Another Cycling Question.

alliemac

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I’m sure you’ve seen me around quite a bit. My cycling parameters are constantly changing. I’m using pure ammonia for my tank and I’m about three weeks in.

Current parameters have been:
0 ammonia(I put 3ppm in nightly and it cycles the next day)
2 - 5ppm nitrites(the colors are so similar)
160ppm nitrates(it goes up within a day of doing multiple water changes)

Now, my question is this.. is it possible for nitrates to lower themselves? I thought it was only nitrites and ammonia that cycle themselves.

My nitrates were 160ppm last night and then tonight my nitrates were at 30ppm. Nothing else has changed. I did a second test to be sure and sure enough, 30ish ppm.
 

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alliemac said:
I’m sure you’ve seen me around quite a bit. My cycling parameters are constantly changing. I’m using pure ammonia for my tank and I’m about three weeks in.

Current parameters have been:
0 ammonia(I put 3ppm in nightly and it cycles the next day)
2 - 5ppm nitrites(the colors are so similar)
160ppm nitrates(it goes up within a day of doing multiple water changes)

Now, my question is this.. is it possible for nitrates to lower themselves? I thought it was only nitrites and ammonia that cycle themselves.

My nitrates were 160ppm last night and then tonight my nitrates were at 30ppm. Nothing else has changed. I did a second test to be sure and sure enough, 30ish ppm.
it was actually just brought to my attention about an hour ago on my cycling thread that there becomes a point where nitrates and/or nitrites (I'm sorry I still have a hard time remembering which is which) that they start to jump up and down frequently. I'm not sure if this is the case with this scenario but its what I just learned.
 
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alliemac

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baldegale said:
it was actually just brought to my attention about an hour ago on my cycling thread that there becomes a point where nitrates and/or nitrites (I'm sorry I still have a hard time remembering which is which) that they start to jump up and down frequently. I'm not sure if this is the case with this scenario but its what I just learned.
From what I’ve seen all over, I thought only water changes brought down nitrates. There isn’t a lot of information about dealing with nitrates online.
 

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alliemac said:
From what I’ve seen all over, I thought only water changes brought down nitrates. There isn’t a lot of information about dealing with nitrates online.
f8f7ab1bcc11e8b7f96a88c4bac0c424.jpg
agh! I'm sorry. I did indeed get them mixed up, I apologize again
 
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alliemac

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baldegale said:
f8f7ab1bcc11e8b7f96a88c4bac0c424.jpg
agh! I'm sorry. I did indeed get them mixed up, I apologize again
Hahha. No, you’re good. I still mix up the names when talking. They’re very similar.
 

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alliemac said:
Hahha. No, you’re good. I still mix up the names when talking. They’re very similar.
ive only been around this hobby for about a month or so so I still get all my words jumbled n mixed up ****
 
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alliemac

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baldegale said:
ive only been around this hobby for about a month or so so I still get all my words jumbled n mixed up ****
Same here. A little over a month.
 

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alliemac said:
is it possible for nitrates to lower themselves
Small amounts of nitrates can be taken up by plants as a source of nitrogen (which is necessary for photosynthesis).

There are some nitrate-reducing bacteria (e.g. Pseudomonas spp.), but the issue is that accomplish denitrification, the reverse of nitrification. They convert nitrate back into nitrite. In addition, most varieties of these bacteria are unable to colonise aquarium conditions, or they're associated with fish diseases (Pseudomonas spp. causes fin rot for example).

Unless your aquarium is heavily planted with fast-growing species and a low fish bioload, the only way to remove nitrates is via water changes.
 
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alliemac

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Minnowette said:
Small amounts of nitrates can be taken up by plants as a source of nitrogen (which is necessary for photosynthesis).

There are some nitrate-reducing bacteria (e.g. Pseudomonas spp.), but the issue is that accomplish denitrification, the reverse of nitrification. They convert nitrate back into nitrite. In addition, most varieties of these bacteria are unable to colonise aquarium conditions, or they're associated with fish diseases (Pseudomonas spp. causes fin rot for example).

Unless your aquarium is heavily planted with fast-growing species and a low fish bioload, the only way to remove nitrates is via water changes.
I have a lot of plants in my tank. Water wisteria, anubias nana, amazon compacta, rosette sword, java fern, baby dwarf tears, and a couple other that I forgot the name of and it’s a fishless cycle.

I hope they’re not converting back!
 

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alliemac said:
I hope they’re not converting back!
No, no. Plants themselves don't convert nitrate to nitrate. Only some particular genera of bacteria that are quite rare in aquariums. Plants remove some nitrate from the water column.

It's difficult to say how much they remove as its dependent on plant species, CO2 concentration, etc., but aquarists usually target a nitrate range of 5-30 mg/L when dosing weekly fertilisers as part of the Estimative Index (EI) method.
 
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alliemac

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Minnowette said:
No, no. Plants themselves don't convert nitrate to nitrate. Only some particular genera of bacteria that are quite rare in aquariums. Plants remove some nitrate from the water column.

It's difficult to say how much they remove as its dependent on plant species, CO2 concentration, etc., but aquarists usually target a nitrate range of 5-30 mg/L when dosing weekly fertilisers as part of the Estimative Index (EI) method.
I meant that I hope the bacteria isn’t converting it. I’ve had the plants in there the whole time it’s been cycling, three weeks, and they’ve never lowered the nitrates. I need to do a couple big water changes, but I work 12s and it’s been a busy week.
 

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What's possibly occurring is that the API test kit is giving false readings. It happens for the nitrite test kit when actual nitrite readings are off the charts (>15 ppm): the colour of the solution in the test tube will appear baby blue (as if it's 0 ppm) or it will appear some other wonderful colour like hot pink.

I wouldn't be surprised at all if the nitrate test did something similar. What you can do is test your nitrate with a sample of tank water that's been diluted with 50% deionised/RO/bottled water to see if a truer colour is shown.
 
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alliemac

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Minnowette said:
What's possibly occurring is that the API test kit is giving false readings. It happens for the nitrite test kit when actual nitrite readings are off the charts (>15 ppm): the colour of the solution in the test tube will appear baby blue (as if it's 0 ppm) or it will appear some other wonderful colour like hot pink.

I wouldn't be surprised at all if the nitrate test did something similar. What you can do is test your nitrate with a sample of tank water that's been diluted with 50% deionised/RO/bottled water to see if a truer colour is shown.
Even if I’ve done the test three times? I wouldn’t think it’d just start giving me false readings out of nowhere. I’ll try the diluted test though and see what it shows.
 
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alliemac

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baldegale said:
hearing about false readings just reminded me that I was warned of this earlier today.
669100baa7f43d1bab93ce4e5e63f1b4.jpg
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I usually always shake the bottle, but now that I think about it I didn’t tonight. I’m going to see if that does anything.
 

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Ah yes, I forgot that it's incredibly important to shake the bottle #2 vigorously for 30 seconds and then shake the test tube vigorously for 60 seconds. The reason for this is that one of the active ingredients in the second bottle of testing liquid is insoluble in water and it's suspended as particulate matter. It settles downs and compacts over time, so it needs to be shaken up for the test to be accurate.
 

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alliemac said:
I usually always shake the bottle, but now that I think about it I didn’t tonight. I’m going to see if that does anything.
I hope it works!
 

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alliemac said:
Even if I’ve done the test three times?
All of these test solutions are only accurate over the specified range. If the concentration is far too high (beyond the specified test range), the test solution will return inaccurate and inconsistent results.
 
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alliemac

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baldegale said:
I hope it works!
It worked! Did the test after shaking the bottles and my nitrates are already above 80ppm after only a couple seconds. I’ll do a water change tomorrow night.
 

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alliemac said:
It worked! Did the test after shaking the bottles and my nitrates are already above 80ppm after only a couple seconds. I’ll do a water change tomorrow night.
good I'm glad! now just pray for me to get some nitrites/nitrates here soon
 

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