(from Scot's discus page)
Page 2. The Fishless Cycle.
March 12 - April 17, 2001
5 weeks! (a bit longer than normal)
I knew I wanted to do a fishless cycle on this tank.
because it would prepare the biofilter for the fish without
going through all the mess and bother of using actual fish.
(and possibly harming or killing those fish in the process!)
I had never tried it before, but after reading a lot about it on the internet
I deceided it was definately the way to go.
The tank contains one large sponge filter (a hydro V)
and a whisper power filter. the sponge is meant strictly for biological
filtration, the whisper (later changed to an aquaclear) strictly for mechanical filtration.
I filled the tank with water on March 11, turned on the air for the sponge filter,
(the whisper was left off for the entire fishless cycle) and just let it sit for 24 hours.
(to dispell chlorine)
then on Monday, March 12, I began the cycling..
I added 1/8 Tsp ammonia, that brought the ammonia level in the tank to 0.25ppm
added another 1/4 Tsp, brought the level to 0.50ppm.
added more and more ammonia until the level reached 4.0ppm.
I squeezed out the filter media from my planted tank into this tank
to get those bacteria going..then tested.
conditions at the end of day one were:
then waited...I added no new ammonia at all during this first phase.
day 2, conditions the same..
day 3, the same..
day 4, still unchanged..
day 10..still no change *sigh*
day 18 STILL unchanged! grrr!
this was getting very frustrating! nothing was happening!
I was still adding filter squeezings now and then from the other tank, I cut some plants from the other tank and dumped them in..nothing was working..
finally, Day 23, April 3rd, 3 weeks since the start, a TRACE of Nitrite! 0.25ppm! woo hoo!
and ammonia had fallen from 4ppm down to 2ppm!
the next day, Nitrite even higher! 2ppm..and ammonia lower, 1ppm!
it was working!
now here is where I made a mistake..from all the reading I had done on fishless cycling I was under the impression that once nitrites appear and ammonia levels begin to fall, you must start adding ammonia again! because the bacteria are finally multipling and Eating the ammonia right?! made sense to me..so once nitrites appeared, I started adding small amounts of ammonia again.
I added 2 Tsp's ammonia on 4/4, 4/5, and 4/8..during this time ammonia stayed steady at 0.5ppm, and nitrite stayed at 5ppm...Nitrates also appeared and steadily climbed..but the mistake was adding more ammonia..by doing that, I was feeding the bacteria that were producing nitrites, and causing them to create much MORE nitrite than I needed to complete the cycle! Geoff and Dave C. , my friends from the freshwater forum, finally convinced me to stop adding ammonia..and it took another 7 days for the cycle to finish after that...so from the time nitrites first appeared to the final end of the cycle was 14 days! much longer than normal..adding ammonia when nitrites appeared probably prolonged the cycle by at least a week!
But finally, on April 17, Day 37, it was done!