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I was expecting this cycling to take longer than a week. Maybe the system isn't ready yet.You tell me.

Day 1 - I added enough ammonia (Ace Hardware's Janitorial Ammonia) to raise the level to 4-5 ppm. pH was 7.8, nitrite and nitrate were 0.

Day 2 - the ammonia dropped to 2 ppm, everything else remained the same. I did not add more ammonia on day 2.

Day 3 - I added sufficient ammonia to maintain the 2 ppm. Nitrite had rose to .5 ppm, still no nitrate.

Day 4 - Same as day 3, nitrite was 1 - 2 ppm.

Day 5 - Still maintaining 2 ppm ammonia, nitrite was up to 3 ppm and nitrate was beginning to move up from 0. pH is holding at +/- 7.8.

Day 6 - I added enough ammonia to raise the level up to 2 ppm and went to my day job (what an inconvenience). I have to be on the road tomorrow, so I checked everything this evening. To my surprise the ammonia was at .25 - .5 ppm, nitrite was up to 5 ppm and nitrate has climbed to 20+ ppm. pH is still holding at 7.8.

So, is it time to order my fish for this weekend? We have barely germinated the seeds for our plants and it feels like we are running out of time.

When do the wigglers get to join the party?


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Had to check things early this AM. All readings are down slightly. Nitrate is 5 - 10, nitrite is 2 - 4. Ammonia gets only a slight reading, so I am not adding any this AM with the nitrite still strong.

No you are not quite ready to order fish.  Wait till you can dose to 1-2 ppm of ammonia and have both ammonia and nitrite reach 0 within 24 hours.

Sounds like you perhaps had something to provide a good starting inoculation of bacteria since it sounds like you got through the initial ammonia spike really fast, this is not crazy, just lucky.  The nitrite spike often takes longer to get past.

I started fishless cycling on May 2nd, adding enough Ace ammonia each day to get 1-2 ppm. Today, May 17th, the ammonia and nitrites had dropped back to 0 ppm, or very near it, within 24 hours and the nitrates are holding at 5-10 ppm. Our little plants are loving it. Should I keep doing what I've been doing for a few days before adding fish? and when do I add the worms?

We've had 5 goldfish in there since the get go and they are getting fat. We have a lot of algae growing in the sump tank, so I got a couple of plecostomus in there to feast on the available growth.

eek, those poor goldfish.  I generally don't recommend adding ammonia or doing fishless cycling wish fish?!?!?

But they survived so I guess it's all ok.

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