Nitrogen Cycle - Need Guidance- panic!!

  • Thread starter

voiceless_kat

Well Known Member
Messages
1,618
Reaction score
8
Points
208
Good Morning, yesterday I had a measurable Ammonia level in the aquarium ( .5 - 1.0 - first colour on the guide - very pale).I did 50% water change.
This morning I measured again, same for Ammonia (very pale .5 - 1.0 on card); both Nitrate & Nitrite are 0.ppm.

Do I do another water change, if so, how much.

Am I to expect the nitrates & nitrites to go up and if so when, and what do I do? Does this mean the tank is cycling? ???

Tank has been up amost a month, Neptune in since the 9th Feb. No other fish in there. Have Eclipse 6 with Bio wheel - water is 80degrees.

Can't believe how confused this whole cycling thing has me.. no matter how much I read, I can't seem to wrap my head around it. ??? ??? I appreciate anyone who will take a minute to help me out.

Thanks so much! Val :'(
 

bbfeckawitts

Valued Member
Messages
459
Reaction score
0
Points
176
Experience
5 to 10 years
voiceless_kat said:
Good Morning, yesterday I had a measurable Ammonia level in the aquarium ( .5 - 1.0 - first colour on the guide - very pale).I did 50% water change.
This morning I measured again, same for Ammonia (very pale .5 - 1.0 on card);  both Nitrate & Nitrite are 0.ppm.

Do I do another water change, if so, how much.

Am I to expect the nitrates & nitrites to go up and if so when, and what do I do?  Does this mean the tank is cycling?   ???

Tank has been up amost a month, Neptune in since the 9th Feb.  No other fish in there.  Have Eclipse 6 with Bio wheel - water is 80degrees.

Can't believe how confused this whole cycling thing has me.. no matter how much I read, I can't seem to wrap my head around it. ??? ??? I appreciate anyone who will take a minute to help me out.

Thanks so much!  Val :'(
Do you have Test Strips? They are VERY innaccurate. Liquid test solution is best. Your tank is cycling. After the ammonia goes up, the Nitrite (not as toxic as ammonia) will go up. Then the Nitrates will go up (Not toxic in small amounts). You need to do a 50% water change once a day. Ideally, the ammonia shouldn't be more than .25. When the Nitrites go up, keep them under .25 if you can as well. In a cycled tank, there should be Nitrates, No ammonia, no Nitrites. Nitrates should be kept under .20ppm through water changes and gravel vacs. You will know your tank has cycled when there is no ammonia and no nitrites, but there WILL be Nitrates. Hope this didn't confuse you
 

tan.b

Well Known Member
Messages
1,541
Reaction score
6
Points
198
yeah, it takes time i'm afraid, and unless you can get hold of a product called bio-spira (available in the us and i think in australia??? too, but not in the uk :'() it can take a while. some things wont be rushed!! the biospira from my understanding is the very bacterial culture you need to convert ammonia into nitrite and nitrite to nitrate. without the biospira this process will happen naturally, just at mother natures pace!! unless you know someone or a friendly fish store where you can borrow some gravel or filter media from an established tank, as this will have the bacteria you need on it which will then multiply in your tank.
have you read the nitorgen cycle on fishlore? its a good article.
this one is good too



i'm afraid you'll be doing the same as me.....lots of water changes to keep removing the toxins (nitrite and ammonia).

good luck
Tan
 
  • Thread starter
  • Thread Starter

voiceless_kat

Well Known Member
Messages
1,618
Reaction score
8
Points
208
Thanks you guys: To be sure I have it straight:

The test kits I am using are as follows:
AMMONIA - NH3/NH4) is by Aquarium Pharmaceuticals and has the test tube. Measures are 0ppm - .5to1.0 (where I am now) -2.0 to 3.0 -4.0-5.0 & 6.0-7.0 . I believe I am aiming for 0ppm- right?

NITRATE - NO3 - is API (from Drs Foster& Smith) also has test tube. Measures are 0ppm( where I am now) - 5.0 - 10 -20 -40 -80 - 160 - What should I aim for? It doesn't measure for.25 just starts at 0ppm next one is 5.0? Oh man!

NITRITE - NO2- is from API( F&S) has test tube. Measure is 0ppm ( where I am now)- .25 -.50 - 1.0 - 2.0 - 5.0 - What should I aim for?

So, i do 50% water changes every day as long as there is ammonia registering? ??? I am to expect the Nitrites to go up any day now? and when I register nitrates I know the tank has cycled and I can stop doing daily waterchanges? I have read everything everywhere about the cycling process and I must be a dummy because it really makes no sense. technically I could be doing 50% water changes every day for weeks waiting for Nitrates to show????? Or when Ammonia registered 0ppm again I can stop daily water changes? Whewwwwwwww.

I have to go do a primal scream.........AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :'( :'( :'(

Sorry to be such a bother, and such a dummy and thanks for help!!! Val
 

Terry

Valued Member
Messages
239
Reaction score
20
Points
178
Hi. I think you've got most of it correct, but just because you begin to show nitrAtes it doesn't mean the cycle is done yet. NitrAtes may start showing up before the cycle is fully complete, but it's a good sign that you finally have all the right types of bacteria now growing.

What you really want to end up with is no ammonia, no nitrites, but with a NitrAte reading. In a fully cycled tank you will always (in my opinion) show some level of nitrAtes as nitrAtes are the end result of the bacterial process of eating up the ammonia & nitrites. After the tank is finally fully cycled a weekly partial water change of about 25% is usually all that's needed to remove the excess nitrAtes. NitrAtes are also consumed by live plants.

You first see ammonia show up, then nitrites, then NitrAtes. In the end there should be sufficient good bacteria that they are consuming the ammonia & nitrites as they are produced, and the readings for both of these will show up as zero.

I hope that helps understand it better?

By the way, if you haven't seen it I have a post on here somewhere about some potential problems with the API nitrAte test, and how to ensure you're getting an accurate reading for that test.

Edit: Here's the API information at this link:



Maybe this will help picture it:

58.jpg


image from;

https://www.algone.com/cycle.php
 

tan.b

Well Known Member
Messages
1,541
Reaction score
6
Points
198
any other questions let us know, and i'm sure someone will be glad to help
good luck
Tan
 
  • Thread starter
  • Thread Starter

voiceless_kat

Well Known Member
Messages
1,618
Reaction score
8
Points
208
Thanks Terry & Tan ( & everyone)
I just completed a 50% water change.

In case in makes a difference: I do not have live plants, they are silk ( no place to get live here). Also, should I change the filter cartridge? 9 Eclipse 6) It has been there for approx 4 -5 weeks. I know not to change the Bio Filter. Please advise.

Thanks for the info on the testers.

Now if I go away this weekend and there is still Ammonia, etc. will he bo okay until Sunday night/Monday morning??

Guess it is hauling water from town, treating and changing. Neptune seems to enjoy it, swims close to the siphon vacuum - so curious! Thanks. Val
 

nmwierman1977

Well Known Member
Messages
1,534
Reaction score
0
Points
196
For the cycle you do want to see the nitrates because that will tell the cycle is nearing, but having nitrates in there all the time isn't necessarily good either. Your safe if you have nitrates as long as it doesn't get over 25. If it goes over 25 then you want to do a water change to get it back down because nitrates can be potentially dangereous if it gets any higher then that. Natalie
 

nmwierman1977

Well Known Member
Messages
1,534
Reaction score
0
Points
196
As long as the ammonia is only at .25 it should be okay, Make sure before you leave for the weekend that the ammonia is under control. He should be fine. Natalie
 

nmwierman1977

Well Known Member
Messages
1,534
Reaction score
0
Points
196
I forgot to answer the other half of your question. Carbon only stays active for 6 days and then it goes bad. Natalie
 
  • Thread starter
  • Thread Starter

voiceless_kat

Well Known Member
Messages
1,618
Reaction score
8
Points
208
thank you Natalie - I am taking that to mean that I should change it?? It says every couple weeks or monthly depending on how many fish. Only 1 in this case. Thanks. Val
 

nmwierman1977

Well Known Member
Messages
1,534
Reaction score
0
Points
196
Well if you want you don't necessarily have to have carbon in there all the time. A lot of people just use the carbon to get rid of meds when they need to use them and Then they take it out. If you want you can replace it, but that would mean you would have to replace the whole filter and you don't want to do that because it sounds like the cycle is beginning and the good bacteria is starting to grow and if you replace there is a good chance it will take longer to establish. What you can do is just take the filter out and cut holes in the sections where the carbon is and dump the carbon out. It's kind of a pain, but it'll be better then putting a whole new filter in there. Natalie
 

tan.b

Well Known Member
Messages
1,541
Reaction score
6
Points
198
yeah, i shouldnt worry about the carbon. it seems you only need it to remove medications. my carbon is old in both mine and its easier to just leave it there! also with your filter sponge, only replace when its falling apart! my starter booklet said change every month, but it was written by the manufacturer, so they were just looking at more sales!! so long as it still catches the sludge, leave it be. thats where a large proportion of your nitrifying bacteria are, so you dont want to evict them if you can help it!! i'm guessing changing that filter media may trigger a mini cycle if there's not a sufficient amount of bacteria established in the gravel? the bacteria isnt in the water, but it attaches to objects in the tank (filter, gravel, decor etc). also (sorry if you already know this?) but when you clean your filter sponge, do it in the tank water you are about to throw away. i.e. when you do a water change and your tank water is in the bucket about to get chucked.....use that to rinse the filter sponge in. if you use tap water the chorine will kill any bacteria in there and using treated dechlor water is a waste cos the water is disgustingly filthy (mine is anyway!) so would have to be chucked after, so would be a waste of your dechlor!!

anyway, hope thats helped :-\, if not, i hope it didnt send you to sleep !!

good luck
tan
 
Toggle Sidebar

Aquarium Calculator

Follow FishLore!





Top Bottom