No Nitrates? Am I cycled or is something Missing?

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voiceless_kat

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I will try to make this short. I usually post on the Betta board,,,but thought for this I may get some help here. I am using a new product called ZymBac by Kordon/Novalek that is supposed to be like Bio Spira but less expensive. ($10, no overnite shipping needed) ( go to Kordons webiste to read about it, it is the same thing as Bio Spira and on the betta forum I was being the guinea pig trying it out). I cannot find Bio Spira in podunk Canada. ( fishless cycle)

My readings have been: Apr 14 Ammo.5; Nitrite 1.9; Nitrate between 20 & 40
apr 25 Ammo.25; Nitrite 1.0; Nitrate 5.o
May 1 Ammon 0; Nitrite .25; Nitrate 0 & same for testing on May 5th
May 8 & 9 both Ammon 0; Nitrite 0; Nitrate 0

Has the tank cycled or should I be finding Nitrates somewhere? I have added Zymbac ( as food) several times as directed. And bloodworms. ( However, I wasn't doing this every 12 hours as the article posted said to do. Tank is a heated eclipse 6 with bio wheel that I also seeded with Zymbac as per instructions. Water was treated with StressCoat originally. I really didn't want to dink around with Ammonia when I am using the Zymbac.

I was treating this tanks resident, betta Neptune for tail rot in a Q tank and he is ready to go home if this is a real cycle. Any help, advice will be appreciated.
 

hamstermann

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looks cycled to me.
 

aj_1992

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you had nitrates, then it disappeared ??? isn't the cycle supposed to have nitrates as a result so it won't kill the fish? ??? ???
 

sgould

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You mention that the tank's resident is in a Q tank right now. Is there any source of ammonia still in the tank? If there are no fish currently in the tank, and no food or ammonia drops have been added regularly in the meantime, it is possible your bacteria crashed (starved with no ammonia to "eat") and you will have to start your cycle over.
 

andiuk

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If my understanding of the Nitrogen Cycle is correct, you ideally should've seen something like:

Note: These reults and timescale are totally made up and not relevant to anything, it's just to show what you should see in turn with each different result rising & then falling:

Day 1: Ammonia: 1, Nitrites: 0, Nitrates: 0

Day 2: Ammonia: 2, Nitrites: 1, Nitrates: 0

Day 3: Ammonia: 4, Nitrites: 2.5, Nitrates: 0

Day 4: Ammonia: 5, Nitirites: 3, Nitrates: 0.5

Day 5: Ammonia: 3, Ntirites: 5, Nitrates: 1

Day 6: Ammonia: 0, Nitrites: 4, Nitrates: 2

Day 7: Ammonia: 0, Nitrites: 2, Nitrates: 3

Day 8: Ammonia: 0, Nitrites: 0, Nitrates: 5

Day 10: Ammonia: 0, Nitrites: 0, Nitrates: 10

Day 15: Ammonia: 0, Nitrites: 0, Nitrates: 20

Day 20: Ammonia: 0, Nitrites: 0, Nitrates: 30

Day 25: (25 - 30%) WATER CHANGE*

Day 26: Ammonia: 0, Nitrites: 0, Nitrates: 0

Day 27: Ammonia: 0, Nitrites: 0, Nitrates: 1

Day 28: Ammonia: 0, Nitrites: 0, Nitrates: 2

*After the 25-30% water change, ideally you should see the NitrAtes dramatically decreased, but all you other results should remain at zero. The cycle has essentially been re-set, so from then you shoudl only see the NitrAtes begining to increase again, until it's time for your next water change.
If you want to know when the water should be changed, do it when the Nitrates have reached a reading of approx. 50ppm, and ideally never let the nitrates go above 70ppm.

That's my basic understanding of it anyway - and remember these results can be affected by: number of fish in tank, frequency of water changes, a medical treatment (such as white spot/fungus etc etc), plant food (apparently not all of these are nitrate free), amount of food put in the tank, plant debris, new/old carbon filters/sponges etc etc

Hope that helps, and if anyone wants to correct me / add to what I put, feel free.

Andy
 

Phloxface

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They claim nitrates should always be below 40 to be safe but we here prefer it to be under 20. Having nitrates at 50 or 70 is MUCH too high! My Nitrate level is around 5 or less. It sounds like everything is perfect in your tank and your fish should be able to move in now. As long as you are getting no ammonia or nitrites it is cycled . You probably just have really low nitrates which is GOOD. They will probably rise a little once the fish is in there. Keep them below 20 and you're good. I find with only one fish and weekly water changes the nitrate usually stays pretty low anyway.
 

andiuk

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Phloxface said:
They claim nitrates should always be below 40 to be safe but we here prefer it to be under 20. Having nitrates at 50 or 70 is MUCH too high!
i guess the books i read were wrong then... but either way, yes, lower is much better for them!
 

Jendayi

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My LFS says under 40ppm for nitrates. But that still seems a little high for me. I am aiming for under 20 also.
 

griffin

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it looks like it might have been cycled before, but i would question whether it's currently cycled based on your test results.
 

griffin

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oops - forgot to ask if you had plants in the tank
 

griffin

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andiuk said:
Day 20: Ammonia: 0, Nitrites: 0, Nitrates: 30

Day 25: (25 - 30%) WATER CHANGE*

Day 26: Ammonia: 0, Nitrites: 0, Nitrates: 0

Day 27: Ammonia: 0, Nitrites: 0, Nitrates: 1

Day 28: Ammonia: 0, Nitrites: 0, Nitrates: 2

*After the 25-30% water change, ideally you should see the NitrAtes dramatically decreased, but all you other results should remain at zero. The cycle has essentially been re-set, so from then you shoudl only see the NitrAtes begining to increase again, until it's time for your next water change.
If you want to know when the water should be changed, do it when the Nitrates have reached a reading of approx. 50ppm, and ideally never let the nitrates go above 70ppm.
you may already know this, but i thought i'd try to clarify since it wasn't that clear to me. after a water change, your nitrates are going to be around 20-22 (based on your numbers) it isn't going to be zero unless you do a 100% water change with nitrate free water. the water change also does NOT reset your cycle. it just dilutes everything out. your cycle should still be intact unless there were other changes.

no offense intended, but i just thought i'd comment
 

Butterfly

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I merged your topics so all your topics responses are in one place. Hope you don't mind
Carol
 
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voiceless_kat

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Thanks for merging, I had tried to delete one of them but couldn't. I moved to betta board because there is more activity/help there.


griffin said:
[you may already know this, but i thought i'd try to clarify since it wasn't that clear to me. after a water change, your nitrates are going to be around 20-22 (based on your numbers) it isn't going to be zero unless you do a 100% water change with nitrate free water. the water change also does NOT reset your cycle. it just dilutes everything out. your cycle should still be intact unless there were other changes.

no offense intended, but i just thought i'd comment
Ok, well I hadn't done any water changes....I had ammonia and Nitrites, and Nitrates for a while, then I had no ammonia, no nitrites and no nitrates. I waited one day , tested this morning cuz I was going to return my fish to that tank, and I had both ammonia and nitrite readings, and nothing for nitrates. I don't know if I had a mini cycle, and am just getting started again, or what the **** is going on. Can't seem to find any straight answers for this problem, even on Google ( and I thought they knew everything??LOL)

Thanks, hopefully I will get someone who can comment on this problem exactly.
 

Jay

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I'm new to all this but is you have no fish then there will be no ammonia unless you add it by hand (drops). the bacteria needed convert the ammonia to nitrite will die off. Once you have this bacteria in the filter the cycle will then progress and bacteria to transform the nitrite to nitrate will form.

This will give you a nitrate increase that can only be removed (as far as i know) by water changes and then not completely. If you have any plants they will need some nitrate as fertiliser.

I am cycling my tank at present and have all three present. the ammonia keeps dropping off and the nitrite is increasing. I'm about halfway through my cycle (probably 1/3 through as nitrite Bactria apparently takes twice as Long to form).

I suggest if you have no fish in the tank to add some ammonia to the tank and take a reading. leave it a couple of days and test ammonia levels. if it has dropped check for nitrite. it should have increased. once this drops then you should have nitrate.

sorry if i repeated myself and this has helped in any way.
 

andiuk

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griffin said:
andiuk said:
Day 20: Ammonia: 0, Nitrites: 0, Nitrates: 30

Day 25: (25 - 30%) WATER CHANGE*

Day 26: Ammonia: 0, Nitrites: 0, Nitrates: 0

Day 27: Ammonia: 0, Nitrites: 0, Nitrates: 1

Day 28: Ammonia: 0, Nitrites: 0, Nitrates: 2

*After the 25-30% water change, ideally you should see the NitrAtes dramatically decreased, but all you other results should remain at zero. The cycle has essentially been re-set, so from then you shoudl only see the NitrAtes begining to increase again, until it's time for your next water change.
If you want to know when the water should be changed, do it when the Nitrates have reached a reading of approx. 50ppm, and ideally never let the nitrates go above 70ppm.
you may already know this, but i thought i'd try to clarify since it wasn't that clear to me. after a water change, your nitrates are going to be around 20-22 (based on your numbers) it isn't going to be zero unless you do a 100% water change with nitrate free water. the water change also does NOT reset your cycle. it just dilutes everything out. your cycle should still be intact unless there were other changes.

no offense intended, but i just thought i'd comment
sorry, yes, what i meant was that the nitrates are lowered, and by "re-set" i meant as in that's the point that the Nitrates start going up again... i didn't explain that well
 

Luniyn

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As has been mentioned by others, without fish in the tank or but either adding pure ammonia drops or flakes of food (i.e. some source of ammonia) to the tank, the bacteria will die off. Have you been adding anything to the tank? If not then you are at square 1 and need to start adding some ammonia to start your cycle before adding your fish. Or if you add your fish, then be prepaired to either be doing daily water changes, or for the chance of it not making it through the cycle process. Also if you have live plants in the tank, then they will actually consume some of the nitrates, etc. as well. So that can also lead to low or even a 0 reading if you have more live plants then bio-load on the tank.

Unfortunately Zymbac is more along the lines of Cycle then it is along the lines of Bio-Spira, and as most have found with Cycle (and other similar products) is that it just doesn't help. Of if it does, then it's not a long term product as the correct bacteria will eventually grow and take care of the cycle as it should with or without the continual addition of the Zymbac. I've never used it, so I can't speak from experience, but in it's own instructions it says it will take weeks to complete the cycle which is what it can take without using anything. In any event, let us know what else (if anything) you've been adding to the tank to keep a supply of ammonia going and how much and how often you've been adding it and we can take it from there.
 
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voiceless_kat

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Luniyn said:
In any event, let us know what else (if anything) you've been adding to the tank to keep a supply of ammonia going and how much and how often you've been adding it and we can take it from there.
I am adding bloodworms, I added more zymbac yesterday. I was adding bw every couple days, now I am adding more, and every day. I haven't tested today, hopefully I will start to see a rise. I am thinking it cycled, and then if I missed a few days feeding, and no fish in there, it died...d'ya think? There are no live plants, or anything else that would eat the bacteria.

Zymbac is brand new on the market, no one on my board had even heard of it. So I was going to be the guinea pig. There is no one on that board who has cycled in a couple weeks, unless they used Bio Spira, which I can't get....(well I could but would end up costing like $50 with Cdn overnight delivery) and I am not prepared to pay that. there have been several people who used BioSpira and did not cycle. This certainly is a frustrating thing .......

Thanks for your help.
 

Luniyn

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Have you been taking the bloodworm's out each day or just leaving them in? If you have been leaving them in, then I would think that you would be showing a lot of ammonia at this point. If you are at 0 and still have bloodworm's in there then I would definitely think you were done cycling. The thing that is puzzling is how your test results have been. Unless you have nitrate in your tap water (which would mean you would still have some in your tank) I don't understand why you started with 20-40ppm in the tank and show 0 now. Without live plants, there isn't anything to eat the nitrates unless you've been dealing with algae outbreaks? If you really wanted to test it, you could take a bucket and fill it with water and test it. If it has 0 ammonia, then add some bloodworm's and let the bucket sit for a day. Test it again to see if it has ammonia. If it does then do a partial water change using some of the water from the bucket. Then wait a day and test your tank. If you still have 0 ammonia and 0 nitrite, then you must be good to go.
 

griffin

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are you feeding the bloodworms anything? i don't think they're big waste producers, so you may or may not have a cycled tank. i would say to add something like food that will produce ammonia. if it doesn't read any ammonia or nitrites, but the nitrates go up after adding, i would say you're cycled. but if there's no change, either you didn't add enough or there's something else going on.
 
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voiceless_kat

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Ok, the bloodworms are not alive, they are freeze dried - I feed them to my bettas! I drop them in, I do not take them out. My tank is beautifully crystal clear and always has been.

I just went and measured ammonia ( 1.0 - the highest it has been) and Nitrite is .25ppm. So I guess I have to keep adding stuff and was probably so flustered treating my resuce betta and my original betta - who lives in the cycling 6 - I more than likely wasn't adding every day. Some say every 12 hours. Now I am writing it down, hopefully we are headed in the right direction. I will keep ya posted!!
 
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