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  1. #1

    Join Date
    Feb 2010
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    Default Confused by Test Reults - Ammonia drops, nothing up?


    0 Not allowed!
    So despite extensive experience this is, in fact, my first fishless cycle (attempt).

    I put up a 20gallon with the following parameters:

    - 78 deg F
    - Aquaclear 20 filter (stolen from 10G, AQ50 on the way)
    - bio sponge and bio wheels in filter
    - sand substrate
    - mopani wood driftwood
    - 4-5 plants (real)
    - 4x15W 6500K CFL (DIY in stock hood...moon lighting is next)
    - No CO2 (yet)


    I started the tank a little more than 3 weeks ago with the typical additives to remove chlorine, etc. and brought my ammonia up to 5PPM with pure ammonia. As the ammonia dropped I have held it around 4-5PPM.

    I don't recall where Nitrates or Nitrites were early on, but at this stage of the game I can drop from 5PPM of ammonia to practically zero in about 36 hours with no increase noted in nitrates or nitrites. My readings on those appear steady at:

    0.25-0.50PPM nitrites
    5.0-10.0 PPM nitrates

    I am using the API kit purchased in 2006. Any thoughts on why my ammonia is dropping so rapidly with no apparent increase in other parameters?

    - faulty NO2 or NO3 kit? (I trust the ammonia as I can change the measurement with ammonia addition to the tank)
    - is something in the tank consuming or entrapping the ammonia?
    - Are the API kits known to be tough to read or give faulty measurements at higher concentrations?
    - Have I somehow harvested the future aquarium bacteria I can now market and become rich from that converts ammonia into pure water?????

    Thoughts are welcome.

  2. #2

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    Default


    0 Not allowed!
    Bad kits can cause bad readings. You could have the water tested elsewhere and see what those results say. Or use somebody else's kit if you know somebody close by that also has a tank.

    You're almost there, so I'd suggest you don't make yourself too crazy just yet. All you're waiting for is the trites to drop then you should be fine as long as the ammonia drops to zero.

    Do you have carbon in your filter? It's the "ect" in your post that made me ask as often times "ect" means carbon.

  3. #3

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    Default


    0 Not allowed!
    No, definately no carbon as I'm aware that can tie up the ammonia. I just read the 3 page post 'test disagreement' and saw many similarities. I should have noted that my water is VERY tannic from the driftwood despite several hot water soaks, though I don't know that the color itself is enough to throw me off.

    toysrus - I take it you beleive the cycle may be complete?

    I plan to take some water to the LFS this weekend to compare results as the information I learned from the other post about the API test suggests my tests are not yet expired. During the work week I go from the garage to the parking garage so getting to the store before saturday is just not going to happen. Fortuantely my 3 year old likes the LFS.

  4. #4

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    0 Not allowed!
    No, your cycle is not complete.

    Bring a water sample in to your LFS and have it tested there. It's not uncommon for tanks to take a month or even alittle longer to cycle. Your patience will pay off in the end.

  5. #5

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    Default


    0 Not allowed!
    I assumed not, as the nitrite is not dropping (though confusingly not rising either). Patience is a virtue I do not posess, but the waiting game has allowed me to tinker with DIY lighting, DIY CO2, moonlighting, etc. so it's not like nothing's happening.

  6. #6

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    Default


    0 Not allowed!
    Is it possible the plants are keeping up with the nitrates that are getting generated? It does seem odd that the nitrites are so close to zero (but not zero). But, I'm just saying that because it's not what I observed in my tank. I am but a rookie.
    45g planted - 6 Odessa Barbs, 6 Silvertip Tetras, 6 Black Lyretail Mollies (+ 1 fry), 2 Red Crystal Shrimp and 1 Vampire Shrimp
    5g - 2 Horseface Loaches

  7. #7

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    0 Not allowed!
    Quote Originally Posted by HPBoogers
    I assumed not, as the nitrite is not dropping (though confusingly not rising either). Patience is a virtue I do not posess, but the waiting game has allowed me to tinker with DIY lighting, DIY CO2, moonlighting, etc. so it's not like nothing's happening.
    Keep tinkering and testing. You don't want nitrite levels to rise, you're waiting for them them to bottom out and they will.

    If you start adding fish now, you're going to stress them out which is going to cause further issues. It's going to mean 50% water changes, testing, water changes, more testing, ect...

    Your nitrate levels are good though if that means anything.

  8. #8

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    0 Not allowed!
    You have two options
    A) keep going fishless and get a 2nd test ( i recommend 2 separate tests if the are both the same, but different from yours, your kit need an upgrade), it will take a while longer but no stress to fish

    B) get about 3-4 hardy fish and finish w/ fish. My experience w/ Zebra Danios was fine. IMO you learn a bit more of the normal routine of care by adding fish. I found tricks on my own for w/c's and such that would have taken longer to learn had I totally done it with no fish.


    Best of luck and keep us posted.
    Paul

    Patience..............The World Is Round You"ll get There
    Determination is the unrelenting pursuit of perfection with the knowledge it can never be achieved.
    10g.... partly fake planted (partly not) with Zebras, "The gunpoint" Platy, & Big Boss Gourami, Coryz and Oto the zucchini fiend
    2 Dogs 3 Cats

  9. #9

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    0 Not allowed!
    Once you began to see nitrites, you drop the amount of ammonia to half. And you only add it once a day or you can burn out your cycle. I would do a large water change, add enough ammonia to register 2 on your tester then wait and see what happens.

    Nitrite is the longest growing bacteria so you must be patient and give that one some time.

    Test tubes must always be shaken well and allowed to sit once mixed in water for about 5 minutes.

  10. #10

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    0 Not allowed!
    I'm no expert,and just trying to help out, but maybe you should have cycled it without the biowheels,and just the filter.

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