Are These Readings Weird?

Nefersmum

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I have probably misunderstood the whole thing but I thought that if your ammonia was high then the other nasties, nitrite and nitrate might also be higher than normal.

Over the last couple of weeks I have struggled a bit with ammonia readings. I did a water change today but prior to that the reading was 0.5 for ammonia, 0 for nitrite and 5 for nitrate. I'm not sure why the ammonia has risen but the test before that for ammonia was 0.2.


Is it usual for the nitrites and nitrates to be low when ammonia appears to be climbing?
 

aoiumi

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If the tank isn't cycled, then it would make sense for the ammonia to rise before anything else did.

If it is cycled, then yes, that is weird.
 

Heron

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It sounds like your tank is not yet cycled. Your fish are producing more ammonia than your bacteria can eat. As you have some nitrites you must have some of these bacteria in your filter, as you have some nitrates you have some of the second type of bacteria in the filter too. When you have sufficient of each bacteria you should have 0 ammonia and 0 nitrites and some nitrates.
Your tank is in the process of cycling but is not there yet. I assume you have fish in the tank, if so you can't do a fish less cycle so I would follow the procedure for a fish in cycle. The bacteria will multiply reasonably quickly so it shouldn't take too much longer.
 
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Nefersmum

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The thing is, the tank was fully cycled. It took just over two months to get it right and up until the last week it has given great readings, 0 ammonia and nitrites, nitrates between 10 and 20.

I was looking at some of the advice on the forum here regarding a fish in cycle - going on the basis that it can't possibly hurt to try this. I noticed that there were several recommendations for using Seacham concentrated conditioner. Is this something I could be using alongside my normal dechlorinator?
 
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Heron

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That shouldn't be a problem. Have you added new fish since you completed your cycle? That might explain why you've had an ammonia spike.
 
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Nefersmum

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I haven't tested the tap water recently. I think the last time was about a month ago. I'll redo it tomorrow just for peace of mind. I haven't changed my filter in some time - I understood it wasn't something you did unless it was falling to bits.

As for the fish themselves I started with 6 minnows, left it about 4 weeks and tested throughout before adding 6 gold minnows. The parameters have been pretty stable since until just this last week. I'm quite upset it seems to have gone astray but there's no help for it I suppose. I've ordered some stuffage - Seachem conditioner and Stability - and we'll have to go from there.
 

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0 nitrite means the nitrite bacteria is still there in full force.

still seeing some nitrate, which means the nitrite bacteria are converting nitrite into nitrate.

if the ammonia bacteria are gone, then you would actually see a much high ammonia level, like 2 ppm or more. .5ppm is not too bad but also not optimal, either a small portion of your ammonia bacteria were killed off or you have an extra ammonia source, some times its ammonia in the tap water, sometimes decaying plant matter or excess food in the gravel (vacuum every week), or a dead fish or dead snail decaying.
 
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Nefersmum

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It could be food, I suppose. I did recently change my feeding pattern from once daily to two tiny feeds. When I give them daphnia I only use 1/2 a cube as a whole one seems too much. Thinking on it, the last couple of times I've fed them they've swum around all excited but spat out a lot of what's there. I'll also double check the plants just in case.

I'll still treat as a fish in cycle for a little while. It can't hurt
 
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Nefersmum

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What is your opinion of Purigen? I have picked up some Stability but this product looked interesting and had some rave reviews.

I believe I have found the source of the problem. I noticed one of my plants was looking a bit sickly and the minute I touched it bits starting floating off. It was tethered to a stone and as when I lifted it out it was in an advanced state of 'mush'. It's gone in the bin now but what's the probability that is the source of the ammonia spike.
 
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Skavatar

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What is your opinion of Purigen? I have picked up some Stability but this product looked interesting and had some rave reviews.
i use Purigen in both my goldfish tanks. my 1st tank had gotten a pretty bad bacterial bloom after it cycled. i had tried a diy water polisher for a couple of weeks, it helped a little but still cloudy. i read about Purigen and gave it a try and it cleared up my tank after about a week. Same thing happened when I got my 2nd tank.
 

Momgoose56

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Might be worth a try then.
Puragen absorbs ammonia, nitrite (the food for nitrifying bacteria). If you put Puragen in a single stage filtration system you risk disrupting your entire cycle by possibly depriving the bacteria of nutrients. I recommend not using the puragen and instead do what you originally planned and "treat as a fish in cycle for a little while" until the ammonia oxidizing bacteria catch back up.
Cycling the tank with Purigen - Seachem Support Forums
 
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