Fishless Cycle - Early Massive Nitrate Spike?

SabreNation

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You guys helped me with some cycling/testing issues with my daughter's little mini tank yesterday so hopefully, you can help me with mine now.

Some details first:
36 Gallon - Tall
Started Saturday 6/26
Seachem Prime Dechlorinator
Aqueon Pure Bacteria (this was a first for me, hoping to speed things up a bit)
I want to do a lightly planted tank and added my first two plants yesterday - Amazon Sword and a Dwarf Lily

I didn't have any Dr. Tims and couldn't find a local pet store that carried it so I started off doing the fish flake method to get ammonia up. Ammonia slowly but steadily rising. Yesterday I got my Dr. Tim's so I dosed the tank enough to bring it up to 2ppm ammonia. Today I did my testing and things were rolling as expected - a little over 2ppm ammonia so I decided to try a nitrite test and they were starting to show - 0.25ppm. "Well, it's unlikely there will be anything but lets do a Nitrate test..." 80ppm. :wideyed: Uh... 'scuse me?

I thought maybe my tap water was just high in nitrate so I ran a test on water straight out of the tap - barely a blip.

1) I did add some plants yesterday evening and those plants did come out of a populated discuss tank at the LFS so maybe that brought some over but is it really possible to transport THAT much (if any) via plants? Any idea what could cause it?
2) Should I be concerned about this messing up my cycle? Obviously there are no fish in there so that's not a concern and by my understanding the plants will like the extra nitrate but should I be considering a water change to get some of the nitrates out? And if so how much?
 
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SabreNation

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SanDiegoRedneck said:
Did you use any old filter media to speed up cycle? That may be reason nitrates are showing so early.

You can cycle a tank in 2 days w help of old media.
No old filter media. The filter is brand new. I did use some older decorations including some old real driftwood but that was from a tank that sat vacant and empty (no water) for at least a year and I washed them all pretty thoroughly before adding them to the new tank but I suppose that could have possibly contributed?
 

mattgirl

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It is unusual to see nitrates this high this early in the cycling process. Did you add any kind of fertilizer for your plants? What kind of substrate do you have in there? If just normal sand or gravel I don't think they could be coming from there but if you used a substrate specifically for growing plants the nitrates could be coming from it. It is also possible the Aqueon Pure Bacteria has nitrates in it.

This tank hasn't processed enough ammonia to have built up this much nitrate and since there is none in your source water it has to have come from something you have added to the tank. Seeing them this high shouldn't be a problem right now. If the ammonia you add goes down you will know the cycle is moving forward so at this point I wouldn't do anything but watch, wait and add more ammonia as needed.
 
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SabreNation

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Ah yes, that is one thing I forgot to mention in the original post - I did add Seachem Flourish to the water (and a few API Root Tabs) when I added my plants the other say so that could have led to (or contributed to) the high nitrate. No special substrate though, just your standard aquarium gravel.

Thank you for the response though. I will just continue to monitor everything for now. I was concerned such a high nitrate count could hamper or stall the cycle all together.
 

mattgirl

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SabreNation said:
Ah yes, that is one thing I forgot to mention in the original post - I did add Seachem Flourish to the water (and a few API Root Tabs) when I added my plants the other say so that could have led to (or contributed to) the high nitrate. No special substrate though, just your standard aquarium gravel.

Thank you for the response though. I will just continue to monitor everything for now. I was concerned such a high nitrate count could hamper or stall the cycle all together.
You are so very welcome. Nitrates alone shouldn't affect the cycling progress. Sometimes when both nitrites and nitrates peg out the chart the cycle can slow down or actually stall but there is no need to be concerned about that at this point.
 

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