Cycling Tank - Zero Nitrates - Plant To Blame?

Discussion in 'Freshwater Beginners' started by sy2505, Apr 13, 2019.

  1. sy2505New MemberMember


    A new beginner here. Currently cycling a new small tank for about a week now.

    The tank has ammonia and nitrites but no nitrates now. I would like to ask is it because of the live plant in the tank results in zero nitrates. I'm using API test kits.

    Sorry if this question had been asked before.

  2. Momgoose56Well Known MemberMember

    Welcome to Fishlore Sam!
    Your tank should start showing nitrates when enough bacteria (nitrobacter) is established to start breaking down the nitrite into nitrate. What are your parameters at right now-pH, Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrate? What is your ammonia source? Size tank? Filter? Heater?
    It sounds like everything is moving along like it's supposed to!

  3. sy2505New MemberMember

    Thank you for the quick reply :)

    Tank pH is 7.6, Ammonia is 0.5, Nitrite is 0.25.

    My ammonia source is fish food. Is a one-foot tank, HOB filter and no heater.

    Last edited: Apr 13, 2019
  4. imbaWell Known MemberMember

    Looks like its beginning to cycle.
    Give it another couple weeks, you will start to see nitrates

  5. sy2505New MemberMember

    Just to update my current cycling tank status:

    Ammonia 0.5, Nitrite beyond chart, Nitrates 5ppm.

    I know it is still long way to go but am wondering should I do a partial water change now?

    I heard two versions, some said do pwc, some said no.
  6. Momgoose56Well Known MemberMember

    I would wait until your nitrates reach about 80ppm. Then do a 50% water change and keep feeding and watching.
  7. happyscrubNew MemberMember

    I don't like the idea of trying to cycle this way with a live plant. You mostly stressing the plant because of lack of nutrients.
  8. Momgoose56Well Known MemberMember

    @happyscrub, you can cycle your tanks without plants if you choose to but just FYI, plants use ammonia and nitrates as food. Read a fertilizer bag. If you read about the nitrogen cycle, it describes plants use of ammonia and nitrates in the cycle. I've cycled 4 tanks with ammonia, and plants in the tank. I also drained my ammonia laden cycling tanks onto my Rose's, gardenias, irisis and geraniums during water changes.They do fine.
  9. RonniethewitchValued MemberMember

    I found quite the opposite. My plants were lush through the cycling but had to learn to live with less available ammonia and nitrate once the cycle was complete. That's when I had to learn more about fertilizers for my plant babies.
  10. happyscrubNew MemberMember

    They need WAY more than just nitrogen.
  11. Momgoose56Well Known MemberMember

    They will be fine.
  12. RonniethewitchValued MemberMember

    I use my water change water for all my house plants - and whatever liquid fertilizer is left in it to water my houseplants and they are so very lush, I don't use anything else now!
  13. Momgoose56Well Known MemberMember

    Me too. The only fertilizer I use on my Rose's is Fish Emulsion and tank water! 20190416_132802.jpg
  14. RonniethewitchValued MemberMember

    the live plant will mean you always have lower nitrates than someone with no plants but they will still show up, to answer the original question. If you have several plants the nitrates would be so minimal you might not see the reading of them, but one plant won't have that effect. However, you've already got great advice from Momgoose on how to move forward. Welcome!! Hope you love this place as much as I do! (which i alot) :)
  15. sy2505New MemberMember

    Thanks ALL for the valuable info. Will wait further before any water change.
  16. happyscrubNew MemberMember

    It's not fine.

    1. You can't compare fish water from a stocked tank with a tank where you putting a little bit of nitrogen to fishless cycle. Two completely different situations

    2. Just nitrogen in tap water isn't putting in phosphorus or potassium, or some other micronutrients. A plant needs those to grow.
  17. Momgoose56Well Known MemberMember

    If by chance, your cycle "stalls", meaning your nitrites stay very high and other levels don't seem to move for a few days, go ahead and do a 50%-75% water change (or two) to get the nitrite level down to 80ppm or less and keep us posted on your progress, okay?
  18. sy2505New MemberMember

  19. sy2505New MemberMember

    Yesterday, the nitrates went up to 40ppm, nitrites still unreadable.
    This morning nitrates suddenly went down to 10ppm, nitrites still high.

    Confused why nitrates went down.....
  20. Momgoose56Well Known MemberMember

    Hmmmm, might be time to do a big water change. You could be having a bit of a die-off of Nitrobacter (the bacteria that feed on Nitrites and produce Nitrates). Try doing a 75% water change, let your tank run for 15-20 minutes then retest Nitrites. Repeat the water change if necessary to at least get your nitrites back "on the chart" at somewhere between 40 and 80ppm. Let me know how it goes k? I'll be at a track meet all day tomorrow, but I'll check in tomorrow night.