Cichlid Fish Forum banner
1 - 20 of 25 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
12 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We are cycling a 300 gallon setup with sump. We set the tank up 15 days ago, running pumps and powerheads at full speed - high temperature in tank. 14 days ago I added ammonia to approx 5 ppm and added some filtermedia from an existing tank (only a little). Since then I have also added a few shimp in the sump and some fishfood.

I have tested for ammonia, nitrite and nitrate daily since then - consistently getting high ammonia, no nitrite and no nitrate. I have read that the expected time for nitrite to appear should be 8-10 days (without the added filtermedia). I performed a patrial waterchange 3 days ago bringing ammonia to 4-5 ppm. My measuring scale stops at 5 - and I didn't want it too high.

Are we doing something wrong or is it just a matter of waiting it out?
 

Attachments

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
40,508 Posts
It does take a while for the chemicals to build up and the organisms to grow initially. Allow six weeks on average, you should see results begin to be measurable soon.

I would shoot for 2ppm on the ammonia.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
DJRansome said:
It does take a while for the chemicals to build up and the organisms to grow initially. Allow six weeks on average, you should see results begin to be measurable soon.

I would shoot for 2ppm on the ammonia.
I am ok with six weeks (even though I was hoping for less with filter media from another tank)... But I thought there should be some progress after 2 weeks? Right now I am seeing nothing at all
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
40,508 Posts
You said only a little established media. If those organisms were producing nitrite and nitrate already...you would see nitrate readings. Are you shaking the nitrite regents long enough before and after adding?

It is not an even process...you go from nothing to sky high all at once.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
DJRansome said:
You said only a little established media. If those organisms were producing nitrite and nitrate already...you would see nitrate readings. Are you shaking the nitrite regents long enough before and after adding?

It is not an even process...you go from nothing to sky high all at once.
I am shaking the bottles first. I might have had just a little bit of nitrite - the colors can sometimes be hard to decifer...

I am just wondering if I a doing it all wrong and will sit here in a month, still without progress. I have never cycled a tank before
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,747 Posts
I'm in the middle of my own cycling saga. It took over 40 days to see nitrite (I didn't start with media like you did though). When I cycled from scratch in the past, it only took 14 days to see nitrite. I don't know why it varies so much, I'm sure there's some reason.

Don't bother testing nitrates for a while. Many tests including the API liquid test give false results on the nitrate test when nitrite is present (makes you think nitrites are getting converted to nitrate when in reality the test falsely reports nitrite as nitrate)

It will be pretty clear when you have nitrite. And ammonia will drop back down to 0 when or shortly after you start seeing nitrite.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Rhinox said:
I'm in the middle of my own cycling saga. It took over 40 days to see nitrite (I didn't start with media like you did though). When I cycled from scratch in the past, it only took 14 days to see nitrite. I don't know why it varies so much, I'm sure there's some reason.

Don't bother testing nitrates for a while. Many tests including the API liquid test give false results on the nitrate test when nitrite is present (makes you think nitrites are getting converted to nitrate when in reality the test falsely reports nitrite as nitrate)

It will be pretty clear when you have nitrite. And ammonia will drop back down to 0 when or shortly after you start seeing nitrite.
40 days
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,747 Posts
42 to be exact, but who's counting. But the first time I cycled it only took 14! So I predict you'll see nitrites sometime between 14 and 42 days :D

What is the pH and temperature of your water while cycling?

I don't know why it's taking my current filter so long. Current theory is not enough oxygen getting into the water. My pump and outlet both submerged, I added food as well which seems to have introduced proteins possibly inhibiting oxygen exchange. I'm using higher temperatures too which is supposed to allow bacteria to grow faster, but higher temp water also has less oxygen. I added airstones to aerate the water prior to entering the filter media and within a week I finally started seeing nitrates. Maybe just coincidence?

There was a few days overlap between seeing nitrites and ammonia dropping to zero. Before, I saw nitrites appear an ammonia drop to zero on the same day. Now I can dump more than 6ppm ammonia (in ~30g of water in my sump) every other day and it drops back down to 0 in <2 days. it's higher concentration than recommended but would be about the right total amount if I had my sump hooked up to the full tank. It's been another 17 days since I first started seeing nitrites. If the airstones fixed a stalled cycle I would expect nitrites to drop any day now. I think the last time it was 3 weeks before nitrites disappeared, but I had let my pH drop to 6.5 and lower pH slows progress. I did a water change on day 34 which replenished the buffers raising pH and nitrites were 0 on day 35. I added baking soda to my sump this time to make sure my pH didn't drop.

I don't know if my experience can help you but that's what's been happening with my cycle lately.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Rhinox said:
42 to be exact, but who's counting. But the first time I cycled it only took 14! So I predict you'll see nitrites sometime between 14 and 42 days :D

What is the pH and temperature of your water while cycling?

I don't know why it's taking my current filter so long. Current theory is not enough oxygen getting into the water. My pump and outlet both submerged, I added food as well which seems to have introduced proteins possibly inhibiting oxygen exchange. I'm using higher temperatures too which is supposed to allow bacteria to grow faster, but higher temp water also has less oxygen. I added airstones to aerate the water prior to entering the filter media and within a week I finally started seeing nitrates. Maybe just coincidence?

There was a few days overlap between seeing nitrites and ammonia dropping to zero. Before, I saw nitrites appear an ammonia drop to zero on the same day. Now I can dump more than 6ppm ammonia (in ~30g of water in my sump) every other day and it drops back down to 0 in <2 days. it's higher concentration than recommended but would be about the right total amount if I had my sump hooked up to the full tank. It's been another 17 days since I first started seeing nitrites. If the airstones fixed a stalled cycle I would expect nitrites to drop any day now. I think the last time it was 3 weeks before nitrites disappeared, but I had let my pH drop to 6.5 and lower pH slows progress. I did a water change on day 34 which replenished the buffers raising pH and nitrites were 0 on day 35. I added baking soda to my sump this time to make sure my pH didn't drop.

I don't know if my experience can help you but that's what's been happening with my cycle lately.
The temperature of the water is 28C - and I can't possibly have an oxygen shortage with the amount of watermovement I have in the surface

I have a pH around 8-8,2...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
207 Posts
Your cycle seems to be coming along but it will take longer because you're keeping your ammonia levels around 5 ppm. At 2 ppm ammonia, it takes about 25-30 days on average.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
18 Posts
Not sure how much filtered media you had from your previous tank, but I cycled my 75 gallon with a 6 inch by 4 inch extra sponge filter I had in my 29 gallon for over a month in anticipation of starting a new 75 gallon. The cycle took 5 days. It took 1 day after I added about 4ppm of ammonia for nitrite to appear. I added more ammonia (2ppm) and the nitrite spike off the charts. The nitrite test would turn dark purple instantly. I stopped adding ammonia after the second time because in previous tank cycling, the more ammonia I added, the nitrite would never disappear. Once I stopped adding ammonia, the nitrite started to decrease. It processed 2-3ppm of ammonia in less than 24 hours. That's plenty of processing for the amount of fish I was going to stock.

Fast forward this week. I cycled another tank in 48 hours. It was a 20 gallon long for my "hospital" tank. I used filter media from one of my smaller 10 gallon tank, and that same sponge filter I had in my 75 gallon tank. Added 4ppm of ammonia. The ammonia was 0 in about 12-14 hours and nitrite was 4-5ppm. Instead of adding a bunch more ammonia as most people are doing these days and I have done in the past, I only added 0.5-1ppm of ammonia. The ammonia went to 0 within 12 hours and nitrite started to drop. I stopped adding ammonia and by hour 48, tank was cycled. I added 4 Mbuna medium sized red zebras and fed them well. They pooped and did their normal thing. I've been testing water twice a day and no ammonia or nitrite is showing. Nitrate is around 25-30. My tap has standard 10-20 ppm nitrate.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
4,694 Posts
This sounds - superficially -like its about a successful cycling operation for an aquarium. Then....
LoveAllCichlids said:
My tap has standard 10-20 ppm nitrate.
Where are these tap water readings coming from?
And why..... WHY?!!!
Are so many Americans reporting these high Nitrate readings in their Tap Water?
And, in another thread:
Auballagh said:
The water you are using exceeds the U.S. EPA standard for municipal tap water....

The maximum contaminant level (MCL) for nitrate in public drinking water supplies in the United States (U.S.) is 10 mg/L as nitrate-nitrogen (NO3-N). This concentration is approximately equivalent to the World Health Organization (WHO) guideline of 50 mg/L as NO3 or 11.3 mg/L NO3-N (multiply NO3 mg/L by 0.2258).

Well water, or so-called 'self-supply' water is not regulated by those EPA requirements, and may present a significantly higher risk for human consumption. Arizona is a state with a large percentage of land that no longer has safe, self-supplied drinking water due to agricultural runoff and other causes.

I would not recommend drinking the water out of your tap.
-
Ummmm.... no.
Blue Baby Syndrome much?
Seriously.
Why are we now recording these high Nitrate readings in our municipal tap water?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
18 Posts
Not sure, but I live in Southern California. The water here is extremely hard. Much harder than Northern California. And the water here is not good for drinking imho.

I don't know if I have enough beneficial bacteria in the 2-3 day cycles, but I know it can handle my stock which is all that matters. 4 Middle size Mbuna's in a 20 gallon hospital tank is a decent amount of poop and ammonia, but my 48 hour cycled tank is able to handle it without any ammonia or nitrite spikes. I'm testing every 12 hours just to make sure. Remember, I brought over a 6x4inch sponge filter from my other tank (a 75 gallon and it was previously in a 29 gallon).

What I do is when I know I'm going to need to cycle a tank (and even if I don't, just as a backup) I always have an extra few sponge filters handy that are already cycled and have tons of good bacteria on it. It's like an insurance policy. Some of these fish have been with me during some difficult times and I feel I owe it to them to give them the best hospital care if they get sick. I call it MbunaCare (aka Obamacare).
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
40,508 Posts
When you transfer organisms into the tank from another tank...it is not exactly the same as what is meant when we use the word cycle relative to aquarium water chemistry, which is the process of going through the cycle of growing the organisms on clean filter media. Ammonia cycles up then down. Nitrite cycles up then down. Nitrate cycles up.

If you have organisms to transfer...especially if you have enough to support the new bioload 100% you avoid having to cycle the tank.

Note that the organisms on your filter media that you transfer are not supporting gallons of water but rather the bioload of the tank. So if you have 4 sponge filters in a 75G tank with 20 fish, one of them can support a bioload of 5 fish regardless of the gallons in the new tank.

Southern California should be subject to the same regulations as other US locations. Hard water is good for drinking, but water with nitrate is not. Unless you have a private well that you don't want to invest in fixing, I would definitely submit a complaint with your water authority. May as well get something (like drinkable water) for your tax dollars.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Update - now three weeks in...

STILL no sign of nitrite (or nitrate)... High temp (28C), pH8 and lots of watermovement...

We are lucky enough to have excellent drinking water - no nitrate in tap water - and no chlorine or additives either, that could stall the process. KH is 19 natually which is high, but good for mbunas later.

I have lost patience a long time ago :( The only action in my tank is lots of airbubbles and emerging gunk on my rocks... :roll:
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
4,694 Posts
Don't get frustrated. Try something different!
Seriously, have you tried 'inoculation' yet?
Auballagh said:
- Get some of the media from an established aquarium (again?) and either add it to your filtration media, or vigorously expose your media to it for inoculation. The best way to do inoculate aquarium filtration media, is to get a bucket partially filled with tank water, then place both new and old filtration media in it. Rub them both together vigorously to spread the beneficial filtration bacteria onto your new media. Foam type filtration media is preferred for this.
As an example... at one point I only had a single Aquaclear 70, (Small, hang-on-back power filter), running and established on a 20 gallon (80L) aquarium. Applying fish-less cycling procedures by adding ammonia to the water, and using daily inoculation with the foam media from that little filter, I successfully brought a bone-dry, 180 gallon tank (50 gallon sump filtration) up to running and fully cycled in less than 2 weeks. :eek:
I'm actually kind of amazed that more people struggling with this thing, don't do this simple inoculation technique to get their aquariums started up faster...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Auballagh said:
Don't get frustrated. Try something different!
Seriously, have you tried 'inoculation' yet?
Auballagh said:
- Get some of the media from an established aquarium (again?) and either add it to your filtration media, or vigorously expose your media to it for inoculation. The best way to do inoculate aquarium filtration media, is to get a bucket partially filled with tank water, then place both new and old filtration media in it. Rub them both together vigorously to spread the beneficial filtration bacteria onto your new media. Foam type filtration media is preferred for this.
As an example... at one point I only had a single Aquaclear 70, (Small, hang-on-back power filter), running and established on a 20 gallon (80L) aquarium. Applying fish-less cycling procedures by adding ammonia to the water, and using daily inoculation with the foam media from that little filter, I successfully brought a bone-dry, 180 gallon tank (50 gallon sump filtration) up to running and fully cycled in less than 2 weeks. :eek:
I'm actually kind of amazed that more people struggling with this thing, don't do this simple inoculation technique to get their aquariums started up faster...
I got a small piece of filterfoam with brown gunk from a coworker. I added that (including the brown water) directly to the sump of my tank (where it still is) three weeks ago. I had hoped it would speed the process up - and I don't like asking him for more. His aquarium (although well established) is much smaller than mine and just has a bucket filter.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
4,694 Posts
The only way that inoculation really works, is if you work those surfaces together. The beneficial bacteria that have fully colonized the established, foam filter media are just physically rubbed onto the new foam media. I did this once, sometimes twice per day, with the foam pre-filters sited in each corner overflow, and even with the foam mats placed on top of each drip/splash tray for the sump. Bio-balls sited below both of the drip trays, served as the main filtration media source, but I didn't touch them at all (and apparently didn't need to for initial cycling purposes).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12 Posts
Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Auballagh said:
The only way that inoculation really works, is if you work those surfaces together. The beneficial bacteria that have fully colonized the established, foam filter media are just physically rubbed onto the new foam media. I did this once, sometimes twice per day, with the foam pre-filters sited in each corner overflow, and even with the foam mats placed on top of each drip/splash tray for the sump. Bio-balls sited below both of the drip trays, served as the main filtration media source, but I didn't touch them at all (and apparently didn't need to for initial cycling purposes).
Ok - so I should take the sponge and rub it against the form in the sump? It is laying in the sump now and I have squeezed all the gunk out of it several times, but that's not enough?

**** - I am willing to try anything :lol:
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
4,694 Posts
Alrighty then...
Pernille said:
Ok - so I should take the sponge and rub it against the form in the sump?
Assuming that word 'form' you wrote actually means 'foam' - then yes! The beneficial filtration bacteria you need, do not live floating in the water (very few of them there in number), they colonize and grow out on surfaces (bio-film). You need to rub that established/colonized foam surface against your new/non-colonized foam, to spread viable/active bacteria onto the new foam's surface.
The procedure is simple, just like I described earlier with the partially filled bucket of tank water, and the foam pieces. :thumb:
 
1 - 20 of 25 Posts
Top