Insane Nitrite And Nitrate Levels

Brandon711
  • #1
Hey there, so I have been doing a fishless cycle for a few weeks now and after much trial and error I have finally achieved... well... something. I stalled the cycle at first by adding way too much ammonia and realizing nothing was happening. So I did a huge water change and got my ammonia down to about 4ppm, which is perfect for a fishless cycle.

I tested my water a couple days ago and found that my nitrites were off the charts which I was extremely excited about. Today (2 days later) I did another test and found my nitrites are well above 5ppm and my nitrates have to be at least 200ppm. I know that sounds impossible but after only 20 seconds of shaking the test tube it turned to the darkest purple on the chart. Have I stalled my cycle? What do I do now? I've decided not to dose any more ammonia for the time being but I am totally at a loss as I've never seen a post about nitrates being this high. Thank you in advance!
 
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Hunter1
  • #2
If you are still getting nitrates, it isn’t stalled.

I would do a big water change, 50-75%.

Then test.

If ammonia is 0, you need to dose back to at least 2ppm or the bacteria converting ammonia to nitrites will starve.
 
Brandon711
  • Thread Starter
  • #3
Did about a 60% water change, nitrites are still at least 5ppm and nitrates between 80ppm and 160ppm

I am afraid to dose more ammonia if it is going to add even more nitrites and nitrates at this point
 
Inactive User
  • #4
More water changes (as many as you have to do) to get it down to a lower reading (2 ppm nitrite or so) then dose ammonia to 2 ppm. High ammonia/nitrite/nitrate won't stall your cycle at the concentrations seen in aquariums (see this post for more information).

The issue with high ammonia/nitrite/nitrate is that it makes it difficult to monitor changes in NH3/NO2/NO3 concentrations as our hobbyist test kits have limited resolution at high-range readings.

Lack of information about these changes in concentrations makes it more difficult to determine the pace of cycling and whether or not any other incipient issues arise.
 
CichlidDream
  • #5
If you will stop dosing ammonia, you can kill your beneficial bacteria you've already grown. I had an 'insane' nitrites and nitrates readings in 2 tanks during nitrite spike stage. Looked through my notes: nitrite 20-30 ppm in one tank, and 30-40 ppm in another one, of course it is estimated values - test kit cannot give such a readings. Nitrates 160 in both(in my notes). I didn't WC until nitrates went down to 0. Then at least several days 0 ammonia & 0 nitrites readings. Then WC something about 90% - to lower insane nitrates. It is what I was doing. Every day I dosed ammonia to feed BB. Good luck. Hope it helps.
 

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