Finally There!!!

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Ferretlady

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I never thought I'd be so excited to see bacteria!

I started with my cycle 2 weeks ago & my ammonia is finally dropping!! I had bought some of Dr Tim's Ammonia, and had dosed the tank w/ 29 drops, as instructed on the bottle. It brought my ammonia level to 2.0, as it stated it would. (Oops - it was only after that, that I read the one guide here that said to dose to 1.o!)

I dosed Seachem Stability at the amount the bottle said to use.

First four days, the ammonia stayed at 2.0 no question. I dosed the recommended amount of Stability each day. I DID make one bad mistake & had forgotten to remove the purigen packet from my filter until Day 2.

Days 5-10: it looked like the ammonia was somewhere between 1 and 2 - although much closer to 2. It was a bit hard for me to tell. It looked maybe a *tiny* bit lighter than 2, but definitely not at 1, was the best I could tell. I dosed the normal amount of Stability. Perhaps due to a momentary spurt of impatience (BAD, I know... ), late that evening I dosed more Stability.

Day 11: Ammonia was definitely 1.0 !!! I double-dosed Stability that morning.

Day 12: Ammonia 1.0. I double-dosed the Stability again.

Today is Day 13: I just checked my ammonia & it is almost certainly 0.5 !!!!! I went ahead & double-dosed Stability once more.

I don't know if the additional Stability helped, or if it was sheer coincidence that my ammonia started dropping more after I started the double-dose. One way or another, I'm so happy to see the ammonia dropping - YAY for bacteria!!! LOL!

One factor could have been my temperature. When I bought my tank (used), it came with a brand-new heater that is "pre-set" for 78 degrees. Without a heater at all, my tank water stays at about 76, so I hadn't bothered to replace the preset heater yet. So the water temp now, using that heater, is simply 78, rather than the higher temp recommend in the cycling guide. I did go ahead & order an adjustable heater a few days ago, before the ammonia levels started dropping for sure. I'll put it in & raise the temperature once it arrives.

Should I continue to dose Stability every day? At normal dosage or continue the double-dose? I know the bottle says to use it for just 7 days - but I'd barely had any results at that point.

Once my ammonia hits 0.25, that's when I start checking my nitrites & nitrates, correct?

I can almost always be patient, and I truly don't mind if it takes a little while for my tank to fully cycle - I was a bit concerned though when I was seeing NO change at all, as it seemed that most folks saw some drop in ammonia fairly soon.

Anyway -- one tiny step further towards the day I can get my fishies!!! YAY!!!
 
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Summer22

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What were your nitrites? You should see those appear before your ammonia goes all the way down. They should overlap each other.
 
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I'll check the nitrates. I hadn't tested for them just yet - it was only today that the ammonia dropped to 0.5 and I was going by the guide here, Ammonia Instructions when Cycling with TSS+ or other Bacterial Starter,
which advised to wait until ammonia was at 0-0.25 - then checking nitrites & nitrates. I'll go check them now & see where they're at. (Prior to starting, I had checked both my tank water & my tap water -- nitrites/nitrates were 0 for both)
 
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OK --- wow, my nitrite reading is somewhere between 2.0 and 5.0. Those two purples on the chart are really hard to distinguish between, but looking under several different lightings, it seems as if it's a little bit deeper than 2.0 but not quite as deep as 5.0? Anyway, that was my best guess at it - definitely purple, no blue-ish tint at all!

My nitrates were at 5.0 I did beat & shake the daylights out of bottle #2 before using it.

So - according to that guide, I should wait before dosing more ammonia? It states that if nitrites are over 2.0, to wait 24 hours?

Would the fact that I had just dosed the Stability about 2 hours ago have any effect on these readings?

Thanks for your help!
 
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I just tested this morning -- my ammonia looks to be almost 0 now! But the nitrites are still at the top of the chart. I just cannot tell whether it's the 2.0 or 5.0 -- it's just very purple! Nitrates are up too --- looks like 20!

Should I dose ammonia today? And what about the Stability - should I continue adding that every day?

Thanks for your help!!
 
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Ferretlady said:
I just tested this morning -- my ammonia looks to be almost 0 now! But the nitrites are still at the top of the chart. I just cannot tell whether it's the 2.0 or 5.0 -- it's just very purple! Nitrates are up too --- looks like 20!

Should I dose ammonia today? And what about the Stability - should I continue adding that every day?

Thanks for your help!!
You'll want to lower the nitrite first by doing a water change. If the nitrites get higher than 4 it can actually stall the cycle as it's too toxic for even the BB(beneficial bacteria). Changing at least 75% should bring it to a manageable level. Then, after the water change dose ammonia up to 1ppm.
 
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I'm going to take a stab in the dark (never done fishless cycle before) but I think you should keep dosing ammonia until you get your fish???? Reason for my thinking is that you want to keep feeding your established beneficial bacteria to keep the cycle going. I would think if you stopped they would slowly die off because there's nothing to convert? Again stab in the dark but I think you can go either way with dosing stability??? You already have a colony going so I don't know if you need to keep adding?? I would follow whatever directions say. CONGRATS!!! Your almost cycled! When you see 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites and some Nitrates your cycled!!!
 
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As far as the Stability goes. Keep dosing that daily. If you have to do a water change then always wait till after or you'll just be pouring it out and wasting it.

You can dose double the amount that is on the instructions, daily until cycled.
 
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Summer22 said:
I'm going to take a stab in the dark (never done fishless cycle before) but I think you should keep dosing ammonia until you get your fish???? Reason for my thinking is that you want to keep feeding your established beneficial bacteria to keep the cycle going. I would think if you stopped they would slowly die off because there's nothing to convert? Again stab in the dark but I think you can go either way with dosing stability??? You already have a colony going so I don't know if you need to keep adding?? I would follow whatever directions say. CONGRATS!!! Your almost cycled! When you see 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites and some Nitrates your cycled!!!
Wouldn't quite say the OP is almost cycled since it tends to take much longer for the nitrite bacteria to grow and catch up. Usually weeks, even with Stability or another similar product.
 
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greenbonsai said:
You'll want to lower the nitrite first by doing a water change. If the nitrites get higher than 4 it can actually stall the cycle as it's too toxic for even the BB(beneficial bacteria). Changing at least 75% should bring it to a manageable level. Then, after the water change dose ammonia up to 1ppm.
Thanks so much! You totally cleared up the points that I was confused about!! And hey - I get to try my python draining water from the tank, for the first time! LOL! (That thing is incredible - I remember the chore of buckets/buckets/buckets way back when... )
 
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Ferretlady said:
Thanks so much! You totally cleared up the points that I was confused about!! And hey - I get to try my python draining water from the tank, for the first time! LOL! (That thing is incredible - I remember the chore of buckets/buckets/buckets way back when... )
Glad to hear that! Yeah, pretty much every one that gets a Python sings praises at how much easier it makes cleanings and tank refills. Even in my little 3.5g it saves so much time and energy, as well as doing a much better job at cleaning the gravel.
 
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Green bonsai... I wasn't referring to the OP or very first post. I was referring to today's post that said almost no ammonia, 5 nitrites and 20 nitrates. If they already have nitrates to me the battle is nearing an end.
 
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Summer22 said:
Green bonsai... I wasn't referring to the OP or very first post. I was referring to today's post that said almost no ammonia, 5 nitrites and 20 nitrates. If they already have nitrates to me the battle is nearing an end.
I understand, but on average(not always), the nitrite bacteria takes 2 times longer to establish than the ammonia bacteria. The fact that this is day 14 of their cycle and they are just now getting 1ppm of ammonia to be processed in 24 hours leads me to believe that even if their is nitrite bacteria it will still take 4 weeks total for it to catch up. Not saying 4 weeks from today, although most tanks I've seen in fishless cycle take 6 weeks on average, but they could only be in week one of those 4 weeks.

This is also theoretical and sometimes it takes less time and sometimes more, but since this is only 2 weeks into their fishless cycle I'd venture to say they have 4 more weeks to go.
 
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They have 20 nitrates. The nitrites have already begun converting. I'm going to have to agree to disagree. Sorry.
 
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oh my - maybe my nitrites were even higher than I thought! I changed roughly 65-75% of the water -- I just tested again -- nitrites still look to be about 2 !! Nitrates seem to be 10! Should I do one more water change, or wait til tomorrow? Sorry to be a pain - I'm just surprised it didn't go down further. (And I'm totally in love with whoever invented the python!!! LOL!)
 
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Summer22 said:
They have 20 nitrates. The nitrites have already begun converting. I'm going to have to agree to disagree. Sorry.
That's fine! You're entitled to your opinion. I never said you were wrong either. You could very well be right!

I'm just stating what I experienced, as well as others, using Stability in a fishless cycle. I also had nitrates after about 2 weeks, but it still took 4 more weeks to go from 1ppm ammonia and have 0 ammonia and 0 nitrites in 24 hours.
 
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Ferretlady said:
oh my - maybe my nitrites were even higher than I thought! I changed roughly 65-75% of the water -- I just tested again -- nitrites still look to be about 2 !! Nitrates seem to be 10! Should I do one more water change, or wait til tomorrow? Sorry to be a pain - I'm just surprised it didn't go down further. (And I'm totally in love with whoever invented the python!!! LOL!)
No, you're fine. I'd add a double dose of Stability and leave it as is. I would just wait another day or two before adding more ammonia. See what your nitrite levels are tomorrow. If they go down from 2ppm to .5 or less than I'd add ammonia back up to 1ppm and see how long it takes for the nitrites to get back to .5 or less.

The ammonia BB can live for quite awhile without another ammonia dose. They will just go dormant if needed.
 
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Agree with the advice you have received and good job on all your work getting this thing cycled What temp are you running at? You can boost it to the low-mid 80s since there are no fish to worry about and it will help the BB reproduce faster
 
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Bizarro252 said:
Agree with the advice you have received and good job on all your work getting this thing cycled What temp are you running at? You can boost it to the low-mid 80s since there are no fish to worry about and it will help the BB reproduce faster
It has been at 78, because the heater that came with my tank (I bought it used) was one of those "pre-set" heaters. I just received an adjustable heater I'd ordered, and will put it in & boost the temperature - thanks!
 
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greenbonsai said:
No, you're fine. I'd add a double dose of Stability and leave it as is. I would just wait another day or two before adding more ammonia. See what your nitrite levels are tomorrow. If they go down from 2ppm to .5 or less than I'd add ammonia back up to 1ppm and see how long it takes for the nitrites to get back to .5 or less.

The ammonia BB can live for quite awhile without another ammonia dose. They will just go dormant if needed.
Oh no..... I'm such a dummy!!!!! After the water change was done, I first filled my test tubes, then went ahead & added ammonia - then ran my tests on the collected water. Argh!!! I had been sure that the big water change would make the nitrites/nitrates much much lower! Yikes - did I just screw everything up, or will it be ok?? *argh*!!!!!
 
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Ferretlady said:
Oh no..... I'm such a dummy!!!!! After the water change was done, I first filled my test tubes, then went ahead & added ammonia - then ran my tests on the collected water. Argh!!! Yikes - did I just screw everything up, or will it be ok?? *argh*!!!!!
lol no, it'll be fine, don't worry. You just may need to do another water change tomorrow because the nitrites produced from that ammonia might go back up above 4ppm.
 
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greenbonsai said:
lol no, it'll be fine, don't worry. You just may need to do another water change tomorrow because the nitrites produced from that ammonia might go back up above 4ppm.
WHEW!!! Thank you!!!! Lesson learned - don't assume *anything* --- run tests FIRST, before adding/adjusting anything, no matter what....... I won't make that mistake again!

Thanks so much for all your help!
 
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WHEW!!! Thank you!!!! Lesson learned - don't assume *anything* --- run tests FIRST, before adding/adjusting anything, no matter what....... I won't make that mistake again!

Thanks so much for all your help!
No problem. If there's one thing I've learned in caring for any animal is to have patience and think things through before acting. There's been many times I've brought my cats into the vet, because I'm paranoid for their health, only to find out the trip was completely unnecessary and just a waste of time and money. It's always better to be safe than sorry, but sometimes all that's needed is more time and thinking things through.
 
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Ferretlady said:
It has been at 78, because the heater that came with my tank (I bought it used) was one of those "pre-set" heaters. I just received an adjustable heater I'd ordered, and will put it in & boost the temperature - thanks!
Oh sorry, I read that earlier in the thread but figured you had the new heater already Set it to 82-85 IMO

Ferretlady said:
Oh no..... I'm such a dummy!!!!! After the water change was done, I first filled my test tubes, then went ahead & added ammonia - then ran my tests on the collected water. Argh!!! I had been sure that the big water change would make the nitrites/nitrates much much lower! Yikes - did I just screw everything up, or will it be ok?? *argh*!!!!!
Trying to make sure I understand, you tested the water from before the water change, or from before an ammonia dose? Either way now that its all nice and mixed up just re-test
 
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Bizarro252 said:
Oh sorry, I read that earlier in the thread but figured you had the new heater already Set it to 82-85 IMO


Trying to make sure I understand, you tested the water from before the water change, or from before an ammonia dose? Either way now that its all nice and mixed up just re-test
Yikes - so sorry! I wasn't online much yesterday & I never got a notification about your post!

I had done the water change that was recommended -- then I tested - then added the ammonia. (To be really precise, I had filled my test tubes before adding ammonia, put in the ammonia, then went in the other room to do my tests w/ the water I had already collected prior to adding ammonia...)

My new heater arrived & I have the temperature up to about 84 now.
 
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Whew boy.... I'm a little bit confused at what's happening now.

(Day 14 - I had done a water change, had dosed ammonia back to 1.0 - when I should have waited, and was advised that I MIGHT need to do another water change the following day if nitrites were up)

(Activity since the last discussions here

Day 15 - Ammonia 0 Nitrite 2-5?? Nitrate 40 -- did 2 water changes 90% and then 40%
After wc, Ammonia 0 Nitrite 0 Nitrate 0
Dosed ammonia back to 1.0 Double-dosed Stability
Put in my new heater, increased temperature to 84

Day 16 -- since it was only about 18 hrs later, I first only tested Nitrites --- they were still definitely at 0, so I didn't check the others

Day 17 (today) --- Ammonia 0.5 Nitrites back to 2.0??? Nitrates 5


Should my Nitrites really have jumped that much in just one day??? Same for Nitrates? It seems odd, since the ammonia is still at 0.5?? Do I need to do another water change now, since they're back at 2?
(I hate that Nitrite test - I simply cannot really distinguish between the two purples on the chart - the '2' reading and the '5' )

------------------------------------
(Here's a summary of previous activity, if someone needs to know what has happened before now)

Using Dr Tims Ammonia & Stability - temp at 78 in tank (pre-set heater)

Dosed Ammonia to 2.0 at the beginning.
Dosed the recommended amount of stability each day for days 1-8

Ammonia 2.0 days 1-4, then between 1-2 for a couple days, 1.0 on day 11

Starting day 9, I double-dosed Stability each day

Day 13 - came here for advice -- Ammonia 0.5 Nitrite 2-5? Nitrate 5

Day 14 - Ammonia 0 Nitrite 2? Nitrate 20 - was advised to do water change, did app. 70%
Dosed ammonia back to 1.0 Was advised I might need to do another water change the following day IF nitrites were high again
 
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Ferretlady said:
Whew boy.... I'm a little bit confused at what's happening now.

(Day 14 - I had done a water change, had dosed ammonia back to 1.0 - when I should have waited, and was advised that I MIGHT need to do another water change the following day if nitrites were up)

(Activity since the last discussions here

Day 15 - Ammonia 0 Nitrite 2-5?? Nitrate 40 -- did 2 water changes 90% and then 40%
After wc, Ammonia 0 Nitrite 0 Nitrate 0
Dosed ammonia back to 1.0 Double-dosed Stability
Put in my new heater, increased temperature to 84

Day 16 -- since it was only about 18 hrs later, I first only tested Nitrites --- they were still definitely at 0, so I didn't check the others

Day 17 (today) --- Ammonia 0.5 Nitrites back to 2.0??? Nitrates 5


Should my Nitrites really have jumped that much in just one day??? Same for Nitrates? It seems odd, since the ammonia is still at 0.5?? Do I need to do another water change now, since they're back at 2?
(I hate that Nitrite test - I simply cannot really distinguish between the two purples on the chart - the '2' reading and the '5' )

------------------------------------
(Here's a summary of previous activity, if someone needs to know what has happened before now)

Using Dr Tims Ammonia & Stability - temp at 78 in tank (pre-set heater)

Dosed Ammonia to 2.0 at the beginning.
Dosed the recommended amount of stability each day for days 1-8

Ammonia 2.0 days 1-4, then between 1-2 for a couple days, 1.0 on day 11

Starting day 9, I double-dosed Stability each day

Day 13 - came here for advice -- Ammonia 0.5 Nitrite 2-5? Nitrate 5

Day 14 - Ammonia 0 Nitrite 2? Nitrate 20 - was advised to do water change, did app. 70%
Dosed ammonia back to 1.0 Was advised I might need to do another water change the following day IF nitrites were high again
A water change is only needed if nitrites go above 4ppm. It sounds like there is some nitrite bacteria starting, so I would leave it for another 24 hours then see if the nitrites go down any.

The best advice I can give for reading the test colors is use a very bright, white light or natural sunlight during a sunny day. Put the vial up against the white part of the color card and then compare. The 2ppm is the same color as the 5ppm but the 5ppm is much more saturated and a brighter magenta.

You can also do the dilution test by mixing the tank water with 50% distilled or tap water. Just make sure there's no nitrites in the tap water that would skew the results. Then you just multiply the 50% dilution result by 2 to get your correct ppm.
 
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greenbonsai said:
You can also do the dilution test by mixing the tank water with 50% distilled or tap water. Just make sure there's no nitrites in the tap water that would skew the results. Then you just multiply the 50% dilution result by 2 to get your correct ppm.
Oh my gosh - that sounds like an excellent idea! Thank you so much! The other numbers are fairly easy to read - it's just that durn 2/5 differentiation that gives me fits! I'll look under my bright kitchen light, I'll go outside, etc etc & still have trouble... In past tests, my tap water didn't show nitrites but I'll check again to be sure. And I'll wait til tomorrow & see what the nitrites/nitrates are doing then. I hope I'm getting some nitrite bacteria built up! Yay, that would be great!

And (to be sure I'm doing things right) -- if ammonia goes back to 0, dose up to 1.0 then? Or wait a day or two on the nitrites before adding ammonia?

Sorry to be such a bother - we never did all this testing stuff 20+ years ago when we had our tanks, so this is all new to me. (Though I'm very happy we have more knowledge/tools now, to ensure better quality life for our fish!)
 
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Ferretlady said:
Oh my gosh - that sounds like an excellent idea! Thank you so much! The other numbers are fairly easy to read - it's just that durn 2/5 differentiation that gives me fits! I'll look under my bright kitchen light, I'll go outside, etc etc & still have trouble... In past tests, my tap water didn't show nitrites but I'll check again to be sure. And I'll wait til tomorrow & see what the nitrites/nitrates are doing then. I hope I'm getting some nitrite bacteria built up! Yay, that would be great!

And (to be sure I'm doing things right) -- if ammonia goes back to 0, dose up to 1.0 then? Or wait a day or two on the nitrites before adding ammonia?

Sorry to be such a bother - we never did all this testing stuff 20+ years ago when we had our tanks, so this is all new to me. (Though I'm very happy we have more knowledge/tools now, to ensure better quality life for our fish!)
You can wait a day or two. The ammonia bacteria will be fine for 48 hours without food(ammonia). If the nitrite still isn't below .5ppm after 48 hours I would dose ammonia just up to .5ppm but 1ppm would be fine. Just keep an eye on the nitrite after you dose it again to make sure it doesn't go over 4ppm and if it does then do a 50% water change, so it's back down to 2ppm.
 
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greenbonsai said:
You can wait a day or two. The ammonia bacteria will be fine for 48 hours without food(ammonia). If the nitrite still isn't below .5ppm after 48 hours I would dose ammonia just up to .5ppm but 1ppm would be fine. Just keep an eye on the nitrite after you dose it again to make sure it doesn't go over 4ppm and if it does then do a 50% water change, so it's back down to 2ppm.
Thank you so much for your help!! And that dilution test is *great*!! My tap water was fine -- so I tested my nitrites with the 50/50 test -- it looks like my nitrites are right at 2. (1 on the dilution test) That will make it possible also - to determine readings of "3" and "4", since the chart jumps from 2 to 5! Thanks so much for that tip!

THANK YOU again for all your help!!! Maybe I can get through now without constantly pestering everyone with questions!!
 
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OK - today's results: Ammonia 0.25 Nitrite 3-4, closer to 4 I believe Nitrate 20

I did not dose Stability yesterday - I'm going to hold off on that today also, & see how things continue to progress without it. (I'm almost out....)

So - it looks like I've got *some* nitrate-converting bacteria, but still not nearly enough. at least it's a start! I'll be so happy when I see the nitrites starting to decrease, rather than increase! My uneducated guess right now is to wait until tomorrow, and if nitrites continue to go up, do my 50% water change then? How high can I let Nitrates go, before a water change is required? Was that 40?

------------------
Just FYI, in case any of this makes any difference --- I've got a 29 gallon tank, running a Tidal 55 filter w/ coarse sponge, finer "floss-cloth stuff", and a good bit of Seachem Matrix.... then I also have a corner sponge filter on one side, and one of those "double-layer" corner box filters on the other corner, which has 2 layers of sponge/floss and some ceramic media in each 'compartment' (both of those filters powered by air pump). I removed my Purigen when starting this process. I have some driftwood in the tank which is still leaching a small amount of tannins, not heavily at all, but still a little bit slowly over a period of days.
 
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Ferretlady said:
My uneducated guess right now is to wait until tomorrow, and if nitrites continue to go up, do my 50% water change then? How high can I let Nitrates go, before a water change is required? Was that 40?
You'll only want to do a 50% water change when the nitrites start going up to 5ppm or higher, because these levels can be harmful to the BB. I just did the 50% changes every time I saw the nitrites over 4ppm to cut it down to 2ppm.

You don't have to worry about nitrates at all until the cycle finishes and you are preparing the water for the introduction of your fish. Easiest thing to do is once the cycle completes and a day before you want to add fish, do a 95% water change and let the tank sit for 24 hours. Then test the water and as long as there is 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites, less than 20ppm nitrate and the water is the correct temperature, you can then acclimate the fish and put them in.
 
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Today looks good, I think. I'm going to continue posting my progress here - but I'm not intending to pester anyone for replies. If someone sees me doing something seriously wrong, please let me know! Otherwise, I *think* I might have a very basic beginners grip on things. Thank you everyone for your assistance, thank you greenbonsai!!

Readings today:

Ammonia - 0 / Nitrites 3-4 (slightly closer to 3 now, I think??) / Nitrates 30

Appears that the nitrite bacteria might possibly be increasing a little bit? Nitrite level looks to have gone down just a tiny-tiny bit, I think, even though the remaining ammonia had been converted. And Nitrates increased.

Double-dosed Stability (since I went ahead & ordered more...)
Did not dose ammonia today. Will dose tomorrow to 0.5.
Over time, whenever nitrites start to be converted faster, I'll gradually increase ammonia dose.

Checked other parameters to make sure nothing had changed drastically or looked wonky

PH 8.0 / KH 7 125.3 / GH 8 143.2

All are pretty much the same as other recent tests since I started cycling. I'll be getting my fish from Imperial Tropicals, they are in the next large town over from me - their ph is 8 & I believe their water is otherwise basically the same as mine, so that will make acclimation somewhat easier on the fish, I believe?


Happy with today's results!!!
 
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Looking great! Just a little bit longer it looks like. I found that taking pictures of the test results against a white background under the same light source (the bathroom in my case) and logging them in my phone made it easier to determine those small changes you are looking for. Someone was also using an app to match the color of the sample to the color chart on here a while ago, no idea what app that was but I need to check into it

Keep up on dosing stability, are you still at 84F for now?

I would do a 50% WC if you see that Nitrite get above 4, so good idea holding off on the ammonia for today.

Keep on posting the results, its interesting to see how things progress
 
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Bizarro252 said:
I found that taking pictures of the test results against a white background under the same light source (the bathroom in my case) and logging them in my phone made it easier to determine those small changes you are looking for.
Believe it or not -- no smartphone here!! Just a very old flip-phone on a very basic limited pay-as-you-go service --- pretty much just an "emergency" phone if I'm out on the road & run into car trouble or such. I'm weird I guess - with my lifestyle, I don't really *need* a fancier cell phone. Though I certainly do think the smartphones are extremely cool! I did try taking photos with my iPod Touch and with my camera - the colors just didn't turn out very accurate.... I might give it another try.

Yes, I'm keeping my temperature at 84 - will keep it there until cycling is done! Thanks so much!!
 
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  • #36

Ferretlady

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OK - I'm getting a bit confused here.....

Yesterday - my initial readings were

Ammonia 0 (down from 0.25 the prior day)
Nitrite way up - at least 4, probably getting close to 5
Nitrate 40

So, I did a big water change, probably close to 80%, hoping to pull the numbers way down, so I wouldn't have to do another water change for several days. Dosed Prime with the water change.

Following the water change yesterday (about an hour later, to be certain that the Prime was well-mixed & I wouldn't be scooping up water w/ any excess Prime in it),

Ammonia 0 of course
Nitrite 0.5
Nitrate 5

So, things seemed alright. I dosed ammonia back up to 1.0 and double-dosed Stability.

------------------------------------

But....
TODAY -- my readings are:

Ammonia 0.25
Nitrite at least 2 (???)
Nitrate 40 (???????)

I double-checked the Nitrate reading, and did my Nitrite reading both full-strength & with the 50/50 dilution test. Readings the same. On the 50/50 test, it is *definitely* up to the magenta end of the scale, rather than the bluish-purple.

What is going on here? Only 0.75 of ammonia was processed - but Nitrites jumped by at least 1.5, possibly even more. Nitrates went bonkers, for just one day. Should those two really be increasing that much, in just ONE day, with only a relatively small dose of ammonia, which wasn't even fully converted itself??

If this happens on only 1.0 on ammonia, and with the nitrites NOT being totally converted to Nitrate - what will happen when ALL of the Nitrite is being converted to Nitrate, and there's a much higher level of ammonia being converted?

If it follows this pattern, nitrates would be through the roof every single day -- if it jumps that much in only 24 hours with only partial nitrite conversion??

The Python does indeed make things much much easier, but even so, I don't relish the idea of doing daily water changes on a routine ongoing-forever basis, just to keep nitrates in safe levels? (Man, my water company would love me, though!! LOL!)

I know, you said not to worry about nitrates right now - it's just this HUGE jump in only 24 hrs -- when the nitrItes themselves are still far from being fully converted over??? And a fairly significant jump in nitrites, considering only 0.75 of ammonia was converted.

Again, I did double-check my readings, looked at them under a bright indoor light & outside.... (Oh, and I *did* shake the living daylights out of the Nitrate #2 bottle -- and my tap water is fine)

This just seems so weird, and I simply do not understand it at all. sigh.... I'm starting to get just a little bit stressed over this.... Patience I do have, as long as there is *some* small bit of logical progression towards an eventual conclusion - but when things don't make any sense at all, or go really wonky, I get a little edgy.

This is day 27 for me.
 
  • #37

Bizarro252

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I am by no means a chemistry expert but I do not think that ammonia, nitrite, nitrate are 1:1 relationships, as in its normal for Nitrates to be much higher than 1ppm when 1ppm ammonia is processed (however I would like to know why as well since it would see it would be since NH4 -> NO2 ->N03 seems like it should be since there is one Nitrogen per...I assume that nitrogen is extracted from the air somwhere along in this conversion as there is no way I can see that this can be a 1:1:1 relationship, at least I sure don't think my mbuna tank makes 40+ PPM of ammonia a week! (40mg/L * 280L = 11.2grams) - hrm, maybe that is more realistic than I thought, that's only ~11ml... Hopefully I am making SOME sense here...

But I can tell you from experience that I dosed 1ppm daily when cycling with seeded media and I was seeing ~80ppm after a few days so I don't think your experience is THAT far off from expectations.

Just wanted to add what I can, hoping someone with more chemical reaction background can explain it better
 
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  • #38

Ferretlady

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I'm just a bit concerned that if the nitrates go that high, in only ONE day --- that I'll end up having to do almost daily water changes?? (later on, once I am able to have fish) What was the 'safe' level on nitrates? Anyway, I know 40 is getting up there pretty high, isn't it, as far as once you DO have fish.....??

It just kinda shocked me to see it go from 5 to 40 in only one day... even though the nitrites were still increasing also, and as such, they (nitrites) were not yet being fully converted over from nitrite to nitrate.... it's just weird.... But THANK YOU for mentioning your experience - at least I'm not the only one!

I'll just keep plugging along... it does seem that the water changes are gradually getting more frequent, to keep the numbers from getting TOO high....that durn nitrite still goes up rather fast & once it gets up towards the darker shade of magenta, I do a big water change. And I still haven't even gotten to the point where I increase my ammonia dose above 0.5 or 1.0? ..... sigh.... I'll just be patient & try not to freak out about "weird" changes in the numbers.....
 
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AngelTheGypsy

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I see you are dosing ammonia with dr Tims? I used that at first as well, but had issues determining exactly what I was dosing. I wouldn't worry too much about nitrate right now. Save your arm and just test it once a week or so until your cycle finishes and you are ready to add fish.
To avoid the spikes, try to let the ammonia and nitrite drop as low as possible, .25 or less. Also, stick with the smaller dose until you convert to double zeros in 24 hours.
The conversion rate of ammonia-nitrite-nitrate is weird. And 1 ppm ammonia creates closer to 2 ppm nitrite, etc.
keep going and it'll level out!
Also, when I was cycling I used 3 different bacteria supplements, since they all have a little bit different strains. I used stability, tetra safe start, and dr Tims one and only...a little impatient, I am!
But it worked and I cycled in 17 days I think.
 
  • #40

Bizarro252

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Ferretlady said:
I'm just a bit concerned that if the nitrates go that high, in only ONE day --- that I'll end up having to do almost daily water changes?? (later on, once I am able to have fish) What was the 'safe' level on nitrates? Anyway, I know 40 is getting up there pretty high, isn't it, as far as once you DO have fish.....??

It just kinda shocked me to see it go from 5 to 40 in only one day... even though the nitrites were still increasing also, and as such, they (nitrites) were not yet being fully converted over from nitrite to nitrate.... it's just weird.... But THANK YOU for mentioning your experience - at least I'm not the only one!

I'll just keep plugging along... it does seem that the water changes are gradually getting more frequent, to keep the numbers from getting TOO high....that durn nitrite still goes up rather fast & once it gets up towards the darker shade of magenta, I do a big water change. And I still haven't even gotten to the point where I increase my ammonia dose above 0.5 or 1.0? ..... sigh.... I'll just be patient & try not to freak out about "weird" changes in the numbers.....
Once you have fish I do not think you will have the equivalent of 1ppm ammonia being added to the tank from the fish daily, at least not in my experience. Maybe on a very stocked tank (my Mbuna tank probably does close to that lol) but for example on that tank I did cycle with ammonia, I now have Discus in it, 6 of them that are just over 3" each - they poop...A LOT and I feed them...A LOT and my Nitrate goes up ~5 ppm per day.

My Mbuna tank I have no reference point on cycling with pure ammonia but I can tell you that with 24 fish that are 2-4" in 75 gal of water I go from ~15ppm to ~40-60ppm in one week.

As for levels on Nitrate that are safe, that depends on the fish and depends on what you want to call safe. If you want to call safe just non toxic then I have seen numbers from as high as 300 to thousands of ppm (calling AvalancheDave) But the standard seems to be below 20 is fantastic, below 40 is great, and you really want to do a WC once you are 50-60ppm from what I have gathered just from reading. My biggest Nitrate issue tank is my mbuna tank and I see no difference in behavior, feeding, or breeding activities throughout the week (they are just as fiesty after a WC at 15ppm as they are at the end of the week at 60ppm) but that doesn't mean its the BEST it could be, immune suppression is my biggest question mark, as in where does Nitrate level come into play... I have not lost a fish in that tank due to illness (I have because they got beaten up) and it gets pretty high in there.

I keep my Discus as low as possible because they are juvis and I want them to have the best water for their immune systems (which are not fully developed yet) and growth.
 
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