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Help With Test Kit Readings


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  • Regular Member

Hi everyone,

I was finally able to get my test kit (a Tetra drop test kit) and since my tank seems to be cycling still and I've had a fish come down with SWB I want to make sure that I am doing my readings right and keeping my water levels pristine. But I've noticed that people list their readings differently than my test kit does.

Here are my readings. How does this translate into PPMs? What should I try to keep the levels at while cycling (I would think as close to zero as possible)?

PH 8.0

GH 12 dh

KH 7 dh

Nitrite 0.3 mgll

Ammonia .25 mgll

Thanks!

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  • Regular Member

Your ph, gh and kh are fine.

You reference your ammonia and nitrite readings in mgll, which is actually okay, but more typically, it's referenced as ppm (parts per million). Anyway, with your ammonia at 0.25 ppm and nitrite at 0.3 ppm, I'd say that you are reaching your second stage of cycling. Your ammonia is falling and your nitrites are starting to spike.

Nitrites can be just as dangerious as the ammonia levels. Nitrite bacteria basically converts the ammonia into nitrites. If the level of nitrites gets above the 2.0 mark on the test kits your fish can get nitrite posioning (fin rot, flashing, bacterial ulcers etc.). This level can be controled by small water changes of about 20% when you test the water. It is very important that you test the tank at this stage daily as most fish that show signs of stress will die at this stage. Keeping the nitrites under 2 ppm, if possible, is the best.

Once the nitrites cycle, you will then see them fall, like the ammonia is now doing, and you'll see a spike in nitrates. You don't say you have a test for nitrates, so, although you probably won't see any for about 20 days or so, you'll need to get a nitrate test kit. Nitrates aren't as harmful as ammonia and nitrites. Keep nitrate levels below say, 20 ppm with more water changes as needed and when the nitrate readings drop to 0, voila!, your tank is cycled!

There is no magic date as to when this will happen, but patience is required because full cycling can take 4-8 weeks.

Koko's Cycle of the Tank

Good luck!

Edited by lynda441
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  • Regular Member

Thanks again, Lynda. I feel silly now about my readings...I thought I bought a bad test kit. And I'm thrilled to hear that I might be in the 2nd stage of cycling. I'm really starting to think that the tank was cycling and that combined with the stress of the move (they were moved in the tank on a 45 minute bumpy car ride with the rocks all still in there and only 1/4 of the water left...so dumb I realize now) is what caused the SWB issues with the Pearlscale. I'm hoping for the best with her while I get the cycle under control, but she isn't improving yet but isn't fully flipped upside down either so that is at least somewhat good.

Since I removed all of the gravel (except in my live plant) my plan is to carefully add river rocks to help hold the good bacteria down. Should I wait until the tank is cycled or will it help with the process? Thanks!

I'll keep testing and keep changing and hopefully get through this (probably just in time to get a new tank and cycle that :unsure:

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Thanks again, Lynda. I feel silly now about my readings...I thought I bought a bad test kit. And I'm thrilled to hear that I might be in the 2nd stage of cycling. I'm really starting to think that the tank was cycling and that combined with the stress of the move (they were moved in the tank on a 45 minute bumpy car ride with the rocks all still in there and only 1/4 of the water left...so dumb I realize now) is what caused the SWB issues with the Pearlscale. I'm hoping for the best with her while I get the cycle under control, but she isn't improving yet but isn't fully flipped upside down either so that is at least somewhat good.

Since I removed all of the gravel (except in my live plant) my plan is to carefully add river rocks to help hold the good bacteria down. Should I wait until the tank is cycled or will it help with the process? Thanks!

I'll keep testing and keep changing and hopefully get through this (probably just in time to get a new tank and cycle that :unsure:

Don't remove anything until you're cycled, but add your new rocks now so that they can get involved in the cycling process so that when your tank is cycled and you want to remove things, you'll have other things in there that are holding the BBs so you won't crash your cycle. Just keep feeding the peas and fasting for the SBD and hopefully things will work out. I'm not really clear on whether adding epsom salt for the SBD would affect the cycle. Hopefully a mod will come in with an answer on that. But, then, hopefully, the peas and fasting will clear that up on its own.

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Thanks again! Rocks are on my list for this weekend. I was worried that it was dropsy so I did add Epsom salt, but honestly I can't really tell and I'm thinking that isn't it now. I think I will removed the Epsom in my water changes. I'm feeding peas, fasting and occasional brine and I turned down my airstone. So I'm just hoping for the best...she is my favorite fish, so chubby and friendly.

Thanks again for everything. I was so sad when I read about Leroy :(

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