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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
New to fishless cycling here... and kinda feeling my way through it. I have been adding ammonia daily and we are now what seems to be between 4 & 8 PPM according to the brand new API test kit. So now what? At this point, our BioMedia, which has been on backorder, has not arrived so I'm running my FX5 with the foam side pads and floss in the top basket... bottom 2 are empty. That should be in any day now.
 

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Wait, wait, then wait some more. You'll see ammonia drop, nitrite rise. When both are 0, you're cycled. So, for now, just test ammonia, when you see it dropping, start testing nitrite.
Mid to high 80's temp and plenty of aeration can help speed things along as will media from a cycled tank.
 

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Stop adding ammonia. You don't want it to go above 5 ppm. Wait until you have the biomedia and see nitrite production before adding more.

GTZ wrote
You'll see ammonia drop, nitrite rise. When both are 0, you're cycled.
He/She left out a detail - When you can add ammonia and do not see ammonia and nitrite the next day the tank is cycled. It is not really cycle, IMO, when ammonia and nitrite first hit zero.

You don't want to add too much ammonia and, as GTZ wrote, you need to wait. But once the ammonia and nitrite are low add a little ammonia and when you can add ammonia and not see a rise in the ammonia and nitrite values the next day your tank is on its way. When they are zero the next day you're cycled.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Appreciated! Got nuthin' but time... still need to figure out LED lighting and going out of town for 10 days the end of next week.

So when should I start testing for Nitrite? Looks like my BioMax & thermometer are showing up tomorrow and I should be able to get that in & fire the heater Sunday.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Ok, haven't added any more ammonia. Just measured again today and we have over 8ppm. We finally rec'd the BioMax and have added it today. We also put in a thermometer so we are on our way to temps in the mid-upper 80s.

Do we need to do anything about the extra high NH3 or wait it out?
 

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Do we need to do anything about the extra high NH3 or wait it out?
Yes, I'd do a 75% water change and stop adding until it goes to 0. There are some how-to's out there that say keep adding, I know, but don't.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
prov356 said:
Do we need to do anything about the extra high NH3 or wait it out?
Yes, I'd do a 75% water change and stop adding until it goes to 0. There are some how-to's out there that say keep adding, I know, but don't.
That crucial, huh? What would happen if we let it dissipate on its own?
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
prov356 said:
Bacteria may be inhibited at high levels. I'd do at least a 50% anyway. Get it down to below 5ppm.
We're going out of town for 10 days at the end of the week and won't have much time to do anything anyway. If we just left it, would we be ok eventually? The bio media just went in today.
 

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Bacteria may be inhibited at high levels. I'd do at least a 50% anyway. Get it down to below 5ppm.
Meaning, it may not progress at all if you don't get the level of ammonia down. You can always deal with it when you get back. Seems you'll need to anyway if leaving it unattended for 10 days. Maybe best to just let it go and see what it does. Worst case, you'll still have a lot of ammonia when you get back and you can deal with it then. Best case, ammonia will be 0 and nitrites will be spiking and you can continue dosing ammonia at that time, just keep it to 2ppm.
 

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High ammonia levels will hinder the growth and proliferation of the bacteria that convert Nitrite into Nitrate, slowing down your cycle to a standstill. I'd recommend doing the water change and look for NH3/NH4 reading of 2-3ppm.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Ok, came back from vaca and the ammonia levels were still over 8ppm. Did about 30-35% water change and checked it again... still over 8! I'll check it again tonight.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Alright, did about a 75% water change last night. I have an API Freshwater kit. As the test water passes the medium dark green that's supposed to indicate ammonia of 4 ppm, it starts to turn more of a bluish green. 8 ppm is dark green. Does anyone else experience this? The hue doesn't quite get as dark as 8 ppm anymore so if I were to judge the level based on the hue, I would estimate 5 ppm, ma-aybe 6. Seems to get just darker than the 4 ppm indicator. So if my judgements are correct, is the level now low enough to let nature take over?
 
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