Is this possbile? (Fishless Cycle)

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npandav011

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Hi,

I am currently going through the fishless cycle with a 10 gallon tank. Initially I added enough ammonia to get the reading to 4 ppm, but because it stalled and the fact that I received some advice, I did a 75% water change and got the level down to 2 ppm. Today I had 1 ppm of ammonia with 0 ppm of nitrites? How did the ammonia go down but no nitrites were created?
 

bass master

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well a 75% water change should technically get the ammonia down to 1ppm, so my guess would be that you got a bit of a false reading right after the water change.
 
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npandav011

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Actually no, when you change that much water youll actually be adding some ammonia to the tank. most water companies use chloramines to treat the water, and water conditioners convert that to ammonium, a form of ammonia. also, some people have ammonia in their source water of up to 1 ppm
 

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oh yes I know about chloramine, not all water has chloramine though, that's just the most likely conclusion I could come up with. Have you tried retesting the water though? I can't think of any way that nitrogen would completely be removed from the water
 
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npandav011

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No I have not yet, but I will tomorrow to see if I get a different reading. Do you think my kit is expired? How would I tell if it was. It is the API nitrite liquid kit made in 2007.
 

bass master

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I believe most API liquid tests expire after three years, so there's a chance it has expired. I think there should be an expiration date somewhere on the bottle, idk though, I don't use the api liquid tests
 
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npandav011

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I checked the thread regarding the API master kit and it said that nitrite kits expire in 4 years and mine was made in 2007, so I think it works. But does anyone have a clue why I didn't get any nitrites? I am really frustrated with this cycle.
 

bass master

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I just thought through the numbers while I was in the shower, it makes sense that you would get a 1ppm reading after a 75% water change, even if your chloramine was at 1ppm, or 1mg/L. Because ammonia is a much smaller molecule than chloramine, 1mg/L of chloramine is roughly 1/4 mg/L of ammonia, so 75% of 1/4ppm is something like .2 ppm, and 25% of 4 is 1 ppm, when added together, you wind up with 1.2 ppm of ammonia total in the tank

Now I know that often times after a water change, readings can be kinda off for whatever reason, maybe even the chloramine has the ability to still mess with readings, maybe the conditioner itself messes with readings, or whatever, but it seems likely that you got a false reading of 2ppm right after the water change, and now your getting the correct reading of about 1ppm of ammonia, that would be my best guess
 

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It's best to wait 24 hours after a water change before testing the water, so see what the numbers are tomorrow. Are you adding a water conditioner when you change the water? If you're using something like Prime or Amquel+ it should lower your ammonia numbers if I understand how those products work.

-Lisa
 
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npandav011

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Yes I add the Tetra water conditioner. So 1 ppm was my actual ammonia level? Not 2 ppm, if so I will have to add some to get the level higher.
 

Kunsthure

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I think 1ppm is ok, but double check that to be sure (my brain doesn't seem to be working well tonight )

-Lisa
 

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I don't think they necessarily lower the ammonia reading, Ive heard they just make it go haywire, sometimes it won't match the chart at all, sometimes it gives a false positive, and the Q&A with seachem makes it sound like it can make it look like more ammonia was added.

They work by converting NH3 into non toxic NH4+ which is still readable by test kits, so I don't think that the way they work actually decreases your test readings. Waiting 24 hours is the best way to know you are getting accurate readings regardless.
 

Kunsthure

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See, I toldya my brain ain't right tonight. :-\

-Lisa
 

bass master

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just realized you're not using prime.... my brains not really working well either, I still stand by the idea that newly treated water would be messing with the reading regardless of what type and 1ppm is the correct reading, double check the reading and act based on that

if that's not the case, idk at this point. getting too tired for this

early mornings and long days......
 

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npandav011 said:
I checked the thread regarding the API master kit and it said that nitrite kits expire in 4 years and mine was made in 2007, so I think it works. But does anyone have a clue why I didn't get any nitrites? I am really frustrated with this cycle.
not sure where you read it was 4 years (ive been searching for that to change it) but its 3 years ....as far as your OP, doing a fishless cycle needs the ammonia up to 4ppms until you start getting a nitrite reading..that's when you want to cut it in half ....no water changes what so ever as you are fishless..chlorimine/chlorine put into a tank, will kill the beneficial bacteria before it has time to break down so don't put any untreated tap water in there....turn up the heat also as warmer water cycles faster....if you find the thread about the 4 years on the test kit, can you share the link good luck and patience is all that's needed...even with fishless cycles it can be a bit of a wait but its better than daily water changes!!
 

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ty ken! and yep it is I guess ?...and I am respectfully disagreeing with the 4 years..after emails and phone calls, they are 3 years according to TSS reps ive talked to but either way, the OP has only been doing this a few weeks and I think once the ammonia is back up to 4ppms and no water changes are done, (again if a water change was done with chlorimine/chlorine in the water that wasn't treated, that could be a set back) things will get back on track...but I would look for a more updated nitrite test if it were me
 
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Lucy

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I'm with Shawnie!!
If it's only been a couple of weeks since you started the cycle, just let it ride.
It can take several weeks for the first bacteria to develop.

Hang in there!
 
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npandav011

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Quote from link posted above "nitrite and KH will last for four years. Freshwater pH(low range) and
Pond Care Salt Level will last for five years. I would not trust these
kits after they have expired."

Anyway so should I add more ammonia to get the level up to 4? Also how long should I wait after adding the ammonia to test my water? Thanks!

I am going to add enough ammonia to get it back up to 4 ppm
 

Shawnie

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Im still sticking with the 3 years but its your choice ....

as far as the ammonia, yes put it to 4ppms and test in 24 hours to see if any of it has been processed...re add to 4ppm accordingly, or leave it be if none has dropped...either way, it stays at 4ppm until nitrites show up
 
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