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Nitrite Spike (off the charts!)


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Hi all,

I am in the process of cycling my 75 gallon (fishless). I did a water test last night and my nitrites are extremely dark purple, possibly over 5.0 ppm. I am using the API Master Freshwater test kit with liquid drops.

So far my water parameters are:

Aug 4: Ammonia 0.25, Nitrite 0, Nitrate 5, pH 8.0

Aug 11: Ammonia 0.25, Nitrite + 5.0, Nitrate 20

I have heard that a spike in nitrites can delay/destroy a cycle. I have also noticed the water is becoming faintly cloudy, however I know this is normal. The tank has been running for about a month and cycling for two weeks. Any thoughts on what I should do?

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Do a massive water change. As close to 100% as you can.

After that keep a daily check on it for a while and do water changes when needed.

it sounds like you might have something decaying in the tank. Do you have snails or something else that could have died and you not have noticed?

How many fish do you have in the tank? Can you post a pic?

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Daniel, I believe  Caretta Rose is doing a fishless cycle, so a nitrite spike is expected and normal - nothing to kill.  :)

I get a very deep, dark purple nitrite reading in a fishless cycle so you're likely close to 2 weeks away from being fully cycled.  Increasing nitrate readings shows that you're on the right track.   Cloudy water is likely a bacteria bloom - all good when establishing your bio-filters.  All that after 2 weeks of fishless cycling?  Did you already have matured filter media to start?  

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Daniel, I believe  Caretta Rose is doing a fishless cycle, so a nitrite spike is expected and normal - nothing to kill.  [emoji4]
I get a very deep, dark purple nitrite reading in a fishless cycle so you're likely close to 2 weeks away from being fully cycled.  Increasing nitrate readings shows that you're on the right track.   Cloudy water is likely a bacteria bloom - all good when establishing your bio-filters.  All that after 2 weeks of fishless cycling?  Did you already have matured filter media to start?  
I missed that. But good catch. :)

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16 hours ago, dahling8 said:

Daniel, I believe  Caretta Rose is doing a fishless cycle, so a nitrite spike is expected and normal - nothing to kill.  :)

I get a very deep, dark purple nitrite reading in a fishless cycle so you're likely close to 2 weeks away from being fully cycled.  Increasing nitrate readings shows that you're on the right track.   Cloudy water is likely a bacteria bloom - all good when establishing your bio-filters.  All that after 2 weeks of fishless cycling?  Did you already have matured filter media to start?  

Thanks - this makes me feel a little better! I had a feeling it was normal, but something in the back of my mind wasn’t sitting well. 

I had obtained a small amount of used media from a fish store, and I also supplemented with a bottled bacteria product the first three days. 

I have also noticed some filamentous white algae/fungus growing on my wood. I think this is also normal? I’m just letting it do its thing so I haven’t removed anything. I think this will clear up over time?

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16 hours ago, shakaho said:

Lowering the nitrite level will speed up the growth of nitrite oxidizers.  Change enough water to get the nitrite down to 2 ppm or lower.

Thank you. Should I do a 50% change now then? Why would removing some speed up the process?

Edited by Caretta Rose
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Ammonia at concentrations above 1ppm inhibits oxidation of nitrite to nitrate.  Nitrite at concentrations above 2 ppm inhibits the same process.  We don't know whether the excess ammonia/nitrite inhibits the growth of of the nitrite oxidizers, or whether it simply affects the chemical reaction.   

This inhibition is probably the reason that fishless cycles take at least twice as long as fish-in cycling.  When one cycles with fish, one keeps the ammonia and nitrite as low as possible with water changes and doesn't get inhibition of nitrite oxidation. 

Edited by shakaho
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This is good to know, I never heard of high nitrite levels slowing down the fishless cycling process but I don't doubt it.  But likely my fishless cycling days are over. My last 2 setups have been with fish-in cycling.

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5 hours ago, Caretta Rose said:

Thanks - this makes me feel a little better! I had a feeling it was normal, but something in the back of my mind wasn’t sitting well. 

I had obtained a small amount of used media from a fish store, and I also supplemented with a bottled bacteria product the first three days. 

I have also noticed some filamentous white algae/fungus growing on my wood. I think this is also normal? I’m just letting it do its thing so I haven’t removed anything. I think this will clear up over time?

I had the same thing growing from spider wood  too, seems perfectly normal.  My shrimp took care of that in no time, it will likely leach out on it's own over time.  Hot water will keep it in check if it bugs you, I used hydrogen peroxide to treat black brush algae and that works too.

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On 8/23/2018 at 5:30 PM, Caretta Rose said:

Today I am at:

 

Ammonia: 0

Nitrite: 0 (!!!)

Nitrate: Approx. 3 ppm.

 

Safe to say I'm cycled? 

 

Hey great news like Sharon said keep and eye on it for a couple weeks. You want to make sure its stable :) 

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