Strange Water Reading?

Atreyu

New Member
Messages
19
Reaction score
4
Points
3
I have been using the API master kit and trying to cycle the tank. Please keep in mind my tap water starts out with 1ppm of Ammonia off the bat, and I have not been dosing the tank, just adding a little food every other day. The ammonia has not climbed past 1ppm.

Yesterday night:
Amm .50 (Yey! It went down)
Nitrite .25
Nitrates 5ppm (Yey! It finally showed up!)

This morning:

Amm 1ppm
Nitrite .25ppm
Nitrate 0. (Boooo!!! Hiss)

So....nothing has changed since the test last night and I am just wondering where those Nitrates went. Is this a normal thing when cycling the tank? The tank also has a slight white haze which at first I did a 25 percent water change because of it, but it was back in no time. I figured that it was bacteria starting up as you can see a few little things floating in the test tube water now. My family and I were totally made up that we finally had some Nitrates and now it is sort of a disappointment that they packed up and left.
 

musserump09

Well Known Member
Messages
851
Reaction score
141
Points
73
Experience
3 years
Atreyu said:
I have been using the API master kit and trying to cycle the tank. Please keep in mind my tap water starts out with 1ppm of Ammonia off the bat, and I have not been dosing the tank, just adding a little food every other day. The ammonia has not climbed past 1ppm.

Yesterday night:
Amm .50 (Yey! It went down)
Nitrite .25
Nitrates 5ppm (Yey! It finally showed up!)

This morning:

Amm 1ppm
Nitrite .25ppm
Nitrate 0. (Boooo!!! Hiss)

So....nothing has changed since the test last night and I am just wondering where those Nitrates went. Is this a normal thing when cycling the tank? My family and I were totally made up that we finally had some Nitrates and now it is sort of a disappointment that they packed up and left.
Any live plants? If so they are the culprit
 

CraniumRex

Well Known Member
Messages
859
Reaction score
532
Points
108
Experience
5 years
You are right - the white haze is probably bacterial bloom and will go away on its own. It’s a good sign your tank is alive.

Odd the nitrates would drop on their own but their disappearance could be just test result. Not sure the moss balls would consume them but also possible!

Hoping someone else might chime in on ppm of ammonia needed to really move your cycle along. Temp can also influence - what temp are you at?
 
  • Thread starter
  • Thread Starter
  • #5

Atreyu

New Member
Messages
19
Reaction score
4
Points
3
I have a preset heater so the tank is running at about 76.5 to 77.2. I am not in a panic about dosing the tank as I have 1ppm ammonia in my tap water anyhow. I am happy at the progress that it is making naturally. I was concerned about the fact that the we had a good thing going and then....gone. I had always assumed, perhaps falsely, that once you got Nitrates in the water they only increased or went to a stable number, not pulling a Houdini trick and vanishing.
 

CraniumRex

Well Known Member
Messages
859
Reaction score
532
Points
108
Experience
5 years
LOL @ Houdini. Well it's possible the moss balls are consuming it. Hard to tell with slow growers. Some plants will pull nitrates very quickly.

Your temps are great and you are definitely making progress. Do you happen to know the pH of your water? Acidic environments can make cycles slow (and pH can be an indication of your GH and KH, which contribute to the stability of your cycle). That said, like you have mentioned, nitrates don't typically get up and walk away unless you have a very densely planted tank that is consuming them.
 

jdhef

Moderator
Messages
14,219
Reaction score
3,232
Points
583
Experience
More than 10 years
Welcome to FishLore!

Generally, without having plants in a tank, nitrates will not go down unless you perform a water change. The API nitrate test kit has been know to give false readings if reagent bottle #2 isn't shaken and pounded enough. It contains crystals suspended in liquid and the crystals tend to drop out of the solution and clump together at the bottom of the bottle. So it is a good idea to pound it against the palm of your hand or a hard surface to break up the crystals and get them shaken back up into the solution.

By adding fish food as an ammonia source, you have no real control over your ammonia level. And since it takes time for the fish food to decompose and start releasing ammonia there is a pretty good lag between when you have added the fish food and when ammonia is actually produced. So it is possible that you have processed some ammonia into nitrites, but the decaying fish food raised your ammonia back up.

Generally when cycling fishless, you'll want to raise your ammonia level to 3 or 4 ppm, until nitrites appear, then keep the ammonia level at 2ppm. Then once you have 0ppm nitrites, some nitrates and are processing the 2ppm of ammonia within 24 hours, you are cycled. The problem with keeping your ammonia level at 1ppm, is that you will only grow a bacteria colony as large as there is food (ammonia) for. So by keeping your ammonia at 1ppm, your bacteria colony will be rather small. This can be a bit of a problem when you start adding fish. You would need to be very careful not to add more fish than your bacteria colony can handle. If you do, you'll end up with what is called a mini-cycle. This is where there is more ammonia being produced than there is bacteria to process it. So you end up with elevated ammonia (and nitrite) levels until the bacteria colony can grow large enough to process all of the ammonia and nitrites.
 
  • Thread starter
  • Thread Starter
  • #8

Atreyu

New Member
Messages
19
Reaction score
4
Points
3
But when it is cycled isn't the bio load capacity handled by adding a small amount of fish at a time? Say like 3 tetra...then 3 more and so on?
 

jdhef

Moderator
Messages
14,219
Reaction score
3,232
Points
583
Experience
More than 10 years
Yes, but you never know how much ammonia 3 tetra's will produce, so it is possible that you will have more ammonia than bacteria. I guess people generally want to err on the side of caution and feel confident that they have more bacteria than fish. But that said, once you put your first group in, the bacteria level equals out and putting the next group in can cause there to be more ammonia than bacteria. So long as your sensible about how many you add at once, you probably will not have a problem.
 

Rob Shannon

Valued Member
Messages
75
Reaction score
29
Points
53
Experience
Just started
Atreyu said:
I have been using the API master kit and trying to cycle the tank. Please keep in mind my tap water starts out with 1ppm of Ammonia off the bat, and I have not been dosing the tank, just adding a little food every other day. The ammonia has not climbed past 1ppm.

Yesterday night:
Amm .50 (Yey! It went down)
Nitrite .25
Nitrates 5ppm (Yey! It finally showed up!)

This morning:

Amm 1ppm
Nitrite .25ppm
Nitrate 0. (Boooo!!! Hiss)

So....nothing has changed since the test last night and I am just wondering where those Nitrates went. Is this a normal thing when cycling the tank? The tank also has a slight white haze which at first I did a 25 percent water change because of it, but it was back in no time. I figured that it was bacteria starting up as you can see a few little things floating in the test tube water now. My family and I were totally made up that we finally had some Nitrates and now it is sort of a disappointment that they packed up and left.
Just an outside chance. But make sure you’re rinsing the test tubes and caps with aquarium water before testing.
 
Toggle Sidebar

Aquarium Calculator

Follow FishLore!





Top Bottom