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Old 08-05-2011, 08:28 AM   #1
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Whats up with my nitrite/nitrates?

Hey all,

I have been testing my water, and am I doing something wrong?

My Ph is between 8.0 and 8.2

Ammonia is at 0

Nitrites are around 2.0

Nitrates are up around 160

Salinity is up around 1.023

I have about 4 lbs of "live" rock, 15 lbs of "live sand" in my 125 gallon tank, and about 150lbs of base rock.

I threw 3 uncooked shrimp in there, and let the water cycle for almost two weeks, tested the water last night, saw how high nitrite/nitrates are, so pulled the shrimp remnants out, and did a 25% water change; let it cycle til this morning, and it doesn't seem the nitrites/nitrates went down at all.

What should I do? Keep waiting?
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Old 08-05-2011, 08:42 AM   #2
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I am a beginner here so don't take my word as gospel but..... it sounds to me like you are in the end game of the cycle. Once the shrimp stated to decompose it triggered the cycle. I would expect that you are still creating some ammonia but your BB colony is immediately converting to Nitrite and then to Nitrate. The way I understand it, you should continue to wait until the nitrite is reading 0 for a few days. The nitrate will not come down on its own but only through water changes. Once again, I am new to all this so I would confirm it with someone more experienced than I am.
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Old 08-05-2011, 09:53 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by ozorowsky
Hey all,

I have been testing my water, and am I doing something wrong?

My Ph is between 8.0 and 8.2

Ammonia is at 0

Nitrites are around 2.0

Nitrates are up around 160

Salinity is up around 1.023

I have about 4 lbs of "live" rock, 15 lbs of "live sand" in my 125 gallon tank, and about 150lbs of base rock.

I threw 3 uncooked shrimp in there, and let the water cycle for almost two weeks, tested the water last night, saw how high nitrite/nitrates are, so pulled the shrimp remnants out, and did a 25% water change; let it cycle til this morning, and it doesn't seem the nitrites/nitrates went down at all.

What should I do? Keep waiting?
First, you need a lot more LR for that size tank. As far as the spikes, when doing the shrimp cycle. As the shrimp decomposes it will jump start the nitrogen cycle into your tank. Meaning you will see high spikes. When the shrimp smells that is when you take it out. As long as you had one floating and on on the sand bed. After a day or two (after taking the shrimp from the tank) the smell will go away, and your levels will come down to their normal test state. Patients and reading are one of the biggest things in this hobby. Now if there were live stock in the tank you would do at least a 10% water change daily or every other day to get the nitrates in check.
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Old 08-05-2011, 09:56 AM   #4
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First, you need a lot more LR for that size tank. As far as the spikes, when doing the shrimp cycle. As the shrimp decomposes it will jump start the nitrogen cycle into your tank. Meaning you will see high spikes. When the shrimp smells that is when you take it out. As long as you had one floating and on on the sand bed. After a day or two (after taking the shrimp from the tank) the smell will go away, and your levels will come down to their normal test state. Patients and reading are one of the biggest things in this hobby. Now if there were live stock in the tank you would do at least a 10% water change daily or every other day to get the nitrates in check.
No more livestock I put a damsel in a few days ago; it lasted a day

I pulled the shrimp out; and did a water change.

So now I guess I just wait and be patient and the nitrates will come down?
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Old 08-05-2011, 09:57 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by SeaMe

First, you need a lot more LR for that size tank. As far as the spikes, when doing the shrimp cycle. As the shrimp decomposes it will jump start the nitrogen cycle into your tank. Meaning you will see high spikes. When the shrimp smells that is when you take it out. As long as you had one floating and on on the sand bed. After a day or two (after taking the shrimp from the tank) the smell will go away, and your levels will come down to their normal test state. Patients and reading are one of the biggest things in this hobby. Now if there were live stock in the tank you would do at least a 10% water change daily or every other day to get the nitrates in check.
I would take a little more (say 10 lbs) of the base rock, and replace it with 10 lbs of LR. That is a huge jump with base to LR. It takes a few weeks for the rock to convert over. That's what I would do, but I also do not know how long it has been in there already. So you could be good by now..
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Old 08-05-2011, 10:01 AM   #6
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I would take a little more (say 10 lbs) of the base rock, and replace it with 10 lbs of LR. That is a huge jump with base to LR. It takes a few weeks for the rock to convert over. That's what I would do, but I also do not know how long it has been in there already. So you could be good by now..
All the rock has been in there nearly two weeks now. Most all the rock feels slightly slimy to the touch, for what thats worth. I'm just trying to save money on rock.

Do you think if I just wait it out everything will pick up? Keep in mind I removed the shrimp.
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Old 08-05-2011, 10:03 AM   #7
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The nitrates will not disappear on their own. The ammonia and nitrite should level themselves out at 0 if your bacteria is working properly. If it's not you may have to does back the ammonia with another shrimp or some pure ammonia.

You've got nitrates which is good, means you have bacteria converting the bad stuff, BUT if the other reading arent at 0 you arent done yet. Looks like you are getting close though
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Old 08-05-2011, 10:07 AM   #8
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The nitrates will not disappear on their own. The ammonia and nitrite should level themselves out at 0 if your bacteria is working properly. If it's not you may have to does back the ammonia with another shrimp or some pure ammonia.

You've got nitrates which is good, means you have bacteria converting the bad stuff, BUT if the other reading arent at 0 you arent done yet. Looks like you are getting close though
Hey Carey,

How DO I get rid of the nitrates? And by "getting close" do you mean another week away? Or check my levels maybe tomorrow or sunday? I can be patient, just like to have goals to set; so how many days you think I should wait before checking the water again?
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Old 08-05-2011, 10:14 AM   #9
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The only way to get rid of the nitrates is either water changes or macro algae which you dont have.

I may be anal retentive, but, when I cycle or setup a new tank I always check the water each day. The ammonia has come down you are just waiting on the nitrites. Don't worry too much about the nitrates, when everything is done you can do a huge water change and get them down before adding livestock.

Hope that helped! You may have a few more days or a week, when nitrites drop they drop pretty quick. Thast why I test so much, so I dont miss it. lol
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Old 08-05-2011, 10:22 AM   #10
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The only way to get rid of the nitrates is either water changes or macro algae which you dont have.

I may be anal retentive, but, when I cycle or setup a new tank I always check the water each day. The ammonia has come down you are just waiting on the nitrites. Don't worry too much about the nitrates, when everything is done you can do a huge water change and get them down before adding livestock.

Hope that helped! You may have a few more days or a week, when nitrites drop they drop pretty quick. Thast why I test so much, so I dont miss it. lol
GRRR lol, can I buy macro algae? Or how do I get that??? LOL I feel so lost (sorry)

So if I'm understanding correctly wait for nitrites/ammonia to drop to 0, do a 30% water change, re check ph, nitrite/nitrate and ammonia, if nitrates are low, nitrate/ammonia are 0, then I can safely add fish and watch my tank really come to life?
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