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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
How do you know when the initial cycling is complete?? My 120 gallon tank has had 13 juvenile (1 - 2 inches) cichlids in it for 3 weeks now, and I have yet to see any ammonia or nitrate.... or nitrAte in the tank. I was cycling with 11 fish for 2 weeks, but had to more 3 from my 35 gallon because they were being picked on, in the small tank.
I am feeding every other day, and running a Fluval G6 filter. Is it too soon to see any ammonia? Or is it possible to cycle the tank without a spike in ammonia or nitrite? I have been testing the water weekly. I have 5 more juvenile cichlids in a 35 gallon tank that I would like to add to the 120 gallon when the cycling is finished. The water is clear and fish seem very happy and hungry! I have 2 Tanganykians on hold at the fish store as well, waiting for my tank to be cycled.
No water changes have been done yet. Any information would be appreciated!! :)
 

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Did you use any veteran (established) media in the G6?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Its a new kit, "API" Master Test Kit. I have read that with a tank this size, it can take 5 to 6 weeks to cycle but I think I have a lot of fish for cyclying to take this long. I have used this test kit on my 35 gallon and results make sense for an established tank, so I don't think its the kit. Could my tank have spiked and corrected itself in a week, between tests?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
No established media, everything in the filter was brand new. I have been adding "Bio clean", and "Bio Support" weekly, which contain some live bacteria, and help break down ammonia, but that's it.
 

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That's not really very many fish for a 120 gallon to cycle with. I'm kind of guesstimating here as I've never owned as large a tank as that. It could very well be that you'll be waiting a while yet for ammonia levels to rise. On the other hand, it takes very little ammonia to register. Curious.
Just on the off chance, I'll ask and make sure that you're using both API 'Ammonia' bottles with one test tube for testing correct?
 

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Not knocking the OP but Im just curious why people cycle with fish instead of bottled ammonia? Even if you have the fish already a bottle of ammonia is less than $3 and you dont hurt / kill any fish.

I dont know...just wondering. :popcorn:
 

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Because it's a LOT nicer to see fish in a tank than no fish in a tank.

I did a 7 day fishless (Seachem Stability, which seems to have some chemical that registers as ammonia), then some sponge mud & 8 days with a very light bioload (like 6 2" fish). I then added about 12 2" fish, 20lbs of existing substrate and continued to add fish religously.
 

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so all new filtermedia, new set up, no ammonia or nitrite spikes? I'd be prepared for the need to do frequent and large water changes, there's a sponsor who has a product for tank cycling, never tried it butsomeone may have experience.

If your tank has mysteriously cycled in one week (from reading your posts it looks like you went a week without testing and not sure how effective your additives are) my understanding is that you would be getting some nitrate readings. I'd test nitrates?

Fishless cycle seems the way to go as far as I'm concerned unless you have other sources of bacteria culture. :popcorn:
 

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I have yet to see any ammonia or nitrate.... or nitrAte in the tank
Don't count yourself cycled until you see nitrate levels rising. Cycling a tank without seeding while seeing no readable spikes in ammonia or nitrite is pretty unheard of. I'd say pretty near impossible to pull off, actually, but I won't say totally impossible. What is certain is that if there are fish in the tank, there's been ammonia in the water. Fish excrete ammonia. If your test kit doesn't show it, then it just means the test kit doesn't show it. Or, it's being converted successfully by whatever bacteria do exist in the tank. After 3 weeks, if you haven't seen ammonia or nitrite rise (and I'm assuming accurate test results here), then I'd say you won't. Just keep looking for that nitrate kit to finally show nitrates in the tank.

But, I gotta say that I'm real skeptical that this can be done. Even the API kits will show slight levels of ammonia. And there most certainly had to be some in a new, pristine setup. You may have missed the spikes by only testing weekly. So, now there's really no way to say ammonia and nitrite didn't truly spike to measurable levels.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
In response to the above questions, I cycled with fish because the fish store recommended it, as Cichlids tend to be very hardy, and frankly I didn't know there were other options, at the time.

Yes I have been using BOTH ammonia bottles in my tests, don't mind you making sure. I have also been testing for Nitrate as well, because my understanding is any nitrate would indicate that the cycling is complete, but no signs of Nitrate yet.

I didn't start testing the water until day 14, as I didn't think anything would happen before that.
Today is day 21 for the fish in the tank.
 

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I didn't start testing the water until day 14, as I didn't think anything would happen before that.
Typically, ammonia rises after only about 24 hours and doesn't drop for 7-10 days. Around that time nitrite rises and peaks for another 14-21 days. So, after 14 days, you shouldn't have gotten an ammonia reading, that's normal. It also may be too early right now after 21 days for nitrates to show up (typically). The only thing not normal right now is a 0 nitrite reading. Any way to double check that kit?
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
The only thing not normal right now is a 0 nitrite reading. Any way to double check that kit?
I just did another Nitrite test, still very blue, reading of 0. It makes me think that a big spike is yet to come. Now I should clarify, when I say no ammonia, I mean no measurable spike, the ammonia tests in this tank have always been around 0.25 ppm, traces of ammonia. I "spike" would be much higher, would it not?? :-?

Thank you to everyone who has given their input on my cycling questions so far. I appreciate your comments and questions, and will keep you imformed on what happens over the next few weeks with my water chemistry.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
You may have missed the spikes by only testing weekly. So, now there's really no way to say ammonia and nitrite didn't truly spike to measurable levels.
So should I wait another week or 2 to put my other 6 juvenile cichlids in this tank from my 35 gallon, or is it safe to do so, as long as I monitor the water?[/quote]
 

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Now I should clarify, when I say no ammonia, I mean no measurable spike, the ammonia tests in this tank have always been around 0.25 ppm, traces of ammonia. I "spike" would be much higher, would it not??
These details are kind of important. :) You initially said:

and I have yet to see any ammonia or nitrate.... or nitrAte in the tank.
I'm really wondering about your test kits. A continued reading of .25 ammonia after 14 days is not normal either. And, yes, spikes are usually higher Ammonia spike simply means that the ammonia rises to a certain level (spikes), then falls. A continuous .25 is not really a spike, but not normal either. And not a good thing to have.

Another possiblity is that this tank is going to cycle incredibly slowly because of the light fish and ammonia load, and possibly some other unknown factor. If ammonia has been at .25 (which could be the highest it's going to get, so it's your spike), then it may be possible that the ntirite 'spike' is yet to come or may not come at all. If you're certain of your kits, keep testing, but please report results here exactly as you see them, so we can be of the most help.

Also, be consistent with the testing, as in same time each day. Also, don't test right after a water change, particulary if you have chloramine in your tap.

You have an interesting excepttion to the rules going, and I'd like to see how this turns out. If you could test daily and log those results through the rest of the cycling, that'd be real interesting to see.

And, no, don't add more fish right now unless you are in a position to deal with any serious spikes that may occur. Adding two more may just tip the balance and cause the more lethal spikes that we're not seeing now. Just be aware and ready if you do that. I'm kind of curious though to see it play out as it is.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Okay, I will take your advice, thank you, and leave my fish where they are for now. I will test the water daily at 3:00pm, starting today, and report the results.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Todays test results: Still no change: Ammonia 0.25ppm; Nitrite 0; Nitrate 0; PH 8.2

I am taking Tim's advice and keeping my fish where they are for now. I will test the water daily around 3pm and post the results.

thanks Tim
 

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Ok, but just to humor me, test some bottled water for ammonia to see if you get a 0 reading. That's one good way to double check the kit.

And for the nitrate tests, are you shaking the bottles per directions? If not, it could give a false low reading. Only reason I ask, and just trying to cover everything.
 

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I have cycled a tank in less then 14 days with no seeding except for those biozyme products. Depends on your filters and size of tank. Now the 14 days cycling was fishless. I do know the larger the volume the easier it is. Just keep doing mini wc everyday to avoid huge ones. Do like 5 gallons in the am and the same at night.
 
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