Newbie to fishless cycling, help?

Questions, tips and advice on how to mature an aquarium and biological filtration. Along with related questions about ammonia, nitrite and nitrate.
AlicesAquarium
Posts: 9
Joined: Wed Aug 09, 2017 8:12 am

Newbie to fishless cycling, help?

Postby AlicesAquarium » Thu Aug 10, 2017 10:19 am

So I think I have understood the basic principals of the fishless cycle routine. The problem I have is that over the next 2 months I'm away from home (and the tank) for a few days. I go away on August 18th until the 21st so I am going to start cycling when I get back. That's all fine and nothing should go amiss (fingers crossed) however, I go away again for 5 days exactly as I would be hitting the 4 week mark of cycling. If I leave the tank will I be ruining the cycle and cancelling out all the work I will have put in up until that point?

Would it be easier to just dose with a biological additive and keep testing the water accordingly? What other methods are there I could use that might be easier for my situation? I'm not in too much of a rush but I don't want to wait months or lose all progress I make over a few days away.

daz4321
Posts: 4680
Joined: Mon Feb 18, 2008 9:35 pm

Re: Newbie to fishless cycling, help?

Postby daz4321 » Thu Aug 10, 2017 2:10 pm

5 days won't hurt much and sometimes it even helps.

add ammonia as soon as possible nothing will happen for a few days anyway. so you will be ok leaving for a day or two early on.

ammonia only needs to be added when its level drops.

do not be in a rush only bad things happen fast in fishkeeping.

AlicesAquarium
Posts: 9
Joined: Wed Aug 09, 2017 8:12 am

Re: Newbie to fishless cycling, help?

Postby AlicesAquarium » Fri Aug 11, 2017 11:48 am

Hi daz4321, thanks for your reply. So the ammonia dosing only happens when it drops? Could you explain the process to me - I think I've misunderstood as I thought it was daily dosing until the nitrite started to make an appearance?

Also when do you begin with the water changes? Is adding fish food required as well?

Many thanks

daz4321
Posts: 4680
Joined: Mon Feb 18, 2008 9:35 pm

Re: Newbie to fishless cycling, help?

Postby daz4321 » Fri Aug 11, 2017 5:45 pm

https://fishlady.co.uk/fishless-cycling ... h-ammonia/

read that carefully it is one of the best guides

water changes only if you get extremely high nitrates while cycling (100ppm +), once cycled my preference is 2x90% water changes to remove any waste products left from the cycling.

no fish food required (ammonia is the food source that the bacteria use (rotted food produces ammonia)

AlicesAquarium
Posts: 9
Joined: Wed Aug 09, 2017 8:12 am

Re: Newbie to fishless cycling, help?

Postby AlicesAquarium » Sun Aug 20, 2017 3:32 pm

Thanks again for the link, its really useful. My main question still stands though and doesn't appear clearly to me from the article - the initial 10 (ish) days of the cycling, should I be dosing the calculated amount daily? Or dose once and in 10 days it should start to decline?

daz4321
Posts: 4680
Joined: Mon Feb 18, 2008 9:35 pm

Re: Newbie to fishless cycling, help?

Postby daz4321 » Sun Aug 20, 2017 4:11 pm

dose ammonia to required level then wait testing every few days initially, when ammonia levels drop below 1ppm redose to the starting level then wait for the drop again, repeat (testing more often) until ammonia and nitrite fall to zero at least 24hrs after dosing(some recommend 12hrs)

AlicesAquarium
Posts: 9
Joined: Wed Aug 09, 2017 8:12 am

Re: Newbie to fishless cycling, help?

Postby AlicesAquarium » Sun Aug 20, 2017 5:57 pm

Thank you! Started my cycle this evening so look forward to seeing progress in a few weeks :)

AlicesAquarium
Posts: 9
Joined: Wed Aug 09, 2017 8:12 am

Re: Newbie to fishless cycling, help?

Postby AlicesAquarium » Tue Aug 29, 2017 10:27 pm

So I've been cycling my tank for 12 days now and I'm a little confused :oops:

I dosed with ammonia on the 7th day of the cycle after having noted it had returned to 0ppm and on the 9th day ammonia was again at 0ppm but nitrite was very high. It has since been 2 days and now nitrite and ammonia read 0ppm after 24 hours (and continued dosing of course when 0ppm was noted). I thought the cycle might have stalled but nitrate reading is at 80ppm also? The tank had been set up for 2-3 weeks prior to starting the cycle. Is this an unusually short time span for a cycle? Am I doing something wrong? If it wasn't for the nitrate readings I would think so...

daz4321
Posts: 4680
Joined: Mon Feb 18, 2008 9:35 pm

Re: Newbie to fishless cycling, help?

Postby daz4321 » Wed Aug 30, 2017 6:13 am

if you dose the ammonia to the level you have chosen at 8 am today and at 8 am tomorrow both ammonia and nitrite read zero ppm and this repeats for at least 3 days then you IMO are ready to add some fish, BUT first you will need to perform a very large water change or two to remove the excess nitrates that result from the fishless cycle.

AlicesAquarium
Posts: 9
Joined: Wed Aug 09, 2017 8:12 am

Re: Newbie to fishless cycling, help?

Postby AlicesAquarium » Wed Aug 30, 2017 7:32 am

I will try that and see what results I get! In terms of maintenance once I've added fish - will I be okay to start off with weekly water changes? I know without the fishes cycle there is a lot more you have to do when adding fish to ensure you don't lose them but not sure on the routine I should have once I've done this cycle. Hope that makes sense?


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