Why the sudden drop in Nitrates??? Question

  1. HitchHiker Member Member

    Got up and tested my bucket of water this morning, and my Nitrate levels have drop a lot. I don't know why this would happen, I have no plants in there the water is still perfectly clear (I can see the sand and large glass beads that I places in there to help seed the substraight).

    Here is a link to the my spread sheet of daily tests: Linky Linky

    Background: I got a 55 gal tank for Christmas, but due to the placement of the tree I can't move it into the house until the 26th. So I set up my Rena XP3 filter with a 5 gal buck and began to cycle the filter in there I was using fish food, but switched to a shrimp on the 8th day (that was 6 days ago). The water that I added was due to evaporation/loss during testing (I take a cup of water out and test in the house, way to cold to stay out side.) The water in the 5 gal bucket stays between 88* and 92*.

    If there is anything that I missed let me know and I will be happy to fill you in.

    Thanks for all the great help you have been.
  2. Meenu Fishlore VIP Member

    Maybe adding the water to the bucket diluted it - same as when we do a water change?

    It looks like things are going awesome! I'm really excited for you.
  3. HitchHiker Member Member

    That was my first thought as well, but I would have expected to see the dilution of the nitrates within the first day, rather than 3 days later. Just a total puzzler... I am not overly concerned just like to know the why?? LOL it will occupy my thoughts all day. :D

    I am totally excited also, and its doing little projects here and there that I have kept me from going totally bonkers with excitement. I know that I have full blown MTS.
  4. Meenu Fishlore VIP Member

    lol... MTS actually hasn't hit me yet. My desire isn't more, it's bigger!
  5. jdhef Moderator Moderator Member

    If you are using the API nitrate test, you really need to shake bottle no. 2 vigoruosly. It contains crystals in solution, and the crystals tend to separate from the liquid. If not shaken and banged well enough you can get a false reading.
  6. David C Well Known Member Member

    Evaporation shouldn't effect the readings after you have replaced the water, the nitrates won't evaporate so the only way to remove them is with water changes. jdhef is right about the shaking. I took a dozen different samples from my tank and tested them all at the same time and had a huge difference in readings when I only did a gentle shake. I use the vibrator mixer things you find in a chemistry class to mix mine now, works wonders.

  7. jdhef Moderator Moderator Member

    Thank goodness, with only a few days left in 2009 I didn't think I was going to be right at all this year!:;santaclaus:;laughing
  8. HitchHiker Member Member

    That could be it I am using the API master test kit, I gently shake the bottle, maybe I should be a bit more vigorous in my shaking. I do do it for the recommended 30 sec. (yes I use a timer, I don't trust myself at 4:30 am). I will go home and redo the test and see what happens.
  9. HitchHiker Member Member

    Just got home from work and retested the water this time the Nitrates tested at 40 ppm. That is where I expected them to be. I guess I really need to make sure that I shake the bottle well.
  10. Meenu Fishlore VIP Member

    I have to bang mine against the counter a few times and then give it a goodm rough shake for a full minute.
  11. jdhef Moderator Moderator Member

    Yeah, I bang mine against my hand really hard, and shake longer than the recommended time.

    At 40, your nitrates are too high. The API test kit booklet recommends keeping nitates under 40, but most people here recommend keeping the under 20. So I see a partial water change in your very near future.:;eye:;eye
  12. HitchHiker Member Member

    :) This morning I woke up to a great early Christmas present... There were no more Nitrites!!! YAY!!! I felt like dancing that I was able to finally finish my fishless cycle. My final readings were as follows:

    pH 7.8
    Ammonia 0
    Nitrite 0
    Nitrate 40

    So now on the 26th when I move my tank into the house, should I go a head and use the water that is in the bucket or start off with all fresh water. I plan on running the tank fishless in the house until Monday the 28th when I will go and get my first school of fish. I will leave the shrimp in the tank until I get the fish just to keep the cycle going.
  13. jdhef Moderator Moderator Member

    Oops, I didn't remember from earlier that you didn't have any fish, and were just cycling the filter in the bucket. So of course disregard the water change comment. (and I was so excited that I finally got to use the eyes...oh well).