After planting tank, nitrites have risen up! - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-30-2018, 05:48 PM Thread Starter
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After planting tank, nitrites have risen up!

Hello! I've never had an aquarium before and I started a fishless cycle in a 5.7 gallon aquarium with only inert substrate and a few rocks. everything was going great, and when the ammonia stayed at 0 and nitrites were at 0.25ppm for a few days I added a lot of plants in.

https://imgur.com/a/jixWR
(this is my tank after planting it)
One day later I tested the water and to my surprise, the nitrites had risen quite a bit while the ammonia remained at 0. I've been fishless cycling for 5 weeks and I'm scared I ruined the cycle, because I was ready to buy my betta. The nitrites are now at 1ppm (I tested twice to make sure my eyes weren't deceiving me). I don't have a nitrates test yet, but there were a few brown algea before I added the plants, and the nitrites had already dropped so I assume there were nitrates in there, but now I'm afraid I killed the bacteria.
Is this a normal thing or do I have to start again?
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-30-2018, 06:32 PM
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There needs to be a source of ammonia for the bacteria to feed on in order for the cycle to complete. It should never stay at 0 ppm for very long. You may have just starved off your first order of bacteria. There are two types of bacteria that complete a cycle, as you may or may not know. First order coverts ammonia to nitrite, then the second order will then convert the nitrites to the least harmful nitrates. I suspect there's a little bit of ammonia in your tank that can't be detected or else there would be no increase in nitrite levels. I would at least add some fish pellets to the tank and check ammonia readings every few days to make sure the bacteria has plenty to eat. Otherwise, your cycle will keep crashing. An ammonia source will need to be added until fish are added. You can and should use pure ammonia if you can. Just make sure it's pure and have no scents or surfactants in it (foams when shaken).

So what is a good level of ammonia to cycle with? Depends on who you ask. Some like to build the colony of bacteria quickly by adding 4-5 ppm of ammonia, while others use 1-2 ppm. A majority of tanks would do fine with the latter dosing. Reason being is there is no need to establish a huge colony of bacteria that can consume 4 ppm of ammonia in 24 hours if you're just stocking a small school of tetras and a few otos. There's just no way that the bioload would ever produce levels this high, so the majority of bacteria starve. However, if you're adding fish that have huge bioloads, the high level of ammonia to cycle would be recommended.
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-30-2018, 06:45 PM Thread Starter
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Ive been adding fish food to the tank since the beggining of the cycle, I aimed for 2ppm because my research all pointed to that number if bettas were the only stock in the tank. For a whole week the ammonia that was added was processed in 24 hours, and the nitrites were very high for a while but then they began dropping, but now the nitrites spiked all of a sudden! that's why I made the post, I've not been starving the bacteria, I'm adding ammonia in form of fish food every other day!
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-30-2018, 06:53 PM
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Ok. You failed to specify that. All you can do is wait it out and let nature take it's course. Keep adding that food, just 1/4 of what you started with. There is no real answer for how long this can take. I've had one cycled in 3 weeks when seeded with media from established tank and others have taken 2+ months.
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-30-2018, 07:02 PM Thread Starter
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Oh ok, This is my first tank so I can't seed it, I guess I'll just have to wait some more.
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-31-2018, 12:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sandiego1938 View Post
Oh ok, <a href="https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/images/smilie/icon_sad.gif" border="0" alt="" title="Sad" >:-)</a> This is my first tank so I can't seed it, I guess I'll just have to wait some more.
You're quickly learning the key aspect of a planted aquatic garden. Patience &#x1f642; slow steady changes over weeks and months instead of days.

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