fishless cycle dosing ammonia with nitrite spike - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-03-2020, 08:17 AM Thread Starter
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fishless cycle dosing ammonia with nitrite spike

Hello fellow hobbyists

I am a newbie to this hobby, and have started this journey with a 60 Liter FW tank. I plan to make it a heavily planted betta tank. Hereís what I have so far:

- 50x35x35cm tank
- Tropica aqua soil 9 Liters
- 30cm piece of driftwood (soaked for 2 weeks prior to 16th July, and I poured boiling water over it for about 5 minutes to sterilize it)
- About 5kg of rocks
- Tidal 35 filter, with Matrix and some crushed coral in the filter (because driftwood was reducing pH)
- LED Lighting strip, but it has been off all along


As of now, I am performing a fishless cycle since 16th July with the above setup by adding liquid ammonia, and API Quick Start. Dosing of ammonia was at max 3ppm. Iím using the API test kits to measure water parameters.

As of yesterday, a 2ppm dose of ammonia disappears within 24hours (maybe faster, but I only test every 24hrs). pH of the tank is between 6.8 to 7.0. Nitrates have been elevated since day 1 at about 40ppm to 80ppm, but I believe this is due to the aqua soil. No water changes have been performed, only water top ups to maintain the water level.

I have seen Nitrites steadily increase over the last 4 days, and now they are roughly between 2ppm and 3ppm. I understand that having Nitrites above 5ppm could stall the 2nd phase of the cycle.
So my question is, do I continue to dose ammonia and risk Nitrites going over 5ppm, or do I stop dosing ammonia until nitrites start going down? I have spent hours researching the fishless cycling process, but there seems to be no consensus on how to proceed once ammonia starts to disappear but Nitrites remain elevated. I donít want to risk raising Nitrites above 5ppm and having to do a water change, which could prolong the cycling process. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

On a side note, since last week, a white fuzzy growth has started infesting the driftwood. Based on research, this is supposed to be a natural cycle and is harmless. However, Iíd like to know if the high levels of Nitrates could be a contributing factor to this? The growth has been rapid, and certain areas of the wood looks ghastly

Thanks, Muffi
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-03-2020, 01:13 PM
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-03-2020, 07:37 PM
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You can continue to dose the tank and keep Nitrites down by doing a big water change. Just keep dosing as normal, but whenever your Nitrites start climbing too high, do an 80% water change before dosing your ammonia.

As a side note, are you using new Aquasoil? That stuff leaches ammonia like crazy in the beginning, so you probably didn't need to dose ammonia at all.

If you ever think you're too small to make a difference, spend a couple of nights sleeping with a mosquito.

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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-04-2020, 02:08 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the advice @jellopuddinpop
Alright, in that case i guess I'll continue to dose ammonia, but maybe only upto 1ppm. If Nitrites do go close to 5ppm, then at least I can do a 50% change instead of a big one. Given it took about 2 weeks for ammonia eating BB to fully colonize, how long do you think it'll take for the Nitrite eating BB?
Yes, this is new Aquasoil. It did leach a bit of ammonia during the first few days. But i think this product delivers Nitrogen mostly in the form on Nitrates, hence the very high Nitrate readings in my tank.
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-04-2020, 07:31 AM Thread Starter
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well, i guess i didn't have to wait too long I didn't dose ammonia yesterday, and today the nitrites read 0!
I have dosed ammonia to 2ppm again today, lets see what the readings are tomorrow
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-04-2020, 01:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by muffi View Post
well, i guess i didn't have to wait too long I didn't dose ammonia yesterday, and today the nitrites read 0!
I have dosed ammonia to 2ppm again today, lets see what the readings are tomorrow
There are calculators out there to figure out exactly how much ppm of ammonia your adding, and the goal is to fully clear 2ppm of ammonia in 24 hours. Once you think you're there, do a HUGE water change (like, only leave enough water so refilling wont disturb the substrate), and immediately dose ammonia to 2ppm. Check it 24 hours later. If you have nitrites, then you're not done =)

If you ever think you're too small to make a difference, spend a couple of nights sleeping with a mosquito.

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