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Fishless cycle day 10 with no nitrite?

Discussion in 'Freshwater Newbie Forum' started by Hydro, Nov 5, 2003.

  1. Hydro

    Hydro AC Members

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    I'm new to this wonderful forum. It's been quite a few years since I've kept fish so I feel very much new to this hobby. The discussion and information available here have been extremely helpful. I have been reading a lot lately and thank you. I guess I'm posting to say hi, to get some reassurance from the collective that I'm cycling (fishless) correctly, and to get some suggestions as well.

    My current (temporary) setup includes: Fluval 304, 28g Rubbermaid tub, couple plants (one's a Java moss; the other is unknown to me). I though I would start the cycling with this setup while I am shopping around for a tank. I bought the 304 anticipating the purchase of a 40-50g tank. By the time I get the tank, I can just transfer the filter and plants over. The cycling could be complete by then or at least not have long to go.

    What I have done so far (it's been 10 days):
    Day 1: I added ammonia and some fish food (to let it rot). Readings two hours later were ammonia 3, nitrite 0, pH 9, KH 4 dh, GH 4 dh
    Day 2: Readings were ammonia 3, nitrite 0, pH 9, KH and GH both at 4 dh. I added more ammonia to bump it up to 5 ppm.
    Day 3-4: All readings stayed the same. On Day 4, I replaced about 2 g of the tub water with water that had been sitting overnight. (Since I have no fish in the tub, I stopped changing water after this day.)
    Day 5: Ammonia 4 and other readings remained the same.
    Day 6: All readings were the same as in Day 5. I tested for nitrate (wasn't expecting any but just for the heck of it) and found zero. Actually, nitrate was at 5, the lowest reading on the color scale, which I took to mean between 0-5).
    Days 7-10: All readings steady. Final reading on Day 10 - ammonia 4, nitrite 0 (still), nitrate 0, pH steady at 8, KH and GH steady at 4 dh.

    I have several questions. First, since the ammonia is still at 4 ppm, should I add any more? My thinking is I would add more once I detect nitrite and further reduction in ammonia. Second, the water is at room temperature (~20 C). I have not added a heater for safety reasons (just didn't want to leave a heater in a rubber tub unattended). I know that higher temperature will speed up bacteria growth, but can the bacteria grow at room temperature? It's fine with me if it takes a bit longer as long as it will get there eventually. Lastly, is there anything else that I can or should do to help the process? Suggestions would be most welcome.
     
  2. JSchmidt

    JSchmidt Cowbell! I need more cowbell!

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    You're doing everything exactly the way you should. The cooler water will probably slow things down a bit, but you already know that and seem OK with it.

    It is not at all unusual for it to take up to two weeks or more to get nitrites, so don't worry. They will show up eventually. Your dosing of the tank is correct, too: you want to only dose to take the tank up to 4 ppm or so once a day. If no ammonia is being consumed (or not much), you don't want to add any more. Just wait for it drop, then start adding. You'll see nitrites show up about the same time.

    You could easily find a way to suspend the heater if you want to shave some days off the cycle; as long as it's suspended away from the tub sides or bottom, you'll be OK. I've heard of people laying a 1x4 board across the tub and suspending the heater from it, so it's hanging free in the tub. Not a big deal either way, though, I think.

    Hang in there. You're doing this just right: getting your filter populated with bacteria before you get a tank will allow you to dive right in when the time's right. And good for you for cycling without fish!

    Feel free to ask if you have questions. We'll be glad to help if we can.

    Jim
     
  3. Hydro

    Hydro AC Members

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    Thanks for your reply, Jim. Glad to hear that I'm on the right track. I guess patience is key right now.

    I'll have to give the hanging heater idea some consideration. I'm sure to have more questions down the road and will not hesitate to bring them to this forum. Thanks.
     
  4. Hydro

    Hydro AC Members

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    Quick update on my fishless cycling:

    Nitrite detected on day 16 and nitrate followed the next day. Both continued to increase steadily over the next few days. By day 22 (yesterday), nitrite was through the roof (> 33 ppm), nitrate was 110, and ammonia was all gone. Am adding small amounts of ammonia daily to maintain the nitrite (ammonia consumed by the next day) and just waiting for the nitrite to go down. Will do big water changes to lower the nitrate before adding fish.
     
  5. JSchmidt

    JSchmidt Cowbell! I need more cowbell!

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    The second stage always seems to take the longest.... glad you're progressing nicely.

    I always consider a fishless cycle completed when I can dose the tank to 4 or 5 ppm and detect no ammonia after 24 hours (I often repeat that two two days running just to be safe). I then do a 99% water change and add fish!

    Jim
     
    #5 JSchmidt, Nov 18, 2003
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2003
  6. shynepo3

    shynepo3 Registered Member

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    hey hydro, how long did it take fully?

    i'm currently on day 12, still ammonia is 2-4, no nitrite, and didn't even bother checking nitrate..

    my betta is currently in a rubbermaid container, and he's not too happy waiting..he's already gotten sick once.
     
  7. Jspigs

    Jspigs There is always more to learn

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    I would not expect an answer from hydro lol. This thread is from 2003.

    You probably still have a while before your tank is cycled. I would be sure to do at least daily large water changes on the rubbermaid container containing your betta until the tank is ready for him.

    Cycling can take multiple weeks or more before you see any nitrite, and then it can take another couple weeks. It can also take a shorter amount of time. As for how long your cycle will take, I can't say for certain since the bacteria are living so they could take varying amounts of time to establish themselves in different tanks.

    Good luck with your cycle and betta. :)
     

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