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Tank still not cycled after 10 months

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  • Tank still not cycled after 10 months

    Hi there,

    I have been trying to cycle my freshwater 90L aquarium for 10 months now, and its still not cycled! This is the first time I’ve ever cycled an aquarium so there must be something I’m doing very wrong and I’m hoping someone would be able to hep me out :) I am doing a fishless cycle.

    Like I mentioned, it is a 90L freshwater aquarium with a hang on the back filter that is for aquariums up to 190L. I have very fine black aquarium sand as the substrate and have artificial ornaments and plants as well as large rocks for decor. There is no heater or cooler in the aquarium, it is kept at room temperature (between 18 and 22 degrees Celsius)

    Here is a brake down of the last 10 months so that you have a better history and understanding of my attempted cycling process...

    January - May 2020 = I wasn’t 100% certain on what i was meant to be doing and was getting different information from different websites. I was adding fish flakes to the water about every other day and using seachem stability for the first 7 days. At this time my ammonia was going up, as well as my nitrite and my nitrate so i thought this was a good sign. However, at about the beginning of May my ammonia was sitting at 0ppm but my nitrite and nitrate were both very high (5ppm and 160ppm) and I couldn’t figure out why there were not going down. I wasn’t doing any water changes during this period, i was only adding water when my tank needed topping up because of evaporation (my tank doesn't have a solid lid, only a mesh top), when i added water i would also add seachem prime and seachem stability.

    May 2020 = I done some more research and realised that I was meant to be cleaning up all of the fish flakes the next day after I had put them in the aquarium before adding more. I though this was the reason why my nitrite and nitrate were so high. So i used my gravel vacuum and cleaned the gravel the best i could to get rid of as much of the fish flakes as possible. I also done a 50% water change to bring the nitrite and nitrate down (added stability and prime again with the new water). I then started adding fish flakes every other day, and cleaning them up before adding more, but all of this made no difference and my nitrite and nitrate stayed high.

    June - July 2020 = After more reading online, I found out about Dr Tims aquatics ammonium chloride. I ordered a bottle and started using that instead of the fish flake method. My ammonia started going up but now my nitrite was 0ppm and my nitrate around 40ppm, but it got to the end of July the levels were still the same.

    August 2020 = I decided to do a thorough clean on my tank and effectively start the cycle again. I drained all of the water. I put all the plants, rocks and decor in a bucket of aquarium water tho so that they didn’t loose the bacteria on them. I took apart the filter to give it a clean for the very first time since starting in January. Again i put the filter media in a bucket of aquarium water and then gave it a very gentle scrub to get any debris off. I took out all the aquarium sand and gave it a rinse though with some new water as there was still quite a bit of fish flakes in there. Then i wiped down the tank to give it a good clean. I put everything back and added new water, i didnt add any seachem prime but i did use stability for the next 7 days whilst following Dr Tim’s ammonia chloride guide as well. Finally, over the next 10 days it seamed as so that my aquarium was finally cycled! I could add ammonia to bring the levels up to 2ppm and 24 hours later the reading would be 0ppm, and there was 0 nitrite and a little nitrate! These perfect readings carried on for 10 days but then suddenly my ammonia stopped going down after 24 hours and my nitrite and nitrate were staying at 0ppm.

    September 2020 = At the begging of September, my tank filter started leaking!!! It seamed like nothing was going right :(. My tank was out of cycle for about 2 days while we tried to fix it. During this time i kept my tank filter media in a bucket of tank water to try and keep the bacteria alive (if there was any!!)

    Present day = After 10 long months these are my current readings from today (10th October 2020)...

    Ammonia = 4ppm
    Nitrite = 0ppm
    Nitrate = 0ppm
    Ph = 7ppm

    My ammonia does eventually reach 0ppm but it take about 1 week to go down and i never see any sign of nitrite or nitrate during this time.

    Thank you for taking the time to read my long story, I’m really, really hoping someone will be able to help me as I’m very lost And don’t know what to do next and I just really want to get my Axolotl!!!

    Thanks again,
    Tom
    Last edited by Tom_p; 10-10-2020, 07:16.
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