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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Long story short, I have a 55G tank.

I was keeping African Cichlids in there for about 7 months, but decided to go another route.
I traded the Africans with a guy I knew.

I took my Aquaclear 110 filter off, kept it running, and hooked it up to a little 10 gallon tank using the 55G water.
Then I emptied the 55G completely, hosed it out, scraped the algae off the back, etc.

Put brand new substrate in there that is good with plants, put in some driftwood that I had soaking for days.
I then filled it up with tap water, and this is where the problem is I THINK.

Straight from my faucet, and if I let it sit out for a day, the Ammonia level reads about a 2PPM.
I just assumed that since this is how I filled it up 7 months ago that it would be fine.

So I filled up the tank, putting in the de-chlorinator, which says it gets rid of chlorine and chloramines.
Just to be safe I added an entire bottle of the Tetra Safe Start as well

Well, I guess the filter I had going wasn't enough to cycle that Ammonia? Because It hasn't budged from around 1PPM-1.5PPM in about 25 days.
I'm getting 0s on Nitrite and Nitrate.

I also have 8 little Neon Tetras in there as well since I thought the Safe-Start would be the "just in case it doesn't work" safety. They actually seem to be fine. I've also gone to the grocery store and bought about 20Gs of purified drinking water, which I tested at 0PPM Ammonia and switched it out.... And it did nothing to that Ammonia amount, still 1-1.5PPM

Any ideas?
 

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If I follow correctly -- you removed all your bacterial colony in the gravel when you switched out your substrate and then you put a filter with your bacterial colony on a 10 gallon, unclear if that tank had any fish in it, but it certainly wouldn't have the load of a 55 gallon and thus would diminish if not entirely kill off the colony in the filter. (BTW, moving the tank water from the old tank to the new doesn't help with bacterial colony.)

So, yes, you're starting from scratch.

I, too, have had an issue with ammonia levels in tanks even without fish in them. I'm at a loss to explain that either. (Such as when restarting a QT tank and getting ammonia readings right away.)

In any event, I strongly recommend you use Dr. Tim's One and Only to jump start your cycle. It's the only thing in a bottle I've used that works . . .
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Just to be clearER
I took the existing filter, kept it running for about 2-3 hours while I completely emptied the tank, and sprayed it out.

I then filled the tank back up with NEW tap water, but that tap water has high ammonia.

Then put the still-running filter on the tank again.

But new substrate, new fish.

I've tried Dr.Tim's in the past, and it's done nothing.
When I set up the Cichlid tank, I filled it up, poured it in, added a few cichlids and the ammonia never went down either.

Just like this time... Perhaps the 55G of 1.5PPM Ammonia is just too much for any bottle of "Live bacteria" to handle?

SO I guess I just wait this out?
 

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I'd try using Prime (if you are trying to save your fish), I just did something similar and have also used Dr Tims (but it hasn't been in for 24 hours yet). However, I was able to get most of my ammonia and nitrites taken care of by doing daily water changes and adding appropriate amounts Prime.

I wonder if your driftwood might not have absorbed ammonia when it was soaking and is now leaching it back into the water?

Another thought, (that might also save you some money) you might want to try letting a gallon or so of your tap water sit and keep checking it to see how long it takes the ammonia to naturally evaporate...ie. a few days? a few weeks? a month? If you knew that number, it would be easier to determine if something is going wrong in your tank or if a problem has been properly fixed. You don't want to simply assume if your ammonia drops to 0 that it has been cycled and the problem is eliminated, if the ammonia has just evaporated.
 
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