Help First Cycle - Nitrites Won't Drop, Nitrates Are Very High

DrowningD

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I have 37 Gallon tank that I have been cycling for 14 days. A week in I started to see my ammonia drop and my nitrites rose to about 2ppm. When my ammonia hit 0 I added ammonia for 3 days straight as every day I tested my ammonia would be close to zero, but the nitrites were not rising. I tested the nitrates and they were extremely high 80ppm. I did a small 5 gallon water change and haven't added ammonia in 3 days. My nitrites are still at about 2ppm and the nitrates are still high and there is no ammonia.

Any advice on what I should do? If I have the bacteria to remove the ammonia and that are producing tons of nitrates, why won't the nitrites drop? Where are all the nitrates coming from?

Thanks in advance for any help.
 

Skavatar

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continue to dose 2ppm ammonia. your ammonia bacteria colony is at full strength.

but your nitrite bacteria colony has not grown enough to convert all the nitrites within 24 hrs. my 3 tanks took about 3 weeks for the nitrite phase to complete.
 

By-tor

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Nitrite stage is the most stressful if tge process. Be patient. My nitrite phase seemed like it would never end. Just when I thought I was going to go crazy nitrites finally were gone.
My cycle took close to 4 months but if I had to do it again, I would do it the same way. Water parameters have been solid ever since.
Cheers,

Eric
 

SarahMcGee

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Nitrite converting bacteria take longer to multiply then ammonia converting bacteria. I would do a large water change to clear out some of those nitrates. That's not strictly necessary until you add fish but at the same time they aren't helping anything so I'd replace like 90% of the water just add dechlorinators before putting new water back.
 

imba

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Yeap just continue adding ammonia to feed the bacteria. Whether to water change now it doesn't matter.
 
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DrowningD

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Thanks for all the responses. It seems to be clear that I just need to continue to add ammonia and be patient. That's the hard part.
 

mattgirl

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DrowningD said:
Thanks for all the responses. It seems to be clear that I just need to continue to add ammonia and be patient. That's the hard part.
If you choose not to do a water change right now just continue adding ammonia at least every other day. If at one point you still see nitrites, have high nitrates and all of a sudden your ammonia stops going back to zero it is time to do a big water change to get it moving again.

When that happens your cycle is too far out of balance to finish up. I have seen it happen time after time and a large (50% or more) water change will often straighten things out. Sometimes it takes more than one or even larger water changes to get it going forward again.
 
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DrowningD

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mattgirl said:
If you choose not to do a water change right now just continue adding ammonia at least every other day. If at one point you still see nitrites, have high nitrates and all of a sudden your ammonia stops going back to zero it is time to do a big water change to get it moving again.

When that happens your cycle is too far out of balance to finish up. I have seen it happen time after time and a large (50% or more) water change will often straighten things out. Sometimes it takes more than one or even larger water changes to get it going forward again.
Thanks for the tip. That makes sense.
 

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