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Old 07-27-2006, 01:09 PM   #1
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freshwater testing noobie, help read my results

Cycling my 46 gallon bowfront, i'm on day 4 right now, yesterday I added a 3 oz bag of bio-spira because I had quite the bacteria bloom. Well about 20 hours later, the water quality from the naked eye has imrpoved a lot, but still remains somewhat hazy. So I picked up a AP freshwater master test kit and ran some tests like the mad scientist I am, here are my results:

ammonia: 0ppm
nitrite: 0 ppm
nitrate: looks like 5.0
ph: 7.8

The fish look a lot happier and a lot more active than they have been so I guess that's a good sign, but there is still a haze to the water. I know the amonia and nitrite are where a broke in tank is supposed to be, but how's my nitrate. I guess i'll feed the fish today since I skipped a day to help reduce what I thought would be high ammonia/nitrate levels because of the bacterial bloom. What kind of nitrate levels should I expect with a fully cycled tank?

Currently in my tank I have 3 zebra danios and 2 julii corys

Tested my matured 5 gallon hex with 4 harlequin rasboras and got:

0ppm ammonia
0ppm nitrite
20 nitrate
ph 7.2
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Old 07-27-2006, 01:50 PM   #2
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Sounds good to me! I'd feed them normally now. My tank after a pwc has nitrates of 10ppm but my tank has been running for 5 months and has quite a it of fish in it. I think a good nitrate level is between 10 and 20. Your's is just cycled so I thing that's why the lower number.
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Old 07-27-2006, 02:16 PM   #3
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I guess I'll wait a few days and wait for the bloom to fully dissipate then add my pleco in and then slowly start stocking it.
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Old 07-27-2006, 04:57 PM   #4
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Your tank isn't cycled yet on day 4 and 5. You are going to have to give the fish some time to produce waste in order to start the nitrogen cycle. Once excess food and fishy poo start to break down in the water, you will see ammonia (toxic to fish) rising. Once that drops off to zero you will see nitrite come up. Once that falls again the tank is cycled.

Most likely you are seeing those numbers in yoru nitrate due to nitrates found in water out of the tap or the bio-spira. Don't let it fool you. Keep an eye on the parameters and do partial water changes as necessary to maintain safe levels for the fish.

I usually try to keep my nitrAtes at around 20 ppm due to live plants, however this is the least toxic to fish of the three. I have read somewhere that some fish survive in over 100 ppm nitrate. It does stress them however at this level.

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Old 07-27-2006, 05:15 PM   #5
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Yeah I agree it isn't fully cycled yet, but I know it has to be getting close. I know the amonia level was getting high early on because there were 9 fish initially in the tank, then when they started exibiting symptoms of ammonia poisoning I moved some to my 5 gallon where they are fine. I added the bio-spira last afternoon and it drastically reduced the bacterial cloud overnight, and now ammonia and nitrite levels are 0. I'm definitely going to wait until the cloud clears up all the way, and continue monitoring tank conditions before I add more fish. I tested my tap water for nitrates and it got a reading of 0, so the nitrate buildup is definitely a combo of the cycle and\or bio-spira.
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Old 07-27-2006, 06:58 PM   #6
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Yes... or from your tap water.

One thing to keep in mind is that we advocate that you can't really do too many water changes. Especially cycling with fish. If you get some dangerous readings on those ammonia or nitrite tests i would say do a water change of about 40-50% AND add the bio-spira. Just to be safe.
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Old 07-27-2006, 11:36 PM   #7
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About 10 hours later and I re-tested. PH is down to 7.6, and everything else is the same

Ammonia: 0 ppm
Nitrite: 0 ppm
Nitrate: 5 ppm

The water has also gotten noticeably clearer from 10 hours ago as well.
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Old 07-28-2006, 12:12 AM   #8
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can you test your tap water for nitrates and post the results ? If your tap has nitrates of 5ppm then either (a) you've just finished some fairly large water changes or (b) you're not converting any ammonia to nitrites and nitrites to nitrate, which would mean you're not cycled
Personally I LOVE Bio-Spira but if it wasn't handled correctly and was allowed to warm up at any point from the time it left the manufacturer (during shipping or store stocking or between purchase and use) it would have gone bad and wouldn't work - which is why its important to watch your parameters for at least 2 weeks to see whats "really" going on.
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Old 07-28-2006, 12:37 AM   #9
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I already tested my tap water and it read 0 ppm nitrates. I'll test again though just to make sure. Could it be there's just such a small bio-load for a 46 gallon tank (3 danios, 2 corys) such that 5 ppm nitrate will successfully convert all the ammonia?
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Old 07-28-2006, 12:39 AM   #10
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I think the bio spira worked and you are cycled. Go slow with new additions.
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