Fishless Cycle

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railer20

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Oct 15, 2020
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thanks for the help on this everyone. I’m trying not to get stressed LOL. This morning’s readings are basically the same as last nights as far as I can tell. The ammonia may be slightly below .5 but the nitrites look like 1 and nitrates are around 10-15.
 
Apr 2, 2002
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New York
Please, do not be stressed. You have no fish in the tank, so nothing will be harmed if you make a mistake. There are a number of things any successful fish keeper must learn over time. Perhaps the most difficult of these is patience. There is a lot of noise out there re cycling and this can make it difficult to sort out the facts v.s. the fictions. I always tell folks starting out and doing a cycle that they should choose just one voice to which they will listen.

If you have chosen the wrong voice, you will likely fail and you will learn from your mistakes. If you choose a "right" voice, you will succeed and you will learn from your success. In your life it will not make a big difference if you manage to cycle your tank in a week, a month or several months. You are not unique in dealing with this. My first tank was a mess when it came to cycling.

Sorry, I am an awful typist. Yes NH3 and NH4. In acid waters one can have Total Ammonia and 0 of it be in the form of NH3. However, in a tank, it is not possible to have all NH3 and no NH4. Another way to come at this is from the removal of TA side things. Basically, all of the Total Ammonia can be removed from a given system in one of three ways.

If only NH3 is removed by bacteria, as it is, the NH4 still there will immediately convert some into NH3 based on the pH and temperature. And then the bacteria will use that NH3 and the process repeats until TA is no longer detectable on our kits. On the other hand, plants prefer NH4. And if only NH4 is removed from a given system the NH3 that remains will partially convert to NH4. So all of the TA can be removed but only taking out the NH4. Of course, if both bacteria and plants are present, then the TA is being removed by both HN3 and NH4 being consumed.

Hang in there. The ammonia should continue to drop and so should the nitrite. Test again tonight. When a fishless cycle goes wonky from the wrong amount of ammonia and/or nitrite, it can take a little time to get back on track. When you see ammonia close to or under .25 ppm and nitrite is also clearly below 1 ppm, do the next full addition of ammonia. You are really close to being at that point from your above post. Once you do Dose #4, simply continue to follow the directions in my article.

One last thing about cycling. As it progresses things accellerate. Look at the graph in my article and see how each spike is lower than the previous one and also lasts a shorter amount of time.
 
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railer20

AC Members
Oct 15, 2020
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Kansas
Sorry, I am an awful typist. Yes NH3 and NH4. In acid waters one can have Total Ammonia and 0 of it be in the form of NH3. However, in a tank, it is not possible to have all NH3 and no NH4. Another way to come at this is from the removal of TA side things. Basically, all of the Total Ammonia can be removed from a given system in one of three ways. If only NH3 is removed by bacteria, as it is, the NH4 still there will immediately convert some into NH3 based on the pH and temperature. And then the bacteria will use that NH3 and the process repeats until TA is no longer detectable on our kits. One the other hand, plants prefer NH4. And if only NH4 is removed from a given system the NH3 that remains will partially convert to NH4. So all of the TA can be removed but only taking out the NH4. Of course, if both bacteria and plants are present, them the TA is being removed by bot HN3 and NH4 being consumed.

Hang in there. The ammonia should continue to drop and so should the nitrite. Test again tonight. When a fishless cycle goes wonky from the wrong amount of ammonia and/or nitrite, it can take a little time to get back on track. When you see ammonia close to or under .25 ppm and nitrite is also clearly below 1 ppm, do the next full addition of ammonia. You are really close to being at that point from your above post. Once to do Dose #4, simply continue to follow the directions in my article.
ok thanks!
 

railer20

AC Members
Oct 15, 2020
149
12
18
37
Kansas
Please, do not be stressed. You have no fish in the tank, so nothing will be harmed if you make a mistake. There are a number of things any successful fish keeper must learn over time. Perhaps the most difficult of these is patience. There is a lot of noise out there re cycling and this can make it difficult to sort out the facts v.s. the fictions. I always tell folks starting out and doing a cycle that they should choose just one voice to which they will listen.

If you have chosen the wrong voice, you will likely fail and you will learn from your mistakes. If you choose a "right" voice, you will succeed and you will learn from your success. In your life it will not make a big difference if you manage to cycle your tank in a week, a month or several months. You are not unique in dealing with this. My first tank was a mess when it came to cycling.

Sorry, I am an awful typist. Yes NH3 and NH4. In acid waters one can have Total Ammonia and 0 of it be in the form of NH3. However, in a tank, it is not possible to have all NH3 and no NH4. Another way to come at this is from the removal of TA side things. Basically, all of the Total Ammonia can be removed from a given system in one of three ways.

If only NH3 is removed by bacteria, as it is, the NH4 still there will immediately convert some into NH3 based on the pH and temperature. And then the bacteria will use that NH3 and the process repeats until TA is no longer detectable on our kits. On the other hand, plants prefer NH4. And if only NH4 is removed from a given system the NH3 that remains will partially convert to NH4. So all of the TA can be removed but only taking out the NH4. Of course, if both bacteria and plants are present, then the TA is being removed by both HN3 and NH4 being consumed.

Hang in there. The ammonia should continue to drop and so should the nitrite. Test again tonight. When a fishless cycle goes wonky from the wrong amount of ammonia and/or nitrite, it can take a little time to get back on track. When you see ammonia close to or under .25 ppm and nitrite is also clearly below 1 ppm, do the next full addition of ammonia. You are really close to being at that point from your above post. Once you do Dose #4, simply continue to follow the directions in my article.

One last thing about cycling. As it progresses things accellerate. Look at the graph in my article and see how each spike is lower than the previous one and also lasts a shorter amount of time.
Found somebetter lighting tonight. Do these pics look better? Ammonia seems between .25 and .5, Nitrite still seems like 1 and Nitrate seems to be rising.

9B57713A-F5EA-4F49-82AB-B096065BCEB0.jpeg

0081C8DC-7A40-4CFF-8A61-FBBF52F658C6.jpeg

F145CBEB-82F0-4B92-975A-01EBC270C3C0.jpeg
 

fishorama

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Jun 28, 2006
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SF Bay area, CA
I agree with TTA, no need for stress or to consult your wife again (lol)! You are so close to being done, maybe a week? "Don't Stop Believing" as Fleetwood Mac sang (TTA & I do old music sometimes). You could sing & dance while shaking the test vials, I pretend it's exercise. Bonus points if your wife or kids dance with you, LOL...

Do you have a fish want list? We can help with compatibility & order of additions if you'd like. Some fish are sturdier than others, it's time to think about what comes next...this is the fun part!! Maybe start a new thread for fish...when you're are ready & not stressed out...it should be happy thoughts!
 
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railer20

AC Members
Oct 15, 2020
149
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37
Kansas
I agree with TTA, no need for stress or to consult your wife again (lol)! You are so close to being done, maybe a week? "Don't Stop Believing" as Fleetwood Mac sang (TTA & I do old music sometimes). You could sing & dance while shaking the test vials, I pretend it's exercise. Bonus points if your wife or kids dance with you, LOL...

Do you have a fish want list? We can help with compatibility & order of additions if you'd like. Some fish are sturdier than others, it's time to think about what comes next...this is the fun part!! Maybe start a new thread for fish...when you're are ready & not stressed out...it should be happy thoughts!
9C4AD794-AB85-4230-8E13-1FA5FCEF7EEB.jpeg
 

fishorama

AC Members
Jun 28, 2006
10,952
1,608
200
SF Bay area, CA
OK, that's a good start! My suggestions (but only that), is to pick only 1 species of gourami. Pearls would be my choice, big, beautiful & peaceful. Maybe a male & 1-2 females...instead of...

Dwarfs (dwarves?) are kind of pugnacious for their size & females can be hard to find. They also tend to have iridovirus, an incurable fatal disease.

Threadfins are a little delicate, I'd get them last; 3 males & 5 or 6 females.

Nerite snails; I have a very limited experience with only 1. I made the auction mistake of getting 1 very soon before I went on vacation. When it ran out of diatom algae I think it starved to death. It didn't eat veggies or anything else...Start with 1 & see how it does for you... You might think about "mystery snails". I kept them in a rimless tank (not good!). They often climbed out & if they hadn't sounded like ping pong balls hitting the wood floors I think they'd have died before I noticed.

Other that all that, I'd say you could have 10 corys without all the snails. Stocking calculators tend to overstock IMO.

Will you have live plants? I strongly suggest you try some easy 1s. More later...
 
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Apr 2, 2002
2,790
427
92
New York
I am having a hard time with the nitrite test picture. The color does not look like a match for any of them. But the color bars darken as the nitrite concentration rises. So the odds are it is likely lower rather than higher. I think you should be OK doing Dose #4 tomorrow.

Gouramis fight, especially males. I had a pair of Trichogaster lalius, aka dwarf gourami, in my first tank. They spawned and he wound up killing her. Two male gouramis will isially fight. Pearls are more peaceful. You may want to eliminate one or the other from the stocking
https://www.seriouslyfish.com/species/trichogaster-lalius/
https://www.seriouslyfish.com/species/trichopodus-leerii/


Threadfins are a small and somewhat timid fish. They may be outcompeted by the other fish for food. I kept a group of them years back. They are amazing to watch when the males display. I kept them in a well planted 10 gal along with a pair of paleatus cory.
https://www.seriouslyfish.com/species/iriatherina-werneri/
http://rainbowfish.angfaqld.org.au/Werneri.htm

Finally, schooling tetras only school when they feel threatened. Otherwise they will scatter in a tank rather than staying schooled. I used to keep a larger vegetarian fish in with mine to get them to school more often. I often used Siamese Algae Eaters for this. I still keep rummies today.
 
  • Like
Reactions: railer20

railer20

AC Members
Oct 15, 2020
149
12
18
37
Kansas
OK, that's a good start! My suggestions (but only that), is to pick only 1 species of gourami. Pearls would be my choice, big, beautiful & peaceful. Maybe a male & 1-2 females...instead of...

Dwarfs (dwarves?) are kind of pugnacious for their size & females can be hard to find. They also tend to have iridovirus, an incurable fatal disease.

Threadfins are a little delicate, I'd get them last; 3 males & 5 or 6 females.

Nerite snails; I have a very limited experience with only 1. I made the auction mistake of getting 1 very soon before I went on vacation. When it ran out of diatom algae I think it starved to death. It didn't eat veggies or anything else...Start with 1 & see how it does for you... You might think about "mystery snails". I kept them in a rimless tank (not good!). They often climbed out & if they hadn't sounded like ping pong balls hitting the wood floors I think they'd have died before I noticed.

Other that all that, I'd say you could have 10 corys without all the snails. Stocking calculators tend to overstock IMO.

Will you have live plants? I strongly suggest you try some easy 1s. More later...
no live plants. Never had an interest in that
 

railer20

AC Members
Oct 15, 2020
149
12
18
37
Kansas
I am having a hard time with the nitrite test picture. The color does not look like a match for any of them. But the color bars darken as the nitrite concentration rises. So the odds are it is likely lower rather than higher. I think you should be OK doing Dose #4 tomorrow.

Gouramis fight, especially males. I had a pair of Trichogaster lalius, aka dwarf gourami, in my first tank. They spawned and he wound up killing her. Two male gouramis will isially fight. Pearls are more peaceful. You may want to eliminate one or the other from the stocking
https://www.seriouslyfish.com/species/trichogaster-lalius/
https://www.seriouslyfish.com/species/trichopodus-leerii/


Threadfins are a small and somewhat timid fish. They may be outcompeted by the other fish for food. I kept a group of them years back. They are amazing to watch when the males display. I kept them in a well planted 10 gal along with a pair of paleatus cory.
https://www.seriouslyfish.com/species/iriatherina-werneri/
http://rainbowfish.angfaqld.org.au/Werneri.htm

Finally, schooling tetras only school when they feel threatened. Otherwise they will scatter in a tank rather than staying schooled. I used to keep a larger vegetarian fish in with mine to get them to school more often. I often used Siamese Algae Eaters for this. I still keep rummies today.
Can I do 3 female pearls? If I have a male and 2 females wont they breed and get fiesty?
 
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