Ammonia cycling
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Old 11-21-2012, 04:25 AM   #1
Corridor
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Ammonia cycling


So I have a cycling planted tank using ammonia and was wondering if I was on track or if there was a problem, my readings are
Ammonia 1.0
Nitrite 4-5
Nitrate 30
It's been running for at least 3 weeks and I don't know if I'm on track and if I keep adding ammonia. Sorry if it doesn't have to do a lot with plants. I just thought you guys could help
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Old 11-21-2012, 05:34 AM   #2
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It looks like your cycled. Once nitrates show up you have the necessary bacteria required to turn ammonia to nitrite and nitrite to nitrate. You could probably start slowly adding fauna to your tank. Just keep an eye on your water quality and do water exchanges as necessary.
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Old 11-21-2012, 11:49 AM   #3
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Thanks for the reply but I'm kinda confused how I still have a high nitrite. Do I wait for both ammonia and nitrites to go down then add ammonia to see if in 24 hours its disapates to nitrates. Or keep adding ammo till they suddenly drop
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Old 11-21-2012, 12:03 PM   #4
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wait until the nitrites drop to zero, they will kill fish for sure at that level
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Old 11-21-2012, 05:24 PM   #5
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Your tank is not yet cycled.

Keep adding ammonia to bring it to 3 ppm once a day, or else bring it to 1 ppm twice a day (might be easier on plants).

Test after 24 hours.
If the ammonia and nitrite are zero, then the cycle is complete. If any ammonia or nitrite show, then the bacteria have not grown to a big enough population to deal with that much fish waste.

If the nitrite rises above 5 ppm do a water change. These bacteria do not grow very well when the NO2 is too high.

Other things to check, to make the bacteria grow faster:
High oxygen. Good water circulation.
KH over 3 German degrees of hardness. These bacteria get their carbon from carbonates. Higher than 3dKH may be better, especially if you are using a substrate that keeps removing the carbonates from the water.
I am not sure if the bacteria need other minerals, but I know they will not grow in RO water, so I would make sure the GH is at least 3dGH, and use plant fertilizers as needed. Do not bother adding nitrate, though. The plants will use some of the ammonia.
No toxins, use dechlor as needed.
Somewhat higher temperature is good, but do not go so high the water is depleted of oxygen. Usually this means about the mid to upper 70s. The bacteria will grow in warmer water, but warmer water holds less oxygen. They will even grow in fairly cold ponds, but very slowly.
pH on the alkaline side of neutral. I am not sure if the bacteria actually need alkaline pH or if this is just a side effect of their need for carbonates. I know they do not grow well with the pH in the 6s, and if it gets as low as 6.0 the bacteria are really slow.
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Old 11-22-2012, 12:33 AM   #6
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Ok now i get it ill keep adding ammonia until the nitrites go down then see if it can hold a bio load of my fish right?
-thank you very much, im kind of new to ammonia cycling
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Old 11-22-2012, 04:14 AM   #7
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ammonia needs to go down as well. ammonia and nitrites both need to be zero and you should have readable nitrates.
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Old 11-22-2012, 04:32 AM   #8
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Yup. Your nitrogen must be 0 ammonia/0 nitrite/ and stable that way before adding fauna or else. Personally, I believe the bacteria does better at 90 degrees, lower O2 content or not.
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Old 11-23-2012, 01:46 AM   #9
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Keep monitoring both ammonia and nitrite.

Keep adding ammonia to feed the bacteria, then test ammonia and nitrite 24 hours after adding the ammonia.

If the bacteria can remove the ammonia and nitrite, both test zero, then the cycle is complete.
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Old 11-27-2012, 03:40 AM   #10
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I'm really puzzled because my ammonia can go down in a few days now but my nitrites have never gone down, still a little high and ill do a pwc soon but my nitrates are skyrocketing at 80? I don't get how the cycle is being completed without nitrites going down
Ammonia .50
Nitrites of the chart (around 7-9)
Nitrates 80-90
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Old 11-27-2012, 10:14 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Corridor View Post
I'm really puzzled because my ammonia can go down in a few days now but my nitrites have never gone down,
That's because the first bacteria culture is established now(nitrosomonas?). Soon the next will be established. As I recall, nitrite oxidizes hemoglobin, so what thay said on fish...not yet.
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Old 11-27-2012, 12:13 PM   #12
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Haha thanks, sometimes I think to deep and always find myself a new question
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