Having Ammonia, No Nitrite With Nitrate. Does My Cycling Is Almost Over? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 05-23-2018, 01:15 AM Thread Starter
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Having Ammonia, No Nitrite With Nitrate. Does My Cycling Is Almost Over?

I am doing a fishless cycling. I thought that I did an error by adding the fluval bio-enhancer 2 first days. I mistakenly thought that this was to start the cycling . Nevertheless, I had ammonia reading really soon in the process. See below how my cycling goes.

Now, after 17 days, strange things happen. My nitrite was never really high, but I was able to get good nitrate reading. Now, after seventeenth days of cycling, I have 1 ppm ammonia, 0 nitrite and 5 ppm nitrate.

It looks like I don`t have the bacteria that kills the ammonia to nitrite, but I do have the one that kills the nitrite to nitrate...

So, the million dollar question, is it going to happen?

Last edited by peterphonic; 07-05-2018 at 01:07 PM.
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 05-23-2018, 02:00 AM
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I'd do a water change to see what the nitrates do, and stop "feeding" the tank an ammonia source for a day and then test. Sounds to me like your tank is almost cycled. From my experience with fishless cycling, it takes much less time, for me, than what I've read it takes for fish-in cycling if that makes sense.

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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 05-23-2018, 02:09 AM
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The tank is not cycled yet. What are you doing to add ammonia? I would try to shoot for 2ppm during this past of the cycle and also increase the temperature to 80 or 82deg F. I used pure ammonia dosing for my fishless cycle and it took about 6 weeks to be fully cycled.

The plants will help with bringing in some bacteria but you need more time to build up the beneficial bacteria. When the tank is well cycled you can add 2ppm pure ammonia and you should see no ammonia or nitrites in 12 to 24 hours.

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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 05-23-2018, 02:10 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by mrjbacon View Post
I'd do a water change to see what the nitrates do, and stop "feeding" the tank an ammonia source for a day .
I am not even feeding it with ammonia. At all! Those readings are strange. Maybe the ammonia is coming from some plants with dying leaves?
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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 05-23-2018, 06:31 AM
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I recently finished cycling my 20G, and I can tell you your tank is not cycled until you get zero ammonia and nitrite. The ammonia you have right now could be from your tap water, so I would recommend you test your tap water so you know what you putting in the tank to start with. My tap water have 0.5-1 PPM ammonia and no nitrite or nitrate. Which was what my water was for the first 2-3 weeks. I did not see nitrite spike until toward the end of my cycle.

If you want your tank to cycle faster, I recommend you try Biodigest. Someone here recommended it to me and I added it to my filter media in the middle of week 3 and it did miracle and my cycle was done within a week. It's a bit expensive but I think it's worth it since i am not very patient and want to get it over asap.


First of all, I add fish food to my tank daily to maintain ammonia at least 1 PPM throughout the process even during nitrite spike. Basically firs the first 2 weeks, I had ammonia at 1 PPM, and no nitrite or nitrate, then I start to see tiny bit of nitrite and nitrate during week 3 but they stay low. And toward end of week 3 I got the biodigest and add it to my water. Pretty much the next day I start to see nitrite and nitrate starting to go up, and after 2-3 days my nitrite was through the roof, it was higher than 5PPM for sure because it's purple and hard to compare against the chart, and my nitrate was going all the up to the 20-40 PPM range as well. And after the 2-3 days of nitrite spike, it literally go away overnight. One morning I wake up and do the water test, ammonia and nitrite was close to zero and nitrate was dark red. Over the next few days I did 25% water change daily to lower the nitrate while monitoring ammonia and nitrite, and they were at zero regardless how much fish food I throw in. After multiple water change to get my nitrate down to 5 PPM, I clean my filter intake (it got lots of fish food stuck to it) and I add another dose of biodigest. Ammonia and nitrite still at zero after 2 days and nitrate went up to between 10-20 PPM. This is when I know my tank is cycled and ready for fish.

Overall, I maintain at least 1 PPM ammonia in my tank from adding fish food, my ammonia never spike, but i definitely see spike in nitrite and nitrate. Not sure if the biodigest help, but everything seem to speed up quickly for me after I added it. When your tank is fully cycle, you will not see any ammonia or nitrite in your tank, only nitrate. I am new to the hobby too and there are still a lot for me to learn here but here is my experience with the cycle.

Bump: Also, forgot to mention I was using the fuval stuff to cycle my tank too, I added it to my tank daily and after 2 weeks I finish half of the bottle and didnt really see much progress that's when I switch to Bio Digest when someone here recommended to me. I still have 28/30 vials of the stuff left and not sure what to do with them now my tank is cycled.
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