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I am attempting to cycle(fishlessly) a small trial system in a window of a spare bedroom. I have about 10 gallons of water in the fish tank(plastic storage tub) and I am using Hydroton in another plastic storage tub as a grow bed. There is an air pump with air stone in the fish tank running all the time and a pump that runs 15 minutes each hour.


I filled the tank with water and started the pumps and waited three days. Then tested the water.  The tests showed a ph of 7.8 and 0 for ammonia, nitrite and nitrate. I added some ammonium hydroxide and retested ph and ammonia a couple hours later. The ph was the same and the ammonia was now 4 ppm. I have tested ammonia daily since then and the ammonia has stayed steady at 4 ppm. I have tested for nitrite a few times and continue to get 0. I tested ph daily for about one week and it never changed. I tested again to day and got the same result.  It has been two weeks since I added the ammonia.


Am I just not being patient enough? Should I continue to add ammonium hydroxide even though the ammonia level hasn’t changed?

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An update;


The nitites have risen to 5+ (off the chart) and stayed there for two weeks.  I have been adding enough ammonia to bring the level up to 1 ppm every other day or two.  Nitrates have been anound 20 - 40 for the two weeks as well.

Hi Ron,

Nitrite will peak very high before it drops off. You're in the last stage of cycling, almost there, so just a little while longer. Running the pump for 15 min/hr cycles will slow the process down considerably as opposed to running it continuously, I think this may be the reason for this lengthy cycle time.

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