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Old 12-02-2011, 12:34 AM   #1
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Tank Cycling conundrum...

I'm cycling my 29g tank by dosing it with ammonia. Pretty much, every day, I've been dosing it as the ammonia seems to drop each day to 0. However, the nitrites were measuring between 1 and 2 ppms and the nitrates were measuring between 20-80ppms. However, today, as I went to check it everything measured as 0...ammonia, nitrites and nitrates. Actually, the nitrates could be between 0 and 5ppm but it really looks like 0 to me. My question...what happened to the nitrates? Aren't they supposed to be much higher? Did I do something wrong? Why is everything 0? I was so puzzled that I redid the test and got the same results.

I'm not thinking the tank is cycled yet.... but this really baffles me. Any thoughts or help?
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Old 12-02-2011, 12:38 AM   #2
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Do you have any plants in this tank?

That seems really odd. Try testing your nitrates again. Shake the second bottle really well (if this is the API kit).

Did you clean anything in the tank? Was there anything that could have possibly gotten in the tank through the air, on one's hand, or something accidentally spilled in the tank?
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Old 12-02-2011, 01:45 AM   #3
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No, I don't have any plants in the tank...yet. There is just the floramax(?) soil that I will, eventually, be putting plants in. I was trying to cycle the tank first.
I did a water top off 2 days ago but the tank still read that it had nitrates and nitrites and I've dosed it since then as well.

I'll do the test again and shake the bottles of the test kit. I usually do that anyway...but I'm stumped.
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Old 12-02-2011, 01:59 AM   #4
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Sounds like a testing issue, nitrates don't just disappear on their own. Are you using any special kind of nitrate reducing media?
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Old 12-02-2011, 02:01 AM   #5
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Ok, I did the test again after shaking the nitrate test solution bottles. I'm guessing that I didn't shake them well enough before...the nitrate reading is now 40ppm. The nitrites are still 0 (which makes me extremely happy!) and the ammonia, I believe is 0. I say "I believe" because I have never gotten a true yellow reading with my water...ever. At least, it always looks like it's .25. Anyone else have that issue?

Anyway, if the nitrite reading is correct then I would say the end of the tank cycling is near. I will dose it again tonight and measure it again tomorrow before I head into work and when I get home from work.

Thanks for your response and "shaking" suggestion...lol.
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Old 12-02-2011, 07:41 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aprlshwrs View Post
Ok, I did the test again after shaking the nitrate test solution bottles. I'm guessing that I didn't shake them well enough before...the nitrate reading is now 40ppm. The nitrites are still 0 (which makes me extremely happy!) and the ammonia, I believe is 0. I say "I believe" because I have never gotten a true yellow reading with my water...ever. At least, it always looks like it's .25. Anyone else have that issue?

Anyway, if the nitrite reading is correct then I would say the end of the tank cycling is near. I will dose it again tonight and measure it again tomorrow before I head into work and when I get home from work.

Thanks for your response and "shaking" suggestion...lol.
Yep the nitrate test is finicky. There's a reagent powder in bottle #2 that can get clumped. I always shake both bottles for 30 seconds and bang bottle #2 on a hard surface a few times to loosen up the powder. I've gotten false readings before when I didn't shake and bang.

As for ammonia, if you know your tap has 0 ammonia or you have some spring water handy check it for ammonia. Then compare the tube to your tank. If they match, ammonia in your tank is really 0. Sometimes depending on lighting the 0 ammonia test can look like .25 when it's held up against the card.

If you dose another couple-three days and ammonia and nitrite remain at 0 I'd say you're cycled.
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