Confusing Nitrite Results

LaylaF

Hello!
I am new to the forum, having just started a 30 gal tank for my son, and I have a question about our tanks cycle:

Background: Started our fishless cycle roughly 3 1/2 weeks ago, we used pre-established media from a friends tank to help move the process along. We have been using fish food instead of pure ammonia.

Early on, we had an incident where my youngest son overfeeding the tank. The ammonia spiked off the chart and I did a 50% water change to remove excess food. The levels dropped down to almost zero. We resumed feeding as normal.

Several days later we began to see ammonia rise, but no nitrites. Another few days and ammonia began to slowly drop, Nitrates were present and rising slowly. I began testing the nitrite levels several times a day thinking I was missing the spike. Sure enough I caught a slight elevation of .25 to .50 nitrites first thing in the morning. The past three days no sign of nitrites at any time (testing every 5-6 hours). Ammonia is at .25 and Nitrates are at 30.

Can anyone give me insight into what is going on?

My research indicates that we may be close to being cycled, that our pre-established media may be the cause of the nitrite issue. Do you think this may be the case?

We appreciate any info you can provide!
 

mattgirl

It isn't unusual at all to almost skip the nitrite spike when using seeded media from a cycled tank. The low number you registered at one point may be all you will ever see.

Since your nitrates are steadily going up we have to think this tank may be cycled. What kind of filter are you running on this tank? The bigger the filter the better it will be. With a bigger filter you can add more filter media. More filter media means more area for bacteria to grow on.

How many and what kind of fish do you have in this tank?

The bio-load of the tank the seeded media came from will determine how much bacteria there was on it. If it came from a small tank with just one or two fish there wouldn't have been enough bacteria to instantly cycle a tank with a higher bio-load. If it was a well stocked tank there would be a lot more bacteria on it and you were more likely to complete the cycle in this tank quickly.
 
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LaylaF

I had read that a few times and thought that was the case!

We are running a Marineland Penguine 200. We have read the biowheel is great for bacteria growth and we use our own media.

The media we used was from a well stocked 20 gallon tank, so not very large.

We do not have anything in the tank thus far, but out plan is to add 2-3 honey gourami, 8-10 neon tetra, and 4-6 panda corydoras. We are hoping to keep it mediumly stocked just incase we have any spawning! We have a few live plants and plan to add more as we go, do you have any suggestions for plants to add?

Your help is greatly appreciated!
 
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mattgirl

I had read that a few times and thought that was the case!

We are running a Marineland Penguine 200. We have read the biowheel is great for bacteria growth and we use our own media.
I've never used a bio-wheel but some folks really like them as long as you can keep the wheel turning.

The media we used was from a well stocked 20 gallon tank, so not very large.
The size of the tank the media came from doesn't really matter. What determines the amount of bacteria on the media is the bio-load in the tank. Since the 20 was well stocked there should have been a big colony of bacteria on it.

We do not have anything in the tank thus far, but out plan is to add 2-3 honey gourami, 8-10 neon tetra, and 4-6 panda corydoras. We are hoping to keep it mediumly stocked just incase we have any spawning!
Since you have been ghost feeding instead of adding the fish right away to keep the bacteria well fed some may have died off. I do know that bacteria is pretty tough stuff though so that may not be an issue. I think to be on the safe side I would just add one group of fish at a time instead of all at once.

We have a few live plants and plan to add more as we go, do you have any suggestions for plants to add?

Your help is greatly appreciated!
I am very new to having live plants so may not be the best person to answer this question but I am having good luck with java ferns and a couple of different crypts. Water wisteria worked well for me for a while but it no longer seems to like me so is looking pretty sad. Amazon swords are nice and easy too. My neon tetras spend most of their time hanging out in mine.
 
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