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High Nitrites in Fishless Cycle - Next Step?


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OK, I'm doing a fishless cycle on a 75 gal., using Dr. Tim's One & Only & ammonia, & by day 6 my ammonia went to .25 pp after putting in 2 ppm the day before & zero the next day - after that, it could zero that amount in 24 hours (I've read that the ammonia from Dr. T = 2 ppm if used 1 drop/gal.). I had nitrates by day 5, & nitrites appeared at .25 on day 3, climbed to 5.0 by day 6 (top of API Master chart). However, I thought nitrites were down a bit day 7, but wasn't sure, & nitrites haven't dropped since. Nitrate was up to 40 day 10, but almost looked a little lower day 12, & when I did a 50% water change day 13 & tested for nitrites before & an hour after, it still was 5 (which means I was originally reading off my chart, & am not sure I'm on it yet). I added 2 ppm ammonia (per Dr. T's instructions) on days, 1, 3, 6, 9 & 1 ppm on day 12 (ammonia zero on day 13). Yes, I think I put in too much ammonia, & originally should have waited for the nitrite to drop before adding any more, but some of those colors look real similar, & this is my first time doing this.

Thank you if you've been following this so far!

 

So, should I do another 50% water change today? More? Wait a couple of days? Test later today & then decide?

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The oxidation of nitrite to nitrate is inhibited by excess nitrite.  Do a large water change to get the nitrite down.  You can add a bit of ammonia if you want to, but it isn't necessary.

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OK, after the 50% water change yesterday, & changing out 65 of 75 gallons today, nitrite is now down to ... 1.0 ! At this point, do I wait until nitrite is down to zero before putting in more ammonia? I sure am glad I'm doing this cycle fishless!

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I am not an expert of giving cycling advice but I would suggest adding at least 1 ppm ammonia and keeping it there until the cycle can process is to 0 ammonia and 0 nitrate in 24 hours. Then add fish. I have found that the bacteria that process ammonia are slower/weaker than the bacteria that process nitrite, so you're cycle should be nearly complete. A couple ways to increase the speed of the cycle and cycling process are to increase tank temperature and add oxygen.

Edited by DieselPlower
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Hmmmn... 24 hours after all of this water changing, my readings are:

 

PH 7.6

ammonia .25

nitrite 5.0 (could be more, who knows? The reading of 1.0 yesterday was 1 hour after changing the water.)

nitrate 5.0

 

No ammonia has been added since 5/15. I guess just leave it alone for a while, & keep testing it? Or should I do another water change tomorrow?

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This is where I'm at now - last time ammonia was added was a 1 ppm "snack" on 5/15, before the big water change. Nitrites stayed at 5.0 (+?) all week, nitrates rose to 5 then 10, then sort of stayed there for a couple of days. I did a 50% water change today, then tested 1 hour later & got:

ph 7.6

ammonia .50 (where did this come from?)

nitrite 5 (+?)

nitrate 5

 

I'm not sure what's going on. On general principles, I dumped 2 ppm ammonia in after the change & testing today, because if it had fish in it during a cycle, they'd just keep on making ammonia, & one would do frequent water changes, until everything sorted itself out, yes? So the pure ammonia is a "fake fish", & one should just wait, & change, & test, & add more ammonia until it cycles? Or am I missing something?

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Ok hun.... What is the Taps Water quality numbers?

 

Once the nitrites get above 2ppms you want to only add in 1ppm of ammonia hun.... Tithra made a great article about this....http://www.kokosgoldfish.invisionzone.com/forum/index.php?/page/index.html/_/water-quality-articles/fishless-cycle-instructions-r509

 

 

I would also like you to do another water change... I want you to get the nitrites down to 2ppms... hun :)

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Thanks for the input! OK, another water change - coming up! I re-read the article & it's making more sense - I keep getting impatient, & worrying that I'm not *doing* something, & throw ammonia at it. Current reading this afternoon is:

pH (& I switched to using the high pH bottle) 8.2

ammonia .50 (so it did suck up a lot of ammonia overnight!)

nitrite 5.0 (+) aagh!

nitrate 5.0

Totally ignore the ammonia for a while, & work on reducing the nitrite reading, right?

 

I finally got around to testing our tap water, & it's got 1.0 ammonia right out of the tap.  The pH is the same (8.2), though. No nitrites or nitrates in it. Interestingly enough, the 10 gal. tank & the 100 gal. tub have no ammonia or nitrites (the tank has nitrates at 10, & the tub still has 0 (algae eating it?), so I know this will work... eventually.

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After a 90% change this evening, the nitrites are down to 0.25. Considering that my water does have some ammonia in it, when should I add more? If the nitrite stays low after 24 hours?

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If a tank is 100% cycled it will consume the ammonia in the tap... :(  Once Cycled just remember to use your Prime. :thumbs:

 

 

Okay I would test your tank in 24 hours too see where that nitrite is since we got ammonia in the tap water..... Also the ammonia in the tank too... Oh heck this is early in the morning for me...

 

Lets test all of it in 24 hours to see where we are.... :)

 

So no ammonia added in to it right now ? except the tap water?

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I suggest you not add ammonia until the nitrites disappear.  Then you can add ammonia to determine if the tank has completed cycling.  Even if your ammonia oxidizing bacteria/archaea needed ammonia to survive (and they do not, as indicated by many scientific papers) you have ammonia in your tap water.  We know high ammonia inhibits nitrite oxidation, although we don't know for sure if ammonia does this directly or if does so by increasing the nitrite level, which inhibits nitrite oxidation.

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No more ammonia until nitrites are under control - got it. And yes, I only have the ammonia from the tap water in there right now. Today's readings are:

pH 8.2

ammonia .50

nitrite 5.0 (but not as dark as it was, & I can't really see the difference between 2.0 & 5.0, so maybe it's really 5.0 & not above)

nitrate 3.0 (not orange enough for 5, but not yellow either)

 

My husband keeps joking about my "invisible fish" & asks when I'm going to be able to put them in.... I will try a 50% water change tomorrow, & await results.

My tank with the "invisible fish" (current plants are silk, photo backdrop):

BigTankMay24_3880_zpsppb1heiy.jpg

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