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08-06-2012, 03:35 AM #1
Ammonia level falling too quickly
Alright, so ive been cycling this 20 gallon tank for weeks. Its been a fishless cycle with pure ammonia. A couple weeks ago my nitrites spiked. This week my ammonia has been going down rapidly.
My starting point was 4ppm. When my nitrites became higher I cut it in half to 2ppm. This use to take 8 to 10 hours to be reduced to close to 0. Now its down to every 2 or 3 hours the levels are depleted. My nirtrates are up to 20ppm but my Nitrites havent begun to fall yet.
...So..should I dose it back to 4ppm so that the bacteria will survive my 9 hour work day? Or keep it at 2?
Situations weird as im having to dose the aquarium several times daily so the ammonia will not run out.
08-06-2012, 03:39 AM #2
It is time you should consider some fish.
Apparently your tank is ready for a fairly good size batch, if you wish.
08-06-2012, 03:43 AM #3
It would actually be very nice if that were the case.
The problem is that my nitrites are still sky high. I didn't think that the cycle was finished until those reached 0 as well?
08-06-2012, 04:01 AM #4
Your tank is doing what it should be doing. Do not increase the ammonia. Stay on a steady course of only 1 each day. Your nitrites when drop when the bacteria is done growing for them.
I do not know why you started dosing at 4 to start with when this is a small tank. This is the very thing that messes up cycles for people.
08-06-2012, 04:16 AM #5
Eh, when you're new to something you're bound to screw up. Several journals I read on the size were people starting at 4. So I started at 4.
I realize that I should keep dosing. My concern is for the bacteria dealing with my ammonia. The concern being that when im not here to dose it that the bacteria will die. While it wont hurt the tank of this size to lose some of the bacteria, I just don't want to lose it all, or enough to hinder the process.
But, oh well.
08-06-2012, 04:19 AM #6
Re-read the fishless cycling sticky in Lady Hobbs signature and much will be made clear for you wrt to where you are in the process and the steps to follow from here.
It will be very helpful and informative for you.
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08-06-2012, 04:28 AM #7
You have also been given conflicting information from all different directions so naturally you are confused.
Let me try to explain a bit. In a small tank, you do not stock it as you do a large tank. A large tank has large filters, as well, so you can grow a huge amount of bacteria to support the numerous fish that will go in it.
In a smaller tank, you will not have nearly the stock that goes in a big tank. But mainly it does not have the big filters for all that bacteria to grow.
You do not need to grow tons of bacteria and then add the few amount of fish that will go in it and that's why you start off with less ammonia.
Adding ammonia one time each day and it turning to 0 in a short time is a good thing. That means you have all the bacteria needed for fish. But adding too much ammonia will drive those nitrites sky-high which ends up stalling out the cycle. With our test kits only showing 5, we really don't know if the nitrites are actually 12.....or 20, for that matter.
Bacteria does not die out that quickly. It is grown and now all it needs is some food to keep it living. Too much ammonia is what messes people up everytime. The amount we add is far more than the fish ever produce to start with.
I hope this helps. I just hope nothing has stalled out for you.
08-06-2012, 04:40 AM #8
Out of curiosity, what happens when the cycle stalls? Obviously it stalls, but what can you do about it?
08-06-2012, 04:41 AM #9
Did you happen to read the thread written by ZonkyTheDonkey yesterday about his cycle he's been trying to do for 7 weeks?
He said his nitrites were 4-5. He couldn't tell for sure. I asked him to do a large water change and guess where his nitrites still were? They were still on 5 on the tester. This is a case of nitrites far higher than what the tester is showing and he had a stalled cycle.
I know that this can seem confusing but really it isn't. But when ammonia is over dosed, then the problems began. This is what I meant by it messing things up for people every time. (Because it's true.)
Regarding your last post, the filter has grown nitrites and why you have nitrAtes. But it can only grow so much in the space it has to grow them. So if you just keep dumping ammonia in the tank, nitrites continue to climb and climb but the filter can not process them. This is what a burned out cycled is. There is nothing there to convert that many nitrites so the filter can never process them all.
Frankly, if I was you, I would do a large water change as well. Add your dechlorinatored water again, dose to 1 and see if that helps. ZonkyTheDonkey had to do two huge water changes.
Last edited by Lady Hobbs; 08-06-2012 at 04:47 AM.
08-06-2012, 04:46 AM #10
Just read the additional info. I'll attempt that tomorrow and see how it turns out, but what are you looking for after youve done the water change? a drop in nitrites?
Last edited by twitch; 08-06-2012 at 04:51 AM.