NitrItes when cycling - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-04-2014, 06:16 PM Thread Starter
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NitrItes when cycling

Im fishless cycling my 44 gallon low light no co tank. Ive been keeping ammo at 4ppm. Ammo is gone over night (0ppm) for a couple days now, ph stays sable, nitrAtes never got above 20ppm, but my nitrItes are staying high, at least 5ppm according to the color chart on my API drop test. I did a little over 60% water change last week with no change in nitrites. Water was treated before going into tank during water change. I am using flourish and flourish tabs for my mosses, ferns, dwarf hairgrass and swords that actually have a couple new leaves coming out now. Is this nitrite thing a normal part of the process?

I know the tank needs some work.

Last edited by Infidel; 01-04-2014 at 06:51 PM. Reason: added
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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-04-2014, 06:49 PM
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I think each tank cycles a bit differently. With mine I had nitrates but no nitrites for a while. Anyway, you're not done with the cycle yet. Keep cycling, you'll get there in the end. It just seems like it takes forever.
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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-04-2014, 08:09 PM
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The bacteria that consume the nitrites take a bit longer to get established. Do a 50% water change each day until you get the nitrites below 2ppm and maintain it at that level. Also, try to keep the ammonia at no more than 3ppm.

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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-05-2014, 02:10 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the advice. Ill do more water changes and try to keep being patient.
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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-05-2014, 05:14 PM
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When I cycled my 55 gallon tank the nitrites took forever to go down to "0ppm" they read off the charts past 5 ppm for 3 weeks. Just keep feeding you beneficial bacteria ammonia as needed (don't get to lethal ammonia levels or you'll kill the colony) and just wait it out, they will go down eventually, and once they get to (and stay at) "0" even after another ammonia dosing you're biological filtration will be built like a tank. Mines done great with a bio-load monster leopard sailfin pleco in there since I built it up with pure ammonia and waited for the cycle to finish before anything went in. Being patient sucks but its what you have to do.. just.be.patient. *intense stare at tank*

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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-05-2014, 05:59 PM
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It usually takes my tanks a week to a week and a half after ammonia goes to zero for my nitrites to drop. You are getting there.


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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-05-2014, 06:22 PM Thread Starter
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Between this tank cycling and waiting on the ATF to approve some suppressors and stuff, patience is getting hard.. I might just have to get another tank started to occupy my time. I might do one of those 6 gallon Marineland Pillar tanks for a Betta. Anyway, I'm doing the water changes, but if i didn't, the nitrite level would still come down enough eventually right? Just take a little longer?
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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-05-2014, 08:48 PM
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Why would you do water change, it just prolongs the cycling process, unless you have fish. Nitrites is the longest in the process and they go off the chart and when there's enough bacteria, no matter how high is nitrite reading it'll drop significantly.
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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-05-2014, 10:19 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by HUNTER View Post
Why would you do water change, it just prolongs the cycling process, unless you have fish. Nitrites is the longest in the process and they go off the chart and when there's enough bacteria, no matter how high is nitrite reading it'll drop significantly.
Different things I've read says that I should do a change to get the levels into a readable level; including posts in this thread. So at the end of the cycle, if all the levels are right, do I need to even do a water change?
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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-06-2014, 06:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Infidel View Post
Different things I've read says that I should do a change to get the levels into a readable level; including posts in this thread. So at the end of the cycle, if all the levels are right, do I need to even do a water change?
You only have to do a water change(s) when its all done to take down nitrates. Nitrates will definitely be lethal levels for fauna after cycling a tank if you don't have a nitrate remover such as tank full of fast growing plants or one of those products on the market that suck out nitrates. Its best to let the nitrites build up so the bacteria colony that eats them can grow big and strong.

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post #11 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-06-2014, 08:32 PM
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The people that suggested to do water change during cycle must have done it with fish in it already, then you must do water change to not poison the fish.

Last edited by HUNTER; 01-06-2014 at 08:38 PM. Reason: Edit
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post #12 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-06-2014, 09:02 PM
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The cycle can seem really hard to understand if we speak tech talk. How about just plain talk? The ammonia is what the first group of bacteria eats. What they put out is what the second group eats. What the second group puts out is nitrate and nobody eats that! So first group doesn't come to dinner until we add adequate ammonia. Second group doesn't show until first group makes nitrite in adequate amounts. When you are adding ammonia and finding it not in the tank as ammonia or nitrite, it is because it has become nitrate. The nitrate then needs to be removed by a really large water change because you will have been pouring in enough ammonia to feed the two groups of bacteria and they been making a royal mess!!
End result is that you've got two groups of good bacteria that can handle just about any fish you want to add as long as you take care not to kill them> Cycle complete!
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post #13 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-06-2014, 10:42 PM
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Originally Posted by HUNTER View Post
The people that suggested to do water change during cycle must have done it with fish in it already, then you must do water change to not poison the fish.
Even if there aren't fish in the tank, high nitrites can cause problems. If they get too high, they will actually slow the growth of the bacterial colonies (ammonia as well, but I believe the ammonia-consuming bacteria grow fairly quickly, it seems like the nitrite consuming ones take a bit longer to get established). I think ammonia or nitrite levels too high can be bad for plants as well.
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post #14 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-06-2014, 11:17 PM
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Even if there aren't fish in the tank, high nitrites can cause problems. If they get too high, they will actually slow the growth of the bacterial colonies (ammonia as well, but I believe the ammonia-consuming bacteria grow fairly quickly, it seems like the nitrite consuming ones take a bit longer to get established). I think ammonia or nitrite levels too high can be bad for plants as well.
I've cycled many tanks including saltwater and everytime the nitrites weren't even readable which what i wanted to see, and never done water changes during that time without a problem. I guess everybody does it differently.
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post #15 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-07-2014, 12:53 AM Thread Starter
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I appreciate the different opinions of how to go about this, and hearing what worked for others. It sounds like I'm mostly on the right track. I just need to keep waiting it out. Hopefully the Rams at Petco are still there when its finally cycled.
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