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OK , I am in the process of trying to cycle a new 55g tank.

Previously when setting up a tank I have used a water conditioner added "cycle" waited 24 hrs and added fish. I have never lost a fish this way. However since joining here I have learned(somewhat) about fish-less cycling.

So here's what I have done.

Treated water and filled tank. Added the recommended amount of "cycle" for the 3 day new tank period. Tested water I had like .5 ppm ammonia and no traces of anything else. Added some crushed up flake food and another 10ml /10g dose of "cycle".

At this point I also removed a piece of Drift wood that was still leaching tannins.

Tested the water again a day later no change. I then did a 30% WC to try and get rid of the tea stained water. With this WC I squeezed out a sponge filter from another tank and added 1 gallon of water from that tank to it.

Tested again the next morning(this was may 12)
this time 0ppm ammonia, .5ppm nitrite, 5ppm nitrate.
Added some more crushed flake food.

May 13 the ammonia was back up to .5ppm everything else was unchanged.
that evening the nitrite had dropped to .25 ppm but nothing else changed. I then changed out another 20 gallons of water, once again using 1 gallon from the other tank( I should mention that it is only a 5 gallon tank).

May14 0 ammonia, .25 ppm nitrite and the nitrate had risen to between 5-10 ppm.
I added some more crushed flake food. and a tank decoration from the other tank.

May 15 I had no change in water conditions in the morning, I tested again that evening and Ammonia was up to .5ppm and there was no change in the nitrites , nitrates were back down to5ppm.

May 16 Ammonia had dropped to .25ppm and they was no other changes.
I noticed a thin milky film on the surface of the water, when I added some more crushed flake.

May 17 0ppm ammonia, .25 nitrites and 5-10 ppm nitrates.

I am at a loss as to whats going on.
 

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You're using fish food instead of ammonia from a bottle and that's the source of the erratic test results and fouled water. Get and use some clear ammonia from Ace hardware. Then you can control the ammonia additions and get more consistent results.
 

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First post here, but I used to have a problem with my fish dying with a new tank. Lost about 10 fish in 2 weeks (Tropical), finally after doing some research I found PRIME. I added it to my 29g when I put my cichlids in, (waited a good week before adding fish). In the last month I lost 0 fish, and there is 12 in there now.
 
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