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Fishless cycling advice please
Help please 
I have set up my first tank...64 lt Interpet...
It’s now 2 weeks and all I have added in it is the filterstart on alternate days...I have not added ammonia or fish fish yet...I only got my API master test kit today and the readings are -
Ph 8, Ammonia 0.5 ppm, Nitrite 0.25 ppm and Nitrate 10 ppm
Is the ammonia coming from I need to add ammonia to cycle properly or will the ammonia and nitrite go to zero soon... Any advice is much appreciated...
Many thanks 
Thanks given by:
Hello Amanda, and welcome!

This is JBL FilterStart?  If so …

JBL says it contains bacteria (and it identifies the genus) in a nutrient solution. Since the nutrient is ammonia, you'd think there would have to be some in the bottle.  A much less authoritative source says that it's a purely biological product, without 'chemicals'. But ammonia is a 'chemical'.  The statements from these two sources are therefore contradictory.  I shall find out definitively for you later on today - I haven't been to my Local Fish Shop (LFS) this year, so I'll use this as an excuse to go and say hello!

What do you have on the floor of your aquarium?  If you've used a planting medium on the bottom of your tank it may contain some peat, which tends to leach ammonia.

And is there any visible algae on the glass and/or on bits of décor if you have them? If any of that algae has died, then ammonia will have been produced.

Otherwise, on the face of it the ammonia can have come from: ammonium already present in the water ; organic material in the water being processed by bacteria other than those in the FilterStart ; the nutrient solution in the Filterstart ; or some of the bacteria in the FilterStart (and succeeding generations that they may have produced) having died. 

Anyway, that's all a bit academic!

Your test results show that some relevant biological activity is happening, but you're not in control of it and therefore have little idea how much progress you've made towards the tank being satisfactorily cycled (with respect to the number of fish you're planning to introduce). For that reason, if you're committed to a fishless cycle I recommend that you do add ammonia in controlled doses so that you can track what's going on.  Opinions may differ, but my suggestion for a 'normal' community tank is not more than 2 milligrams of ammonia per litre of tankwater (2mg/l), with the ammonia concentration being allowed to fall to zero, or near to zero, before re-dosing.

Whereabouts are you, geographically, as in: what's your nearest town or city? My reason for asking is that I'm suspicious of your nitrate test result and roughly pinpointing your location will help me/others assess the validity or otherwise of your result by using your Water Authority's tapwater data as a reference point. One of the bottles of reagent involved in a nitrate test such as API's contains little bits of stuff that must be distributed evenly for a test to be reliable. Ordinarily this means shaking the bottle (I think it's no. 3, from memory) very very vigorously and dispensing the reagent whilst it's still moving around. Since your bottle no.3 (I'm guessing) been bought very recently, it will have been sitting around doing nothing for months in warehouse or LFS and the bits will have settled into a layer at the bottom of the bottle. To initially dislodge these and mix them up takes a bit of extra effort - as 
in banging the bottle against a table, or throwing it at a wall or floor! If this isn't done, and/or if the bottle is subsequently not shaken enough before each test, then the test results will become increasingly unreliable through time. 

More news as I get it. In the meantime, others will doubtless chip in with different/better info (if they haven't already while I've been laboriously typing).
Thanks given by:
Hello and welcome to the forum. Big Grin
I'd still top the ammonia up to 2ppm (using ammonia), the cycle will be a lot quicker.
There is an ammonia calculator in the Guides & Resources (top left) here...
If at first you don't succeed....
...get someone else to do it! Big Grin

Enjoy your fish, shrimps and snails!

All my posts are from a desktop.
Mobiles are way too complicated for me, although I do have one now. Wink
Thanks given by:
Vale is referring to bottle number 2 for the API nitrate test. Give it a very good shake and bash about as said. Also when shaking the test tube for the nitrate make sure that gets shaken vigorously for the full minute too.

I did a test once only shaking a little bit and one shaking as instructions did and got a fair difference in results so it is important.

Also test your tap water for nitrate so you have a starting point so you’ll be able to tell if the tank nitrates are rising/dropping.

Hope that helps.

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
500L Sooperhooge Goldfish tank Smile
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Thanks given by:
Hi and welcome to the forum Amanda Smile
Thanks given by:
Hello and welcome to the forum. Hope you are able to progress with your tank with the above advise. Keep us posted.
Enjoy the forum Smile
Bikini Bottom - 168l - community
The Kremlin - 58l - Shrimp and Cory 
Thanks given by:
Hello and welcome Amanda Smile
 😇 Heaven doesn’t want me...
And Hell is afraid I’ll take over! 😈
Thanks given by:
Typical! Last time I was at #1 LFS they had oodles of FilterStart. Today: "we sold out a week ago". They're going to try to get me one, so there'll be a delay before we find out if it contains ammonia and, if so, how much. Don't worry - the rest of the bottle won't go to waste!

Further to Cheltgirl's comment about shaking the test tube (and thanks for the correction about the bottle's number) if it says a minute, it means a minute. Deviations of (say) ten seconds either way will influence the result.

The nitrate test that I (now rarely) use operates on the same principal as API's one, though it has two bottles of reagent rather than three. The instruction is to shake vigorously for ten seconds and then to rock gently back and forth for a further fifty seconds. As it's a digital readout, it's easy to tell how any deviation from timing/method affects the result - and it's significant. For 'ball park' tests such as API's I don't suppose it matters so much ; but it's as well to be aware that we should stick to the instructions as closely as we can.
Thanks given by:
Thank you helpful...After posting the thread, I read through the forum posts and have realised my blunder...I had no ammonia source to feed bacteria from filterstart as no fish in tank...can’t bear thought of first few fish gasping for air and have just ordered DrTims ammonia and will restart cycle as advised here...
Am in Worcestershire...think it’s hard water here and had to use high range pH from the test kit...tank has 5 kg of gravel from pet shop, few plastic plants and air stone...heater - temperature reading 24 and CF2 filter...
Once again many thanks for the welcome ...very much appreciated 
[-] The following 1 user Likes amanda5838's post:
  • Annie
Thanks given by:
Hi and welcome.

This is the ammonia I used to cycle my tank. It's a 10% solution and it contains no perfumes or surfactants (soaps).
[Image: 2Tsph5y]
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