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The image in this post shows a graph of my water tests over a three week period. I am doing a fish-less cycle. I thought I would have Nitrates by now. We did have quite a bit of rain last week and over night temperatures have dropped to the low 50's this week. Maybe these conditions have slowed the process a bit. Any feedback would be great....

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Took me 45 days... but you are almost there.

Looks good and spring temps will help.  Cycling seems like a miracle once it happens.  I used PH Down for Hydroponics to take my PH down some, which was recommended in Sylvia's book ( VS PH Down for Aquariums).  The graph is interesting - definitely a drop in PH as the ammonia went down.

Today Nitrites dropped to .25 but no Nitrates are showing up. Weird. I expected the two to overlap but it looks like the Nitrites will zero out before the Nitrates show. I am tempted to add my fish because the Ammonia and Nitrites are in the safe zone.

Keep dosing ammonia to 2ppm, if your bio filter is ready it will only take 24hrs for it to go back to 0

So do you think that the quantity of ammonia has been too low and has stalled the creation of Nitrates?

So to get me in the ball park I added 6 teaspoons of ammonia (10% strength solution). Does that sound about right on 400 gallons of total system water volume? (I calculated 3ml of pure ammonia would give me 2ppm on 400 gallons).

Jonathan Kadish said:

Keep dosing ammonia to 2ppm, if your bio filter is ready it will only take 24hrs for it to go back to 0

Try to avoid adding it all at once, you can over shoot the mark which could retard the bacteria. Did you get to 2ppm?

Do you have plants in the system?

I added 6 teaspoons and then had to add 4 more later to get ammonia up to 2 ppm. 24 hours later the ammonia has dropped to .25 but the nitrites are between 2 and 5. No sign of nitrates.

Jonathan Kadish said:

Try to avoid adding it all at once, you can over shoot the mark which could retard the bacteria. Did you get to 2ppm?

Yes I have plants. I have been using Seasol only from the beginning of the cycling and added plants right away.

Jonathan Kadish said:

Do you have plants in the system?

Your plants are simply using the nitrates as fast as the system is able to produce them.  Your nitrite is still high so you probably have a little longer with fishless cycling before I would recommend adding fish.

You need to wait out the nitrite spike just a bit more and then you want to be able to dose to between 1-2 ppm ammonia and have both ammonia and nitrite to be 0 within 24 hours, then you are "fishlessly cycled" keep dosing daily till a couple days before you put fish in since you want to be sure the ammonia and nitrite are back down before you put the fish in but you also want to keep your bacteria alive until you are ready to get the fish.

Yeah TC, that is why I asked if there were plants in the system when we were seeing no nitrates... good call.

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