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  1. #1

    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Perth, Australia

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    Default very confused, please help!

    0 Not allowed!
    I have been cycling my tank for some weeks now without fish. I added ammonia to 4ppm and have kept it at that level. About a week ago my ammonia level dropped and produced 5ppm nitrite. After the ammonia reached zero i dosed it back to 2ppm. A couple days later the ammonia was 0ppm again, with nitrite 5ppm but nitrate was 20ppm as well. I redosed the ammonia to 4ppm and tested the water to find that the nitrite had gone down to 0ppm which made me very happy, however i also got a reading of nitrate as 0ppm. How could the nitrite disappear and the nitrate still be 0ppm? I have an API mater freshwater liquid test kit which i follow the instructions exactly and shake the test bottles before i use them in the test tubes. Can anyone explain why im getting readings of no nitrates after both my ammonia and nitrites have been consumed?? Do i just keep dosing ammonia to feed the bacteria until nitrates appear and then my tank will be cycled? when will i know if it's cycled? I have no live plants in the tank, only artificial plants with pea sized gravel and a HOB filter and heater set to 26 degrees C/79 degrees F and i did not seed bacteria with old gravel or filter media, only added ammonia.

  2. #2

    Join Date
    May 2010
    Glen Arm. MD

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    0 Not allowed!
    First off, the ammonia level is rather high - I always suggest 1 - 2 ppm ammonia. Research has shown this is better for nitrite bacteria growth.

    Possible the nitrate measurement was in error the first time. The only other way nitrates can be lost (without a commercial reactor or algae scrubber) is by having very deep sand where special bacteria can live (very low oxygen, but not oxygen free) that can slowly remove nitrates (converts to nitrogen gas). Not likely.

    When ammonia falls to zero after feeding again, and no nitrites reappear, then yes, you are cycled. Nitrates should be showing - be sure the test is being done correctly: shake bottles before using, use correct amount of water in vile and correct number of drops of testing liquids added. Give time to react after careful mixing.
    Last edited by Cermet; 02-21-2013 at 11:17 AM.
    Knowledge is fun(damental)

    A 75 gal with eight Discus, fake plants, and a lot of wood also with sand substrate. Clean up crew is down to just two Sterba's Corys. Filters: continuous new water flow; canister w/UV, in-tank algae scrubber!! Finally, junked the nitrate removal unit from hell.

    For Fishless cycling:

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Bagram, Afghanistan

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    0 Not allowed!
    I'm no expert at the fishless cycle but im pretty sure that when you done it will read something like (ammo=0, nitrite=0, and nitrate <20 ppm). What size tank do you have? If it's a small tank as in 10 gal, 4ppm ammo would be to much. Also it would be better to turn up your temp to just above 80-82 degrees F as that helps cycle a little faster.

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    A little further from sanity

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    0 Not allowed!
    Quote Originally Posted by Cermet View Post
    First off, the ammonia level is rather high - I always suggest 1 - 2 ppm ammonia. Research has shown this is better for nitrite bacteria growth.
    What research? My experience in cycling with ammonia is without seeded media my 75 gallon cycled in less than three weeks starting with 4ppm ammonia and continuing with 2ppm when nitrites showed up. With cycled media my 120 gallon cycled in less than a week using 4ppm to start and then 2ppm when nitrites showed up.

    If you have a small tank, dosing to 4ppm is not necessary, small tank, small fish, and small fish generally have a small bio-load. Do you have plants in the tank? They can use up some of the nitrates. The only other thing I can think of is you might have done the test wrong one of the times, either the first or the second reading. I would do another test, making sure you shake the crap out of the reagents and see what results you get. If it's till 0ppm, try taking a sample of water to a fish store and ask them to test it for you.

    rodm81 is correct, you should raise the temperature a bit (80F-82F), the bacteria will grow faster.
    When I go fishing I just throw sharp rocks in the water and wait for the dead fish to float to the top... Kingfisher
    Everything happens for a reason. Sometimes that reason is you are stupid and make bad decisions.

    I think my fish is adjusting well to the four gallon, He's laying on his side attempting to go to sleep on the bottom of the gravel.
    Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.
    Dear naps, sorry I hated you so much when I was a child... Love me

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