How Long Before Nitrites Start Showing Up?

David7654
  • #1
How long does it take nitrite to form in a tank cycle? I have had the tank for three weeks however I did not put any lava rocks in the filter until 7 days ago. Any ideas on when nitrite should form?
 
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SeanyBaggs123
  • #2
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SeanyBaggs123
  • #4
mattgirl can probably help you out
 
David7654
  • Thread Starter
  • #5
Thanks
 
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mattgirl
  • #6
There is no set time. Normally it takes about 3 weeks but could take more or less.

Why did you add the lava rocks?
 
abarb
  • #7
Did you have any media in the filter before the lava rock? Why do you need lava rock?
 
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David7654
  • Thread Starter
  • #8
I saw that they were good filter media somewhere online
 
abarb
  • #9
I saw that they were good filter media somewhere online
I think people use them for growing anaerobic bacteria (nitrate to nitrogen gas) not aerobic bacteria (ammonia to nitrite to nitrate)
 
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David7654
  • Thread Starter
  • #10

Image1552503106.723841.jpg

In the bag are lava rocks but other than that is the kit that I bought at petsmart. Will this work for cycling the tank?

I am sorry I didn’t realize that the lava rocks were only good for live plants. I do not have any live plants should I still leave the lava rocks in there?
 
Morpheus1967
  • #11
All the lava rock does it give a lot of surface area for the good bacteria to grow. Now did you get these rocks from a pet store? And not a home and garden center? But most people prefer pumice. Lava rock can sometimes contain heavy metals.
 
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David7654
  • Thread Starter
  • #12
Someone who owns a fish store on YouTube had a video about them being good media for the filter. He had a link in his description for them on amazon so I got them on amazon.
 
SeanyBaggs123
  • #13
It's a pretty controversial topic. Personally I'd pitch em and get ceramic media, poret foam, a prefilter sponge if more surface area is your goal.
 
David7654
  • Thread Starter
  • #14
Would the sponges help with ammonia and nitrites more than the lava rocks. Because I don’t have any live plants so I don’t need anything for them I just need to cycle the tank and then keep ammonia and nitrites down. Sorry I am a beginner and don’t know very much about it thanks for the help!
 
mattgirl
  • #15
View attachment 536947

In the bag are lava rocks but other than that is the kit that I bought at petsmart. Will this work for cycling the tank?

I am sorry I didn’t realize that the lava rocks were only good for live plants. I do not have any live plants should I still leave the lava rocks in there?
Leaving the lava rocks in there is fine. I was just wondering why you put them in there. I thought maybe someone had told you it would speed up the cycling process or something like that. Something like ceramic bio-media might be better but the lava rocks will work too.

You are asking about nitrites but that is just a small part of the cycling process. What is the ammonia level in this tank?
 
SeanyBaggs123
  • #16
Would the sponges help with ammonia and nitrites more than the lava rocks. Because I don’t have any live plants so I don’t need anything for them I just need to cycle the tank and then keep ammonia and nitrites down. Sorry I am a beginner and don’t know very much about it thanks for the help!
What I'm saying is, if you thought the lava rocks would speed up your cycle.... probably not. Live plants is another can of worms. However, if you were looking for more surface area for beneficial bacteria to colonize on, the ceramic media, prefilter sponge, or poret foam are good options.
 
David7654
  • Thread Starter
  • #17

Image1552504733.912412.jpg

Here is the ammonia it looks like around .25 and the nitrite and nitrate are both 0 still.
 
Morpheus1967
  • #18
How big is the tank?
 
David7654
  • Thread Starter
  • #19
29 gallons
 
mattgirl
  • #20
View attachment 536963

Here is the ammonia it looks like around .25 and the nitrite and nitrate are both 0 still.
Have you done any water changes since you started this cycle? I am wondering if that is all the ammonia this tank has had since you started it.

I am thinking with just 2 little fish and 3 shrimp it is going to take a long time to cycle this tank. They are an ammonia source but not much of one. You may want to consider adding 2 or 3 more fish.
 
David7654
  • Thread Starter
  • #21
I have done one water change a week of about 15% so three altogether
 
Morpheus1967
  • #22
Well as mattgirl mentioned, it can take over three weeks for nitrites to develop. So you are probably right on the cusp. Have you been doing water changes? With the low bio-load you have, plus doing water changes, I can see why the ammonia is only .25ppm.
 
David7654
  • Thread Starter
  • #23
What would you suggest that I do from here?
 
Morpheus1967
  • #24
I agree with mattgirl . Add more fish, I believe she suggested two more, and keep testing the water as you have been doing. At .25ppm, there is simply not enough "food".
 
David7654
  • Thread Starter
  • #25
What should the ammonia be for it to be enough for nitrites to start?
 
Morpheus1967
  • #26
I am in the middle of a fishless cycle, and I am adding ammonia to get it to 2ppm. But with fish in there, I wouldn't go that high. I will wait for others to chime in on doing it with fish in. Don't get discouraged, it seems you are doing everything correctly.
 
mattgirl
  • #27
What should the ammonia be for it to be enough for nitrites to start?
I will give you an example and see if it can help you understand. I didn't have a tank up and running for about 6 years so when I set mine back up I had to start from scratch to build my cycle. I fully stocked my 55 gallon tank. With that many fish there was a big supply of ammonia being produced. The thing is, I never got an ammonia reading during the cycling process. I kept the level down to negligible with water changes. I know it was there because the tank did cycle. This is the reason I can't give you an exact number.

Since you are doing a fish in cycle I do recommend you add 2 or 3 more fish. If you don't already have it I also recommend you get a bottle of Prime. It is a water conditioner but will also detox low levels of ammonia so your fish will be protected from the rising levels of ammonia.

As long as the ammonia level is below one just add Prime to the tank. If the ammonia goes up to or above one do a water change to get it back down below one and again add prime. Prime will not speed up your cycle but it will protect your fish.

I saw nitrites in right at 3.5/4 weeks. Soon after I started seeing nitrates. This is normally how a cycle progresses but every tank is different so no one can tell you exactly how long any one thing will take.

The tank was cycled in right at 5 weeks but it took another week or so for the water to finally get crystal clear. It was at that point I could consider my tank not just cycled but also pretty well strong and established.

To sum it all up
1) add more fish
2) get Prime
3) do water changes as needed
4) practice patience
 
David7654
  • Thread Starter
  • #28
Thank you so much. And I forgot to mention but a couple weeks ago when I first put in the fish I used Tetra SafeStart. Is it ok to use prime or should I use the Tetra SafeStart?
 
Morpheus1967
  • #29
I would just use the Prime for now. That TSS is expensive, and unless there are problems I don't see a need for it right now.
 
mattgirl
  • #30
Thank you so much. And I forgot to mention but a couple weeks ago when I first put in the fish I used Tetra SafeStart. Is it ok to use prime or should I use the Tetra SafeStart?
That is a very important piece of information.

Tetra Safe Start is a bottled bacteria and should only have to be added when the tank is first set up. Lots of folks report never seeing nitrites when they used TSS.

If it has been 2 weeks since you added the TSS it is possible your cycle is close to done. It is safe to use Prime if it has been 2 weeks since you added the bottled bacteria.

What is your nitrate reading? Let's just get all of them out of the way instead of just a piece at a time. What is the PH of both tap water and tank water.

Have you run all the tests on your source water? (ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, high and low PH)
 
David7654
  • Thread Starter
  • #31

IMG_4860.JPG

This is for the tank water. It says ph is around 7 and high ph is around 7.4. Nitrates are 0


IMG_4862.JPG

Here is tap water. Ph is 7.6 and high ph is about 8.2
 
sharview
  • #32
View attachment 536947

In the bag are lava rocks but other than that is the kit that I bought at petsmart. Will this work for cycling the tank?

I am sorry I didn’t realize that the lava rocks were only good for live plants. I do not have any live plants should I still leave the lava rocks in there?
I never heard of putting lava rocks inside the filter I just put mine in the tank
 
mattgirl
  • #33
I never heard of putting lava rocks inside the filter I just put mine in the tank
I have them both in my filter and in my tank. Either way bacteria will grow on them. I think more will grow on them if they are in the filter though.
View attachment 537022

This is for the tank water. It says ph is around 7 and high ph is around 7.4. Nitrates are 0

Since you aren't seeing any nitrates I have to think there wasn't enough ammonia in the tank to feed the bacteria in a bottle so it is possible it died off. The only way to know is just give the tank more time to see what happens. I would add more fish though.

Maybe add more fish along with another bottle of TSS. I've personally never used bottled bacteria but folks have reported good results from using TSS plus.
 
David7654
  • Thread Starter
  • #34
Ok thank you. Do you think I should add Corydoras or Bolivian ram first?
 
mattgirl
  • #35
Ok thank you. Do you think I should add Corydoras or Bolivian ram first?
I would add more corys. I've never had Rams but I think they do better in a cycled tank.
 
David7654
  • Thread Starter
  • #36
Ok and should I add prime, Tetra SafeStart, or neither and let it play out?
 
mattgirl
  • #37
Ok and should I add prime, Tetra SafeStart, or neither and let it play out?
that is your choice. If you choose to add safe start you aren't supposed to do water changes for 2 weeks or use prime. If you choose not to use safe start again just follow the guide line I posted as to how to use prime during a fish in cycle.
 
David7654
  • Thread Starter
  • #38
Could I not do either of them and let it play out?

I have the topfin water conditioner will that work?
 
mattgirl
  • #39
Could I not do either of them and let it play out?

I have the topfin water conditioner will that work?
The reason I recommended Prime is because it neutralizes low amounts of ammonia thus protects your fish from its damaging affects. I am not sure the topfin does the same thing.

You don't have to use Prime as long as you keep up with the water changes to keep the ammonia level down but then you are defeating the purpose of adding more fish. Prime turns ammonia into ammonium. Ammonium isn't a toxic as ammonia. By being able to leave it in there instead of removing it with water changes your bacteria can still use it for food.

Either way you can expect it to take 6 weeks or so to complete this cycle. tetra Safe Start might speed up the cycling process but guidelines have to be followed pretty closely for it to work. Personally I think you would be better off to just let the cycle grow naturally.

Again, Prime will do nothing to speed up your cycle. It will just protect your fish while the cycle grows.
 
David7654
  • Thread Starter
  • #40
Ok thanks just a few questions. How often should I add the prime to the tank(just during water changes or if the ammonia levels get too high). And how often should I do water changes?
 

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