after only 10 days into fishless cycle my Nitrites and Nitrates are off the chart? - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-01-2014, 08:00 PM Thread Starter
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after only 10 days into fishless cycle my Nitrites and Nitrates are off the chart?

Hey everyone, so i have a 75 gallon tank im turning into a Discus Tank, the filter im using is a Fluval FX5

I added Ammonia up to 5PPM on Sunday June 22nd and now on July 1 my readings are

Ammonia-0
Nitrite- Off the chart super high
Nitrate- Off the chart super high.

is this normal to happen so quickly? i didnt seed the filter or anything! i have my temp high, and have a large airstone in the tank creating a ton of aeration.

im dosing my ammonia back up to 4-5 PPM right now as we speak.

I wasnt planning on my cycle being done until the 3rd week of July, as thats when i can get my fish! if my cycle is compete before then should i just keep adding ammonia to keep the bacteria going? i have July 20-26 off work thats when i was getting my fish.

thanks for any advice, like i said my first fishless cycle!

Last edited by CanuckGame; 07-01-2014 at 08:16 PM. Reason: error
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-01-2014, 09:02 PM
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I would wait until August of heavy fishless cycling with ammonia before adding discus - they are VERY sensative, and require a school. Adding 3-5 fish at once will be a VERY large bio load.

That said, you're in the Nitrite phase - it will take about 2-3 weeks for this phase to be over.

What water are you using? Seeing nitrates so soon could be from bad tap water - my tap has it. Are you using pure RO?

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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-01-2014, 09:17 PM Thread Starter
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im using water straight from my tap, i just tested the Nitrates, and it is reading below 5PPM it doesnt even match the first color on my color chart.
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-01-2014, 10:31 PM
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I might be wrong on this, but I think the ppm is in reference to the weight of the compound, not the number of molecules.

NH4=~18 molecular weight

NO2= ~46 molecular weight

NO3= ~62 molecular weight

So, for ppm of NH4, you will get just under 3 ppm of NO2, and nearly 4 ppm of NO3 by the time the cycle is completed.

You might not notice the NO2 as much, depending on how your cycle is doing, but the NO3 will just hang out and accumulate, unless you have plants or something to take it up.

Also, the NH4 you are adding to the tank to do the fishless cycle is well above anything you are likely to see under any reasonable bioload. You should probably do a water change any time your NO2 creeps up above 5 ppm or so, as it can inhibit the growth of the bacteria, but you can pretty much ignore NO3 until your cycle is completed.

The good thing is, if you are seeing NO3, you can be fairly certain that your cycle is coming along nicely. Keep testing, if your NO2 is too high, do a water change to lower it, and then dose your NH4. Once you get to the point where you can dose 5 ppm NH4 and see 0 NH4 and 0 NO2 the following day, you can add fish. If you aren't ready to add fish by that point, just keep dosing the NH4 (you can slow down on the water testing as well), just do a really large water change (maybe all?) before adding fish.
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-02-2014, 12:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lochaber View Post
I might be wrong on this, but I think the ppm is in reference to the weight of the compound, not the number of molecules.
"Parts per" notation can be used to refer to molecules as well; it is a dimensionless measurement, so it could be 1 molecule in a million molecules, or as a mass fraction (1/1000000 of the total mass).

This is why it can be confusing to use parts per measurements. I always prefer to stick with moles (or if need be, convert to mass).

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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-02-2014, 03:29 AM
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Here is the fishless cycle. Not unknown for the ammonia > Nitrite bacteria to get going pretty fast, but the nitrite > nitrate bacteria are not usually so fast growing. I wonder if there was some source of these bacteria? Perhaps plants from a cycled tank?

Do this:
Big water change. Get the NO2 under 5 ppm.
Dose ammonia NO MORE THAN 3 ppm, now that some bacteria is getting started.

Fishless Cycle

Set up tank and equipment.
Fill with water, including dechlor.
Optimum conditions to grow these bacteria the fastest:
GH and KH at least 3 German degrees of hardness, and higher is just fine.
Add some other minerals, for example plant fertilizers: KH2PO4, trace minerals.
High oxygen levels.
Good water movement.
A place to grow. They grow on surfaces, not drifting free in the water. Filter media is great. Sponges, floss, bio-media are all good places for these bacteria.
You can add a starter culture of the right bacteria if you want. It is optional. The cycle can go faster if you add something. Media from a cycled, healthy filter. Bottled bacteria containing Nitrospira species of bacteria. Do not waste money on anything else.

Add ammonia (no surfactants, no perfumes) to test 5 ppm.
Test daily. Add more ammonia to keep the test at 5 ppm through the first few days.
Test for nitrite. When nitrite shows up allow the ammonia to drop to 3 ppm.
Test daily, adding enough ammonia to bring the test to 3 ppm once a day. If you are growing plants that do not like this level of ammonia then test twice a day, and add enough ammonia to bring the test to 1 ppm twice a day.
If the nitrite gets to 5 ppm do a water change. Perhaps add less ammonia for a few days. The nitrite removing bacteria (Nitrospira species) are slower growing, and the ammonia removing bacteria might be making more nitrite than they can deal with.

When the ammonia returns to 0 ppm after 24 hours, and no nitrite shows up at that same 24 hour mark, then the cycle is done.
A fishless cycle with no plants might have VERY high nitrate. Do a BIG water change, or even a couple of them to get the nitrate way down before adding the fish. You can fully stock the tank.
A fishless cycle with lots of plants might show almost no nitrate. The plants are part of the bio filter, and are removing a certain amount of the ammonia before the bacteria even have a chance to turn it into nitrate, and then the plants are removing some or all of the nitrate produced by the bacteria. I would still do a big water change.

If the fish you want to keep need water different than the hard, alkaline water that grow the bacteria so well, now is the time to change that to softer, acidic water. While you were trying to grow the bacteria as fast as possible you wanted optimum conditions for the bacteria. Now that the colony is well established you can change the conditions. They might not grow so fast, but that is OK.
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-02-2014, 07:16 PM Thread Starter
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so i tested less than 24 hours later, and my tank absorbed all 4PPM of ammonia back to 0.

i just re dosed, so you guys are saying i should only dose the ammonia back up to only 3PPM from here on out?

my Nitrites and Nitrates are off the chart, unable to get an accurate reading with my current tests as the levels are so high.
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-03-2014, 04:18 AM
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[quote... Nitrites and Nitrates are off the chart...][/quote]

Repeat:

Do enough water changes to keep the NO2 under 5 ppm. These bacteria do not grow quite so well when the NO2 is higher.

If you want to keep adding too much ammonia, that is a problem, too. It will simply keep raising the NO2 so you have to do more water changes.
Better to dose only enough ammonia to reach 3 ppm, and only do this once a day.
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-03-2014, 10:01 PM Thread Starter
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so i did a water change like you suggested Diana, i did 30%

my Ammonia is 0 again and the picture is my Nitrite vial

is this still too high of a reading? should i do another WC?
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-04-2014, 02:20 AM
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I think you are OK with that, but the bacteria will be turning more ammonia into more nitrite so you will probably need to do another water change.
Do keep feeding the bacteria, but with about half the ammonia you had been using.
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post #11 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-06-2014, 04:43 PM
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Expect high nitrite for another 2 weeks before your cycle is done. The nitrite-converting bacteria multiply much much slower than the ammonia-converting strains.

Humans may rule the world...but bacteria run it..
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