Ammonia not decreasing during nitrate spike

axietay

Hi!
I've been cycling my 100L planted tank for about 8 days now. I have been using Prime to protect the plants and Stability to boost the bacteria.
On the first day I added pure ammonia and raised it to 2ppm. The thing is that everything seems cycling correctly except for the ammonia. Nitrites and nitrates have been increasing proportionally, but ammonia is increasing as well (might be because of the dead rotting fragments of some plants? I dont think it would be enough tho).
I have it at 27°C and have been using baking soda to keep a rather basic PH.
I have also noticed a couple of detritus worms swimming around.

Today I added a vial of Biodigest. Do you guys have any idea why the ammonia isn't dropping? Here are the parameters:


19-05-2021

Ammonia: 2
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate:0
PH: 7.5

21-05-2021

Ammonia: 2
Nitrite: 0.25
Nitrate:0
PH: 7

25-05-2021

Ammonia: 2
Nitrite: 1
Nitrate: 20
PH: -

26-05-2021

Ammonia: 3/4
Nitrite: 4
Nitrate: -
PH: 7.5

Thanks in advance!
 

Tayler

How long have you been cycling the tank for? The ammonia getting higher could be just part of the cycling process. Sometimes when you cycle tanks the ammonia could continue to rise as well as the nitrite and nitrate. I would say to wait, the ammonia should go down eventually.
 
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alven

This is fishless, correct?

It's just kind of weird to me how you have nitrites but ammonia is still the same level. Maybe your decaying plants are causing the increased ammonia..?
 
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jtjgg

1 molecule of ammonia -> 3 nitrite -> 4 nitrate, not sure how that converts to ppm.

maybe leeching from the substrate or fert?
 
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StarGirl

What is your pH without the baking soda? Im just wondering if that is throwing your readings off.
 
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axietay

This is fishless, correct?

It's just kind of weird to me how you have nitrites but ammonia is still the same level. Maybe your decaying plants are causing the increased ammonia..?
Yes, it's fishless.
But still I only have three plants in there, I don't think it would be enough to keep the ammonia high
1 molecule of ammonia -> 3 nitrite -> 4 nitrate, not sure how that converts to ppm.

maybe leeching from the substrate or fert?
No fert, the substrate is plain silica sand :(
What is your pH without the baking soda? Im just wondering if that is throwing your readings off.
My tap water is 6.5/7, but I noticed it rapidly decreasing in this tank over time, so I thought that making it more basic would help with the ammonia... but still no progress
It
How long have you been cycling the tank for? The ammonia getting higher could be just part of the cycling process. Sometimes when you cycle tanks the ammonia could continue to rise as well as the nitrite and nitrate. I would say to wait, the ammonia should go down eventually.
It's been cycling for about 8 days now. I know it's quite soon but taking in to acount the increasing nitrite and nitrate it makes sense to me that the ammonia should decrease
Yes, it's fishless.
But still I only have three plants in there, I don't think it would be enough to keep the ammonia high

No fert, the substrate is plain silica sand :(

My tap water is 6.5/7, but I noticed it rapidly decreasing in this tank over time, so I thought that making it more basic would help with the ammonia... but still no progress
It

It's been cycling for about 8 days now. I know it's quite soon but taking in to acount the increasing nitrite and nitrate it makes sense to me that the ammonia should decrease
Do you guys think that a 20/30% water change would help or should I wait and see if the biodigest has some effect?
 
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alven

What was the lowest your Ph has dropped to?
 
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StarGirl

Do you have a GH/KH kit for those numbers? That low pH out of the tap and decreasing in the tank you are going to have a hard time keeping the cycle going. 8 days is still pretty new for a cycle to be concerned about Ammonia yet. It sounds like you have super soft water.
 
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axietay

What was the lowest your Ph has dropped to?
I'd say the lowest was probably around 6.5
 
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StarGirl

You may want to try something like crushed coral to boost your KH that will boost your pH. It is more natural, easier and more consistent than using backing soda.
 
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axietay

Do you have a GH/KH kit for those numbers? That low pH out of the tap and decreasing in the tank you are going to have a hard time keeping the cycle going. 8 days is still pretty new for a cycle to be concerned about Ammonia yet. It sounds like you have super soft water.
Unfortunately I can't take readings for GH/KH atm because my dog chewed the paper where the colour readings where shown. I just bought one of those products that increase the PH so that I don't have to keep using baking soda. Any suggestions would be appreciated :)
 
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alven

Like StarGirl said, the Ph droppings are probably why ammonia is stalling. So you defintely want to test for KH. High Kh = Stable Ph. Low Kh = possibility of fluctuating Ph.
 
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axietay

You may want to try something like crushed coral to boost your KH that will boost your pH. It is more natural, easier and more consistent than using backing soda.
The tank I'm cycling is for an axolotl, so I don't think I should put crushed coral in there in case it swallows it.
 
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StarGirl

Unfortunately I can't take readings for GH/KH atm because my dog chewed the paper where the colour readings where shown. I just bought one of those products that increase the PH so that I don't have to keep using baking soda. Any suggestions would be appreciated :)
I would try to get some crushed coral. The gravel not the sand. It is set it and forget it no messing around at every water change. It is easy peasey. You need the KH to rise to keep the pH stable naturally.
 
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axietay

Like StarGirl said, the Ph droppings are probably why ammonia is stalling. So you defintely want to test for KH. High Kh = Stable Ph. Low Kh = possibility of fluctuating Ph.
So it's the lack of stability and fluctuations what's causing the problem even if I keep increasing the PH every time it drops?
 
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StarGirl

So it's the lack of stability and fluctuations what's causing the problem even if I keep increasing the PH every time it drops?
Yes you need to increase the KH to keep it stable.
The tank I'm cycling is for an axolotl, so I don't think I should put crushed coral in there in case it swallows it.
You can put it in a media bag or panty hose in the tank and it will still dissolve. Its best if there is room in your filter for it though.
 
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WetElbows

Please forgive my intrusion here, however I believe there are questions that have been overlooked that might help.

What type of system/product are you using to test your water? (check for expiration dates)
Have you done any water changes?
Test your 'source' water separately from your tank water? (your source can be totally different depending on the time of day you're testing. Try testing your source at least twice a day.. say, brunch and dinner. Do you get the same readings?)

Do you have any 'airborne' chemicals near your tank? (Room deodorizers, ammoniated window cleaner, etc.)

Unless you have sensitive plants, the need to dose Prime is not really necessary. Plants do their part in helping reduce ammonia too.

Remember, with the aquarium hobby.. Patience is a must. At 8 days of a fishless cycle, mother nature can do some weird things.
Best of luck!
 
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axietay

Please forgive my intrusion here, however I believe there are questions that have been overlooked that might help.

What type of system/product are you using to test your water? (check for expiration dates)
Have you done any water changes?
Test your 'source' water separately from your tank water? (your source can be totally different depending on the time of day you're testing. Try testing your source at least twice a day.. say, brunch and dinner. Do you get the same readings?)

Do you have any 'airborne' chemicals near your tank? (Room deodorizers, ammoniated window cleaner, etc.)

Unless you have sensitive plants, the need to dose Prime is not really necessary. Plants do their part in helping reduce ammonia too.

Remember, with the aquarium hobby.. Patience is a must. At 8 days of a fishless cycle, mother nature can do some weird things.
Best of luck!
Hi!
I have checked all of that :(
I think I might be becoming a little too obsessive about it and I should probably let it do its thing hahaha, as you say, it's only been 8 days.

thank you!
 
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StarGirl

Hi!
I have checked all of that :(
I think I might be becoming a little too obsessive about it and I should probably let it do its thing hahaha, as you say, it's only been 8 days.

thank you!
I believe with a 6.5 pH if it doesnt get lower than that it will cycle it just may take a little longer is all.
 
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