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Old 07-29-2009, 12:56 PM   #1
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Understanding the ammonia->nitrite->nitrate cycle

Hey all --

Since I've recently replaced 100% of my tank water and washed the gravel, I want to make sure that I understand how the whole process of ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates work.

The first day before I put the fish back in after there was a 100% fresh water and cleaned gravel back in (the rocks and filter media was all kept the same, all I did was rinse the part of the filter that catches all the gunk)

Here are my test results for the past three tests.

Day 0 Test Results
--------------------
Ph - 8.0
Ammonia - 0.25
Nitrite - 0.0
Nitrate - 0.0

Day 1 Test Results
--------------------
Ph - 7.8
Ammonia - 0.0
Nitrite - 0.25
Nitrate - 10

Day 2 Test Results
--------------------
Ph - 7.8
Ammonia - 0.0
Nitrite - 0.25
Nitrate - 15

So my questions are.. What can I expect these levels to go to? How long will it take for that nitrite to go to zero? Since I didn't change out the filter and kept it wet and the rocks wet, the biological filter should be good. Anyways, any experience that someone would like to share would be appreciated.

Thanks,

-Alli
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Old 07-29-2009, 02:28 PM   #2
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Sounds like you are going through a mini cycle. I would keep testing and keep up on water changes. If you see ammonia or nitrites go above .25ppm I would do a large PWC until they fall below. Sounds like you are on the right track!
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Old 07-29-2009, 03:25 PM   #3
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I agree. Looks like a mini cycle. Bound to happen with that big of a change. No big deal just watch the Nitrites and if they go up do a big PWC. You are on the right track though. All looks good IMO!
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Old 07-29-2009, 03:33 PM   #4
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Great thanks guys!

How long would you expect the nitrites to stay at around 0.25? When they go down I would expect to see the nitrates go up right? I'll still keep testing every night when I get home to make sure it's doing what it should.

Thanks for the input.. Much appreciated!

-Alli
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Old 07-29-2009, 03:58 PM   #5
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I would expect the Nitrites to go down within a week with PWC's. Then with normal PWC's after that it should stay at 0 and Nitrates should be at 20 or less from then on. At least thats what mine did. YMMV.
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Old 07-29-2009, 04:02 PM   #6
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With this first week of putting complete new water in it and since I'm treating the tank for Ick, should I be doing PWCs right now? I'm treating it with 86F water and conditioning salt. Maybe I should just wait until this is all over with before I start changing the water out which would lower the salt levels?
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Old 07-29-2009, 04:07 PM   #7
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Gonna have to defer on that one. Maybe water changes with salt? Cause if the Nitrites spike the ick wont matter, the spike could kill the fish. Maybe someone with more experience could chime in? I dont see why you couldnt do PWC's with salt in the new water though.
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Old 07-29-2009, 04:10 PM   #8
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The salt is not necessary for Ich treatment. If you're nitrIte climbs to 0.5 I'd do a PWC.
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Old 07-29-2009, 04:38 PM   #9
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Salt and Heat work wonders on fish, ICH I go 86 degrees with a dose and a half of salt, I continue treatment for 2 weeks AFTER the final visible symptoms are gone.



Do a PWC if you want but it will work itself out. My fish lived for a week of ammonia that topped at 8.0, they are still alive I did a total clean out today temp is up there around 86/88 right now and falling, zebra danios are doing fine.

Kept my AC70 on it and added a RUGF. so far so good, I am awaiting the results of day zero's test.
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Old 07-29-2009, 05:04 PM   #10
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Doesn't the salt help with ick though? I read somewhere that it has problems with the salt and helps it from doing it's thing. I've read that a combo of high water temps with the salt is a good combination to get rid of it. Now I hear that people get rid of it with just temp but the salt for sure has seemed to calm the fish down at least. They were freaking out before.
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Old 07-29-2009, 05:42 PM   #11
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Salt and heat are the best natural treatment for ICH.

Chemical additives are no good for the tank. what goes in must come out, the more you add the more water you need to take out, keep in mine salt does not evaporate so a WC is due at the time treatment is done.
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Old 07-29-2009, 06:00 PM   #12
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Salt is added to aid in breathing for the fish. Higher temperature water is less oxygenated. The salt has no effect on the Ich parasite.
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Old 07-29-2009, 06:35 PM   #13
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I have cured many fish, and tanks for that matter, with just heat and lowering the water level to create more of a splash from the HOB's. The other problem with treating with salt and doing water changes is you really don't know what the level of salt is in the tank. Sure you took some water out but how much salt is still in there? FWIW
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Old 07-30-2009, 12:29 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by neilanh View Post
Salt is added to aid in breathing for the fish. Higher temperature water is less oxygenated. The salt has no effect on the Ich parasite.
i think you are wrong on this. the heat speeds up the life cycle of ich. the free swimming form of ich cant handle the salt. its possible to kill ich with heat alone at 86+ since most forums cant take the higher temps. not all fish can handle the higher temps.
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