No Nitrites, No Nitrates but .25 Amonia Help? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 21 (permalink) Old 07-19-2019, 05:52 PM Thread Starter
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No Nitrites, No Nitrates but .25 Amonia Help?

Hi I'm new to keeping a planted aquarium, I went through a 3 month cycle. Got everything down to 0. Planted my aquarium waited few weeks to let them settle in. Then got cherry shrimp. ( Started with 20 ) I will be adding co2 as it is heavily planted. Where have I gone wrong? Iv done my best to make sure I'm doing everything as best I can

My tank is

125litre

Ammonia .25
Nitrates 0
Nitrites 0
GH 8od
KH. 6od
pH. 6.5

I use ferts seachem - there recommend amount for size of tank - if not a little under

Potassium
Advance
Excel
Prime
Flourish

I do a 15-20% water change every week. I do vacuum gravel

Any and all advice is welcome
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post #2 of 21 (permalink) Old 07-19-2019, 05:57 PM Thread Starter
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I have had a few deaths, like 5-6 shrimp but I have between 5-7 burried females atm. Also sorry the tank has been up and running for 5 weeks
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post #3 of 21 (permalink) Old 07-19-2019, 06:43 PM
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So your nitrates should not be zero. Obviously with just 20 shrimp in there you won't be generating enough poop to have nitrogen from livestock. You should consider adding nitrogen to the mix.

This looks to me like a fluval flex tank? If so I assume you are using their normal filter? Are you using carbon by any chance?

Its hard to tell from the picture but it looks like you have a gravel cap. What exactly are you capping?

What method did you use to cycle the tank?

Sorry for all the questions but need some more information before can give you advice on what direction to go.
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post #4 of 21 (permalink) Old 07-19-2019, 07:47 PM Thread Starter
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Hi sorry for the late reply, no iv altered the filter. Cut the center sections off the form added ceramic bio rings. Also have floating bio balls ( in the back section ) yes I have the activated carbon. I haven't capped my substrate it's Colombo flora base pro. For the fishless cycle I used some old fish flakes I hope this helps. If needed I can give you the TDs reading
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post #5 of 21 (permalink) Old 07-19-2019, 07:51 PM Thread Starter
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Also this week I'm having a massive bloom of algae, do you think I messed the cycle up? And now it's going through a mini cycle? Sorry I'm quite new to this. So really don't want to kill anything. If needed I can buy co2 system this weekend if that will help
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post #6 of 21 (permalink) Old 07-19-2019, 09:29 PM
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No Nitrites, No Nitrates but .25 Amonia Help?

I would guess the shrimp added more bioload than your filter was already consuming. Algae is a response to the extra ammonia. I would do daily water changes for a little while to keep ammonia near 0 and prevent further deaths until the filtration catches up. You can also look at adding zeolite to the filter which will bring ammonia down to 0 quickly as it absorbs it, but once it ‘fills up’ you may get another ammonia spike unless your filter is caught up by then. If you do this, run the zeolite as the last media in the chain, which gives your main filtration first crack at the ammonia. I used to always do this for cycling but just be aware and do daily ammonia tests because it can kick in suddenly.


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post #7 of 21 (permalink) Old 07-19-2019, 09:44 PM
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You verified that your tank cycled by using test kits to monitor the various stages of cycling or you just assumed it cycled by waiting 3 months?

End process of cycling is nitrates showing up in tank, so did nitrates ever spike?

Also not clear if you added plants at beginning or after 3 months?
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post #8 of 21 (permalink) Old 07-19-2019, 11:05 PM
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So it sounds like you are on the right track with the filter. Fluval tanks come with instructions to change out the ceramic rings. These instructions are just dead wrong and you should always keep your ceramic media, just rinse them off in used tank water during a water change. If you rinsed them in fresh tap water or replaced them completely you would be disposing of most of your beneficial bacteria which would cause this problem.

You should also toss the carbon in the trash since it will be absorbing most of the fertilizer you are adding to the tank. In general we don't use carbon in planted tanks.

It's possible the cycle is not well established. One easy thing you can do is go to any fish store and buy tetra safe start which contains beneficial bacteria, dump it in your filter media to help your cycle if it's not complete.


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post #9 of 21 (permalink) Old 07-20-2019, 01:28 AM
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Quote:
Also this week I'm having a massive bloom of algae
Algae tends to thrive when there is a nutrient deficiency. Your nitrates are zero and that is most likely encouraging the algae growth. Nitrogen deficiency is a common problem for those using Flourish Comprehensive fertilizer.

Also if your plants are growing they will consume ammonia. So if you have an ammonia reading I am wondering it it is a false reading. Some test kits can be very hard to read accurately so the 0.25 reading may not be accurate. Also farming and there activities can sometimes add a little ammonia to the local water supply If you can check with your water supplier and ask it there is any ammonia in the water. Also test your tap water with your test kit. `
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post #10 of 21 (permalink) Old 07-20-2019, 04:39 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the suggestion but my problem is, If I was to add zeolite and haven't got my cycle right would that make the problem worse not better as it would stop the cycle completely? Also keeping shrimp I can do water changes daily as it will more likely kill more shrimp? If I'm correct


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Originally Posted by CarissaT View Post
I would guess the shrimp added more bioload than your filter was already consuming. Algae is a response to the extra ammonia. I would do daily water changes for a little while to keep ammonia near 0 and prevent further deaths until the filtration catches up. You can also look at adding zeolite to the filter which will bring ammonia down to 0 quickly as it absorbs it, but once it ‘fills up’ you may get another ammonia spike unless your filter is caught up by then. If you do this, run the zeolite as the last media in the chain, which gives your main filtration first crack at the ammonia. I used to always do this for cycling but just be aware and do daily ammonia tests because it can kick in suddenly.


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post #11 of 21 (permalink) Old 07-20-2019, 04:43 AM Thread Starter
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I am using API test kit just after ( what I thought was a.completed ) cycle the test showed 0 for ammonia. It was only when I started adding plants and shrimp did it start giving a reading again.

I don't live near a farm, from the city so I don't think that's the case


I will remove activated carbon immediately as I didn't know that neutrilizes ferts
Many thanks

Quote:
Originally Posted by Surf View Post
Quote:
Also this week I'm having a massive bloom of algae
Algae tends to thrive when there is a nutrient deficiency. Your nitrates are zero and that is most likely encouraging the algae growth. Nitrogen deficiency is a common problem for those using Flourish Comprehensive fertilizer.

Also if your plants are growing they will consume ammonia. So if you have an ammonia reading I am wondering it it is a false reading. Some test kits can be very hard to read accurately so the 0.25 reading may not be accurate. Also farming and there activities can sometimes add a little ammonia to the local water supply If you can check with your water supplier and ask it there is any ammonia in the water. Also test your tap water with your test kit. `
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post #12 of 21 (permalink) Old 07-20-2019, 06:42 AM Thread Starter
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No I haven't thrown them away, only once have I rinsed them ( which I did using tank water ) I also added another larger bag of them. In total 2 small bags ( that came with the tank, 1 large bag about 3 times larger then the small bag. Theres also a large bag of ( the bioorb ) larva rock stuff, in there. There is activated carbon which I will remove.... I will stop as fish shop on way home from work and buy tetra safe start and put whole bottle into the filter

Thank you for the help

Quote:
Originally Posted by minorhero View Post
So it sounds like you are on the right track with the filter. Fluval tanks come with instructions to change out the ceramic rings. These instructions are just dead wrong and you should always keep your ceramic media, just rinse them off in used tank water during a water change. If you rinsed them in fresh tap water or replaced them completely you would be disposing of most of your beneficial bacteria which would cause this problem.

You should also toss the carbon in the trash since it will be absorbing most of the fertilizer you are adding to the tank. In general we don't use carbon in planted tanks.

It's possible the cycle is not well established. One easy thing you can do is go to any fish store and buy tetra safe start which contains beneficial bacteria, dump it in your filter media to help your cycle if it's not complete.
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post #13 of 21 (permalink) Old 07-20-2019, 06:45 AM Thread Starter
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Yes I watched as each spiked and feel. Ammonia was pretty quick and was nitrites. Nitrates took about 4 weeks to go down. Stayed at same level for about 3 weeks and then came down pretty quickly. I planted after waiting about 6 weeks. Waited another 6 weeks then added shrimp.. not sure if I messed up adding plants to soon?

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Originally Posted by DaveKS View Post
You verified that your tank cycled by using test kits to monitor the various stages of cycling or you just assumed it cycled by waiting 3 months?

End process of cycling is nitrates showing up in tank, so did nitrates ever spike?

Also not clear if you added plants at beginning or after 3 months?
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post #14 of 21 (permalink) Old 07-20-2019, 06:51 AM Thread Starter
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Do you think it's a good idea to half does ferts, until the algea bloom has subsided? Iv taken 2 hours off my light cycle daily already Using fluval plant 3.0 and fluval sky.
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post #15 of 21 (permalink) Old 07-20-2019, 02:02 PM
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Couple thoughts,

You said you cycled it with fish food then waited another few weeks. During that period did you continue to feed the filters fish food? If not bacteria will starve off if you don’t keep feeding them. The tour back at square one but might at least have a head start if some survived.

You said you used fish food to cycle. That’s not a lot of bioload you might need to use a ton to really produce a bio load. Natural methods of fishless I have used and was pretty successful is a couple cocktail shrimp in a panty hose but it still makes a mess. My preferred now is industrial strength ammonia. Just makes sure it’s just diluted ammonia without any soaps or additive. I found mine at ace hardware. This way you can be sure your really producing ammonia.

Whatever method you do you have to feed the tank the ammonia or bio load until you are getting your actual stock. Then right before you get the stock you do a 99% water change (only time you should ever do this) to remove the nitrates that are probably super high at this point and make the tank safe for the inhabitants.

A tell tale sign that your tank is not cycled is 0 nitrates. Bacteria converts ammonia to nitrites, then more bacteria forms that can change the nitrites to nitrates. But nitrates never go away unless you have plants that feed on them or you do water changes. So unless you have a heavily planted high tech tank with lots of stems you should have at least <5ppm nitrates. The other 2 will stay at 0 but nitrates will always be there in a healthy tank.
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