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Quick Question About Nitrites Question

Discussion in 'Aquarium Nitrogen Cycle' started by Zai, Mar 24, 2019.

  1. ZaiValued MemberMember

    I'm doing an in fish cycle (bc I'm a newbie and didn't know better) and just got to the point where my ammonia was showing up 0 about 3-4 days ago. I got a nitrite reading of maybe .2 about 5 days ago but haven't gotten one yet.

    How long does it take for nitrites to make an appearance?

    I'd been doing 50%water changes every morning I got .5 ammonia readings, and then did another 50% yesterday bc my readings for ammonia were at .25 for 3 days without changing and I wanted to get rid of the residual ammonia. I dose with prime each water change, treating for the whole 20gal tank instead of just the water in replacing bc I read somewhere that you should do that.
    Now in wondering if I should only be treating for the water I replace?

    I'm so clueless but I'm glad my ammonias stopped spiking
  2. TheBettaSushiWell Known MemberMember

    I used zebra danios to cycle my tank. As long as you’re using extremely hardy fish, it will be fine. When my nitrites spiked to 1, I did a 30% water change in my 6 gallon. However, I was dosing prime (for the full 6 gallons) every 24-48 hours when I didn’t do a water change. It took about a week for my nitrites to turn into nitrates. As for ammonia turning into nitrites, it took over a month for it to show up on my tank. Every tank is different so it usually depends. Your tank should be cycled after a month or so (in my case it took two) but you’re almost there if you’re seeing nitrites. Some people will have a different opinion about this, but I’m just giving you my experience on what worked for me.

    I would dose prime for the amount of water you’re replacing. Then test for ammonia, nitrites and nitrates again in 24 hours. If you see a spike, use prime for the entire tank and wait another 24 hours. Just be warned though, even if your ammonia/nitrites are detoxified with prime, the api master test kit will still read for both total and free forms of ammonia/nitrites. As long as you’re dosing prime, it will stay nontoxic to fish for a day or two.

    Edited to add: you can dose prime up to 5 times but just be cautious as I have read that dosing too much can deplete oxygen (not sure how true this is, however, that is what I read on seachems q&a forum on their own website).

    If you see, for example, .25 ammonia and .50 nitrites, you can dose 1 dose of prime for the entire tank. If you see 1.0 ammonia and 1.0 nitrites, you should dose 2 doses of prime for the entire tank. You need to add the ammount of ammonia/nitrites/nitrates together to know how many doses of prime you will need. Only use this method if you aren’t going to do a water change.

    .25 ammonia + .50 nitrites = .75 so use 1 dose of prime.

    1.0 ammonia + 1.0 nitrites = 2.0 so use 2 doses of prime

    1.5 ammonia + 1.0 nitrites = 2.5 so use 3 doses of prime


    Last edited: Mar 24, 2019
  3. ZaiValued MemberMember

    Okay Thank you. I'm not seeing any nitrites at the moment but I test every day when I wake up.
    Should I refrain from using the prime until it shows up/I start seeing spikes? My levels today were
    Ammonia: 0
    Nitrites: 0
    Nitrates: 5
    And I was seeing ammonia getting to .5 every 24 hours until 3 days ago.
    I guess now I just wait for nitrites to appear?
    My 20g has 4 neon tetras and 2 cory catfish. They've survived being in a 5gal that wasn't cycled and I didn't change the water nearly enough bc I was dumb, so I think they'll survive this cycling attempt

  4. A201Well Known MemberMember

    Don't apologize for doing a fish-in cycle. Sounds like you are working a little too hard. Instead of a daily 50% WC, knock it down to a 15% - 25% WC. Only treat the replacement water with Prime. In about six weeks the cycle should be complete.

  5. ZaiValued MemberMember

    I was only doing 50% if the ammonia was at .5, otherwise I do a 20% weekly. Should I do 15-25% every day or do that weekly unless my levels spike?

    Okay I'll start only dosing the water I replace and not the whole tank.

    I've had this tank about... 3.5 weeks now
  6. A201Well Known MemberMember

    I do 50% WC's each week on my two well established tanks, a 120 & 65 gal.
    I misunderstood and thought you were doing daily 50% WC's.
    Sounds like you are doing great. Changing out 50% of the water each week will keep the aquarium environment healthy and the water clear. Cuts way down the chances of disease.
  7. kallililly1973Well Known MemberMember

    Your on the right track now. Your most recent test reading are telling me your tank is in the very early stages of being cycled. continue testing daily to be sure there are no signs of Ammonia and Nitrites. Congrats!
  8. TheBettaSushiWell Known MemberMember

    Your nitrates are at 5? Is this coming from your water source?
  9. ZaiValued MemberMember

    I think so, I've never tested my main water source tbh. I have plants in the tank so assumed it might be coming from them
  10. TheBettaSushiWell Known MemberMember

    Hmmm... that 50% got me wondering if I should up my weekly pwc from 30% to 50%... does it matter how big the tank is?
  11. TheBettaSushiWell Known MemberMember

    I have live plants too. From my understanding, plants should absorb the nitrates. I could be wrong though. Check your water source for it. If you don’t have nitrates in the water source, you may have cycled since there is no ammonia or nitrites in your tank as of now. Don’t quote me on that though! Keep testing to make sure. :)
  12. A201Well Known MemberMember

    Several years ago several of the forum water management Gurus convinced me to do a weekly 50% WC. Since then, no disease outbreaks & clearer water. The big weekly WC has worked well for me.
  13. ZaiValued MemberMember

    I'll do 50% weekly on all my tanks then! Definitely want healthy happy fish
  14. ZaiValued MemberMember

    Seems to be from the tank?
    Tested both within the last hour. It's in natural day light IMG_20190324_133551.jpg
  15. angelcrazeWell Known MemberMember

    I'm confused haha! So you had a nitrite reading and now 0s for ammonia, nitrite and 5ppm nitrate? Sounds like it cycled to me.

    I use bacteria from my estsblished tanks (or sometimes bottled nitrifying bacteria) to start up my tanks, and often I miss the nitrite reading altogether and it just cycles instantly. Don't know about starting from scratch, but it's possible you already got thru the nitrite phaze.
  16. ZaiValued MemberMember

    I was confused too! I had nitrite for all of a day but maybe I had it longer and didn't realize bc I wasn't exactly testing religiously for it
  17. angelcrazeWell Known MemberMember

    Yes, I think you missed it like I often do lol.
  18. ZaiValued MemberMember

    that'd be nice honestly xD less stress esp with moving. i'll still be testing every day/every other day just to be sure however xD
  19. TheBettaSushiWell Known MemberMember

    Well then I think your tank is cycled but test again in 24 hours to make sure. Sometimes the nitrite lingers, sometimes it only lasts a day or two or a few and sometimes people don’t see nitrites at all and jumps right to nitrates. Every tank is different.
  20. TheBettaSushiWell Known MemberMember

    Sounds like a good plan to me! I’m going to try the 50% next water change and see how well it does for my tank. Thank you.