20 Gallon Long - Fishless Cycle - Nitrite And Nitrate Problems.

Mhaire

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Hi, I think I need some help with my fishless cycling. I think my Nitrites are high and do not seem to want to go down. My Nitrates are building but seem high as well. I have been reading this forum and gotten some great advice. I even ready the articles. Here goes. Forgive me, I'm at work so answering will be a bit sporadic until later this afternoon. Any help would be appreciated.

Started this 1/1/17
20 gal long
Black Diamond Blasting Sand
DIY sponge filters, - from Creative Pet Keeping and one other on youtube. (Though, I'm going to scrap those in time as I have a new sponge filter I just put in and will wait until it is ready.
Malaysian wood, two anubias and some floating water wisteria. (they seem to be doing ok. Rest is plastic and I will be removing as the plants are added and doing well.
Aqueon plant light (fluorescent)
Tetra Whisper air pump (20 to 40 gal)
Temp - 80F using Aqueon adjustable heat (cant remember the size)
API Freshwater Master test kit

Some recent readings-

2.12.17 6am
PH - 7.6
Ammonia - 0
Nitrite 3 (difficult to tell)
Nitrate 4 or 5
Added 1/4 teaspoon pure ammonia

(Nothing really changed much during this time of testing about every 2 to 3 days. Maybe a small tap off of water and using Prime and adding 2 plants

2.22.17 6 am
PH - 7.6 (maybe a bit higher)
High PH 7.8
Ammonia 0
Nitrite 2 to 5 (purple)
Nitrate 2 (brownish)
Nitrite 2 (1/2 tap water/ 1/2 tank water)
Tap Water Tested all - 0 across the board
I live in AZ so water is hard normally about 7.8 to 8.0

2.24.17 6am
Ammonia 0
Nitrite 5 (very purple)
Nitrate 160 (red)
added 1/4 teaspoon ammonia

2.25.17 6 am

PH 7.6
PH High Range 7.8
Ammonia 0.25
Nitrite difficult to tell, but around 5
Nitrite 1/2 tap water and 1/2 tank water - about 2
Nitrate 10 or 20
 

Yorg

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Mhaire said:
Hi, I think I need some help with my fishless cycling. I think my Nitrites are high and do not seem to want to go down. My Nitrates are building but seem high as well. I have been reading this forum and gotten some great advice. I even ready the articles. Here goes. Forgive me, I'm at work so answering will be a bit sporadic until later this afternoon. Any help would be appreciated.

Started this 1/1/17
20 gal long
Black Diamond Blasting Sand
DIY sponge filters, - from Creative Pet Keeping and one other on youtube. (Though, I'm going to scrap those in time as I have a new sponge filter I just put in and will wait until it is ready.
Malaysian wood, two anubias and some floating water wisteria. (they seem to be doing ok. Rest is plastic and I will be removing as the plants are added and doing well.
Aqueon plant light (fluorescent)
Tetra Whisper air pump (20 to 40 gal)
Temp - 80F using Aqueon adjustable heat (cant remember the size)
API Freshwater Master test kit

Some recent readings-

2.12.17 6am
PH - 7.6
Ammonia - 0
Nitrite 3 (difficult to tell)
Nitrate 4 or 5
Added 1/4 teaspoon pure ammonia

(Nothing really changed much during this time of testing about every 2 to 3 days. Maybe a small tap off of water and using Prime and adding 2 plants

2.22.17 6 am
PH - 7.6 (maybe a bit higher)
High PH 7.8
Ammonia 0
Nitrite 2 to 5 (purple)
Nitrate 2 (brownish)
Nitrite 2 (1/2 tap water/ 1/2 tank water)
Tap Water Tested all - 0 across the board
I live in AZ so water is hard normally about 7.8 to 8.0

2.24.17 6am
Ammonia 0
Nitrite 5 (very purple)
Nitrate 160 (red)
added 1/4 teaspoon ammonia

2.25.17 6 am

PH 7.6
PH High Range 7.8
Ammonia 0.25
Nitrite difficult to tell, but around 5
Nitrite 1/2 tap water and 1/2 tank water - about 2
Nitrate 10 or 20
*********************************************
HI Mhaire:

Thanks for doing a fishless cycle. It looks to me as though you're doing everything right. The fact that your ammonia drops down right away after dosing suggests the ammonia-oxidizing bacteria are doing well and giving you your nitrite. Your nitrate readings could be related to the plant matter (since you don't seem to have any in your tap water), although I doubt it given where you are in your cycle.

Your ph and temperature are good for beneficial bacteria, and your sponge filter is likely providing good aeration.

Did you use a bacterial additive to start your cycling?

I would keep dosing ammonia and testing to see if it consistently zeros out right away, and if the nitrite has spiked and starts to drop gradually.

Also, others have probably warned you about this already, but you really have to shake the living daylights out of the second reagent bottle when performing the API nitrate test, otherwise you're likely to get inaccurate readings. You also need to shake the test tube pretty violently, too.
 
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Mhaire

Mhaire

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Yorg said:
*********************************************
HI Mhaire:

Thanks for doing a fishless cycle. It looks to me as though you're doing everything right. The fact that your ammonia drops down right away after dosing suggests the ammonia-oxidizing bacteria are doing well and giving you your nitrite. Your nitrate readings could be related to the plant matter (since you don't seem to have any in your tap water), although I doubt it given where you are in your cycle.

Your ph and temperature are good for beneficial bacteria, and your sponge filter is likely providing good aeration.

Did you use a bacterial additive to start your cycling?

I would keep dosing ammonia and testing to see if it consistently zeros out right away, and if the nitrite has spiked and starts to drop gradually.

Also, others have probably warned you about this already, but you really have to shake the living daylights out of the second reagent bottle when performing the API nitrate test, otherwise you're likely to get inaccurate readings. You also need to shake the test tube pretty violently, too.

Thank you! Actually there are two sponge filters I started with, the third is one I just started. So at the moment 3 in all. The one I just added will take over for the other two after it is ready. As for the API Nitrate, that is a story into itself. I sorta just glanced at the instructions and yes I shook up the bottle and vial, however I was adding both bottles to the vial at one time. I felt such a dork. I have since got it correct, but the shaking part...I got that! . Just FYI, when you mix the two at the same time and shake it up, you get some really great nitrate and pretty colors. I think Nitrite is as high as it's going to get....when does it start to come down. I have been reading a lot and it seems most of the cycling takes about 2 months at the extreme most. I have been trying since 1/1/17. Oh, and no, I did not add any additives, only been using the ammonia from Ace Hardware.
 

Yorg

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Mhaire said:
Thank you! Actually there are two sponge filters I started with, the third is one I just started. So at the moment 3 in all. The one I just added will take over for the other two after it is ready. As for the API Nitrate, that is a story into itself. I sorta just glanced at the instructions and yes I shook up the bottle and vial, however I was adding both bottles to the vial at one time. I felt such a dork. I have since got it correct, but the shaking part...I got that! . Just FYI, when you mix the two at the same time and shake it up, you get some really great nitrate and pretty colors. I think Nitrite is as high as it's going to get....when does it start to come down. I have been reading a lot and it seems most of the cycling takes about 2 months at the extreme most. I have been trying since 1/1/17. Oh, and no, I did not add any additives, only been using the ammonia from Ace Hardware.
******************************************
Then I definitely think you're doing everything right! This might be a good time for a sizable partial water change (around 40%) or so, followed by redosing of the ammonia. The water change will dilute the nitrite and nitrate a bit, so afterward you'll be able to see if the nitrite is still spiking or if it's plateaued and getting ready to start dropping.

The two-month figure on cycling is a pretty good benchmark, but every cycle is so different because of all the variables involved. I once had a cycle established in a little over three weeks, but most of mine have been in the 8-12 week range. If I've learned nothing else in this hobby, it's patience!
 
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Mhaire

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Home from work. Thank you for your help!!!! I will do a partial water change tonight. And see how it goes. Wish me luck. I know that light is at the end of this tunnel. However, I have learned so much from this experience.
 

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Hi, welcome to the forum

With your nitrites as high as they are I would actually do a very large, 75% water change to get nitrites back down. Test nitrites right after the water change and if they're still reading high, do another water change. The test only goes so high so they may be higher than you think. Super high nitrites over 4.0 will stall you cycle or slow it down ultimately.

Once they're down below 1.0. Dose ammonia to 1.0, then wait for ammonia and nitrites both to drop down to 0-.25 before re-dosing. Don't continue to dose ammonia frequently while in this stage. Only every 3-4 days while nitrites are high. You can use this thread as a log.

This may help even if you are not using a bacterial additive
Fishless Cycling with Ammonia and a Bacterial Additive: When cycling your aquarium you are...
 
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Mhaire

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Guess my work is cut out for me tonight. I almost talked myself into doing this in the morning. Thank you,
 
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Mhaire

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Alrighty then. Took out about 15 gallons, vacuumed a bit. So, 6 trips total to empty and fill, with Prime. Cleaned top and such, put everything away to dry. Ran tests, rather proud of myself. Read direction.if nitrites are above 1.0, do another water change.... Looked at readings..looked at instructions..looked at readings again..insert a curse word. Dragged stuff out again, took out about 7 more gallons....more trips to empty and filled. Reran tests...afraid to look at nitrites. Results are as follows.
2/25/17 7:30pm
75% water change (About 15 gallons) used Prime
PH 7.6
High range PH 8.0
Nitrites 2.0
Nitrates 40 or a bit more
----------------
8:15pm
Took out about 7 gallons of water ( used prime)

Nitrites 1.0
Nitrates 20
Added 1/4 teaspoon of ammonia.
Keeping fingers crossed and looking at the cost of one of those Python Water changers hose things.
 

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Sounds like they were much higher than you initially though then so I'm glad you did the water change. What does 1/4tsp ammonia put your ammonia levels at?

I'd add in a small pinch of fish food and I'd just wait, post here daily as a log if you want. Wait for ammonia and nitrites to both drop to 0-.25 before re-dosing. The fish food adds a very small source of ammonia while you're waiting for nitrites to drop. Let's see how high the nitrites go and take it from there.

Yes, a water changer can make your life much simpler!
 
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Mhaire

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I know teaspoons instead of ml. I will find I syringe today. I keep forgetting. Anyway, tested ammonia and nitrites this morning just to get an idea where I was. 1/4 teaspoon = very close to 1 ml. Also, I will keep my log here. Oh and read the article you suggested. Thank you, while reading I could see some things I may have not done incorrectly. I was using the "The (almost) Complete Guide and FAQ for Fishless Cycling" guide.

2/26/17 4:30am
Ammonia .50
Nitrites Between 0.50 and 1.0 ( wasn't really one color or the other but very much in between)
--------------
2/26/17 8:30 am - added pinch of Omega minI pellets (Its what I feed my Betta)
 

CindiL

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Teaspoons are fine. 5ml = approximately 1 tsp so a ml would be a very full 1/4tsp I guess. There are many guides out there to fishless cycling and they all will get your tank cycled eventually, those are the things I have found to help the cycle finish up in a more timely manner.

Readings look good, now I'd just wait
 
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Mhaire

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Just tested the tank. Results are really really good, or, really really bad. I like to think they are good.

2/26/17 5pm

Ammonia 0
Nitrites 0
Nitrates 20

Added 1.1 ml ammonia

Went to Walgreens, pharmacist just gave me 2 syringes. Thought it was very nice of her.
 
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Mhaire

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Could I have the tiniest bit of hope the tank might be cycled and ready for fish?Just a tiny bit of hope?

No, I'm not running out tonight and get fish
 

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It looks cycled and ready for fish, right after a partial water change to get those nitrates down.
 
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Mhaire

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I hope so, but I just added a bit of ammonia and will see what it does. I have waited this long a few more days will not hurt....much.

I started this journey last August. I decided I wanted fish. Had an aquarium many years ago. Let's just say anything a person could do wrong, I did. Poor fish never stood a chance. This time I have been determined to do this right.nBut with moving in December and such, I took the time to research as much as possible. Tank and stand was my xmas present to myself. So started cycling January 1. Seemed a good way to start the year. I started with wanting a Betta with some Corydoras. I have the Betta, ( named him Ibn from the 13th warrior movie) but now I'm seriously considering a Betta sorority. I still want Corydoris, but from what I have been reading, not sure I will be able to. Seems there will be a problem with water temp or maybe even tank size. If nothing else I still want a sorority.
 

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I would dose it at least two days in a row to make sure you're all cycled Then do a huge water change before adding fish.

I have a sorority as do a few others in the betta section. They are my favorite fish after having had quite a few different community fish, they have won my heart
They require some thought ahead of time, more so than other community fish.
There is a conversation currently going on someone starting a 20 gallon long sorority that may help you:
Looking For Advice About Betta Sorority.
 
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Mhaire

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image.jpeg
This is my tank. Taken about a week ago. Much clearer today as I had just re-added some of the fake plants that day. There are live plants. The fake ones I will remove as the live ones are added and do well. I still need to add some caves to hide in, but I know what I'm using and will probably pick those up tomorrow. Not the greatest picture, but not to bad. I think the ladies would be happy. I can add more if needed.
 

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