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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am fairly comfortable with the fishless cycle having gone through this a few months ago on my 55G mbuna tank from scratch.

I set up my 125G last weekend and Sunday started the fishless cycle. I dosed 3-4ppm ammonia. I am trying to crank up the heat but my new Jager 300W is being very flukey and doesn't want to heat even after calibrating. Have managed to get the heat up to 82-83 degrees.

Today the ammonia is down to .25-.5ppm and the nitrites are 5ppm or so. The last cycle I did I would be cranking the ammonia back up to 3-4ppm but I have been reading it might be better to give the system some time to deal with the nitrites before throwing in more ammonia. This is where I could use some advice. Should I hold on the ammonia a bit and if so how long? If you are wondering how I got nitrites so fast I did seed this cycle from the 55G. I am assuming it is also processing some nitrites but hard to tell until they start dropping.

The slower dosing part of this is what's new to me so if you have any advice please spill it! :) I think I understand the concept just not the procedure to avoid other issues like starving the ammonia eaters.

Thanks!

Jim
 

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I don't have advice for you on the dosing, as I am going through much the same thing (and have been told the same thing, but I'm no expert, so I'll leave that advice to the experts), but are you using any possible established bio-media from your established tank? You might as well bring something over, as that might speed things up somewhat substantially.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
DavidH said:
I don't have advice for you on the dosing, as I am going through much the same thing (and have been told the same thing, but I'm no expert, so I'll leave that advice to the experts), but are you using any possible established bio-media from your established tank? You might as well bring something over, as that might speed things up somewhat substantially.
That was done which is why I have a load of nitrites in four days. :) Much faster that way.

Jim
 

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I would let the nitrites come down a little before dosing anymore ammonia. Having nitrites over 5ppm can inhibit the growth of the bacteria. Just watch your nitrites and when they get down to like 1ppm then id dose ammonia back to around 2ppm n repeat.
 

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Piper said:
Today the ammonia is down to .25-.5ppm and the nitrites are 5ppm or so. The last cycle I did I would be cranking the ammonia back up to 3-4ppm but I have been reading it might be better to give the system some time to deal with the nitrites before throwing in more ammonia. This is where I could use some advice. Should I hold on the ammonia a bit and if so how long? If you are wondering how I got nitrites so fast I did seed this cycle from the 55G. I am assuming it is also processing some nitrites but hard to tell until they start dropping.

The slower dosing part of this is what's new to me so if you have any advice please spill it! :) I think I understand the concept just not the procedure to avoid other issues like starving the ammonia eaters.
I cycled a couple of tanks at the start of this year using a similar approach (cycling one tank and then using media from its filter to seed a larger tank). You can easily go a few days without adding ammonia and the bacteria will survive just fine. When I was cycling the tanks, I did small water changes (20-25%) to bring the nitrites down once they hit 5 ppm. On the second tank (the one I'd seeded), I think it only took one bout of water changes and the next time I added ammonia, I got 0 readings for ammonia and nitrites in 24 hours. I would also suggest only adding ammonia to 1-2 ppm when you dose the tank next. My experience has been that the tank cycles a lot faster and it's the rare instance where you need it to be able to process 3-4 ppm of ammonia.

Hope that helps.
 

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I would suggest doing a 50% water change to bring the nitrites down because I have read that the cycle gets slowed when nitrites read over 5 ppm. It seemed like my cycle had stalled when my nitrite was too high, but after doing a 50% water change I was finished with my cycle less than a week later. I also agree with Zimmy that dosing it back up to only one or 2 ppm ammonia is better than dosing it back up to 4.
 

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Pizzle said:
I would suggest doing a 50% water change to bring the nitrites down because I have read that the cycle gets slowed when nitrites read over 5 ppm. It seemed like my cycle had stalled when my nitrite was too high, but after doing a 50% water change I was finished with my cycle less than a week later. I also agree with Zimmy that dosing it back up to only one or 2 ppm ammonia is better than dosing it back up to 4.
I'd caution against doing too large a water change as that can apparently disturb whatever bacteria has been established. It might not be a problem but there's a risk. Some people, such as Dr. Tim, who know better than I do, usually advise against changes that are too large. The advice is usually to do several smaller water changes when cycling.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
As expected, the ammonia has resolved and is 0ppm this morning. The nitrites are a lovely dark purple something in excess of 5ppm. I was going to move some structure around today anyway so I will drop the water level about 20% and do a WC at the same time and see if that gets the nitrites below 5ppm.

I am going to stock either about 30 juvenile Tropheus or possibly about half that (10-20) in wild caught adults. Any ideas on how much ammonia the system needs to handle to support groups of this size in a 125G?

Thanks for your input guys!

Jim
 

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Dose to 2ppm for that fish load, and it'll be fine.

Dose every 2-3 days. Always test after 24 hours. If you dose every 3 days and the ammonia is always 0 after 24, then there's no good reason to dose more often. It'll only push the nitrites up. The bacteria that convert ammonia don't shrink back so quickly that you need to be dosing daily.

Be careful with water changes right now. You can go ahead and do some, but keep it down to 30% or so. I have seen large changes cause setbacks.

It may seem like the cycle is 'stalled' while waiting for nitrites to drop, but that may be only because it takes a while for these converters to get going. Having a cycle finish after a water change may or may not have had anything to do iwth the water change. I"ve cycled many tanks without doing any water changes at all and nitrite off the chart.

I think that addresses all of your questions, but let me know if not.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks Tim. That about covers it. I am going to just watch it for a couple of more days before I do anything else.

Jim
 

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Piper said:
I am going to stock either about 30 juvenile Tropheus or possibly about half that (10-20) in wild caught adults. Any ideas on how much ammonia the system needs to handle to support groups of this size in a 125G?/quote]
This is not a large bioload. I added 25 tropheus juveniles (ranging in size from 1.25 to 2") to a 110 gallon tank and dosing 1-2 ppm of ammonia was fine.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Just an update. The first dose of ammonia was around 3-4ppm about a week ago. The ammonia was gone in about 4 days. I did a small water change to try and drop the nitrites which were around 2-5ppm. After a couple of days letting the system sit the nitrites were around .25ppm. I dosed again and the ammonia was 1-2ppm. That was processed in about 48 hours so I did another small water change and the nitrites have been 1ppm for about 24 hours.

I am keeping the numbers much lower than the first fishless cycle I did. We will see how this goes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Just to update you guys. I was processing ammonia in about a week and it took me another week to process the nitrites. Every time the ammonia (2ppm) processed I basically just waited a couple of days for the nitrites to start dropping then did a small WC and dosed again to 2ppm.

I now - for the last 36 hours or so - have 25 Adult WC Tropheus in the tank and have no ammonia or nitrites. Nitrates are about 5ppm. I am testing about every 6-8 hours.

 
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