufficient.

I usually do a fish in cycle to avoid the whole add ammonia or don't add ammonia scenario. Yes it takes a lot of work for the first couple of weeks as you have to do daily or every other day water changes but I find that it cycles the tank MUCH quicker and the ammonia source is natural.

Thanks for the info! I will do that!

Thanks, @NOLANANO, @Tony s, @Schuyler!

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Yeah, nitrites to zero is as important as ammonia to zero. Both equally toxic. Nitrates are nowhere near as toxic. More like being in a smoke filled room. Some fish can handle it, some can’t. Rams and discus notoriously cannot. If your other tank is cycled, you could swap cartridges. 
 

but, yeah, when you’re nitrites are back to zero, you’re ready. Be cautious, and testing daily for a couple of weeks. If ammonia and nitrites stay zero for a few weeks, you could reduce testing to once or twice per week. And add more fish

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On 1/25/2024 at 12:43 PM, Tony s said:

Yeah, nitrites to zero is as important as ammonia to zero. Both equally toxic. Nitrates are nowhere near as toxic. More like being in a smoke filled room. Some fish can handle it, some can’t. Rams and discus notoriously cannot. If your other tank is cycled, you could swap cartridges. 
 

but, yeah, when you’re nitrites are back to zero, you’re ready. Be cautious, and testing daily for a couple of weeks. If ammonia and nitrites stay zero for a few weeks, you could reduce testing to once or twice per week. And add more fish

Ok thanks

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Just a note that you can go ahead and top off the tank with water.  Just make sure that you treat it with a dechlorinator.

I think you are doing fine.  If your nitrite has already hit zero once, you should see it quickly hit zero again.  At that point, you should be able to add a small number of fish (and feed sparingly).

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On 1/25/2024 at 3:24 PM, Galabar said:

Just a note that you can go ahead and top off the tank with water.  Just make sure that you treat it with a dechlorinator.

I think you are doing fine.  If your nitrite has already hit zero once, you should see it quickly hit zero again.  At that point, you should be able to add a small number of fish (and feed sparingly).

Ok! I was wondering if i should do that......

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On 1/25/2024 at 3:46 PM, Galabar said:

On a side note, you might consider getting a few live plants along with the fish.  Just some easy, low light plants might be great for that tank. 🙂

Yes I am getting Java fern and Anubis nana!waiting for it to arrive from Ac.

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On 1/25/2024 at 6:44 PM, Galabar said:

I actually just started up a new tank with ammonia (unfortunately no nitrite) and some used filter media and a bit of gravel from another tank.  I'll let you know how long it takes... 🙂

Ok!

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