Nitrite Off The Charts! :(

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jscott

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I really need advice!!
I'm a few weeks into a fishless cycle, dosing ammonia and using Stability. I was using Excel until Seachem told me to stop because it can kill bacteria. After doing that, my tank was FINALLY able to convert 1pmm ammonia in less than 24 hours, but now the problem is a major nitrite spike (5+ppm) every time I add ammonia, which is weird because I only add enough to make the ammonia level 1-1.5ppm. Is high nitrite toxic to bacteria? I was so worried about my cycle stalling again, I did a 50% water change two days ago, and the level was still super high. Yesterday I did a 75% water change to bring the level down to 1ppm nitrite. I keep dosing ammonia so the bacteria doesn't die, so of course today the nitrite is off the charts. The nitrates got up to 30ppm when the nitrite spiked, and after the last water change went down to 5ppm.
(PH is always around 7.3, water temp 83 degrees, 20gallon tank with a few real plants and gravel.)
Should I do several more large water changes or just wait?? Please please help!!!
 

ChrisX

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Hello,
I went through this six months ago. What I found was that if you keep dosing ammonia to 1-2ppm, Nitrites will spike very quickly until they can be processed.

When nitrites get very high > 2ppm, it is advised to do a water change. If you keep dosing ammonia 1ppm daily, you will be doing water changes every other day.

The goal now is to get the nitrites to process while keeping the ammonia processing going. My advice is to dose much smaller amounts of ammonia.. maybe only .25 ppm daily. Then nitrites won't spike so quickly.

Once nitrities are converting to nitrates, then you can increase ammonia dosing back to 1-2ppm.
 
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jscott

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Ok, thank you, so I'll do another large water change today and do a small dose of ammonia. Will that eventually cause some of the ammonia eating bacteria to die?
 

JeffK

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I think your ammonia eating bacteria will be ok when it's all said and done. Going to a smaller dosage of ammonia may cause some to die off, but it allows your numbers of nitrite "eating" bacteria to increase their numbers. As chrisx said, once your nitrite eating bacteria are better established, you'll be able to increase your ammonia dosing back up and that will force the ammonia eating bacteria to increase their numbers once again. (I guess that's the non-scientific explanation!)
 
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