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Has my cycle crashed? How to fit it?

This is a discussion on Has my cycle crashed? How to fit it? within the Axolotl tank set-ups, filters, substrate forums, part of the Axolotls (Ambystoma mexicanum) category; Hey everyone, So my tank has been cycling for about 4, almost 5 weeks now. Recently I found out that ...

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Old 16th March 2016   #1 (permalink)
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Exclamation Has my cycle crashed? How to fix it?

Hey everyone,

So my tank has been cycling for about 4, almost 5 weeks now. Recently I found out that the Axolotl I'm buying is very young and small, so putting it in my tank with the sand substrate I had in there might have been harmful for it. I made the decision to remove all the sand (I did not remove all the water when I did this) and as well I had to remove several large rocks that were in the tank, and four out of five plastic plants that were anchored in the sand (the remaining one has a base and is weighted).

I know that a lot of the bacteria that are established during the cycling process were removed when I took these things out of my tank. But my cycle hasn't been the same since and I'm having a hard time getting it back on track!

I use "Old Country" liquid ammonia as my ammonia source and right now it's between 1.0 - 2.0 PPM, and my Nitrites are zero. They've been zero consistently for the last week or so and haven't changed one bit, and same with my ammonia. The only way it goes down is if I water change, but it doesn't seem to be able to get to the point where it converts on it's own to nitrites now that the sand/rocks/plants are gone.

I completely understand how the cycle works and it was almost done until I had to remove everything, so as you can imagine I'm pretty frustrated!

I guess what I want to know is if anyone else has any experience with a crashed cycle and where I should go from here? My plan has been to raise my ammonia to 1.0 - 2.0PPM (which I did with my liquid ammonia), and wait for it to convert into nitrites and go from there.
Any ideas why it isn't happening for me would be super appreciated!




Last edited by SammyTheLotus; 16th March 2016 at 01:27. Reason: Typo in my title! :{
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Old 16th March 2016   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Has my cycle crashed? How to fit it?

Hi SammyTheLotus,

What were your parameters before you removed the sand and items from the tank?

My understanding of cycling a tank with liquid ammonia is that you want the levels to be at about 2 - 3 ppm. If it was almost done, it sounds like the cycle was moving along regardless.

I understand your frustration at your cycling setback, but it just may take patience and continued testing and 'dosing' to get back to where you were at. Hopefully it won't take that long as there should still be some beneficial bacteria left in the tank...



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Old 16th March 2016   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Has my cycle crashed? How to fix it?

Yup sounds like your cycle crashed. I had a very similar situation happen when I got my juvies. I removed 80% of my sand after my tank cycled and it crashed as well. I had to essentially start over. I did 20% water changes everyday while dosing my tank with Seachem Prime and Stabilty until it cycled once again. If you have the luxury of waiting to get your axies until after your tank cycles again I would do that. I had to do mine axolotl-in. It worked out fine in the end and they are doing extremely well, however it was stressful. Anytime you remove a significant amount of substrate or filter media you risk crashing your cycle. Happy cycling!



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Old 16th March 2016   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Has my cycle crashed? How to fit it?

I cycled my tank with a sand substrate because I was originally planning to use it as another fish tank. I saw some axolotls and decided that I had to have some, so did some research. I covered the sand with flat aquatic rocks and a large piece of slate before putting the hides and silk plants in. I waited a few days before testing the water, which was still fine. I got 3 juvenile axolotls (2 coppers and 1 wild type). Over time, as they have settled into the tank, eaten, pooped and grown, I have removed some of the stone, and kept the slate as their feeding area, which was very useful when they were eating bloodworms. They have now moved onto earthworms, which I find much easier to feed them, and the majority of their tank now has a sand substrate.
I'm sorry that this doesn't help you now, but I hope it might help others in the same situation in the future.
Best of luck with getting your cycle back on track.
Please keep us updated on your progress.



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Old 16th March 2016   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Has my cycle crashed? How to fit it?

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Hi SammyTheLotus,

What were your parameters before you removed the sand and items from the tank?

My understanding of cycling a tank with liquid ammonia is that you want the levels to be at about 2 - 3 ppm. If it was almost done, it sounds like the cycle was moving along regardless.

I understand your frustration at your cycling setback, but it just may take patience and continued testing and 'dosing' to get back to where you were at. Hopefully it won't take that long as there should still be some beneficial bacteria left in the tank...
My parameters were good, I had bumped my ammonia up to 4.0PPM and they were starting to convert to nitrites, so I know my cycle was coming along nicely!
I was contemplating buying a bottle of 'cycle' just to add some bacteria but I'm not sure how well they work so I opted to add some fish food flakes last night before bed. Maybe they'll give the bacteria something else to feed off of, haha.. I'm kind of desperate at this point!



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Old 16th March 2016   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Has my cycle crashed? How to fix it?

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Yup sounds like your cycle crashed. I had a very similar situation happen when I got my juvies. I removed 80% of my sand after my tank cycled and it crashed as well. I had to essentially start over. I did 20% water changes everyday while dosing my tank with Seachem Prime and Stabilty until it cycled once again. If you have the luxury of waiting to get your axies until after your tank cycles again I would do that. I had to do mine axolotl-in. It worked out fine in the end and they are doing extremely well, however it was stressful. Anytime you remove a significant amount of substrate or filter media you risk crashing your cycle. Happy cycling!
It's so frustrating! That's a question I have though.. I've read so many different things on different sites about water changes while cycling! Some people say to do changes every day and it helps your cycle along and then others say that a water change is only necessary once the nitrites have converted into nitrates and your cycle is effectively complete. Did the daily water changes help you? :)
I haven't seen Prime at my LFS, I'm using Nutrafin Aqua Plus right now and it seems to be working fine, I've been using it since before the crash. Should I try to get my hands on some Prime maybe?



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Old 16th March 2016   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Has my cycle crashed? How to fit it?

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Originally Posted by Donna001 View Post
I cycled my tank with a sand substrate because I was originally planning to use it as another fish tank. I saw some axolotls and decided that I had to have some, so did some research. I covered the sand with flat aquatic rocks and a large piece of slate before putting the hides and silk plants in. I waited a few days before testing the water, which was still fine. I got 3 juvenile axolotls (2 coppers and 1 wild type). Over time, as they have settled into the tank, eaten, pooped and grown, I have removed some of the stone, and kept the slate as their feeding area, which was very useful when they were eating bloodworms. They have now moved onto earthworms, which I find much easier to feed them, and the majority of their tank now has a sand substrate.
I'm sorry that this doesn't help you now, but I hope it might help others in the same situation in the future.
Best of luck with getting your cycle back on track.
Please keep us updated on your progress.
That made me feel hopeful actually, haha! I'm buying my Axie on Thursday (Tomorrow, ahhh! ) Because the man I'm buying it from has been holding it for me for two weeks now and I don't want to risk him getting fed up waiting on me and sell it to another person.. I live on a small island and the chances that someone close to me is even selling them is amazing and rare! :) So I have a container and lid purchased and I plan on changing the water every day and cleaning out the food and poop to make sure it stays healthy until I can put it into the cycled tank. Yay for cycle crashes, haha!




Last edited by SammyTheLotus; 16th March 2016 at 10:44. Reason: Typo!
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Old 19th March 2016   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Has my cycle crashed? How to fix it?

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It's so frustrating! That's a question I have though.. I've read so many different things on different sites about water changes while cycling! Some people say to do changes every day and it helps your cycle along and then others say that a water change is only necessary once the nitrites have converted into nitrates and your cycle is effectively complete. Did the daily water changes help you? :)
I haven't seen Prime at my LFS, I'm using Nutrafin Aqua Plus right now and it seems to be working fine, I've been using it since before the crash. Should I try to get my hands on some Prime maybe?
Sorry I've been busy with SXSW here in Austin. Yes daily water changes helped keep the levels low since I was cycling "axolotl-in" and the Prime helped to neutralize what was present. I'm not familiar with Nutrafin, however I would compare the ingredients on the bottle to the ingredients listed on Seachem Prime website and see if they are comparable maybe? How's your cycle going now?



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