Little confused over cycling/water readingd

Discussion in 'Freshwater Beginners' started by Emze17, Jun 4, 2016.

  1. Emze17

    Emze17Valued MemberMember

    Last Saturday I bought a second hand 30L (6.5g) rectangular bi-orb.
    Set it up, added water (used fluval aqua plus - removes chlorine & chloromines, neutralises metal toxins. Coats & protects scales & fins)

    Also added fluval biological enhancer (instant biological activation. Eliminates ammonia & nitrate). Says to dose for 3 days then weekly/after maintenance/when adding fish.

    Was planning to do fish in cycling so have added the 3 days bacteria and will be adding some today. Because i was planning to add fish Ive not added any other ammonia source...
    (I know bacteria will die off if nothing to feed off but clearly had something in this case plus was planning to add fish which would have been my producer)

    Anyway, done a water test again to

    Ammonia: 0.25 - 0.50ppm
    Nitrite: 2.0ppm
    Nitrate: roughly 40ppm.

    Where are these readings coming from? Ive added no ammonia, theres nothing in the tank producing ammonia (apart from maybe 3 pond snails!) with no ammonia how are nitrites forming????

    The gravel came with the tank, we did rince everything off thoroughly but could it be somethings got left behind and produced these readings???

    Whats my next step please? Im obviously not adding fish today with nitrites and ammonia like that.

    Should i do a huge water change or just leave it now and continue to take readings??

    I done the same thing with my other 5g tank and had no readings like this before fish went in... But that was a brand new, out the box tank.

    Im sure im just confusing myself here.....
  2. FallenOwl

    FallenOwlWell Known MemberMember

    Did you rinse the filter as well?
  3. OP

    Emze17Valued MemberMember

    Yes, rinsed off everything. No idea when it was used by last owner

  4. codyrex97

    codyrex97Well Known MemberMember

    Rinsed with tap water or old tank water? If you rinsed the filter with tap water the chlorine likely could've killed the beneficial bacteria

    EDIT: Nevermind that. I misunderstood. Getting late haha. These are very odd parameters for your situation and I'm not sure what could be causing them. I'd say unless you wanna keep the pond snails you can leave it as it is, but beware if the snails die that they'll start producing even more ammonia as they decay.

    Last edited: Jun 4, 2016
  5. OP

    Emze17Valued MemberMember

    The filter pads were brand new, but were rinsed in tap water as I know the tank and all parts were stored for at least a week so wanted to rinse any dust/residue off them. The snails in there are really small and there's not many. They're just hitchhikers that came off the plants I added.
  6. codyrex97

    codyrex97Well Known MemberMember

    Hmmmm you sure there's nothing you're missing? I don't see how such crazy readings could pop up within 3 days, with no ammonia added! Do you by chance know the parameters of your tap water?
  7. OP

    Emze17Valued MemberMember

    The tanks been set up for a week today. I don't see how either which is why im so confused.
    It's also why I wondered if I perhaps hadn't rinsed the gravel as well as I thought I had and maybe there was food still in there (2 layers of gravel - bottom layer is small round balls and the top layer is larger rocky type) which has started to decay and cause these readings.

    I'm using the API Master Kit.
    Ive not tested my tap water since this tanks been set up but I have tested it previously (23rd April) when comparing results for my other tanks.

    Tap Water: Ammonia: 0
    Nitrite: 0
    Nitrate: 10-20 (always struggle to read this one)
  8. codyrex97

    codyrex97Well Known MemberMember

    Interesting. The only possibility would have to be something in there decaying. Not sure what and not sure if you should water change or leave it be. Might wanna just leave it and see if it manages to cycle itself with whatever is in there. Hopefully a more experienced member might have some better insight and advice. Good luck!
  9. OP

    Emze17Valued MemberMember

    Thank you lol. It'll get sorted one way or another :)
    I'm going to leave it another week and keep taking regular readings. If readings are still bizarre next week then i'll do a huge water change and take it from there.

    Thank you for your help :D
  10. el337

    el337Fishlore LegendMember

    I'd test your tap again. Something in your water could've changed since April.

    If it hasn't changed, I would do a 100% water change and then re-test. Let us know what you get afterwards.
  11. Dragones5150918

    Dragones5150918Well Known MemberMember

    Well, on the bright side your tank has started its cycle, and your in the second stage where nitries are converting to nitrates. So you have a jump start on that.

    I have a question though. Has your area or surrounding areas been experiencing flooding? More water in the water plants causes them to use more chloramine to keep up with the extra water. More chloramine means more ammonia in the tap. I would suggest that you retest your tap water. I bet that's where your ammonia is coming from that jump started your cycle.
  12. OP

    Emze17Valued MemberMember

    Well there is that. I believe there was flooding around our county this week but was only minor. I shall retest tap water as soon as im home
  13. Dragones5150918

    Dragones5150918Well Known MemberMember

    The other hypothesis I have is, your plant just switched from using chlorine to chloramine in the past month. The byproduct if chloramine is ammonia, which does not happen with chlorine, which could be why your now experiencing problems with your water that you never had before.

    Either way, tap needs to be tested. Glad you're going to test it when you get home.
  14. OP

    Emze17Valued MemberMember

    Family came over yesterday so didn't get a chance to post tap water results, but I did test it.

    Ammonia: 0-0.25ppm
    Nitrite: 0
    Nitrate: 10ppm (give or take a bit a struggle reading this one)
  15. Dragones5150918

    Dragones5150918Well Known MemberMember

    Well, I can say for sure that is a typical reading for chloramine use in your water. If you want to confirm, call your water company or city (where ever you water bill comes from) and ask. Since you had 0 readings across the board in April, I say they recently started to use it in the past month.

    What can you do about it? Well, it has started your cycle. You can keep going the way your going and complete it as a fishless cycle.....or 3 pond snail cycle, and let it complete. If you want to lower your nitrite for the pond snails, do a water change to drop the nitrite and nitrate. Putting fish in at this point would be a little tricky. Before I make suggestions for that, what fish were you planning on putting in?
  16. OP

    Emze17Valued MemberMember

    I wouldnt risk putting fish in with water readings the way they are. I plan to leave it and keep a close eye on things.

    I'm planning on adding Endlers and RCS
  17. Dragones5150918

    Dragones5150918Well Known MemberMember

    Well, you could, but not really advisable by me.

    When you hit the point of your ammonia is cycled out in under 24 hours, just do small water changes to keep feeding the bb until your cycle is complete. The nice thing about your water is, you don't have to buy ammonia to do a fishless cycle, you just have to add conditioned water. Though it is better to have at least 1 to 2ppm of ammonia to cycle, it can be done with .25ppm as you are seeing.

    Might I suggest you add a small pinch of food to Your tank to raise the ammonia a bit, and to make sure all the nutrients your bb needs is there. I suggest to add it to your filter so it can be grabbed by the floss, and easily rinsed off in old tank water when the cycle is finish.

    Keep us updated on how your cycle goes!

  18. el337

    el337Fishlore LegendMember

    If nitrites are that high with no ammonia source (aside from the small amt from your tap), I would still do a 100% water change and do a thorough cleaning. Then retest.

    Where are the pond snails from? The gravel? I'm not sure if I would use it if it came second handed.

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