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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just got to the stage of the fishless cycle, where I test nitrite and start doing water changes. Is it ok to run the new water straight in the tank while adding prime? Will doing it that way affect the cycle? Or do I have to dose prime to the new water before it goes in?
 

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not sure if I would be adding prime at all if doing a fishless cycle. Let the tank do its thing, since there are no fish involved, high levels of ammonia and nitrite wont hurt anything. If you are using prime just to condition the tap water, then that is another story, but I would use a different "cheaper" product.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Yeah, the purpose was just to dechlorinate the tap water on WC's. I didn't know if the addition of prime would affect the cycle.
 

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Chlorine will harm the beneficial bacteria. It should be OK to add dechlorinator alongside the water during changes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
DJRansome said:
Chlorine will harm the beneficial bacteria. It should be OK to add dechlorinator alongside the water during changes.
Dj, so if I'm dosing directly into the tank as I fill with a hose, do I dose then entire tank volume or the amount of water being added? Thx
 

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What is the benefit or reason for performing a water change during a fishless cycle? I was under the impression that this was not performed until the tank is fully cycled and you are about 1 to 2 days away from adding fish.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I'm definitely no expert, but from from what I gathered from the article in the library, it's done to get nitrites down in the 2nd phase of the cycle?
 

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Interesting. I wonder if that was recently added. I don't remember that being suggested when I cycled my tank. Nitrite went to zero on its own, eventually after ammonia began to show up. When my tank was ready to go, I only did a massive water change the day before I added fish.
 

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nqsc, what is the nitrite reading on the tank now?

The purpose of the partial water changes during the nitrite portion of the cycle is to reduce the chance that the nitrite would spike so high that it would stall the cycle. Read the paragraph after the daily routine for testing nitrite and doing partial water changes where it states to keep the nitrite below 5 PPM by doing small partial water changes.

I've only needed to do the small partial water change due to too high nitrite level on 1 tank I was cycling out of six I was doing at the same time when I was setting up my fish room. I don't know why it happened as they were all identical size tanks with exactly the same substrate.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Deeda said:
nqsc, what is the nitrite reading on the tank now?

The purpose of the partial water changes during the nitrite portion of the cycle is to reduce the chance that the nitrite would spike so high that it would stall the cycle. Read the paragraph after the daily routine for testing nitrite and doing partial water changes where it states to keep the nitrite below 5 PPM by doing small partial water changes.

I've only needed to do the small partial water change due to too high nitrite level on 1 tank I was cycling out of six I was doing at the same time when I was setting up my fish room. I don't know why it happened as they were all identical size tanks with exactly the same substrate.
Ah, so you're saying to only do the WC's IF nitrites are over 5ppm?... I only started the nitrite phase yesterday, and I was at 5ppm based off the API kit. But I went ahead and did about a 30% wc after I tested. Then added ammonia after filling the tank back up with prime dosed tap water.
 

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Yes according to the following excerpt which I split up for emphasis:

"Make an effort to keep nitrite down below 5ppm by way of small, partial water changes.
The ammonia additions will ultimately raise the nitrite level while the water changes will drop it back down.
Do not over analyze the test results.
You are just looking to see if the water changes that you are performing are adequately keeping nitrite down."

When exactly did you start the fishless cycle?

Hopefully you are keeping a written record of your test results just so you can reference them during this process and maybe for when you set up another tank. I've found it helpful in the past when setting up additional tanks when I couldn't remember what to expect and when.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Deeda said:
Yes according to the following excerpt which I split up for emphasis:

"Make an effort to keep nitrite down below 5ppm by way of small, partial water changes.
The ammonia additions will ultimately raise the nitrite level while the water changes will drop it back down.
Do not over analyze the test results.
You are just looking to see if the water changes that you are performing are adequately keeping nitrite down."

When exactly did you start the fishless cycle?

Hopefully you are keeping a written record of your test results just so you can reference them during this process and maybe for when you set up another tank. I've found it helpful in the past when setting up additional tanks when I couldn't remember what to expect and when.
I started on the 14th. So at day 9 (1/22) my ammonia was at zero. Then yesterday I tested nitrites, did a wc, and added ammonia.
 

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That is fast to see a drop in ammonia at least for me at my house. If I remember correctly, my ammonia phase ran about 3 - 4 weeks before I saw a drop to zero, the nitrite phase took another week or so to spike then drop to zero and then I got the high nitrate level.

I guess everyone has a different experience when cycling which is what makes it difficult to figure out the process.
 

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That does seem rather quick. Good for you if that is an accurate reading. I was about 3 to 4 weeks as well. Once ammonia began to zero out and nitrites kicked in, the process sped up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Yeah, this is my first cycle ever, so I wasn't sure what looks normal or not. And I wasn't sure about how to treat the water I'm putting back during WC's. I read where prime will affect the cycle & also where it shouldn't. I did use it yesterday though, I dosed for the entire tank volume.
 

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I think you only need to dose water conditioner for the amount of water you are changing during the fish less cycling process.

Some other things to consider is the type of disinfectant your water company is using AND the residual amount of disinfectant at your home faucet. I've been reading on another forum that the residual level at your home is the true determining factor when figuring out the amount of water conditioner to use when doing water changes on aquariums.

In a nutshell, find out whether your water company uses chlorine, chloramine, something else or a combination of disinfectants at the water plant. This can be checked on their annual water report though that doesn't help to know what the values are at your home plus the values can change throughout the year based on weather conditions, water main breaks, etc.

To test at your water faucet:
- Chlorine levels can be tested using a chlorine test kit purchased online, pool supply store and maybe even Home Depot, Lowe's or similar stores.
- Chloramine levels can be tested using the aquarium ammonia test + the chlorine test kit.
Once you know what your home tap water test results are, you can increase or decrease the amount of water conditioner you use for water changes on that day you have tested for residual disinfectant before you add new water.

It seems to be a bit more complicated for the average aquarist to figure out proper dosing for water changes which is why the product info is just a generalization but for those with a lot of aquariums, they can save money by figuring out the above process and dose less product normally but during unusual events they may need to dose more product.
 

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Ammonia and nitrite should be at zero and nitrate should be some level above zero, usually 10 PPM to 20 PPM. The usual results at the tail end of the fish less cycling is that the nitrates will be quite high, sometimes over 40 PPM and performing water changes to get nitrate back down to 10 PPM or so is the last step before stocking fish.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
That's interesting, thanks for the info. I'll be finding out what's at my faucet for sure.
 
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