Can someone tell me what these numbers mean cycle-wise?

Discussion in 'Aquarium Nitrogen Cycle' started by 7swans, Dec 11, 2012.

  1. 7swansNew MemberMember

    I'm a total n00b at this, but I've got a 10g tank (too small for much, I know, I know) that's been filled since Friday. I bought it, set it up with a water conditioner and Cycle. I spent the weekend researching, and I'm now using something that the LFS gave me, which I didn't get the name of. I started adding a bit of flake food last night. I'm using half tap water, half filtered because our tap water PH is 8.4. Mixing 50-50 brings it down to about 7.5. I did a water quality test and got:

    Ammonia: 2.4
    Nitrites: 0.3
    Nitrates: 10

    Do I have a cycle going on here? How will I know when it's done - everything will fall to zero? Thanks!
  2. guppygrlValued MemberMember

    Hi there. Your ammonia and nitrites both need to be zero.... did you read about the cycling process?

    I'm sure some others will chime in to better explain it. The nitrates are the end result of a cycle. Keep up water changes and keep testing the water.

  3. 7swansNew MemberMember

    Yep. But the nitrates do have to be kept within an acceptable range, correct? I've read less than 50, but I'm not sure if that's correct.

    So this means I have a cycle going? I guess that's what I'm trying to confirm. I haven't seen a very clear explanation of what to expect before the numbers go back to zero. I don't really know what to look for and whether I need to do anything other than partial water changes.
  4. ryanrModeratorModerator Member

    Hi, welcome to Fishlore :;hi2

    You added Cycle? As in Nutrafin Cycle? It would also be helpful to know what you got from the LFS.

    Whilst the numbers indicate the tank is cycling, with the additives (particularly Cycle) it is possible this is a false cycle. Cycle needs to be added to the tank every week, due to the product not containing the right beneficial bacteria to be sustainable in the aquatic environment. And depending on what the LFS gave you, that could also lead to a false cycle.

    The best cycling products available, that are reliable when used as directed, are Tetra Safe Start, Dr Tim's One and Only and there's two more that I forget the names of (one is for marine though)

    Your tank is cycled when you have 0 ammonia (NH3/4), 0 nitrites (NO2) and some nitrates (NO3). Depending on the fish being kept, the recommended nitrate level can vary. Generally speaking the most common is 10-20ppm, up to 40 can be ok, but generally indicates time for a water change. As for how long it takes, well that depends on a few factors, temperature, ammonia load, size of tank.
  5. 7swansNew MemberMember

    Thank you. Yes, the first product I added (over 3 days) was Nutrafin Cycle. The second product was put into an old Nutrafin bottle from their large bottle, but it is not made by Nutrafin. I asked what it was called but the guy said it was only sold to stores and it was like a very strong version of Cycle. The guys there are very nice and have been testing my water for free and whatnot, but I'm not sure what to think. How would I differentiate a false cycle from a true cycle?
  6. ryanrModeratorModerator Member

    Don't add any more supplements, and watch your parameters.
    If the cycle holds, it will hold and you'll have 0,0,~20

    If it doesn't hold, I would expect see an ammonia or nitrite spike again in a week or so (when the other bacteria dies off)
  7. 7swansNew MemberMember

    Ok, thank you. That's what I'll do. I'm assuming that I'm still supposed to "feed" the tank during this time?

    Also, I just found out what the other product is - Seachem Prime. I have no idea why they would have sold that to me as being a stronger version of cycle, since it is a water conditioner. My ammonia is currently dropping and I've had a nitrite and nitrate spike, but now I'm wondering if it's just the Prime converting the ammonia and nitrites? I guess I'll find out in a week or so. :/
  8. Quinn_Lamb98Well Known MemberMember

    prime rids water of chlorine and chlorimine and binds ammonia so that the filter can more effectively reduce the ammonia. it is not a different type of cycle.
  9. 7swansNew MemberMember

    I know it's not the same thing as Cycle, but thank you for clearing up how it works. I wasn't sure if it actually converted ammonia to nitrites and so on. So it really doesn't change anything for me right now, I've just got to be patient and keep testing.

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