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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ok, I set up a 75G tank with a 20G refugium/sump.
I added water about 2 weeks ago, but didn't start the cycle, as I was tweeking some things.
Started Cycle February 12, with Tetra Safestart. waited 24hrs, and had a .50ppm Ammonia reading. The next day it was the same so I added Ammonia to a level of 5ppm. Added some more ammonia the following day. Levels went above 5ppm! This is now day 5, and it's still at 5ppm. 0 nitrite, o nitrate.....I haven't added anymore ammonia because the levels aren't dropping. Should I be adding more ammonia or not?
Maybe because I have always done the few fish at a time cycle I'm impatient? Just want to do this right so any suggestions are greatly appreciated!
 

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It may take some time to drop, once it does drop, I would only keep your ammonia at about 2-3 ppm, the bacteria will be able to process quicker. A high ppm of ammonia may delay the process. It is a waiting game, my tank took about 3 weeks.
 

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wlyons9856 said:
It may take some time to drop, once it does drop, I would only keep your ammonia at about 2-3 ppm, the bacteria will be able to process quicker. A high ppm of ammonia may delay the process. It is a waiting game, my tank took about 3 weeks.
+1
There's nothing to be gained by continuing to add ammonia if you're nitrites haven't spiked. If I was getting an ammonia reading above 5 ppm, I'd do some small water changes to get the level down to 2-3 ppm.

Once the nitrites do spike I would keep the ammonia level at just around 1 ppm till nitrites drop to 0. Don't waste your time measuring nitrates at this point. The presence of nitrites will give you a distorted reading. I cycled a 15 gallon a little while ago to seed a larger tank I'm currently in the process of setting up. It took six weeks to cycle and this is not considered unusual.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
OK, Thanks! My ammonia may have been above 5ppm the other day. Its hard to tell with the API color charts. Maybe a small water change is a good idea to bring it down a little. So I guess now I just wait for the Nitrite to spike.
 

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So I guess now I just wait for the Nitrite to spike.
What you wait for is the ammonia to drop to 0. Then start adding an ammonia dose of 1-2ppm every other day. Nitrite will spike at this point. You can do small partial water changes, if you like, to keep nitrite levels, and ultimately nitrate levels down. When nitrite drops to 0 (and this takes a while, up to 3 weeks), then test for nitrate (not before), and do some partial water changes to bring it down below 20ppm. All the while you're still adding ammonia every other day. Add the last dose of ammonia 48 hours before adding fish. Then feel free to stock fully. That's one of the advantages of fishless cycling.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
OK got it! Thanks for the clarification.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Tested last night and today, and Nitrite is reading 1ppm, and ammonia is starting to drop slightly. I guess things are starting!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Day 11 on this cycle, and ammonia reads 0ppm, and Nitrite is at 5ppm, Nitrate 10ppm. Should I now add 1-2ppm ammonia? Or just leave things as is. How long on average does it take for the Nitrite to start dropping?
 

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Should I now add 1-2ppm ammonia?
Yes, every other day starting today or tomorrow.

How long on average does it take for the Nitrite to start dropping?
2-3 weeks or so without seeding. I see you used SafeStart, so the time may be shorter.

You can also do partial water changes of 25-30% daily. That may help speed things along.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks for the info. I'll do a water change, and add the ammonia. Waiting is the hardest part, can't wait to start stocking!
How does the partial water changes help? Does it just lower the Nitrites quicker?
 

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IME there's less catching up for the nitrite converters to do. It'll also help to keep nitrates down, so fewer water changes required at the end of cycling. BTW, you won't see a gradual decline of nitrite, and that can make some thing nothing is happening. But, that's typical, it'll instead suddenly drop one day. Be patient.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
ok thanks. Patience is the key to success with aquariums!
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Great news! All cycled. 0 nitrite, 0 nitrate, 0 ammonia. I think my plants in the sump/refugium brought nitrates down to zero! No water change needed as in many posts I've read here.
I will be doing a small water change this week, and hope to be stocking this weekend!
Total cycle time was 2 weeks. I added Tetra Safestart on day one, and ammonia thereafter, also have a refugium with a 5-6 inch bed of aragonite sand, and plants....just added some hornwort which is supposed to be a nitrate reducer.
Can't wait to stock it...Tank will be a Tanganyikan Community
Thanks all for the info in this initial phase!
 
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