fishless cycle: 0 ammonia, 1 nitrite, 160+ nitrates eek!

inncogneatoh

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Hi Folks, contrary to my post on another thread yesterday that my fishless cycle is progressing well...

Nitrites have been stuck at 1 ppm for 5 or 6 days now, I tested nitrates today (first time) and the nitrates off the chart (160+ ppm) , 2ppm of ammonia is brought back to 0ppm in the space of 24 hours.

My question is, should I do a water change to lower the nitrates? I'm not sure if this absurdly high nitrate reading is hampering the conversion of nitrites to nitrates.

I've read conflicting advice on other forums regarding this. Btw, I'm using the api liquid test kit
 

Aquarist

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Good morning,

Be sure to beat the nitrate test bottle in the palm of your hand, on the counter, shake it really well. Sometimes crystals can form in the bottom of the bottle and if it isn't mixed well you may get inaccurate readings.

What is the nitrates from your tap?

Ken
 
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inncogneatoh

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Hi Ken, thanks for the reply

I've battered the bottle in my hand until it hurts Also I have 2 test kits (both api liquid kits) and they're producing the same results

From the tap, I'm getting an off-yellow but not orange, so I guess it's just over 0 and no more.
 

Aquarist

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Good morning,

How did you start your cycle Inncogneatoh? Congrats on doing it fish-less! Eight weeks is a long time and I admire your patience. Personally, if it were my tank I would do a 50% to 75% water change. It may drop your nitrites to 0 and lower your nitrates too.

Let's get some more responses first though to be on the safe side. I always like more than 1 opinion on things

Ken
 
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inncogneatoh

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Aww, you've called my bluff! haah

I started to do a fishless cycle on 29th March. I got frustrated/impatient after 2 weeks as noobies do and put 6 cherry barbs in with TSS, then a couple started listing to the side after 3 weeks, so put them in my smaller tank (they all recovered thankfully).

I started the fishless cycle again around 11th May (using pure ammonia, getting it to 4ppm , wait for it to drop to 0pmm then keeping it around 2ppm daily)

Thanks for your advice
 

Aquarist

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GASP! lol

If you have kept the same bio media in your filter all of this time without cleaning it (since the end of March when you started) I would think that by doing a large water change should surely help with your readings. But again let's get more responses first.

If you currently have fish in there then I would suggest daily water changes or 30 to 50% and add some Prime or Amquel +. Both of these will detox nitrates for 24 hours until it's time for the next water change.

I just have a feeling (and I could be wrong) that with a water change today, test again tomorrow, and possibly another water change tomorrow you may be cycled.

I have never used ammonia or TSS to cycle with. Some of my bio media is 10 years old so I seed my tanks with established media and by using enough of it, it gives me an instant cycle. If not instant then it really cut down the time of cycling to two weeks. (with daily water changes)

I see that you have another tank, established, so maybe it can spare some media to place into the filter of your cycling tank? Substrate placed in a NEVER SEEN SOAP nylon hose can help to boost the cycle too. Just place it in the bottom of your tank. Don't take so much substrate and filter media from the cycled tank that it causes it to go into a mini cycle too.

I always keep additional bio media in my tank and filters for the purpose of seeding another tank or even a Quarantine tank. It comes in handy.

Ken
 
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inncogneatoh

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hi Ken,

Currently no fish in the big tank that's cycling. So that's not a worry.

Unfortunately the small tank is tiny and at it's limit for stock just now, so i don't want to risk a mini cycle in there by removing what little media I have, or the substrate for that matter. Although I know you are right that it would help the cycle along in the new tank.

I'll do as you suggest and wait a bit to see what your comrades think. Again, many thanks..and don't you ever sleep?
 

Aquarist

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I understand and with your other tank being smaller I don't blame you for not risking removing any media or substrate. One cycle at a time is enough to deal with.

Yes, I sleep when I need to. I don't have a set schedule though. I'm good with a nap here and there. 5 or 6 hours for one rest period is enough. I might miss out on something if I sleep too much Shawnie might drive down here and try to slip her "nawty" fish into my tank while I'm sleeping (one eye open) lol

Ken
 

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aquarist48 said:
Good morning,
Be sure to beat the nitrate test bottle in the palm of your hand, on the counter, shake it really well. Sometimes crystals can form in the bottom of the bottle and if it isn't mixed well you may get inaccurate readings.
Ken
Good morning
Just wanted to point out, if you don't shake the #2 nitrate bottle, you'd be more apt to get a false 0 reading rather than a false high reading.
 
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inncogneatoh

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Hiya Folks.

Sooo I did a couple of 50% water changes for two days after posting here and I think it's done the trick.

1ppm ammonia and 1ppm nitrites are both dropping to 0ppm by the following morning. So I guess I'm cycled. I plan to keep doing this for a couple more days just to make sure all is in order.

Next question. As I mentioned previously, my 28 litre is overstocked as I had to move the albino cherry barbs out of the 125 litre when they started to list during the nitrogen cycle, so obviously I need to get them out of there asap (it also has 6 neon tetras, 1 cardinal tetra and a ghost shrimp). Now that the cycle has completed. Should I just put the albinos back into the 125 litre, then wait a month before adding anything else, or could I get away with adding a few more fish at the start?

Eventually I hope to have in there:

My 6 albino cherrys barbs(5 female and 1 male)
+
6 cherry barbs (5 female and 1 male)
+
3 Kuhli Loaches

Many thanks for any thoughts
 

Tigerfishy

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Congrats on your cycle, I think you may be there too!

I also keep extra sponges in my tanks to get them cycled in case I ever need them immediately, that's some good advice (that works!) That I got from here. The worst I had with seeding a tank this way was a mini cycle lasting a few days until it settled in the new tank, nothing more sinister. But remember, if the tank is large then the tank may not cycle instantly dependig on the size of the sponge you seeded, but it will considerably speed it up!
 
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inncogneatoh

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Good advice TigerFishy. I've loaded up my canister with extra sponges just to be on the safe side for if/when I get MTS to give any new tank a kickstart

Nice to see another Scot on here too
 

Tigerfishy

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Lol that's true!! We had another one on here a few months back, but only saw him once

Oh, and your if/when statement? Trust me, that's definitely a WHEN lol!!!
 
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