Tank cycle nitrates before nitrites - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-27-2020, 02:12 AM Thread Starter
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Tank cycle nitrates before nitrites

I am cycling (4 days in) my heavily planted tank (21 Tropica grow cups) and have a few questions:

Tank specs:

25 gallon
ADA power sand
ADA substrate additives
Tropica soil
Layer of Torpica powder

Eheim pro 4+ 350
CO2 with reactor

For the past four days I have been having the below readings.

PH: 6.5
dKH: 3
dGH: 7
Ammonia: in the range of 2-4 mostly 3-4
Nitrite: 0.12-0.25
Nitrate: 20-40 mostly 30-40

I have been doing daily 50 percent water changes as recommended for the first week but I am not sure why I am getting nitrates before any real large amount of nitrites.
I am using half tap and half ro water. Tap reads as 0 for nitrates so it is not coming from the tap or ro water.

Any clues why this could be happening?

Also my water is mostly clear but does have a very slight cloudy look to it that has not cleared since I started the tank. I expected this for the first day but assumed it would clear by now. Cleared a few days later


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Last edited by BeastlyFern; 02-03-2020 at 11:47 PM. Reason: update
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-04-2020, 12:02 AM Thread Starter
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Bump

Now on day 12 of cycle, 50 percent water changes now every two days.

Still no nitrites really but some ammonia and nitrates.

How long should it take before I see a rise in my nitrites? The tank is very heavily planted with carpet and has been sing good growth I think and a fair amount of pearling with high co2 injection.

Test results:
GH 7 KH 3 and PH 6.5-6.4 Stable for every day

DAY 5
Ammonia 4-3
Nitrite 0.25
Nitrate 10

DAY 6

Ammonia 2
Nitrite 0.1
Nitrate 10

DAY 7
Ammonia 2- 1.5
Nitrite 0.25
Nitrate 10

DAY 8
Ammonia 2-1
Nitrite 0.05 (Purchased Salifert test)
Nitrate 10 (Purchased Salifert test)

DAY 9 Water changes every other day now
Ammonia 1-0.5
Nitrite 0.05
Nitrate 7-5

DAY 10
Ammonia 1
Nitrite 0.05
Nitrate 7-5

DAY 11
Ammonia 1-0.5
Nitrite 0.025
Nitrate 7-5

DAY 12
Ammonia 1
Nitrite 0.05
Nitrate 10-7.5


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Last edited by BeastlyFern; 02-04-2020 at 01:47 AM. Reason: edit
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-04-2020, 01:27 AM
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The water changes are preventing the buildup of nitrite that you want for the bacteria.I don't do water changes during cycling until I'm ready to add fish,as long as nitrites don't get about 5ppm or so,then when they disappear on their own,and 1 ppm of added ammonia is gone by the next day,I consider my tank cycled.

during this process the nitrates will get pretty high,but not really enough to stall the cycle.

you'll get really good growth during cycling,because the plants prefer to uptake nitrogen from ammonia then from nitrates.

MTS? no,I just need one more tank...
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-04-2020, 01:52 AM Thread Starter
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The water changes are preventing the buildup of nitrite that you want for the bacteria.I don't do water changes during cycling until I'm ready to add fish,as long as nitrites don't get about 5ppm or so,then when they disappear on their own,and 1 ppm of added ammonia is gone by the next day,I consider my tank cycled.

during this process the nitrates will get pretty high,but not really enough to stall the cycle.

you'll get really good growth during cycling,because the plants prefer to uptake nitrogen from ammonia then from nitrates.
I was reading that many people seem to suggest doing lots of water changes at first with a planted tank when using a nutrient rich soil. But this may be stalling my cycle due to nitrite reduction then.


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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-04-2020, 02:25 AM
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The Tropica substrate and ADA additives are probably the source of your nitrate, not the cycling. You will have to look into the ingredients and other members may be able to clarify.

There is no way that you are cycled yet. However, your cycling will be very slow with your current parameters. Fastest cycling is with pH > 7.5 and temperatures in the 80-90 dF area. Cycling will stall as pH approaches 6.0 and you are not far away. Additionally, make sure that you get good surface rippling in order to maximize oxygenation for the BB. I suggest that you turn off your CO2 (which is what is driving your pH down), raise your temperature to the upper 70's and lower your light intensity and photoperiod until you are cycled. At optimum conditions, you should see your nitrites spike in about two weeks.
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-04-2020, 02:45 AM Thread Starter
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The Tropica substrate and ADA additives are probably the source of your nitrate, not the cycling. You will have to look into the ingredients and other members may be able to clarify.

There is no way that you are cycled yet. However, your cycling will be very slow with your current parameters. Fastest cycling is with pH > 7.5 and temperatures in the 80-90 dF area. Cycling will stall as pH approaches 6.0 and you are not far away. Additionally, make sure that you get good surface rippling in order to maximize oxygenation for the BB. I suggest that you turn off your CO2 (which is what is driving your pH down), raise your temperature to the upper 70's and lower your light intensity and photoperiod until you are cycled. At optimum conditions, you should see your nitrites spike in about two weeks.
Thanks, I did not think I was cycled yet but was curious as to why I don't have much if any nitrites yet. Sounds like it may just take longer which is fine. Maybe I can add some crushed coral for the cycle just to get my ph to raise a little but continue with the co2 for my carpeting plants. Or just wait longer I guess, no real rush.


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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-04-2020, 02:47 AM
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Yep the AS contains N03 as @Deanna suggested.

I would not worry about the cycle. Who cares, there's no fish in yet, right? You should be focusing on simply growing the plants out and changing water not the cycle.

This is a mistake many make, the tank will eventually cycle. With the plants growing well and doing large water changes you will drastically lesson the chance of algae issues, especially in a high-light, carpeted tank. .
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-04-2020, 03:17 AM Thread Starter
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Yep the AS contains N03 as @Deanna suggested.

I would not worry about the cycle. Who cares, there's no fish in yet, right? You should be focusing on simply growing the plants out and changing water not the cycle.

This is a mistake many make, the tank will eventually cycle. With the plants growing well and doing large water changes you will drastically lesson the chance of algae issues, especially in a high-light, carpeted tank. .
No fish that is for sure, keep on keeping on then. So far so good.
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