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Cycling ?

Badmans Tropical Fish Message Center: Beginner freshwater : Cycling ?
  

John

Tuesday, February 05, 2002 - 08:42 am
My tank has never gotten to 0 ammonia or nitrites. I also have no nitrates being produced. It has been 2 months on this 20 gal that has 10 small fish. Does ammonia have to rise to 5 or so? The highest mine has gotten has been 2. Nitrites have stayed at .50 for a month. I have done weekly water changes (20%) and vacuumed the gravel a couple of times (not all of it.) It has been frustrating, but the fish appear quite healthy. PH is about 6.9.

  

SteveW

Tuesday, February 05, 2002 - 09:18 am
John, what kind of fish do you have, and what type of filtration are you using? You need some good nitrifying bacteria to build up. As far as your gravel goes, what size are you using and how deep is it?

  

John

Tuesday, February 05, 2002 - 12:19 pm
Steve, I am using a Penguin 170 for three weeks now. I switched filters when I thought my cycle was over. I had used a Whisper 2 for the first 5 weeks. I have 4 harlequins, 4 white clouds and 2 corys. My gravel is a little on the large side and about 2 inches deep.

  

SteveW

Tuesday, February 05, 2002 - 02:21 pm
John, The only reason I can see is the switching of the filter. Beneficial bacteria build up in the gravel and in the filter media. To allow the tank to fully cycle... Keep the same filter and media cartridge in. If the cartridge needs cleaning, use water from the tank, not tap water. If your penguin has a bio-wheel then you should be close to being fully cycled. I would do water changes once every 1-2 weeks but clean the gravel once every 3-4 weeks. Time is your best friend in this situation.

  

John

Tuesday, February 05, 2002 - 06:35 pm
Thanks Steve, it has the wheel. I hope I'm close to the endzone, but it's been a long drive. I feel like a kid waiting for money for a tooth under the pillow, but come up empty every day.

  

Pandora

Wednesday, February 06, 2002 - 07:40 pm
John, your ammonia does not necessarily *have* to rise to 5...this is a dangerous level for fish (many fish will easily drop dead after a day or two at 5 because amm is so toxic), in fact, and should be avoided (if your choice is to cycle with fish, that's why it's important to go slow to minimize these spikes). I think the fact that you have never seen it go above 2 after 2 months is a sign that you are going at just the right pace with the right number of fish that the biofilter was able to catch up and the bacteria had colonized it enough to convert this. Good job so far, keep monitoring that tank!

  

John

Wednesday, February 06, 2002 - 08:35 pm
Thanks Pandora. I monitor everyday. My ammonia is now at about 1, but my nitrite seems stuck on .50. I have reduced feedings. Could you venture a guess on when I will zero out?

  

Pandora

Saturday, February 09, 2002 - 05:17 pm
John, sounds like your tank is definitely on the right track, so no, I won't venture to guess, LOL! Sorry, it's just very hard to predict timelines with tanks... depends so much on the fish (not just number, but type, how they feed, etc), how efficient the filter is, if it has other life like plants, etc... all I can say is that you're seeing results from your patience, and I think you will continue to see them in the near future! The levels are starting to level out, and you won't see as drastic a rise or drop after this level if you don't add more stock, but I really don't think it will be much longer now. Good luck!

  

John

Tuesday, February 12, 2002 - 07:02 pm
Pandora, my nitrite surged today to about 3. Ammonia remains at 1. I am going to do a water change now to alleviate stress on my fish. It's stange, but I feel relieved that something finally happened.

  

Pandora

Thursday, February 14, 2002 - 07:37 pm
LOL, yeah, something is always better than nothing, right? One short term solution to breaking this cycle if the ammonia never goes down is to try putting some ammo-lock in the filter. Other than that, it sounds like you are doing most of the right stuff, with just minor setbacks. Just watch overfeeding, but otherwise I can't think of anything.

  

John

Friday, February 15, 2002 - 09:37 am
Ammonia today is zero. Nitrites about 2, and nitrates soaring. What a long, strange trip it's been. Thanks.

  

jeff s

Friday, February 15, 2002 - 04:05 pm
you made it big guy!!

  

Pandora

Tuesday, February 19, 2002 - 10:29 pm
Yay!

 

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