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Can't get my fishless cycle going...

(14 Posts)
MrsGravy Mon 11-Jul-11 09:27:30

It's been 2 weeks now and no sign of any nitrites. Only about 0.50ppm of ammonia. I'm using the fish food method.

Is that ok? Should I be detecting some nitrites by now or is there simply not enough ammonia to get it going? Am wondering whether I should buy some?

I want some fish in my tank!!

EauRouge Mon 11-Jul-11 13:00:47

How much have you put in? 0.5ppm of ammonia probably isn't enough to get things going, normally if you use household ammonia then you dose to 3ppm. It is easier to control the amount of ammonia that way but it can be difficult to get- I think Boots might sell it.

EauRouge Mon 11-Jul-11 16:41:46

Oh, I just thought of something else too (sorry, seriously sleepless night last night, both DDs have a cold sad ). Check you are using enough dechlorinater and that is also neutralises chloramine, most water companies are using chloramine now because it doesn't evaporate like chlorine does- but that means it is tougher to get rid of!

MrsGravy Wed 20-Jul-11 14:43:18

A belated thanks EauRouge. Hope your kids are all better. I've used dechlorinator back when I filled the tank - so only the once. I'm detecting nitrites now - hooray! About 2.0ppm. No Nitrates yet. Once I detect the nitrates do I stop adding the fish food and let the ammonia and nitrite levels drop?

Thanks once again

EauRouge Wed 20-Jul-11 17:47:26

Well that's weird, I wrote a reply and it didn't post.

Anyway, DDs are fine now thanks (DH took considerably longer to recover from the manflu cold grin )

Glad things are going better with the fishless cycle. The nitrIte will take longer to drop than the ammonia did and the nitrAte will take longer to appear so if things slow down then don't be disheartened- it's normal.

You'll need to keep adding ammonia until you get your fish. Once the ammonia and nitrIte levels drop to zero then your cycle is finished. If you add your normal dose of ammonia and then test about an hour later.

Before you add the fish I would check the nitrAte level, it can get quite high during a fishless cycle so you might need to do a water change. It'll need to be as low as you can get it but certainly below 20ppm. Try to never let it get above 30ppm once you've got the fish.

You only need to add dechlorinator to tap water before you add it to the tank. It's a good idea to have a dedicated 'fish bucket' for water changes so you don't get traces of bleach or anything in there.

MrsGravy Wed 20-Jul-11 19:31:28

Sorry, I'm probably being really dense here...so I don't need to wait for the ammonia and nitrIte to return to 0 before I introduce the fish? I can just introduce them as soon as I detect nitrate? (but making sure there isn't too much nitrate).

EauRouge Wed 20-Jul-11 19:37:00

You're not being dense, you're just clarifying things grin No, you do need to wait for the ammonia and nitrIte to fall to zero before you add fish. Until then, keep adding ammonia and monitoring the levels. Then check the nitrAte level before you get any fish.

MrsGravy Wed 20-Jul-11 19:42:33

Ah right, I get you. The levels will return to 0 all by themselves even though I continue to add ammonia/fish food? That's what was confusing me!

EauRouge Wed 20-Jul-11 20:40:16

Yes, because there will be enough good bacteria in the filter to process it all. That way when you add the fish (who will produce ammonia by pooing and breathing), they won't be swimming about in ammonia and nitrIte because the bacteria will already be there.

MrsGravy Wed 20-Jul-11 20:49:12

A lightbulb has literally just pinged on over my head...

See, I told you I was dense!!! Thanks again

MrsGravy Fri 29-Jul-11 20:31:45

Ok, latest update. Ammonia levels are going down (0.25) but the nitrites are staying stubbornly high at 5 ppm. Is there anything I can do to get them down?

Herbiethecat Sat 06-Aug-11 21:47:35

Can you get some filter material from an established tank?

MrsGravy Mon 08-Aug-11 22:24:05

Herbie, I'm not sure how I'd go about doing that, no-one I know has a fish tank! I think I might try a 20% water change and see if that works...

EauRouge Tue 09-Aug-11 09:37:02

You could ask in your LFS if they know anyone that can give you some established filter media. It's normal for the nitrIte to take a lot longer than the ammonia to drop. If you have a look on here there's a graph to give you an idea.

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