Cycling Questions - No Nitrites And No Nitrates

Cichlid 125
  • #1
Hi, I recently purchased a 125 gallon tank from friend. I set it up in the house about 2 days after I got it. The tank came with coral substrate that was kept in his tank before I bought t it. He drained the tank the day I got it. I kept the the substrate in plastic trash bags until I added it to the conditioned (prime) water I had added to the new tank (substrate was in the bags about 2 days). I also had hooked up a sun sun 303b cannister filter to my existing tank about 9 days before I hooked it up to the new tank. Now I've been doing a fishless cycle for 8 days now. I've added ammonia 3x during this week.. Now I'm having the ammonia reading drop from 4ppm to 0.25ppm overnight but no nitrites and nitrates sitting at about 5ppm. I've gotten this reading for 3 days now. I'm guessing I'm cycled now. But I'd like someone else's opinion.
 
Hunter1
  • #2
If so, that was quick and the substrate must have been the reason.

I would dose ammonia again to verify.
 
Cichlid 125
  • Thread Starter
  • #3
If so, that was quick and the substrate must have been the reason.

I would dose ammonia again to verify.
That's what I did this morning.. I'll repost results tomorrow
 
mattgirl
  • #4
It sounds to me like everything is going very well. It won't surprise me if you don't see nitrites at all by doing it the way you did. You should start seeing steadily rising nitrates. That is another way you can know that the tank is cycled.

How are you testing your water?
 
Cichlid 125
  • Thread Starter
  • #5
It sounds to me like everything is going very well. It won't surprise me if you don't see nitrites at all by doing it the way you did. You should start seeing steadily rising nitrates. That is another way you can know that the tank is cycled.

How are you testing your water?
ApI test tube kit. Strips don't offer reliable ammonia lvls. Just never cycled a tank w/ preexisting media (seeded filter and previously used substrate).
 
mattgirl
  • #6
ApI test tube kit. Strips don't offer reliable ammonia lvls. Just never cycled a tank w/ preexisting media (seeded filter and previously used substrate).
That is the beauty of using pre-seeded media + substrate. The majority of the bacteria live on the media but in my experience the substrate holds a substantial amount of it too. Add both of those to a new tank and you have an instant cycle

One only has to go through the cycling process one time. With a bit of pre-planning you can instantly cycle the rest of your tanks once MTS sets in I keep two dual sponge filters running in my main tank for just such occasions as this.
 
Cichlid 125
  • Thread Starter
  • #7
That is the beauty of using pre-seeded media + substrate. The majority of the bacteria live on the media but in my experience the substrate holds a substantial amount of it too. Add both of those to a new tank and you have an instant cycle

One only has to go through the cycling process one time. With a bit of pre-planning you can instantly cycle the rest of your tanks once MTS sets in I keep two dual sponge filters running in my main tank for just such occasions as this.
Just checked my tank "labs". ammonia 0.5ppm 12 hrs after dosing with ammonia to 4.0 ppm. no nitrites, 5ppm nitrates feeling like it's cycled!
 
alvinkoh
  • #8
Does plants absorb nitrite and nitrate?
 
Hunter1
  • #9
Just checked my tank "labs". ammonia 0.5ppm 12 hrs after dosing with ammonia to 4.0 ppm. no nitrites, 5ppm nitrates feeling like it's cycled!

Sorry I missed you also moved filter media, guess I need to read slower.

Like Mattgirl said, 1 cycle then move filter media to another tank for an instant cycle.

I run a double sponge filter in all of my tanks. When I start a new one, I take one filter out of 4 tanks and start with 2 double sponge filters.

I know they are ugly in the tank but my challenge is to hide em with plants.

The only tank I had that wasn’t immediately cycled was a dirty tank where the organic potting mix had high nitrogen, 8ppm. Thought it would kill my bacteria. In 8 days it was 0, 0, nitrates. With 4 sponge filters running.
 
Cichlid 125
  • Thread Starter
  • #10
Sorry I missed you also moved filter media, guess I need to read slower.

Like Mattgirl said, 1 cycle then move filter media to another tank for an instant cycle.

I run a double sponge filter in all of my tanks. When I start a new one, I take one filter out of 4 tanks and start with 2 double sponge filters.

I know they are ugly in the tank but my challenge is to hide em with plants.

The only tank I had that wasn’t immediately cycled was a dirty tank where the organic potting mix had high nitrogen, 8ppm. Thought it would kill my bacteria. In 8 days it was 0, 0, nitrates. With 4 sponge filters running.
Seems to work perfectly! Should I get a 4th tank I'll do that

Does plants absorb nitrite and nitrate?
I'm not sure.. But I have no plants
 
Hunter1
  • #11
Plants do absorb nitrates, some plants more than others.

As a general rule, fast growing, floating plants absorb more nitrates than other plants. But all are beneficial.
 
Cichlid 125
  • Thread Starter
  • #12
So this morning ammonia was 0.25 ppm nitrite 0 ppm and nitrate 5ppm. 24 hrs post adding ammonia to 4ppm.
 
Dch48
  • #13
I cycled my second tank with a used filter cartridge from the other one and I also added some TSS. It cycled in 5 days and I never did see any nitrite reading at all.
 
mattgirl
  • #14
So this morning ammonia was 0.25 ppm nitrite 0 ppm and nitrate 5ppm. 24 hrs post adding ammonia to 4ppm.
I don't understand the nitrates not going up. They really should be since it is processing so much ammonia every 24 hours or so. Are you really really shaking and then shaking some more the number 2 bottle of solution and then shaking the test tube for a full minute after adding the final 10 drops? If yes then I am at a loss as to where the nitrates are going.

I actually bang the bottle against the heal of my hand while shaking it. As far as I know that is the only solution in the kit where it separates and has to be mixed really well before dispensing.
 
Cichlid 125
  • Thread Starter
  • #15
I don't understand the nitrates not going up. They really should be since it is processing so much ammonia every 24 hours or so. Are you really really shaking and then shaking some more the number 2 bottle of solution and then shaking the test tube for a full minute after adding the final 10 drops? If yes then I am at a loss as to where the nitrates are going.

I actually bang the bottle against the heal of my hand while shaking it. As far as I know that is the only solution in the kit where it separates and has to be mixed really well before dispensing.
The kit was given to me by the guy I got the tank from.. I've read about banging the bottle and have done that quite a bit. Exp on the bottle is 9/2020 so I think it's still newish. I usually do the ammonia test first and let it develop while I test nitrates/nitrites and pH.. PH is 7.8-8 water temp 80-82f. I think it's weird there's no nitrates/nitrites either.... Once the ammonia is 0 I'll add a couple test fish from my 20 gal tank (couple tetras) and see how they do. Continue to test the water. Thanks for all your input. Nice to talk to people who have knowledge about this topic
 
ETNsilverstar
  • #16
I think one of your tests is wrong. Since the nitrate is known to be problematic, I'd guess that's the one--especially since it's not changing. Try doing a nitrate test and shake the bottle for longer than you normally do. If it still comes out at 5, you might want to replace it and see if you get a different reading.
 
mattgirl
  • #17
The kit was given to me by the guy I got the tank from.. I've read about banging the bottle and have done that quite a bit. Exp on the bottle is 9/2020 so I think it's still newish. I usually do the ammonia test first and let it develop while I test nitrates/nitrites and pH.. PH is 7.8-8 water temp 80-82f. I think it's weird there's no nitrates/nitrites either.... Once the ammonia is 0 I'll add a couple test fish from my 20 gal tank (couple tetras) and see how they do. Continue to test the water. Thanks for all your input. Nice to talk to people who have knowledge about this topic
You are so very welcome. Sometimes the solution does have problems. I remember one gentleman that was getting some really off the wall readings. He bought a new nitrate test and discovered that the one he had was defective and his nitrates were right where they supposed to be.

I think it would be safe to go ahead and add the fish to this tank once the ammonia zero's out. It isn't at all unexpected to not see nitrites when cycling the way you did and since it is processing the ammonia so quickly I feel sure you did get an instant cycle. Although you are not seeing the nitrates rise I still feel sure this tank is cycled.

A few months ago I needed to set up a 10 gallon grow out tank for some molly fry. By using seeded media from my big tank I never got an ammonia or nitrite reading but within a week or so I was seeing nitrates. All molly fry have now grown into adults.
 
Cichlid 125
  • Thread Starter
  • #18
I think one of your tests is wrong. Since the nitrate is known to be problematic, I'd guess that's the one--especially since it's not changing. Try doing a nitrate test and shake the bottle for longer than you normally do. If it still comes out at 5, you might want to replace it and see if you get a different reading.
Possible.. I'll see if I can find some new nitrate test kits.. However.. I checked my existing tank with it and it reads 20ppm 3 days after a water change.. Also checked my tap water which shows 0ppm
20180821_010737.jpg
 
mattgirl
  • #19
Possible.. I'll see if I can find some new nitrate test kits.. However.. I checked my existing tank with it and it reads 20ppm 3 days after a water change.. Also checked my tap water which shows 0ppmView attachment 477727
That tells us that the test material is fine and is working as it should. It looks like we have a mystery on our hands
 
Cichlid 125
  • Thread Starter
  • #20
That tells us that to test material is fine and is working as it should. It looks like we have a mystery on our hands
Call Scooby-Doo!
 
Cichlid 125
  • Thread Starter
  • #21
So I sat on my couch slamming the **** out of both nitrate bottles for about 5 minutes.. Retested my water... 80 ppm nitrates.. I'm cycled!! No ammonia no nitrates! Woo hoo!
 
mattgirl
  • #22
So I sat on my couch slamming the out of both nitrate bottles for about 5 minutes.. Retested my water... 80 ppm nitrates.. I'm cycled!! No ammonia no nitrates! Woo hoo!
I agree Woo Hoo!!!!! Sounds to me like a water change is in order
 
Cichlid 125
  • Thread Starter
  • #23
Drained a out 75% of the tank.. Refilled it.. 10-20 ppm now.. Heading to the fish store for a bigger net.. Lol #cichlidsarehardtocatch
 
mattgirl
  • #24
Start feeding them with the net and it should get much easier. They will start seeing the net as a good thing.

Takes time and patience but will be well worth it the first time you have to catch a specific one for one reason or another.
 
Cichlid 125
  • Thread Starter
  • #25
Start feeding them with the net and it should get much easier. They will start seeing the net as a good thing.

Takes time and patience but will be well worth it the first time you have to catch a specific one for one reason or another.
Thx! I'll give it a try

Happy fishes! Gonna add a few fish every 3-4 days from my other tank mostly the peacock cichlids and the giraffe cichlid
20180913_145707.jpg
20180913_145553.jpg
 

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