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Old 15th October 2016   #1
debadog
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Default Struggling with cycling - Tank temperature?

Hello,

I'm starting my first tank to get my long awaited axolotl (wanted one for about 10 years!) and i'm running into a bit of trouble. Its been a week since I started cycling and my ammonia isn't dropping.

I'm using household ammonia from Homebase (UK) which looks to be just ammonia and water so thats all good. I think I may have overdone it a little on the ammonia at the beginning (I only bought paper water chemistry testers but I have an API kit now which is way more accurate) but its stuck at 4ppm for quite a few days now . Weirdly, I do seem to have 0.25ppm nitrites so I must be doing something right?

I'm ONLY NOW seeing everywhere people saying that you need a high temperature for cycling (absolute news to me!). My tank is currently at 20C (room temp) BUT is does happen to be a tropical tank with a heater which I intended not to use.

So basically my question is, should I use my tank heater and increase the temperature of the tank to speed up cycling, then take it out and reduce the temperature once the cycle is over? What would I increase it to? Would it really help?

Thanks :)



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Old 15th October 2016   #2
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Originally Posted by debadog View Post
Hello,

I'm starting my first tank to get my long awaited axolotl (wanted one for about 10 years!) and i'm running into a bit of trouble. Its been a week since I started cycling and my ammonia isn't dropping.

I'm using household ammonia from Homebase (UK) which looks to be just ammonia and water so thats all good. I think I may have overdone it a little on the ammonia at the beginning (I only bought paper water chemistry testers but I have an API kit now which is way more accurate) but its stuck at 4ppm for quite a few days now . Weirdly, I do seem to have 0.25ppm nitrites so I must be doing something right?

I'm ONLY NOW seeing everywhere people saying that you need a high temperature for cycling (absolute news to me!). My tank is currently at 20C (room temp) BUT is does happen to be a tropical tank with a heater which I intended not to use.

So basically my question is, should I use my tank heater and increase the temperature of the tank to speed up cycling, then take it out and reduce the temperature once the cycle is over? What would I increase it to? Would it really help?

Thanks :)


Hi, I'm not an expert by any stretch of the imagination, but I've just recently finished cycling my first ever tank. I used the same method as you and it was about 2 weeks before i got my first dose of ammonia to drop to zero. After that it got faster and faster. But it did feel like a long process, but very satisfying! I just kept the tank at normal room temp with the air pump on fairly fast.

The 2 new guys are really flourishing


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk



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Old 18th October 2016   #3
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Default Re: Struggling with cycling - Tank temperature?

Tested it again last night and ammonia and nitrites are still exactly the same at 4ppm and 0.25ppm respectively.

Chris, did you see nitrites during those two weeks? I'm wondering whether to do a water change to get the ammonia down because nothings happening, and i'm very suspicious of these nitrite readings lol. And how long did it take you to cycle completely?

Cheers :)



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Old 19th October 2016   #4
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Default Re: Struggling with cycling - Tank temperature?

Cycling can take a month or two to complete. You do not need a heater, but sometimes it can help speed up the process.
It will also help if you can seed your filter with mature media from a cycled tank. Do you know anyone who can provicde you with some? If not, just let me know and I can send you some.



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Old 20th October 2016   #5
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Default Re: Struggling with cycling - Tank temperature?

A heater definitely helps - keep the water at 25 degrees and it will help the bacteria to develop. Once your tank is cycled, take heater out, do a large water change and then wait 24 hrs to allow your temperature to stabilise. Cold tanks will take much, much longer to cycle.



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Old 20th October 2016   #6
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Default Re: Struggling with cycling - Tank temperature?

also - don't change the water when you are in the middle of a cycle. Patience is one of the most important ingredients when establishing a new tank :)



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Old 20th October 2016   #7
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Default Re: Struggling with cycling - Tank temperature?

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Originally Posted by Donna001 View Post
Cycling can take a month or two to complete. You do not need a heater, but sometimes it can help speed up the process.
It will also help if you can seed your filter with mature media from a cycled tank. Do you know anyone who can provicde you with some? If not, just let me know and I can send you some.
Hi Donna!

I did anticipate it being a long process but I would like to get my axie before Christmas! Unfortunately I don't know anyone with a fish tank at the moment...could you really send me some mature media? Where abouts in the UK are you? Can it survive through the post? (i'm such a novice at this i'm sorry!)

EDIT - Just spotted you're in Cambridge, I was just up there today! I don't suppose you know anyone selling axies around the area do you...?



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Old 20th October 2016   #8
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Default Re: Struggling with cycling - Tank temperature?

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also - don't change the water when you are in the middle of a cycle. Patience is one of the most important ingredients when establishing a new tank :)
Nooo I already changed 25% of the water I'm just so worried that i've somehow managed to ruin this and I really really don't want to have to start again! The water change brought the ammonia down to around 2ppm, nitrites still at 0.25 and nitrates at like 10-20ppm...nothing makes any sense and I have no idea what's going on, its so frustrating My next plan was actually to replace like 50% of the water over the weekend and add the heater in to speed things up a bit...but should I not do a water change?

Will the bacteria be able to adjust to the temperature being warmer and then suddenly 5/6 degrees cooler?

Thanks for your help btw :)



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Old 20th October 2016   #9
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Default Re: Struggling with cycling - Tank temperature?

Don't change the water, and the bacteria will be fine with the change of temperature.
I am happy to send some mature media. I have done so previously for someone on a fish forum, and it worked fine. If you want to pm me your address I'll get some sent.

I got my axolotls from a place in Essex, but that was when I was specifically looking for coppers. I also got a wildtype at the same time. I then got 3 older axies locally from someone who wanted to rehome theirs, so check Gumtree and ebay as well.

It is also worth asking around on the forum, as there are a few breeders on here as well.



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Old 20th October 2016   #10
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Default Re: Struggling with cycling - Tank temperature?

This should help to explain some more about cycling, and don't worry, you haven't ruined anything.

FISHLESS CYCLING - HOW TO DO IT | Think Fish Tropical Aquarium Forum



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Old 22nd October 2016   #11
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Default Re: Struggling with cycling - Tank temperature?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Donna001 View Post
Don't change the water, and the bacteria will be fine with the change of temperature.
I am happy to send some mature media. I have done so previously for someone on a fish forum, and it worked fine. If you want to pm me your address I'll get some sent.

I got my axolotls from a place in Essex, but that was when I was specifically looking for coppers. I also got a wildtype at the same time. I then got 3 older axies locally from someone who wanted to rehome theirs, so check Gumtree and ebay as well.

It is also worth asking around on the forum, as there are a few breeders on here as well.
Hi Donna,

Sorry for the late reply. That would be so kind of you, thanks so much! I'll PM you now :)



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Old 22nd October 2016   #12
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Default Re: Struggling with cycling - Tank temperature?

Don't change any of the water. Add a heater and set it to 25 degrees. Seeded media or other décor etc from established tank will definitely help. Don't panic and try to be patient, it will establish itself if you give it a chance. Whenever I cycle new tanks I also use Seachem stability - really helped my tank kick along and it was fully cycled in two weeks.



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Old 26th October 2016   #13
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Default Re: Struggling with cycling - Tank temperature?

I'm sorry to have to disagree with some of the other posters here, but I think the problem here may actually be the high ammonia level.

"Scientific studies have also now proven that Nitrospira are inhibited and cannot multiply in water that contains significant concentrations of ammonia, and evidence exists to suggest that existing populations of Nitrospira actually become dormant when ammonia is present in high concentrations. Kim et al. (2006) determined that with an active ammonia [NH3] level of 0.7 mg/l (=ppm) Nitrospira bacteria experienced a decrease of 50% effectiveness, resulting in an accumulation of nitrite. [4]

The pH has a direct effect on nitrifying bacteria. These bacteria operate at close to 100% effectiveness at a pH of 8.3, and this level of efficiency decreases as the pH lowers. At pH 7.0 efficiency is only 50%, at 6.5 only 30%, and at 6.0 only 10%. Below 6.0 the bacteria enter a state of dormancy and cease functioning..."

Read more: Bacteria in the Freshwater Aquarium - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources


Also, yes, rapid changes in temperature can also be detrimental to the beneficial nitrifying bacteria.


Sources:

BENEFICIAL BACTERIA AND NITROGEN CYCLING


"Bacteria in the Freshwater Aquarium":

Bacteria in the Freshwater Aquarium - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
-
"Nitrifying Bacteria Facts":
Nitrifying Bacteria Facts

-

"Keeping up with Nitrates":
Keeping Up with Nitrate | Saltwater & Reef | Feature Articles | TFH Magazine®
-
"Establishing Cycling": Establishing Biological Cycling in Freshwater Systems: Establishing Biological Cycling in Freshwater Systems



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Old 26th October 2016   #14
Donna
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Default Re: Struggling with cycling - Tank temperature?

It's always good to have more information to take on board when dealing with these situations. Thanks for the links as well, great information there.
I didn't know that bacteria were more effective at higher pH - although it does now make me way more grateful for my hard water and higher pH.
Cycling would normally only involve ammonia levels of around 4ppm. I agree that water changes at higher levels would be the way forward. Hopefully the ammonia levels would only be 4ppm during cycling, and it's doing water changes at that (or lower levels) that I would discourage as it may not give the bacteria enough food to work with, and reduce the rate at which the tank cycles - but I will admit that I'm not a hugely experienced keeper, have only been keeping fish for 12 months, and axies for around 8 months, so always happy to learn from others.

GeorgeAquatics, the attached picture is not meant to offend, and you are not angry, but it is one of my favourites at the moment, and is meant as a compliment for citing sources.
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Old 26th October 2016   #15
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Default Re: Struggling with cycling - Tank temperature?

Hahaha! That is hilarious, Donna. I'm saving that for later. Too funny.

One note though, if you read the quote I posted again, you'll see the the bacteria were found to become 50% less effective at 0.7 ppm, which is much less than 4.0 ppm.

I would recommend doing 50% partial water changes every day until ammonia is between 0.25 and 0.50.

You're very welcome. I'm always happy to share my "library". :)



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