Fishless cycling problem. Help w/ funky test result - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-23-2009, 04:45 PM Thread Starter
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Fishless cycling problem. Help w/ funky test result

I've had this tank doing fishless cycling for 21 days so far...unfortunately, things aren't doing as good as they should.


The nitrate test kit seems to be malfunctioning on the tank water, even tho it is showing up perfectly fine on other tanks. (i.e. I use the API test kit with 2 bottle for nitrate test. Normally, the first bottle will make the water clear yellow and the 2nd bottle will make the orange/red show up if nitrate is present. however, on this cycling tank, the solution turns immediately to a orange/brown tint after putting in bottle #1! The same test kit is doing fine on 3 of my other tanks)

The nitrite seem to be out of control depsite a few 40% water change...by out of control, I mean, I get 5+ nitrite reading with the tank water...and I get 2-5ppm nitrite reading even when I mix 0.5ml of cycling tank water + 4.5ml of 0ppm nitrite water. (which kinda suggest the cycling water has nitrite of 20-30ppm )

I am thinking the nitrate test kit is not working because of the excessive nitrite...is this possible?

What should you guys suggest I do from here?
Just wait?
Wait + dose ammonia regularly
Keep doing water change to try to bring down nitrite?
Do water change and add ammonia?
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-23-2009, 06:42 PM
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Is this is a planted tank or unplanted tank? If heavily planted with floaters and fast growing stems, this is highly unusual, at least IME. I find that with a silent cycle using fast growing plants and floaters, the time between the ammonia spike and nitrite spike and between the nitrite spike and nitrate spike is considerably shorter, about 1/2 the time of a conventional cycle.

Now with an unplanted tank,IME, this is not unsual. A prolonged(i.e., more than 2-3 weeks) usually signals a stalled cycling process. Most people use increased aeration with a airstone, 1/3 water changes, and additional seeded media from an established media or the addition of another filter with established/seeded media to jump start the cylce. You can also take the easy/cheap way out, by adding biospira or another such additive to jump start the cycle.
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-23-2009, 07:16 PM Thread Starter
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tank is actually completely empty, no substrate, no decors
Just tank + gravel + HOB filter (emperor 400, 2 biowheel + 2 case full of matrix)
The biowheel were making air bubbles all over the tank without an airstone
and for some reason, water change doesn't seem to be bringing down nitrite
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-23-2009, 07:17 PM Thread Starter
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Is it advisable to do like a 90% water change? (I will add back ammonia after the water change)
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-23-2009, 07:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Choco View Post
Is it advisable to do like a 90% water change? (I will add back ammonia after the water change)
How long has the tank been up? It is not unsual for a nitrite spike to last 2-3 weeks. I would only hit the panic button after 3 weeks of high nitrite readings and leave everything alone for now. Sometimes, it is not nice to fool with mother nature. If you start monkeying around too much at this point, it could make things worse and even further prolong the nitrite spike.

I just completed a fishless cycle on a unplanted 1.5 gallon tank using ammonia. It took 8 weeks, only because I spiked the ammmonia a second time once it was cycled to bulid up more colonies of nitrifying bacteria. After 8 weeks, the ammonia was zero, nitritites were zero, and nitrates were a tad high, which is normal to see and signals the completion of the cycle. I did a couple of 90% water changes to bring down the nitrates before chucking two dwarf aquatic frogs in there.
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-23-2009, 07:30 PM Thread Starter
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i am thinking my process is really taking a long time and something is not really right because many similar journal on fishless cycling on the web take around 10-20 days to complete.

My setup is almost identical to this one here, and our result were quite similar until my nitrite didn't come down...
http://www.practicalfishkeeping.co.u...ead.php?t=5322
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