High nitrite and nitrate early in fishless cycle - problem?
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Old 12-13-2012, 03:41 AM   #1
rozdaboff
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High nitrite and nitrate early in fishless cycle - problem?


I planted and filled my new 10 g tank on Saturday (first tank). The tank has ADA Amazonia and Power Sand. 3 Fluorish root tabs and 3 Osmocote plus capsules at the base of the substrate (placed before adding water). The tank is pretty heavily planted to start - with a mix of crypts, hygrophila and anubias with floaters (Red root floaters and salvinia).

Water out of the tap (Tested with brand new API freshwater master test kit; expiration 2017):

pH 7.2
Ammonia 0
Nitrite 0
Nitrate 0
KH 2-3
GH 3

Treated water with Prime and added to tank. Also treated tank with Seachem Stability (5 ml Day 1, 2.5 mls each day since) and Excel (1 ml once daily).

On day 2 the water readings were as follows:

pH 6.6
Ammonia 3
Nitrite 2
Nitrate 40
KH 2
GH 2

Day 3 - I just checked ammonia - 4

Day 5 (today)

pH 6.5
Ammonia 4.0
Nitrite 5
Nitrate 40-80

I know that the Aquasoil will leach ammonia, but why do I have nitrite and nitrates already? Should I be worried that the fluorish root tabs and or osmocote is leaching? The plants all seem to be doing very well, with the exception of some crypt melt that occurred when the plants shipped. Still losing a few leaves here and there - but seeing new growth on almost all - and I have already had to trim a couple of rotala stems that hit the top of the water.

I have topped water off a couple of times (lidless, slow evaporation) - but haven't tried a water change. What should I do? Do I need to do anything?

Thanks!
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Old 12-13-2012, 03:52 AM   #2
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Did you use a cycled filter on it? If so, then the filter media was cycled and it's converting all the excess ammonia into nitrites and nitrates. The fact that there is nitrites still could be the overwhelming amount of ammonia the aquasoil is putting out and there isn't a bacteria load for it.

The other option is because you planted so heavy off the start, plants roots, leaves, etc, all would bio bacteria on them, especially the roots from I assume your other tank and they are adding to the cycle, again, the massive amounts of ammonia could be a lot for the initial bacteria load to handle.

You are getting a false positive because of the prime in your water, although by day 5 that shouldn't happen anymore. It's usually only the first few days that prime affects test results.

Last option, iunno. lol.
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Old 12-13-2012, 04:07 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GeToChKn View Post
Did you use a cycled filter on it? If so, then the filter media was cycled and it's converting all the excess ammonia into nitrites and nitrates. The fact that there is nitrites still could be the overwhelming amount of ammonia the aquasoil is putting out and there isn't a bacteria load for it.
No cycled filter media or substrate. This is a first for a planted aquarium and the first aquarium I have had since I was a young kid.

Quote:
The other option is because you planted so heavy off the start, plants roots, leaves, etc, all would bio bacteria on them, especially the roots from I assume your other tank and they are adding to the cycle, again, the massive amounts of ammonia could be a lot for the initial bacteria load to handle.
I guess that is a good possibility. I bought all of the plants from a few different sellers - and many were well established with extensive root systems.



Quote:
You are getting a false positive because of the prime in your water, although by day 5 that shouldn't happen anymore. It's usually only the first few days that prime affects test results.
Hmmm... I did add some fresh water to the tank before testing tonight - but that was from some water I treated a couple of days ago and have had sitting out. So, I guess it is possible - but probably less likely.

Thanks!
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Old 12-13-2012, 03:25 PM   #4
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Hi, at one point your nitrites and ammonia levels should decrease to near zero.

Nitrates are quite high 40-80, wow. It's not that the plants can have problems with high nitrates, but fauna do.

You will have to do important water changes at one point before putting fauna in the tank, I do not know when exactly.

I never used ADA products, but I did read important water changes must be done at one point, in the beginning, when using their soil.

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Old 12-13-2012, 03:50 PM   #5
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Just let the cycle do it's thing. You're only in day 5. It'll work out on its own. After you think it's ready, test it again. If nitrates are still high, do a 50-75% water change. Most BB won't be in the water so you'll be fine with the large water change

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Old 12-13-2012, 04:41 PM   #6
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Since you planted heavily early, it seems like you've gone through a silent cycle. The plants will aid in absorbing the ammonia while your nitrifying bacteria grow. When I cycled my dry start, I was seeing high nitrites after 3-4 days. I wouldn't recommend using Prime to lower the Nitrites. If you need to reduce your Nitrites to below 3 ppm (the recommended level for during the cycle), just do some water changes. As your cycle continues and your Aqua Soil stops leaching ammonia, your ammonia and nitrites will begin to drop once both types of bacteria have become well established and grown into large enough colonies to eliminate all traces of ammonia and nitrite within 24 hours.
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Old 12-13-2012, 05:50 PM   #7
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Cool. Thanks everyone.
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Old 12-14-2012, 01:44 AM   #8
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Could the fertilizer tablets be leaching some nitrates into the water column?

Otherwise, I agree with the others. You brought in a lot of nitrifying bacteria on the plants, and they are already showing their work.
The soil is still producing a lot of ammonia, and will for about a month.
The bacteria are not up to removing everything, but they are working on it.

Some plants do not like high ammonia. If something dies do not replace it until the ammonia is much lower.

The nitrifying bacteria grow best when the ammonia and nitrite are under 5 ppm, so if either go higher than that do a water change.
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