Cycling Tank, Very High Nitrites And Nitrates

Discussion in 'Freshwater Beginners' started by Toni92, Jul 20, 2019.

  1. Toni92

    Toni92New MemberMember

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    I have a betta fish waiting to be put into a fully cycled tank.

    Right now my readings are:
    Ammonia: 0 ppm
    Nitrites: 5 ppm (not sure if it’s more due to limitation of API test kit)
    Nitrates: 160 ppm

    What would be your advice at this point? The nitrites reading have been like that for awhile now. Not sure if there is anything I can do to speed up the drop in nitrites. Any help would be appreciated. I can go to the pet store today to pick up whatever too. Just want to get my betta in a healthy environment ASAP.

    Once the tank is cycled, do I do a 100% water change (with treatment), let it sit for a day, test the water and put him in if it’s all good?
     
  2. kallililly1973

    kallililly1973Fishlore VIPMember

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    Test the water your using
     
  3. OP
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    Toni92

    Toni92New MemberMember

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    I did. And posted the readings too.
     
  4. Skavatar

    SkavatarWell Known MemberMember

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    the nitrite are probably around 10ppm.

    you can do a 75% water change.
     
  5. kallililly1973

    kallililly1973Fishlore VIPMember

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    sorry i don't see it. What are you using to cycle the tank? pure ammonia, fish food bottled bacteria?
     
  6. Smalltownfishfriend

    SmalltownfishfriendWell Known MemberMember

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    I would do a water change, and see what happens, sometimes the cycle stalls a bit if levels get too high. I would not do a hundred percent water change, just 50 or so when you are ready to get him.
     
  7. jamesw6810

    jamesw6810Valued MemberMember

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    What are you using to dose ammonia? As said above, do a baseline test with the Api kit on your source water to see what the real level of nitrate/nitrite is in the tank.
    160 is high and only way to bring down is a large water change (without using chemicals)
    Looks like its cycling the right way and if fishless, you'll need to wait for the nitrites to drop to zero with an amount of nitrates - with ammonia at 0, you'll need to top that up to feed..

    Be useful to post up your equipment and cycling journey so far..
     
  8. OP
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    Toni92

    Toni92New MemberMember

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    I used fish food as a source of ammonia. Why would I possibly need to add ammonia to the cycle if it’s been converted to nitrites already ?

    I was considering doing a water change, but I see conflicting advice with similar posts. Didn’t find a lot of posts though with nitrates that high.
     
  9. jamesw6810

    jamesw6810Valued MemberMember

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    Ammonia is food for the nitrites, without it for too long they are likely to die off - only when you've 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites and a trace of under 40ppm ish of nitrates 12-24 hours ish after dosing ammonia (for example 2ppm) is it cycled and safe to add fish, its also best to repeat this for a few more days after you see those numbers in the test. Also worth noting if nitrites get too high, this will also likely stall the cycle a little

    As mentioned by others above, maybe do a 50% water change, in theory should reduce the Nitrates & Nitrites down to a more sensible level during a cycle - then dose ammonia back to 1-2ppm, retest the day after

    It might be also worth retesting with the API nitrate kit, did you bash the $%££ out of the second bottle...?

    1st job is baseline test the water source and see what level of Nitrite and Nitrate that gives..
     
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2019
  10. OP
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    Toni92

    Toni92New MemberMember

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    Tested the tap, both nitrites/nitrates are zero. And yes, I shook the **** outta the nitrate bottles.

    And I suspect the nitrites are higher than the test kit can provide.

    Also so cool how helpful everyone is really grateful!
     
  11. jamesw6810

    jamesw6810Valued MemberMember

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    Ok - well at leat you know its the tank creating the spikes, which means something is going on..

    Did you use any bottled bacteria of any type? I would have a go as above and change 50% of the water to reduce both level down, retest and see what they are afterwards. Once reduced to say 2ppm nitrite and 80ppm nitrate, redose ammonia to 1ppm and measure the next day

    Quick Q, is the API test in date and do you have another way to test nitrates, its extremely high at 160ppm with a base water value of 0..
     
  12. OP
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    Toni92

    Toni92New MemberMember

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    Thank you James! That sounds reasonable. I’ll do just that. Thank you all for your help
     
  13. jamesw6810

    jamesw6810Valued MemberMember

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    Basically what you have going on is a nitrite population thats efficient at scoffing the ammonia, your nitrate isnt so efficient at removing the nitrites as yet so needs to catch up, as you have high levels of both, then a water change sounds sensible to give them a chance. Usually if you high dose ammonia, say 4ppm or over, at a point the nitrites will spike way up - to combat, large ish water changes to reduce and a smaller dose of ammonia is likely to help

    Just be sure to dose much lower on ammonia when youve reduce the other 2..
     
  14. OP
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    Toni92

    Toni92New MemberMember

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    Interesting! Didn’t know bacteria could develop characteristics like that. I’ll have to pick up some chemical ammonia then- don’t know how to do a tiny dose like that with food
     
  15. jamesw6810

    jamesw6810Valued MemberMember

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    Did you test the ammonia levels whilst adding the food previously? What level did it get to vs what you added?

    Bottled ammonia is easier to measure for sure but make sure you get the correct one with no fragrances etc..have a search on here, dont know where your from but there are loads of posts on the correct types of ammonia vs incorrect.

    If your only cycling for 1 betta, they have a smallish bioload and if thats the only fish going in, you dont need to create a huge colony fishless with higher doses of ammonia, they will only die off when adjusted to the low bioload of the betta anyway, 1-2 max ppm conversion in 12 hours will likely be enough.
     
  16. mattgirl

    mattgirlFishlore VIPMember

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    Since you are using fish food for your ammonia source you may want to use your gravel vac to start cleaning it out while doing your water change. I agree with the suggestion to do a 75% water change. You have both ammonia and nitrite eating bacteria in there so are close to a complete cycle. It is now just a matter of balancing it out.

    It is much easier to control the level of ammonia if using pure liquid ammonia. Fish food will work but it is hard to control the amount. You may actually be so close to cycled buying ammonia now may not be necessary. Once this tank balances and you are reading 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites and some nitrates it will be ready for your fish. He will then produce the ammonia needed to feed the bacteria.
     
  17. Momgoose56

    Momgoose56Fishlore VIPMember

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    Your tank is nearly cycled. I think if you do a couple of back to back 75% water changes and get those nitrates down below 40 you may find that you are cycled. The best way to check is to get the nitrates down, add pure ammonia to get the level to 1 ppm then retest ammonia in 24 hours. If it has returned to 0pmm and your nitrites remain at 0, you'r tank is ready for your betta.
     
  18. OP
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    Toni92

    Toni92New MemberMember

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    Alrighty so I did a water change. For my curiosity, I decided to do an early test for nitrites. The reading is the same as before at the max value for the API test. Do I let the water sit and let the bacteria from the filter, gravel etc be established ? Even though the reading is so high. I’d say about 40 for the nitrate. Just wait and do another water change tomorrow ?
     
  19. mattgirl

    mattgirlFishlore VIPMember

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    that is telling us that the nitrites were unbelievably high.
    I would do another water change. You could wait until tomorrow but it wouldn't hurt to do it today. How much water did you change? Did you vacuum out some of the fish food?
     
  20. OP
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    Toni92

    Toni92New MemberMember

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    I vacuumed at as much as I could without changing too much water. I did about a 50-60% water change so far. What proportion would you recommend next ?
     
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