Nitrates In Cycle

stacec

Active Member
Member
Hey everyone,

So I’m doing a fishless cycle and it’s now day 6. I have gravel, driftwood and an ornament in the tank (140L). I tested the water before adding the ammonia (dr Tim’s) and it was all at the expected 0. I added ammonia to the 2-4ppm mark (API liquid tests). I haven’t added any more since I haven’t had a low reading. I have been testing ammonia each day and it’s now at about 2ppm. I decided to see how everything else was going and I still have 0 nitrite but I’m between 5-10ppm of nitrates. What could be causing this since I haven’t seen nitrites? Is that normal? Ideas?

Excuse my newbie attitude, I’m still learning! Thank you for your advice!
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1- Have you ever tested your tap water? I have natural nitrAtes in mine
2- Also, the bottled bacteria can do some odd things like that... but until you can process the ammonia in 24-48 hours it’s not cycled
3- have you been adding prime? It could be binding the ammonia (your test will still show positive but it could be all ammonium and not free ammonia (ammonium is much less toxic)
4- Prime can also bind nitrites... but they should still show on the test...
5- I have heard that some people using dr Tim’s never even see a nitrite spike.... seems unlikely but possible according to dr Tim

I would just leave it (especially if you have been adding prime or something that binds the ammonia) and see what it looks like in a couple days (1-2) if your ammonia is at 0 then re dose it and see how long it takes to come down
I believe he recommends not using prime but using a dechlorinator that does just that... only takes out the chlorine and chloramines
 
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  • Thread Starter
  • #3
Yeah I tested the tap water and it had 0 in all ammonia, nitrite and nitrate
 
See above lol I’m tired and forgot to write all possibilities lol

and also I’m not sure if you just did it for picture purposes... but when you test using the apI kit always hold the bottle tight to the white part of the card.... can make a HUGE difference in what you see
 
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  • Thread Starter
  • #5
1- Have you ever tested your tap water? I have natural nitrAtes in mine
2- Also, the bottled bacteria can do some odd things like that... but until you can process the ammonia in 24-48 hours it’s not cycled
3- have you been adding prime? It could be binding the ammonia (your test will still show positive but it could be all ammonium and not free ammonia (ammonium is much less toxic)
4- Prime can also bind nitrites... but they should still show on the test...
5- I have heard that some people using dr Tim’s never even see a nitrite spike.... seems unlikely but possible according to dr Tim

I would just leave it (especially if you have been adding prime or something that binds the ammonia) and see what it looks like in a couple days (1-2) if your ammonia is at 0 then re dose it and see how long it takes to come down
I believe he recommends not using prime but using a dechlorinator that does just that... only takes out the chlorine and chloramines

Lol thank you!

1- As above answered before the edit, the tap water tested all 0’s.

3- I haven’t been adding prime, I have been adding whatever brand (stress coat?), but only added that when I put the water into the tank, and did add an amount of stress zyme so maybe that could be it?? .

Thank you for your advice! I will leave it, test every day and see how it is by Monday and keep doing what time doing
 
What could be causing this since I haven’t seen ? Is that normal?

Sometimes, if the ammonia is being converted to nitrite very slowly (as in your example), the nitrite is more-or-less oxidised into nitrate immediately by latent nitrite-oxidising bacteria.

This is likely why you haven't seen the nitrite. Generally, once the rate of ammonia oxidation accelerates, nitrites begin to be detectable.

It's quite normal.
 

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Lol thank you!

1- As above answered before the edit, the tap water tested all 0’s.

3- I haven’t been adding prime, I have been adding whatever brand (stress coat?), but only added that when I put the water into the tank, and did add an amount of stress zyme so maybe that could be it?? .

Thank you for your advice! I will leave it, test every day and see how it is by Monday and keep doing what time doing
I don’t use stress coat or stress zyme products so I don’t know their effects on detoxing ammonia and or nitrites but someone who uses them may chime in... or look it up on their page or read the back of the bottle
 
You used bottled bacteria? What do you use to dechlorinate the water or do you let it sit 24hrs?
 
If you’re asking me... yes I always use dr Tim’s now... and I am one of the fortunate ones that lives in the country and I have Pristine well water... no chlorine and no chloramines... ( and that’s laboratory tested, not from some fish aquarium test kit) now that my tanks are established I use a splash in with my water changes but if I forget or don’t it affects nothing.... I fortunately have some friends in the “water business” not sure what you’d actually call them lol but I’ve nevee had to use it for those purposes because that is all stuff that towns and cities add to their water... doesn’t happen with well water...

And with dr Tim’s you don’t do water changes until like the 13th or 14th day (I forget) he has an excellent chart that goes by each day of your fishless cycle and what to do and works like a charm every time
I’ll see if I can find the link for it.... or just try googling Dr Tim’s one and only chart or day by day chart or something like that

A Quick Guide to Fishless Cycling - DrTim's Aquatics

For anyone interested here are the day by day instructions
 
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  • #10
I was asking the OP because I didn't see it mentioned.. just now saw the mention of stress coat. I used stress coat in the beginning and I don't trust it. I had trouble cycling and fish dying when I used it. The problems stopped when I switched to prime. So I only trust prime/safe.
 
  • #11
Yes that was my problem helping her as well.. I don’t use those products so I couldn’t comment.. if I use anything it is also prime or safe
 

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  • #12
If you’re asking me... yes I always use dr Tim’s now... and I am one of the fortunate ones that lives in the country and I have Pristine well water... no chlorine and no chloramines... ( and that’s laboratory tested, not from some fish aquarium test kit) now that my tanks are established I use a splash in with my water changes but if I forget or don’t it affects nothing.... I fortunately have some friends in the “water business” not sure what you’d actually call them lol but I’ve nevee had to use it for those purposes because that is all stuff that towns and cities add to their water... doesn’t happen with well water...

And with dr Tim’s you don’t do water changes until like the 13th or 14th day (I forget) he has an excellent chart that goes by each day of your fishless cycle and what to do and works like a charm every time
I’ll see if I can find the link for it.... or just try googling Dr Tim’s one and only chart or day by day chart or something like that

A Quick Guide to Fishless Cycling - DrTim's Aquatics

For anyone interested here are the day by day instructions

I have “pristine “ well water at my residence too but I still treat it with Prime.

Just a habit I guess since my rental has municipal water and I go through a bottle of Prime every 5-6 weeks there. Figure it can’t hurt. But the home tanks were up for months with no dechlorinator before I started my rental tanks and got this habit.
 
  • #13
I do also add it the odd time.. and very little because a lot of people don’t know this about prime but it actually depletes the o2 in your tank... whatever it has in it or does with its chemical compounds it takes the oxygen out of the water... that’s why you get people overdosing it trying to control high ammonia or nitrites and then wonder why their fish are gasping for air... but I figure a little bit here and there won’t hurt too bad
 
  • #14
I've read that you would have to massively overdose Prime in order to see a substantial depletion in oxygen levels. The bottle even says in an emergency you could safely dose 5x the normal amount. But then most "emergencies" can be helped with water changes.

I would suspect ammonia burn causes the fish to gasp at the surface before I would suspect Prime. I'm jumping ahead but I assume people would dose extra prime because they see a lot of ammonia but prime can only be effective to a certain point. If prime is used, and ammonia and nitrite are well over 1ppm.. fish could be gasping at surface because their gills are burned. I could see how you could associate an extra dose of prime causing fish gasping at the surface. But if the water parameters are out of line you need to be aware of how much is too much and when a proper water change is needed.
 
  • #15
I actually emailed them.. and although it says you can use 5X the amount... it still depletes the o2 content...that’s just how it works... yes you can “safely” add that amount to bind the ammonia but according to them it still will cause lower o2 content.... if you are using the normal amount just for water changes I doubt it would have much effect but the problem lies when people have smaller tanks and panic and think more is better because they want that ammonia detoxified... but ANY amount of prime will cause some o2 depletion even if it’s so slight you won’t notice.... straight from seachem... but as I mentioned this is more of a concern is smaller tanks or tanks that are overstocked or tanks that already have low o2... most cases if added correctly you won’t notice and it won’t harm your fish... but I didn’t notice (may have missed it) on what size tank we are talking about... also people keep adding it and adding it because their tube keeps coming up green and they do not realize that when using the apI kit that even though it’s bound your test will still show up green.... it won’t show yellow ever (straight from seachem- and by ever I mean until your ammonia is actually being consumed by the bacteria)
I’ve seen and heard people overdosing it ALL the time... because they are waiting for that yellow to show up... so they keep dosing and dosing... this guys tests could also pose problems in the future because he has natural ammonia in his water source so unless he changes it to another way (ro water etc) he may detect ammonia often... I would suggest investing in a kit that can differentiate between ammonia and ammonium... like the seachem one... with the yellow dots... it allows you to test strightly for free ammonia as well... unlike the apI kit
And yes gasping can be caused by a number of things... like I have to change the way I use my python because I have well water and I guess the way it works it has something to do with co2 etc...so I have to be careful when refilling because if done too quickly or in the wrong way I can end up with a lot of co2 in my tank (I think it’s somwthing to do with how it’s pressurized or something)
 
  • #16
Prime has proven itself time and time again as reliable when used per the instructions. I use it on 3 gallon tanks no problems there. No fish gasping etc. I certainly wouldn't advise people against using one of the best most reliable products on the market when the consequences of not using it could be far worse. I hate to go off topic but I don't think the op should be terrified to use prime. It is in fact a highly recommended product not just by me but many many others. When the tank is cycled, the prime and the established cycle will take care of the ammonia from the tap and the fish should be fine.
 
  • #17
In NO way was I telling them not to use it... it’s one of the only products that I actually will use in my tanks... and Is the best in my opinion....if you read up I actually recommended it to them first...the point of my post was only to warn them that 1- the test color won’t change when using the apI kit...people end up overdosing it because of that reason alone
And to warn that IF you do end up doing that or accidentally overdosing it that it does take oxygen out of the water so just do a water change to get the excess out and start again... or treat the water before hand (for people who still use buckets instead of a python or something similar)
But again you should really read all posts before you accuse me of telling people not to use it... I commented first on this post and that’s exactly what I told them to use... and that I couldn’t comment on the stress coat or stress zyme because I only use prime
 
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  • #18
OP If you do buy Prime just follow the dosing instructions on the back for water changes and you'll be fine. With a fishless cycle there are no fish to worry about so the ammonia and nitrites can get high, you don't have to dose any extra prime for that just dose prime during water changes so as not to kill the beneficial bacteria you're growing.

When you do get fish remember Prime detoxifies up to 1ppm ammonia + nitrite. If ammonia and nitrite combined are higher than 1ppm, do a water change. Hopefully your tank will cycle well and you won't have to worry about this once you have fish.
 
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  • #19
If I'm reading the OP's first post correctly, she is not using Dr Tim's One&Only, she is using Dr TI'm Ammonium Chloride. So she appears to be doing a fishless cycle without using a bacteria additive. So I'm thinking it may have just been testing error with the Nitrate test kit. The bottle No. 2 test reagent really needs to be shaken and pounded. It contains crystals suspended in liquid. The crystals tend to drop out of suspension in the liquid and clump together in the bottom of the bottle. If you so not shake and pound the bottle enough to break up the crystals and re-suspend them, you will get a faulty test result.
 
  • #20
I think you are reading things backwards... I was the very first person to comment on this post and that was one of the first things I asked... ARE YOU USING PRIME?
It wasn’t until the VERY LAST post where I mentioned that it depletes o2 and I only mentioned it because I have had countless people overdose it thinking that the apI test will turn yellow when it won’t... that was the Only point to me mentioning it depleting oxygen...

I did say I use prime... I told them to use prime... and then talked about how it won’t change his test tube color so don’t overdose it thinking it will....
I asked the OTHER person if they were asking me about it or the OP.... the OP is using stress coat or stress zyme... I was asking if they added anything else
 
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  • #21
Thank you everyone. Just a quick update, I did a retest this morning and the ammonia had gone down to 2ppm, nitrite was at 0.25 (finally some movement!) and nitrate was lower at 5ppm. So I’m thinking the nitrate may have been I didn’t shake it enough, I did shake but not overly vigorous.

To answer other questions, my husband uses the stress coat as a declorinator for the water. We have had a small tank which we used stress coat on and it’s always worked well for us. This is just the first time doing fishless cycling because of the pet store saying I only needed to declorinate and just go and add the fish (all fish died obviously), so we stopped going there and started seeing someone who owns a store who ONLY sells aquariums, fish and other marine animals so he taught us how to do the fish in cycle and is now helping with the fishless cycle with our new tank. I will start using prime instead of stress coat/zyme because of the positive reviews!
 

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