Help! Trying to cycle and not sure how to interpret these readings

kimsch1005

Hi,

Im on week two of fishless cycling my 7.5 using pure ammonia. Ive done everything correctly, added enough ammonia to equal 4ppm in my tank, and 2 weeks later, I have a reading of 0ppm ammonia, 5+ppm nitrite. My problem is that yesterday my nitrate reading was above 20ppm, but today it dropped to 5ppm, and nitrite has remained extremely high. My tank is heavily planted, does this mean the plants are absorbing the excess nitrate?
Also, anyone with experience cycling with pure ammonia know how long it's taken for nitrite to reach zero? It's been stuck on a high reading for about 5 days now already.
I was using dr tims one and only everyday after testing the water, however i ran out and it is quite expensive. Im skeptical whether adding the bacteria would even help at this point since the cycle is well underway. Do you trust bottled nitrifying bacteria? Im a bit skeptical myself.

Thanks!
 

Blueberrybetta

4ppm Ammomia can be too high when fishless cycling. The instructions on the bottle is way off and can lead to overdosing on ammomia, theres a whole thread about it here as well. did you follow the exact instructions ? If so, thats your problems of dosing too much ammonia .Also, if you used a new Dr. Tims, then it shouldn't have all been used. Pure ammonia is so strong, you shouldnt even need half the bottle ,let alone a small 7.5gal. I believe you made a user error , dosed to much ammonia for a small tank and now your cycle is stalled. You need to go ahead and do a PWC and only dose ammonia to 2-3ppm . You will have to order a new bottle. Its can take up to 2 months, 1 month minimum, to fully complete the Nitrogen cycle to establish enough BB
 
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kimsch1005

4ppm Ammomia can be too high when fishless cycling. The instructions on the bottle is way off and can lead to overdosing on ammomia, theres a whole thread about it here as well. did you follow the exact instructions ? If so, thats your problems of dosing too much ammonia .Also, if you used a new Dr. Tims, then it shouldn't have all been used. Pure ammonia is so strong, you shouldnt even need half the bottle ,let alone a small 7.5gal. I believe you made a user error , dosed to much ammonia for a small tank and now your cycle is stalled. You need to go ahead and do a PWC and only dose ammonia to 2-3ppm . You will have to order a new bottle. Its can take up to 2 months, 1 month minimum, to fully complete the Nitrogen cycle to establish enough BB

I only added the required amount of ammonia: 4 drops per gallon. I still have all of the bottle pretty much. What i ran out of is the beneficial bacteria bottle.
I researched the use of ammonia for cycling plenty and most sources said that you're not supposed to add anymore ammonia if you have a reading above .25ppm of ammonia and/or nitrite.
 
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Blueberrybetta

Yeah , Dr Tim's Ammonia is labled wrong, you're not supposed to do 4 drops per gal it will cause high ammomia spikes like it did for you. You can find all the threads about it the mislabeling on this forum. You're always supposed to keep your reading above 1ppm, between 2-3ppm and no higher than 4ppm. You need a constant daily dosage of ammonia to keep the cycle going. You can't have your ammonia sit at just .25ppm or it won't convert. You cycle has stalled it seems like I said. Even if you did buy more bacteria, your cycle will be stalled. I suggest a water change like I said before to lower your ammonia and find the right range to be dosing the ammonia. I cycled my 10gal with only 5 drops, not 5 or 4 drops per gallon, only 5 drops everyday, cycled 1 month later. Pure ammonia is very strong and can kill your BB as well.
 
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Blueberrybetta

If you have plants , they will intake nitrates, thats why your nitrates lowered. Seeing nitrites mean you cycle has started but you also need to keep ammonia dosed daily as well between 2ppm-3ppm, you cant let ammonia reach 1ppm or below. Also dont let ammonia reach to high and kill your BB too. When both ammonia and nitrite convert from at least 2ppm to 0ppm at the same time in under 24 hrs, then your cycle is complete. A cycle tanks parameters are is 0, 0, 5-40ppm
 
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kimsch1005

Yeah , Dr Tim's Ammonia is labled wrong, you're not supposed to do 4 drops per gal it will cause high ammomia spikes like it did for you. You can find all the threads about it the mislabeling on this forum. You're always supposed to keep your reading above 1ppm, between 2-3ppm and no higher than 4ppm. You need a constant daily dosage of ammonia to keep the cycle going. You can't have your ammonia sit at just .25ppm or it won't convert. You cycle has stalled it seems like I said. Even if you did buy more bacteria, your cycle will be stalled. I suggest a water change like I said before to lower your ammonia and find the right range to be dosing the ammonia. I cycled my 10gal with only 5 drops, not 5 or 4 drops per gallon, only 5 drops everyday, cycled 1 month later. Pure ammonia is very strong and can kill your BB as well.

I currently have no ammonia in the tank though, and 5ppm of nitrite.
 
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Blueberrybetta

I currently have no ammonia in the tank though, and 5ppm of nitrite.

You need to be dosing ammomia daily to reach between 2ppm-3ppm. It its drops 1ppm or below , it will stall. It takes a good month or 2 to fully cycle but you need to be monitoring the parameters daily

Heres the thread talking about how strong Dr tims is and how to properly dose depending on tank size.
Ammonia Instructions for Fishless Cycling
Its more detailed about what I summarized.
 
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kimsch1005

You need to be dosing ammomia daily to reach between 2ppm-3ppm. It its drops 1ppm or below , it will stall. It takes a good month or 2 to fully cycle but you need to be monitoring the parameters daily

I guess Ill try it, however like i said i read a lot of sources saying not to add more ammonia if there is a high nitrite reading
 
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Blueberrybetta

I guess Ill try it, however like i said i read a lot of sources saying not to add more ammonia if there is a high nitrite reading

A small section from the info thread I just linked. Im not sure where you are reading that information , but you need to keep ammonia dosed

"Every time the ammonia drops back to zero, raise it back up to 3 to 4 ppm and continue to check nitrites. The nitrite reading will go off the chart. NOTE FOR API TEST KIT USERS: When you add the drops, if they immediately turn purple in the bottom of the tube, your nitrites are off the chart high. You do not need to shake the tube and wait 5 minutes. If you do, the color will turn green as the nitrites are so high that there isn't a color to measure them with. Once the ammonia is dropping from around 4 ppm back to zero in 12 hours or less you have sufficient bacteria to handle the ammonia your fish load produces. Continue to add ammonia daily as you must feed the bacteria that have formed or they will begin to die off."
 
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CichlidCody

Just dose ammonia back up, but not too high and your cycle should start again. You just never want your ammonia to stay at 0ppm or 1ppm , even if you have nitrites, you still need ammonia dosed to keep the cycle going and not stall.
 
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kimsch1005

A small section from the info thread I just linked. Im not sure where you are reading that information , but you need to keep ammonia dosed

"Every time the ammonia drops back to zero, raise it back up to 3 to 4 ppm and continue to check nitrites. The nitrite reading will go off the chart. NOTE FOR API TEST KIT USERS: When you add the drops, if they immediately turn purple in the bottom of the tube, your nitrites are off the chart high. You do not need to shake the tube and wait 5 minutes. If you do, the color will turn green as the nitrites are so high that there isn't a color to measure them with. Once the ammonia is dropping from around 4 ppm back to zero in 12 hours or less you have sufficient bacteria to handle the ammonia your fish load produces. Continue to add ammonia daily as you must feed the bacteria that have formed or they will begin to die off."

Okay, this makes sense. Thank you
 
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