Aquarium Setup • Can't get tank to cycle

New to the world of cichlids? For discussion on how to set up new tanks, including placement, filtration, substrates, water, etc. No stocking discussions here.

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Re: Can't get tank to cycle

Postby DJRansome » Mon Mar 09, 2020 3:30 pm

If you have reviewed everything that ever touches the water, then it has to be leftover food from the accident.

Down a lot but still toxic, so another 50% water change will get it below 1ppm which is the minimum fish can tolerate with minimal long term damage.

If you think it could be leftover food, I would remove the substrate and wash it in a bucket, do a 100% water change and rinse all the filter media as well. At that point your ammonia will be zero and if it goes up again then you will know it is not due to the food incident. You can look for other causes.
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Re: Can't get tank to cycle

Postby Domi1113 » Tue Mar 10, 2020 1:44 pm

Do i possibly take the rocks out and try a new substrate like Cichilds sand?
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Re: Can't get tank to cycle

Postby DJRansome » Tue Mar 10, 2020 5:57 pm

It will not impact your cycling problems. I prefer pool filter sand for a natural look like the lake, functionality and cost.

The fewer chemicals you introduce to your tank, the fewer things that are not in your control that can run amok.

Your tank seems to be cycled since you are producing nitrate. You just have an unidentified ammonia source.
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Re: Can't get tank to cycle

Postby Domi1113 » Wed Mar 11, 2020 10:09 am

Thats the issue, I'm not producing Nitrate.... just high ammonia
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Re: Can't get tank to cycle

Postby DJRansome » Wed Mar 11, 2020 6:52 pm

I thought I saw a nitrate reading.

Well ammonia is the first spike in a cycle so maybe you are just beginning a new cycle.
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Re: Can't get tank to cycle

Postby Domi1113 » Thu Mar 12, 2020 9:50 am

Question... I'm being told it could be because my filters are not strong enough...
I'm using Ehim 250's
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Re: Can't get tank to cycle

Postby KBCoggin » Thu Mar 12, 2020 12:47 pm

Domi1113 wrote:Question... I'm being told it could be because my filters are not strong enough...
I'm using Ehim 250's

I have seen DJ recommend, numerous times, cycle 10x per hour. 54g tank x10 = 540gph. According to Eheim, those filters move 116gph each. IMO, they are under powered for that tank - but I am ALWAYS over filtering my tanks by a ridiculous amount.

DISCLAIMER: I know *nothing* about Cichlids, I am just getting into them. But I have successfully kept tropical fish for a couple decades now.
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Re: Can't get tank to cycle

Postby DJRansome » Thu Mar 12, 2020 5:44 pm

Lack of a cycle progress has nothing to do with powerful filters. That causes other issue, to be addressed at another time. Not to mention cichlids in a corner tank.

You are growing a crop...it needs time to grow. Can we figure out how long it has been trying to grow?

You left 3 months ago...came back after 14 days. Has it been 2.5 months since you have been trying to get it to cycle again?

Did you have ammonia right away when you returned from vacation? Or did it take a while to build?
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Re: Can't get tank to cycle

Postby cyclonecichlids » Thu Mar 12, 2020 9:29 pm

Have you cleaned/changed out the filter media? Why don't you just change it out with new media. Put 50% new media, and 7 days later replace the other 50%.
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Re: Can't get tank to cycle

Postby Medgertor » Mon Mar 23, 2020 10:38 am

If I were you I would get a rubbermaid container and, assuming you are on well water and there is no chlorine or chloramines, fill up the rubbermaid container and put the fish in there. I would make sure the temperature is about the same as what the fish are used to in your tank. I would then put the substrate in a five gallon bucket or something similar and give it a good washing. Just use water, I wouldn't use any soap or anything like that. I would then put the substrate back in the main tank, fill it up with water and get the temperature correct. Seachem makes a product called Seachem Stability. I use this when I start up a new tank. It has the dosing information on the side of the bottle. You use it for like seven days or so. I would wash out your filter media. I would just hook the filters back up to the tank. This is basically what I do when I start a new tank. If you are on city water or something like that you will need to use Seachem Prime to dechlorinate the water. Good Luck!
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