Ph 6.5 NH3/4+ >8 No2 .5 No3 10 what do I do now?

Ndhp

Started my fishless cycle on a 20 gal 8/27 with Dr. Tim’s ammonium, I put in too much. On 9/4 I finally got a nitrite reading of .25, ph 7.6, Nh3/4+ still >8, No3 0. Today is ph 6.5, NH3/ 4+ >8, No2 .5, No3 10. Do I do a water change and add more Dr Tim’s? Change water and put fish in? How big of a change should I do?
 

Pfrozen

Seems like your ammonia eating bacteria just started colonizing 4 days ago. You can do a 50% or wait a few mor days, it doesn't really matter. Your pH is 6.5 and that's fine for the bacteria to thrive. Just make sure it doesn't get below 6. Do a water change for sure if that happens. Pretty much just patience at this point. There was a thread here the other day about how high ammonia can go before it kills bacteria and most of the scientific articles people found suggested that ammonia would have to get sky high like 100ppm before it did anything to bacteria. Mind you they weren't specifically studying the bacteria in your fish tank, but the fact that you have nitrites is a good thing. It means you're good!
 
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Ndhp

Fantastic! I was starting to get nervous because the ammonia has been off my chart the whole time. Thanks for the reassurance!
 
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mattgirl

I agree with Pfrozen You are still very early in the cycling process. Each time your ammonia gets down to .25 or so add more to keep the bacteria fed until you get a consistent zero reading for both ammonia and nitrites 24 hours after adding ammonia and you are registering some nitrates.

Adding 2ppm ammonia should grow enough bacteria for a 20 gallon tank but 3ppm might be better. By growing that much bacteria there should be plenty to be able to fully stock this tank once the cycle is done.
 
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Ndhp

I agree with Pfrozen You are still very early in the cycling process. Each time your ammonia gets down to .25 or so add more to keep the bacteria fed until you get a consistent zero reading for both ammonia and nitrites 24 hours after adding ammonia and you are registering some nitrates.

Adding 2ppm ammonia should grow enough bacteria for a 20 gallon tank but 3ppm might be better. By growing that much bacteria there should be plenty to be able to fully stock this tank once the cycle is done.
Right now my ammonia is greater than 8ppm, it’s unreadable with my test kit. Should I do a water change to get it down to a readable level?
 
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mattgirl

Right now my ammonia is greater than 8ppm, it’s unreadable with my test kit. Should I do a water change to get it down to a readable level?
I would only because it will be easier to tell if any of it is being processed.
 
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Ndhp

Good news! My ammonia dropped to 0! I did do a water change Last Wednesday to a readable 8ppm and then my ph dropped below 6. I was not getting nitrite or nitrate readings after that so I panicked and added sodium bicarbonate. Today I had 0 ammonia, ph 8, nitrite 3.0, nitrate 80, KH 120, GH 300. I’ve ordered crushed coral so hopefully that will level my ph but will it affect my already very hard water? I added Dr. Tim’s to 4ppm this evening and will retest tomorrow. What else should I do or change to get ready for fish?
 
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GlennO

You're about halfway there. Your nitrites need to drop to zero over 24 hrs like your ammonia is now doing.

Very high nitrates do have an acidifying effect but with that KH your pH might remain stable enough to finish cycling. You will need to monitor it. For cycling it's best to keep pH at 7.0 or above. Crushed coral is a long term buffer and really only something you might consider for post cycling and whether you need it given your tap water pH and hardness and the fish you intend to keep.

There's no need to keep adding ammonia at that level. Just monitor the nitrites. If you really want to you can add some ammonia every few days up to 3 ppm. It will be converted to nitrite overnight. Anything extra is unnecessary and could push your nitrites over 5 ppm which you don't want to happen.
 
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Ndhp

You're about halfway there. Your nitrites need to drop to zero over 24 hrs like your ammonia is now doing.

Very high nitrates do have an acidifying effect but with that KH your pH might remain stable enough to finish cycling. You will need to monitor it. For cycling it's best to keep pH at 7.0 or above. Crushed coral is a long term buffer and really only something you might consider for post cycling and whether you need it given your tap water pH and hardness and the fish you intend to keep.

There's no need to keep adding ammonia at that level. Just monitor the nitrites. If you really want to you can add some ammonia every few days up to 3 ppm. It will be converted to nitrite overnight. Anything extra is unnecessary and could push your nitrites over 5 ppm which you don't want to happen.
Okay! This morning my numbers are as such: pH7.6, GH very hard ( I have hard water), KH 120, nitrate 5ppm, nitrite .25ppm, ammonia 1ppm. This was 9h between tests. So you don’t think I should add the crushed coral at all? My tap ph is typically at or lower than 7. I have very hard water. KH for tap was 60 and nitrate was 10ppm (via test strip).
 
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GlennO

What happened to your nitrates, weren’t they 80ppm 9 hours before?

What sort of fish do you intend for the tank?Unusual to have non alkaline very hard water.
 
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Ndhp

What happened to your nitrates, weren’t they 80ppm 9 hours before?

What sort of fish do you intend for the tank?Unusual to have non alkaline very hard water.
I get a reading of 80 from a test strip and 5 from my master kit. I’m on rural “City” water. I’ll be moving one adult platy and 5 juveniles from an established 10. I hope to add these rainbow fish too. Gertrude’s Spotted Blue Eye Rainbowfish - Aquatic Arts
I have plants and a few pond snails that came with the plants in the tank now. I just did another water test. Ammonia 1, nitrite .25, nitrite <5.
 
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Ndhp

As a side note, I’ve found a fish store about two house from me that is willing to order them for me ( in the future) but makes no guarantees on their fish or my order. If they die in their care the store won’t refund. Are these red flags?
 
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GlennO

Personally I'd be wary of a store that wants you to pay for any fish that die in their care.

Your tap water is fine for those fish.
 
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Ndhp

Personally I'd be wary of a store that wants you to pay for any fish that die in their care.

Your tap water is fine for those fish.
Yeah their answers were short too. I think I found someone a little closer anyway.
I already purchased a sm package of crushed coral. Should I put it in either tank? I have a 10gal where the betta will stay and the 20gal Soon to be platy+.
 
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GlennO

Yeah their answers were short too. I think I found someone a little closer anyway.
I already purchased a sm package of crushed coral. Should I put it in either tank? I have a 10gal where the betta will stay and the 20gal Soon to be platy+.

How confident are you that your GH reading of 300 ppm is correct? I find it hard to imagine that water with so much mineral content (and KH of 100+) could have a low or unstable pH. If it’s correct, I see no need to raise it even higher with crushed coral.
 
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Ndhp

How confident are you that your GH reading of 300 ppm is correct? I find it hard to imagine that water with so much mineral content (and KH of 100+) could have a low or unstable pH. If it’s correct, I see no need to raise it even higher with crushed coral.
I’m using 5 in 1 test strips to test KH and GH, it just reads very hard. We have mineral build up on our faucets all the time. Just double checked tap with master kit and it reads 7.2
 
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GlennO

I’m using 5 in 1 test strips to test KH and GH, it just reads very hard. We have mineral build up on our faucets all the time. Just double checked tap with master kit and it reads 7.2

7.2 for pH? It's possible that your water is not very hard. I'd get a liquid GH & KH test kit to confirm the levels.
 
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