Tank Cycling issue with high nitrites - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 12-22-2013, 03:16 AM Thread Starter
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Tank Cycling issue with high nitrites

Need some advice. I'm 2nd week into a new tank cycle. I've had Ammonia down to 0 for a while, but the Nitrites are still very high, between 2 and 5ppm (hard to tell colors on the API chart). Nitrates are in the 10ppm range.

I did a water 50% water change this morning and in the evening, the nitrites are still around the same 2-5ppm.

I also checked the water (RO) and it was 0 for both ammonia and nitrites, didn't bother checking for nitrates.

Also, I was looking around for some liquid ammonia to help the tank cycle, but all the stores I've looked at only have stuff called lemon ammonia which I think has some additives that would not be helpful.

Any advice? (both nitrites and shopping for ammonia?)
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 12-22-2013, 03:38 AM
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A 50% water change should reduce the nitrites. You could probably do 50% changes once a day until you get a reduction in nitrites.

How are you adding ammonia to your tank?

ACE Hardware sells pure ammonia.

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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 12-22-2013, 03:45 AM Thread Starter
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I'll have to look for an ACE around here. I had originally thought that my soil had enough ammonia, but it seems that there is no more there after 2 weeks. Given the Nitrites, I thought perhaps the bacteria was established for the ammonia eating ones... but it seems the Nitrite consuming bacteria has a ways to go. at least Nitrates exist, so something is happening. Will do another water change tomorrow and look for a nearby ACE.

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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 12-22-2013, 04:42 AM
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But if you stop feeding the good bacteria they'll die off, so keep after feeding them
I prefer to use fishfood for it, because then thats what they good use to, if that makes sense...
Once it gets closer to being more stable, feel free to find STRONG fish to add in to help cycle it some more. when starting up brand new filters/tanks always always go slow and safe when adding in fish.

Have you already planted the tank? if you are... I assume you are since you seemed to infer that you have ADA soil.
If you have not started planting, do that also. Again start with the hardiest plants and work your way up.

How often have you been doing wc? don't do 50% randomly. when cycling like this try to do 20% EVERY DAY. Even once the fish are in, stick to 20% everyday, and slowly work it down to 20% every other day. then every 3 days, then down to 1 time a week.
I know this seems like it gets expensive on water treatments, but if you get Prime you'll be golden.
keep us posted
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 12-22-2013, 05:47 AM Thread Starter
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Hi Nestle,

the first week I was doing 20% daily... the next week, was down to 2x a week, since I wanted to see if the nitrites and nitrates were balancing. The tank is also planted fairly well with stems, moss and others. I also have a few snails in the tank. I have a tank journal on it here...


I think either the ammonia from the soil has all leached out already, or the bacteria is well established and keeping the ammonia low, but generating a lot of nitrites.

will do another water change tomorrow to see how the nitrites react. I'll throw some fish food inside overnight to see if I can get an ammonia reading in the morning...

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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 12-22-2013, 09:56 AM
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You should feed ammonia even if your substrate leeches ammonia. The bacteria will only be able to handle the little bit the substrate is leeching. When you add fish again, it will go thru a mini cycle.

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