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Old 06-22-2014, 08:53 PM   #1
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Help with tank cycle.. nitrates showing zero?

Hi, I'm fairly new to keeping my freshwater tank so I'm hoping I can get some advice! I was given a ton of guppies in a 10gal tank by a friend. It was obviously wayyy too many for that small of a tank so I got rid of most and kept a few that I moved to a 50 gallon tank along with some neon tetras. I was totally new to this and should've done a little more research and let the tank cycle without the fish but I didn't. It was set up Memorial day so its been 4 weeks exactly today. About a week ago the water was looking cloudy and the fish seem stressed so i tested the water and the nitrite and nitrate levels were both very high. (Honestly it was so high I'm kind of surprised my fish survived..) I actually did some research and looked at a few forums on here and did a lot of massive water changes over the course of the past week and a half or so and managed to get the nitrite levels down to zero. But I'm confused because the nitrate level is also showing zero. I thought if the tank was successfully cycled that the nitrate level would be showing something a little higher? So does this mean I screwed up the cycle and it'll be starting over? I would definitely appreciate any advice/thoughts on this! Thank you!
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Old 06-22-2014, 10:09 PM   #2
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I think your nitrates are zero because of the water changes and that your tank has fully cycled.
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Old 06-22-2014, 10:55 PM   #3
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I hope so! So should I expect the nitrate levels to rise a little bit then? I should add I don't have any live plants in the tank.
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Old 06-22-2014, 11:03 PM   #4
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I would expect your nitrates to rise as your tank gets older. Of course you'll remove some of them with water changes.

Live plants remove some nitrates, but their addition will not replace water changes. The down side of live plants is they require some form of maintenance.
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Old 06-23-2014, 09:28 AM   #5
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Thank you!!
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Old 06-23-2014, 03:08 PM   #6
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Fish In Tank Cycling

Hello mas...

Guppies are very hardy and can tolerate pretty poor water conditions. Large water changes during a "Fish In" tank cycle will remove the dissolved ammonia and nitrite from the fish waste. That will delay the cycle because you're removing the food the good bacteria need to reproduce. If you have no bacteria, there's nothing to remove the toxins in the water and you have no nitrogen cycle.

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Old 06-24-2014, 04:24 PM   #7
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Hi,

So does this mean I've interrupted the cycle? What should I expect now- will it start over? I've been testing every day and still showing 0 nitrites 0 nitrates.
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Old 06-24-2014, 04:26 PM   #8
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And would it be beneficial at all to add anything? One of those quick start add ins to help with the cycle? Any guidance is appreciated!
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Old 06-24-2014, 04:59 PM   #9
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I wouldn't bother with the quick starts, if you're impatient, there are members on here that sell established filter media that will kick start the process. You could also search for fish clubs in your area and see if anyone is willing to give you an old sponge.

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Old 06-24-2014, 05:07 PM   #10
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I'm not necessarily impatient, I just want to get the tank cycled without killing all my fish in the mean time.. I don't want to keep restarting the cycle when I try to control the nitrite levels. I was told when the cycle reached the nitrite stage that I had to do those large water changes to keep the levels from being dangerous to the fish. Was that wrong? I tried to just change the water and not disturb the gravel too much to try to keep some of the bacteria growing..
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