Why aren’t my Ammonia levels going down?

missionninja

This day 6 of the fish less cycle. Day 1 I dosed with fish food, Day 2 I added pure ammonia + fish food. Day 3 I added three live plants. I haven’t added anything else. Day 5 I added Tetra Safe Start. I tested the water for all three. Ammonia is pretty consistent at something in between 2-4ppm, nitrites are still at 0ppm, and Nitrates are at 5ppm. Do I just leave it alone and wait for Ammonia to drop and Nitrites to rise?
 

KianMan

I think you should just leave it alone. Maybe there is too much ammonia in the tank and the beneficial bacteria cant control that much yet. You've got a start on it though. Nitrates are being made so that means that ammonia is getting destroyed. Don't worry just go with the flow. Btw, welcome to Fishlore!
 

Ouse

Welcome to Fishlore.

You can do water changes to lower the ammonia and is quicker than waiting for 4ppm of ammonia to drop by itself. A 50% water change will lower 4ppm of ammonia down to 2ppm, for example. As this is a fishless cycle, keeping the ammonia down isn’t usually important at all, but let your 4ppm rise some more and beneficial bacteria and other microorganisms needed for the cycle will begin to die off.

For now, try to keep the ammonia reading to 2ppm. Whenever ammonia drops to 0ppm during the cycling phase, dose back up to 2ppm.

So, to answer your question: you can wait for the ammonia concentration to lower or do a water change to lower it quicker. I recommend doing a water change only if the ammonia rises above 2ppm while fishless cycling. When the tank is cycled, a 2ppm dosage should be converted right into nitrate.
Nitrates are being made so that means that ammonia is getting destroyed.
No, I’m almost certain the 5ppm nitrate has come from the OP’s water source. The OP hasn’t experienced a nitrite spike yet, and even if a bacteria species that skips the nitrite phase has developed (yes, that is possible), day six of the cycle is too early for the bacteria to convert ammonia into nitrate. It should take several weeks before ammonia is converted into nitrate.
 

KianMan

should've just left it for the pros :p
 

missionninja

missionninja

Welcome to Fishlore.

You can do water changes to lower the ammonia and is quicker than waiting for 4ppm of ammonia to drop by itself. A 50% water change will lower 4ppm of ammonia down to 2ppm, for example. As this is a fishless cycle, keeping the ammonia down isn’t usually important at all, but let your 4ppm rise some more and beneficial bacteria and other microorganisms needed for the cycle will begin to die off.

For now, try to keep the ammonia reading to 2ppm. Whenever ammonia drops to 0ppm during the cycling phase, dose back up to 2ppm.

So, to answer your question: you can wait for the ammonia concentration to lower or do a water change to lower it quicker. I recommend doing a water change only if the ammonia rises above 2ppm while fishless cycling. When the tank is cycled, a 2ppm dosage should be converted right into nitrate.

No, I’m almost certain the 5ppm nitrate has come from the OP’s water source. The OP hasn’t experienced a nitrite spike yet, and even if a bacteria species that skips the nitrite phase has developed (yes, that is possible), day six of the cycle is too early for the bacteria to convert ammonia into nitrate. It should take several weeks before ammonia is converted into nitrate.
So it’s been a few days since I did the water change like your recommended, Ammonia seems to have dropped down to 2.0, Nitrites are still 0 and Nitrates are 5.0. I will say I did test my tap water and there seems to be a very low level of Nitrate in the water. I’m not sure why I’m not seeing a spike in Nitrite or Nitrate. Should I dose with Ammonia again or just leave it alone? I really thought the Tetra Safe Start would have sped things up.
 

Ouse

Should I dose with Ammonia again or just leave it alone?
When it drops to 0ppm, dose again. Ensure you test daily to catch when it drops to 0ppm.
I’m not sure why I’m not seeing a spike in Nitrite or Nitrate.
Because it takes time. A fishless cycle usually lasts between 4-6 weeks (around 3 if you’re lucky) and nitrite usually doesn’t appear before the first week or two.
 

AquaLawyer

Also, depending on your plants, they could be sucking certain nutrients from the water column as soon as they are made. I don’t know if certain plants prefer ammonia/nitrate/nitrite, but it may not be bacteria handling the ammonia, rather the plants cleaning the water for you like you want them to. For reference my tank is 0ppm nitrate/nitrite/ammonia and I try to over feed slightly to ensure bottom feeders have enough food (not advocating that this is best practice, just providing an example of where there should be some excess nutrients in water but isn’t).
 

missionninja

Also, depending on your plants, they could be sucking certain nutrients from the water column as soon as they are made. I don’t know if certain plants prefer ammonia/nitrate/nitrite, but it may not be bacteria handling the ammonia, rather the plants cleaning the water for you like you want them to. For reference my tank is 0ppm nitrate/nitrite/ammonia and I try to over feed slightly to ensure bottom feeders have enough food (not advocating that this is best practice, just providing an example of where there should be some excess nutrients in water but isn’t).
Hmm that’s a good point. Right now it’s just an Anubias and Java Fern.
When it drops to 0ppm, dose again. Ensure you test daily to catch when it drops to 0ppm.

Because it takes time. A fishless cycle usually lasts between 4-6 weeks (around 3 if you’re lucky) and nitrite usually doesn’t appear before the first week or two.
Okay thanks for this. I checked Ammonia today and it was a very light 2.0 ppm, I will continue to watch out for 0ppm.
 

missionninja

When it drops to 0ppm, dose again. Ensure you test daily to catch when it drops to 0ppm.

Because it takes time. A fishless cycle usually lasts between 4-6 weeks (around 3 if you’re lucky) and nitrite usually doesn’t appear before the first week or two.
I tested again today, Ammonia dropped to what looks like 0.25, possibly 0 should I re-dose with Ammonia? Nitrite still 0.
 

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