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Old 10-20-2004, 09:57 AM   #1
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Nitrites Spike - won't go during cycling?

Ok, first of all this may be entirely normal but I thought I should ask the experts.

I have a 5 gallon hex I am cycling for dwarf seahorses. Nothing live in it. I started the cycling process with ammonia. I have got the ammonia consuming bacteria and now have nitrites. Nitrites came in at the beginning of the 2nd week. I have now been cycling this tank for over 3 weeks (it'll be a month on Friday) and the nitrites aren't changing. I'm haveing a hard time deciding where they are (between two pinks) so I'd guess 2.0-5.0 ppm. I add a little ammonia every time I test and it comes to 0.0 the next day.

How long does it normally take for the nitrite bacteria to develop? Can I kick start this somehow. I read somewhere that if the nitrites stay high, do a water change to get them in line (but this may have been just if you have livestock in the tank while cycling). Please tell me if I just need to wait, or is a water change or adding something in order? I think I read macro's might help with nitrites is that true?


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Old 10-20-2004, 10:19 AM   #2
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What you are experiencing is quite normal. The bacteria that consume NH3 (Nitrosomas) generally form quite quickly, 7-10 days. The bacteria that consume the nitrite (Nitrobacters) can take anywhere from 2-6 weeks to gain in sufficient number to deal with nitrite production. It also greatly depends on the amount of surface area's within the tank set up that the bacteria have to colonize. The more surface area's the faster it will happen. If the tank is just set up with sand at the moment, it will take longer.

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Old 10-20-2004, 11:49 AM   #3
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Steve is dead on. The nitrite to nitrate part of the cycling process is the long, drawn out one.
What are you taking ammonia levels to? 4ppm is more than enough to keep the cycle going. more than that and you could be killing bacteria.
Former advisor and planted tank geek...life's moved on though.
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Old 10-20-2004, 12:06 PM   #4
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Thanks for the confirmation that things are OK. I'll just wait patiently. I thought one day the spike was down as I had a lower reading, but the next day it was back up ( I probably miscounted the drops the time it was lower )

....tapping fingers patiently....

I'm only bringing the ammonia back up to about 2-3ppm each time.

I've got a diatom bloom going on my dead rock. I'm leaving the lights off for now so as to not encourage more. I can't wait to get a cleanup crew working on that.

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cycling, nitrites, spike

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