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Nanologist

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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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Ferretlady

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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!
 

Nanologist

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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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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

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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Ferretlady

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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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Ferretlady

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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
 

Nanologist

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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
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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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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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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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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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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Ferretlady

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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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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.
 

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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 dont 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, thats 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 dont 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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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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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.
 

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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.....
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 doesnt 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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