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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I'm starting up my 2nd tank a Fluval Chi. My first tank is a Fluval Spec 3. The first tank was fishless cycled and I'm running a fishless cycle on the Chi as well.

The new tank is only one week old and I dosed .95 ml of Ammonia from a 10% solution to give a desired 5 ppm of Ammonia. Use this calculator. I seeded the tank with some bio max from my daughter's Betta tank. I checked the numbers last night and was rather surprised.

Ammonia 0-Low (expected)
Nitrites High (expected)
Nitrates 160 ppm (max of test) (unexpected)

Sources of Nitrate:

Water:
My kids Betta tank is using the same water supply and shows around 5 - 10 ppm of Nitrates. The water supply shows 0 ppm out of the tap and I cut it with 50/50 with some RO/DI water from the store. The final hardness is about 9 drops of GH and KH.

Substrate:
This new tank is using Eco Complete, my kids tank is just plain blue gravel (don't judge me), and my spec is using FloraMax. If I had to pick something I'd guess it is this but I was of the assumption that Eco Complete didn't affect the cycling numbers.

Filters:
I've been playing hopscotch with filters on this tank. I had a Fluval C2 to start but it was too loud and now I'm using a Fluval U1. Still that would explain a high ammonia (new cycle) and not sky high Nitrates.

Driftwood:
Other than plants the only other organic source is the driftwood in the tank. It's all been boiled and tannins are pretty low to none.

Other:
Following a post I read someplace else (reddit I think). I attached some java moss to a little ceramic tile and wrapped it all in a net. Looks cool but perhaps the tile is leaching nitrates. The picture on my tank journal does not show them yet.

I'm going to run a large water change tonight and check a day later. Just wondering if anyone else has seen this happen before?
 

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Nothing you mention sounds like a source of nitrates to me (especially since your nitrite is high, and it should drop when nitrates rise). What type of test are you using? Dip strips are notoriously inaccurate, so you need a good liquid test if you don't have one yet. Many people use the API freshwater master test kit. Fair warning, the nitrates chart on that one is hard to read: The colors over 40ppm look practically identical.

If you're already using the API test, you could still be getting inaccurate results if the test is expired or if it's been sitting a while and you didn't shake/pound the heck out of Bottle #2 to remix the reagent before testing. Seriously, smack the bottom of that bottle on a table edge or something several times, and then retest, following instructions about all the shaking/mixing, etc. And be sure the read the test at 5 min, not 10 minutes or an hour later. (No offense. You probably already know that. But I read posts in forums like this all the time from people who get confused because they keep reading the color results for hours, as the color keeps changing.)
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I used the API liquid test and beat the heck out of the 2nd bottle. I must be reading the same posts. I use the same test on kid's tank and it reads 5 - 10 ppm.

One odd thing about testing this time. I ran Nitrates twice btw. When I dropped in the 10 drops of bottle #1 it turned a darker shade of yellow or even orange rather than the bright yellow you normally get. Then when I dropped in the drops from bottle #2 it went deep red.

Perhaps there is some other chemical in the water column that is affecting the first chemical and affecting the test.

Hmm. Need more water changes I think.

Thanks!
 

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I'm starting up my 2nd tank a Fluval Chi. My first tank is a Fluval Spec 3. The first tank was fishless cycled and I'm running a fishless cycle on the Chi as well.

The new tank is only one week old and I dosed .95 ml of Ammonia from a 10% solution to give a desired 5 ppm of Ammonia. Use this calculator. I seeded the tank with some bio max from my daughter's Betta tank. I checked the numbers last night and was rather surprised.

Ammonia 0-Low (expected)
Nitrites High (expected)
Nitrates 160 ppm (max of test) (unexpected)

Sources of Nitrate:

Water:
My kids Betta tank is using the same water supply and shows around 5 - 10 ppm of Nitrates. The water supply shows 0 ppm out of the tap and I cut it with 50/50 with some RO/DI water from the store. The final hardness is about 9 drops of GH and KH.

Substrate:
This new tank is using Eco Complete, my kids tank is just plain blue gravel (don't judge me), and my spec is using FloraMax. If I had to pick something I'd guess it is this but I was of the assumption that Eco Complete didn't affect the cycling numbers.

Filters:
I've been playing hopscotch with filters on this tank. I had a Fluval C2 to start but it was too loud and now I'm using a Fluval U1. Still that would explain a high ammonia (new cycle) and not sky high Nitrates.

Driftwood:
Other than plants the only other organic source is the driftwood in the tank. It's all been boiled and tannins are pretty low to none.

Other:
Following a post I read someplace else (reddit I think). I attached some java moss to a little ceramic tile and wrapped it all in a net. Looks cool but perhaps the tile is leaching nitrates. The picture on my tank journal does not show them yet.

I'm going to run a large water change tonight and check a day later. Just wondering if anyone else has seen this happen before?

Maybe you should just let it run :icon_wink Especially in a fishless cycle, I don't see why you are using your test kits so often.
 
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