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Tank will not cycle with stability

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  • Tank will not cycle with stability


    I have been having quite a bit of trouble getting my tank to cycle. I have a betta and a 5 gallon tank, filtered with a heater. I didn't know about cycling, unfortunately, until after I purchased the betta and he developed fin rot. I am no expert but everyone has told me it is fin rot. He is a blue butterfly betta, but developed red marks on his top fins, and now more than before.

    I started at the beginning of December doing 25% water changes daily once I learned about cycling. This made most of the red go but the tank never cycled. I get readings of .25 ammonia, 0 nitrite, and 5 ppm Nitrate. On the second day the ammonia would go up to .50 and I would do a water change to bring it back down. I did see a nitrite spike one day around Christmas, but then it went right back to zero. Nitrates also rose slightly but they are already back to 5ppm. My tap water has 5ppm already so I don't think the nitrates are there from the cycle. My tap water also has .25 ammonia, which I recently found out, so I have been using water from our PuR filter which has no ammonia. I use Prime in the replacement water.

    About 3 weeks ago I purchased Stability to help things along, and dosed as directed but still nothing. I have continued with the water changes because the ammonia gets too high. I tried to stop the water changes for a few days to see if that was the problem, but yesterday the ammonia went to 1ppm! I dosed the entire tank with Prime so the fish would not get hurt. Today the ammonia is back down to .25, no nitrite, and 5ppm nitrates. These are the same readings I get every time for two months now.

    Couple things to mention, we have well water that is very hard and goes through a water softener. In the beginning I was using this water for water changes until I discovered it had ammonia in it. I now use the PuR filter, so hard water from the well, that goes through the water softener and then through the PuR filter. I can access the well water before it goes through the softener but it has .25/.50 ammonia in it already.

    Should I keep trying the Stability, and am I doing something wrong?

    Should I use the water from the PuR filter, or well water before it's softened? I know the salt can't be good for the fish and also the minerals are all stripped from the water.

    Is there a product I can use to put the minerals back in the water if I continue to use the PuR water?

    Thank you for the help,


  • #2
    Thanks for the post, Merrimack! I would recommend holding off on water changes as much as possible to allow the cycle to complete. When you initially add Stability to the water column, the bacteria will exist in a free-floating state for a couple of days until they are able to find and begin colonizing on the porous surfaces in the tank and establish the cycle. Excess water changes can disturb the bacteria or pull out some of the free-floating bacteria which can slow down the cycling process.

    The standard dose of Prime can detoxify up to about 1 ppm of ammonia, and Prime can be overdosed up to 5x the recommended amount in any given 48 hours in cases of emergency. I would recommend relying on dosing Prime to detoxify the ammonia as much as possible, instead of relying on water changes to help keep the ammonia detoxified. The detoxified form of ammonia is still bioavailable to the bacteria and the addition of Prime should not slow the cycle. If ammonia begins to spike up above 2 or 3 ppm and you must perform a water change to keep the fish safe, don't hesitate to do so.

    If you continue to use the PuR water, I would recommend using Replenish to add some of the necessary minerals back to the water!

    I hope this helps!


    • #3
      Thank you!


      • #4
        Update: it has been 10 days with no water changes and using prime and stability every night. I still have readings of .25 ammonia every day, and .50 before I use the prime. My nitrates have not changed from 5ppm, and we have 5ppm already in our tap water. My tank is not cycled correct? I have stopped the stability after a week as directed, and I did a 25% water change yesterday. My betta's fin rot is getting worse. What can I do now?

        Thank you,