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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a 50gal SA tank that is heavily stocked. I took a little of the media to seed a second fluval canister that I purchased recently along with a 40gal tank. I'm currently doing a fishless cycle using pure ammonia. Tests via api and nutrafin liquid test kits.

The cycle has been running for 11 days but as yet both test kits read 0ppm for nitrite. I'm dosing ammonia to 4ppm and the resulting nitrate reading is over 20ppm. My Nitrate reading from the tap is 0ppm. But still no sign of nitrite.

Did I seed the filter with more nitrite eating backs than ammonia eating bacs? Or is there something else I'm missing?
 

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One of the amazing good points of using old media is that there are times when we don't really see a cycle as we might think of it. When you moved the media, you are likely to have moved both bacteria one and two, if I can call them that. So you are now feeding ammonia, bacteria one is building to the level required to deal with the new food supply. Two may be dealing with the nitrite and you are getting nitrate?
I would look at the tank as cycled but then that depends on what level you need for the new fish. Adding a whole bunch at once, needs higher levels of bacteria than adding a few smallish fish?
Good to go?
 

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Nitrate is the end point, nitrite is an intermediate compound which your filter (bacteria) converts to nitrate. I'm pretty sure your tank is doing well and the proper bacteria population is alive and functioning at optimum
 

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You're good to go. Both nitrobacter and nitrosomonas are present in your system and converting the initial waste (ammonia) to the end product (nitrates).
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Hey Guys thanks for the assurance. It's just confusing because in my first cycle nitirite showed up after the ammonia started to decrease. There wasn't a 0ppm nitirite reading until my tank was fully cycled. I plan to stock heavily possibly 25 diamond tetra in the 40gal so I need to make sure everything is as it should be. What I don't want is a spike later down the line after the fish have been bought and paid for (Diamonds are exspensive round here lol)
 

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Every time you increase your aquarium's bioload, you are going to have an ammonia/nitrite spike. The amount of beneficial bacteria your aquarium can sustain at any given time is directly dependent on the amount of waste being produced. As waste increases, so does the bacteria's population. As long as you pay close attention to your ammonia levels, and do water changes accordingly, you should be ok.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I'm not sure if this info is useful but 4ppm of ammonia is taking just under 24 hours to remove. Which confuses things even further for me. Not the speed at which the ammonia is removed the fact that nitrite is yet to show up.
 

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Well I assure you, if your tap does not contain nitrates and you're not adding any, if it shows up on tests, nitrites were there at some time.
 

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Try testing nitrites just a couple hours after dosing the ammonia.
As mike said though, if ammonia is going away and nitrates are going up, then it is fully cycled.

Maybe the nitrites are being converted faster than expected, or tested too late (already all converted), or the testing is faulty.
 

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A big hitch in our testing is that it is not a very good test kit. When you are sure you don't have nitrite, it may simply be that your eyes do not read the test colors or the colors are not totally correct. Hobby level kits are more an "indication" rather than a true reading. Take the test to a different light and you may see a different reading. But the main point is that you do not have a significant nitrite level to worry about.
The difference in first cycle results and results when using old media are quite different. We often find the first time, it seems to take forever but the next it bounces right up.
And then I would certainly not worry about the amount of fish load you will be adding as the fishless cycle is designed to cover just that point so that the fish are not facing ammonia. Assuming you are adding the correct recommended level of ammonia, that ammonia should cover even a massive addition of fish. That is what it is designed and expected to do. While your case seems dangerous, compare it to somebody starting a large African cichlid tank. It is often necessary to ship the fish, add them all at one time to help control territories and the fish can be very expensive. I have some fish which sell for $45 each with local pickup.
So the fishless cycle is the only way to go for those folks and it does the job very well.
One point that may be missed is that it vital to continue to feed the correct amount of ammonia to maintain the high level of bacteria until near the day the fish are added. Just because the bacteria grow quickly doesn't mean we should lack off and let them die while waiting around for fish.
Your tank has arrived, now maintain that high level, either with ammonia or fish waste?
 

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3 ppm ammonia that disappears within 24 hours with no sign of nitrite is cycled.
You added enough of the beneficial organisms with the cycled media for a really good jump start.
Usually the Nitrospira (nitrite oxidizing organisms) are slower growing, so you see nitrite during the cycle. The ammonia oxidizing organisms (the scientists are still trying to identify them) grow pretty fast.
 

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3 ppm ammonia that disappears within 24 hours with no sign of nitrite is cycled.
You added enough of the beneficial organisms with the cycled media for a really good jump start.
Usually the Nitrospira (nitrite oxidizing organisms) are slower growing, so you see nitrite during the cycle. The ammonia oxidizing organisms (the scientists are still trying to identify them) grow pretty fast.
Ammonia > nitrite

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nitrosomonas

Nitrite > Nitrate

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nitrobacter

Most common nitrogen fixing bacterias
Dr. Tim Hovanec's research has shown Nitrospira bacteria are the predominant Nitrite-oxidizers in Freshwater aquaria, not Nitrobacter.
Bacteria Revealed

I had thought Nitrosomonas bacteria were the predominant Ammonia-oxidizers in Freshwater aquaria. On page 9 of this publication talks about Nitrosomonas being the main ammonia-oxidizers.
http://www.drtimsaquatics.com/wp-content/files/scientificpapers/hovanecAEM_Dec01.pdf

However it has been brought to my attention by Diana, and another (Darrel, aka dw1305 at ukaps.org forum) that Thaumarchaeota/Thaumarchaeal are the dominant ammonia-oxidizers in Freshwater aquaria.
Here is a very good article Darrel had linked me. I haven't had the time to properly sit down and read it all yet. It is a newer published study so it may be true and Nitrosomonas bacteria are not the main ammonia-oxidizers.

@Diana here is the article Darrel had linked me. The one you tried linking me about Archaea, said it required purchasing the publication to view it, this one is free though.
PLOS ONE: Aquarium Nitrification Revisited: Thaumarchaeota Are the Dominant Ammonia Oxidizers in Freshwater Aquarium Biofilters

Here's another too
http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0113515
 
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