Nitrites And Nitrates Off The Charts, Time For A Water Change?

Status
Not open for further replies.

speedburner

New Member
Messages
25
Reaction score
3
Points
3
Experience
Just started
Hello all,
I'm on about day 15 of my first fishless cycle on my 30gal. I've been dosing to 1ppm ammonia with Dr. Tim's per advice that 1ppm was better on a planted tank than a higher ammonia dose, and up until the last few days it had held fairly steadily at clearing the ammonia in 3 days with no nitrates or nitrites.

On this past Sunday evening I removed all my anacharis as it was melting badly after excel usage, leaving water sprite, java fern, and anubias. I redosed to 1ppm and did not check water levels on Monday. The levels for the next three days were as follows:

Tuesday July 24: Ammonia 0.5, Nitrite 5.0, Nitrate 5.0
Wednesday July 25: Ammonia 0.25, Nitrite >5.0, Nitrate 10-20 (dosed Ammonia back to 1ppm)
Thursday July 26: Ammonia 0.25, Nitrite >>5.0, Nitrate 40-80, pH 8.0 (same as tap water)

When I say >>5.0 I'm assuming as such because when I add the test indicator drops, it nearly instantaneously changes to a purple darker than the upper limit of the test key. The nitrates, I am leaning towards 80 although the difference between 40 and 80 on the key is very hard for my eyes to tell apart.

I know this may just be the initial nitrite spike, but I was under the impression that the nitrite spike came and tapered down before the nitrates started showing. I'm not sure whether now is the time to do the 50-70% change and go for the final ammonia challenge or if I need to keep dosing until the ammonia is fully cleared in a day. I also want to say I read that very high nitrites can cause falsely high nitrates as well due to the nature of the test kit.

Either way it does seem like things are progressing very quickly, and any advice on where to go from here would be much appreciated.
 

AnimalAntics

Valued Member
Messages
57
Reaction score
9
Points
28
Location
Alberta, Canada
Experience
Just started
Well idk but high nitrites might just mean that you need to keep waiting. Im using the same product and i'm almost done cycling my 10g and its been a month. Maybe the bacteria that turns nitrites into nitrites are in low numbers. If thats the case then i would just wait. And maybe dose ammonia a bit less so that the bacteria has time to build up in your tank. I'm new to the hobby so don't take my advise as fact. Thats just what i would do.
 

speedburner

New Member
Messages
25
Reaction score
3
Points
3
Experience
Just started
It doesn't really make sense.
Are you sure about nitrates ?
It is definitely showing at least 40ppm nitrates per the API freshwater test kit. I wasn't showing nitrites or nitrates at all before this week. I forgot to mention in my original post that I did dose with Safestart on around Thursday of last week. That, the removal of the anacharis, and the sudden explosion of pest snails (probably from disturbing the anacharis) are the only things I can think of that would have affected the cycle.
 

DoubleDutch

Fishlore Legend
Messages
17,766
Reaction score
11,741
Points
798
Location
Holland (The Netherlands)
Experience
More than 10 years
The bacteria that convert ammonia into nitrites grow faster / show up earlier than the ones that convert nitrites into nitrates.

That normally causes a nitritespike untill the there are sufficient bacteria to convert all nitrites immediately.

Only thing I can think of as the earlier poster mentioned you're facing this nitrite spike but there are just enough bacteria to keep nitrites stabil and convert a part into the endproduct nitrates.
 

Inactive User

Well Known Member
Messages
1,003
Reaction score
732
Points
93
I know this may just be the initial nitrite spike, but I was under the impression that the nitrite spike came and tapered down before the nitrates started showing.
Not necessarily. You usually have some nitrite-oxidising bacteria (NOB) in your tank at any given stage. In my case, nitrates showed up on day 3 of my fishless cycle at a concentration of 5 ppm. It took a total of 3 weeks and 1 day for my tank to reliably cycle 2 ppm ammonia to nitrite to nitrate within 24 hours.

But you're also right in that very high nitrites will confuse the nitrate test.

In any case, it's a good idea to keep in mind the following ratio: assuming complete oxidation, 1 ppm ammonia = 2.7 ppm nitrite = 3.64 ppm nitrate.
 

Ulu

Well Known Member
Messages
1,809
Reaction score
987
Points
148
Location
CenCal
Experience
More than 10 years
Sometimes that nitrite Spike will come and go so fast you never even see it before the nitrates start blooming.

If it hangs on a long time I might suspect and that your water temperature is a little low, and I would definitely advise a 50% water change and maybe raise the tank temp 2 degrees F.
 

speedburner

New Member
Messages
25
Reaction score
3
Points
3
Experience
Just started
Thanks for the tips and advice so far everyone. Just an update for this morning, the ammonia appears to be clear at 0ppm, nitrites are still off the scale at >5, and now nitrates also look to have maxed out the test kit, it is a far deeper red than the color key goes.

I did forget to mention temperature in my OP. I didn't have my tank heater in place at the start of my cycle but then the tank was averaging around 76 at room temp, with the heater it's been a steady 78 for at least the last 8 days. I am definitely leaning towards a water change this afternoon and maybe bump up the thermostat a bit.
 

Attachments

Status
Not open for further replies.
Toggle Sidebar

Advertisement

UV Sterilizers Worth It?

  • Yes

    Votes: 10 26.3%
  • No

    Votes: 2 5.3%
  • IDK - never used one before

    Votes: 26 68.4%




Top Bottom