Cycling 4' tank, suspect results.

Discussion in 'Water Chemistry' started by jaycat, 14 Oct 2008.

  1. jaycat

    jaycat Member

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    Hi,

    I'm cycling a 4' tank, and I'm on to the second stage, well I was...

    after a week the ammonia has dropped to 0, so I raised back up to 3ppm.

    Nitrite was off the scale, 48 hours later ammonia 0, nitrite 0, nitrate 10.

    Where on earth do I go from here? I have the fish ready to transfer from a smaller tank over, but it seems too quick for my liking. Shall I raise the ammonia back up or what? Temp in the tank is 30 degrees, and it has been in darkness IF that makes any difference. I have not done a watwe change either, so the nitrate level seems odd too. Have tested all results twice and both the same. Test kit is API and well in date.

    All seems a bit quick to me, 10 days. I don't want to add my beloved fish and plants if all is not well.

    Advice very gratefully received please.

    Thanks
     
  2. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Member

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    You want to be able to process 3ppm of amonia in 12 hours before it's ready, then do a water change to sort out the nitrates and I believe you should be good to go, but add fish slowly over at least several days.
     
  3. jaycat

    jaycat Member

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    Hi, thanks that's what I normally do, BUT the nitrates are at 10, and I've done any water change! :?:
     
  4. aaronnorth

    aaronnorth Member

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    1mg/l Ammonia >> 2.7mg/l Nitrite >> 3.7mg/l Nitrate

    Mg/l and ppm are essentially the same for this purpose.
     
  5. jaycat

    jaycat Member

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    Sorry Aaron now you have totally lost me.

    What has thrown me this time is that the nitrate has dropped to 10, without the normal 90% water change.

    So, do I raise the ammonia level again to 3ppm and then check all again in 12 hours, or do a massive water change, which I can't see will help?

    Thanks,
     
  6. san-ho-zay

    san-ho-zay Member

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    Bear in mind that nitrate results can be skewed by the presence of nitrite. If you thought you had a high nitrate level and it has apparently dropped, that could just be because the nitrite has gone. The Nutrafin kits mention this effect specifically, but I'm not sure if the API kits are affected in the same way.

    I never bother testing for nitrate during a fishless cycle for this reason.
     
  7. aaronnorth

    aaronnorth Member

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    you will get nitrate showing, but you have to wait until the ammonia is processed in 12 hours, so keep adding more ammonia until this happens.

    i posted the above, to show that if you are adding 3ppm, 10ppm of nitrate should be about right going with the above calculation.

    there is a thread on TFF showing that water changes are a good thing but i cant find it :twisted:
     
  8. jaycat

    jaycat Member

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    Ok, so what do I do next?

    Raise the ammonia?

    Water change and then add my fish/plants?

    I'm really not sure, this has never happened after such a short time before. Ta.
     
  9. aaronnorth

    aaronnorth Member

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    usually you add 5ppm so i have been told...
     
  10. jaycat

    jaycat Member

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    Both posted at the same time Aaron!

    Ah ok thanks Aaron, I'll raise the ammonia at 9pm so as I can test tomorrow am, that gives the correct 12 hours to process through.

    Thanks for the explaination, I see what you mean now, that the nitrate is ok compared to the ammonia and nitrite. Ever heard of a tank cycling so soon though?

    Thanks very much.
     
  11. aaronnorth

    aaronnorth Member

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    nope lol

     
  12. Ed Seeley

    Ed Seeley Member

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    I've cycled tanks in 2 days with old media that was dry but used previously but never that fast with 'virgin' media. I'd keep adding ammonia daily for another week as the worst thing you can do is waste a week's time in planting. If you add fish and plants and it isn't fully cycled then you'll probably kill the fish and have a complete algae mess.

    I also don't cycle without fish but simply add the plants straight away whihc will help remove ammonia.
     
  13. Egmel

    Egmel Member

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    If you're using the API nitrIte test then be careful. The colour indicating 'WOW this is totally off my scale" is the same colour as "nope, you're fine there's none there".

    2 ways to double check your nitrites really are 0ppm, the first, when you add the drops to the water there is no colour change not even for a second. Secondly try a test on 1/4 tank water and 3/4 tap water, if this still comes up 0 then you're likely not to have any nitrites.

    I would suggest that if you've only got 10ppm Nitrates and you used tank water then you're not fully cycled yet.

    Doing a water change helps because excessively high levels are difficult to read and can inhibit bacteria growth.

    Good Luck
     
  14. aaronnorth

    aaronnorth Member

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  15. jaycat

    jaycat Member

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    Took ammonia up to 4 at 9pm yesterday, at 9am ammonia was 0 nitrite was 0.5, by 9pm it was 0. so I will do this routine for another week just to be on the safeside, then i'll do a a large water change and add plants and some but not all my fish.

    Very interesting article Aaron, thanks for finding it. J

    Thanks also for the advice re API kit, I double checked that the colour didn't go deep ppurple as soon as it went into the vial. Also got the reading of 0.5 this am, so I know now It's not fully cycled yet. Thanks for the tips.
     
  16. baron von bubba

    baron von bubba Member

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    hi,
    is this correct, i thought it was perfectly aceptable to plant a tank (fairly heavily) and and a few ottos or whatever after a couple of days?

    is that saying you do cycle with fish??! :0/

    i was just asking because, i've planted mine tank and added some fish in first couple of days because i thought the ammonia levels would stay "safe".

    thanks
     
  17. Ed Seeley

    Ed Seeley Member

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    A tank can be said to have 'cycled' if there is no ammonia detectable. If you plant heavily and the plants are growing well then they can consume any ammonia before it can rise to dangerous levels. However you must make sure that there is no detectable ammonia or nitrite.

    What I meant was that I don't have the tank sitting there being dosed with ammonia for a few days before planting. I set up the tank, fill the tank and plant it straight away. I would not put fish in a tank straight away. Ammonia levels will fluctuate. Plus, as soon as you add fish, they produce ammonia which is a superb algae trigger, even if it doesn't rise to levels that will put the fish in danger.

    The best way to explain it is to probably say that I cycle with plants! Unless I have an already mature filter i might not add fish for 4 or more weeks until the tank is fully established. This means you can crank up the CO2 and ferts and get the plants really growing strongly before fish are added and the CO2 needs to be returned to fish safe levels. Also when you get ammonia and nitrite spikes there are no fish to suffer.

    As you have added fish early you need to make sure you're doing some large water changes so that ammonia levels don't get to dangerous levels. I think 50% every day or so to start with. This will also reduce the chances of you getting any algae so will be a very good thing.
     

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