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Old 09-20-2017, 11:44 AM   #1
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Ammo to 0(ish) in less than 24 hours, maybe no nitr8tes yet?




Pictures are probably bad... My apologies.

Day 12 of a fishless cycle. First time cycling. Been following the almost complete guide. It's a 5g tank that's planted. Some sword bunched up, dwarf grass, and marimo moss stringed to a large piece of drift. I have estes and national geo sand along with seachen fluorite as the substrate. I have an airstone inside.

PH of th tank is definitely 8.2 PH of tap is 7.4. And that's been consistent every time I tested.

NitrItes showed up on day 7. I think(?) Nitr8tes maybe showed up on 10. But it's definitely not even 5, yet. Just doesn't look like 0 either. Day 10, 11, and 12 nitr8te testing has looked like the color shown above. Hasn't increased at all.

The previous three days I have been dosing ammo to 4 ppm each morning and in less than 24 hours it's back down between to 0-.25. Previously it took about 32 hours. NitrItes I believe are off the chart. 2 and 5 look so similar to me... Nitr8tes haven't risen at all. I'm not even sure it's not 0, other than the fact that it's a little darker than the 0 ammo tube testing. And, yes, I shake the crap out of the nitr8tes api testing tube. 40 seconds #1 and 1:10 on #2 with a timer runner.

I'm not sure what I'm supposed to be doing now. Any help? Thanks!
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Old 09-20-2017, 02:43 PM   #2
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NitrItes I believe are off the chart. 2 and 5 look so similar to me.
I have the same problem reading the nitrItes as well.

When testing the nitrItes, do the blue drops immediately start to turn dark purple before you shake the test tube? If so, that's is my understanding of how you can tell if your nitrItes are off the chart.

Also looking to see what others have to say as i am in a similar situation.
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Old 09-20-2017, 08:12 PM   #3
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When testing the nitrItes, do the blue drops immediately start to turn dark purple before you shake the test tube? If so, that's is my understanding of how you can tell if your nitrItes are off the chart.
It does.
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Old 09-20-2017, 09:12 PM   #4
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Another way to test if the nitrite level exceeds the testing range is to dilute tank water 50:50 with DI water, retest, and multiply the result by 2. Or dilute the tank water to 1 part tank water and 3 parts DI water and retest. Multiply that result by 4.
The nitrite-to-nitrate conversion always takes much longer than the the ammonia-to-nitrite conversion.
You could try reducing the ammonia to 2 ppm. Less nitrite is produced.
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Old 09-20-2017, 09:58 PM   #5
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That's interesting. From what I've been reading about situations somewhat similar to mine (except they at least read nitr8tes) is that maybe I should reduce the ammo to 2 ppm or even let it sit on 0 for a day. I might try that. The reducing to 2 for a few days and see if that changes anything.

RE: the 0 ammo, doesn't that starve the good bacteria? How long could I last doing that?

Either way I'll cut my ammo dosing in half for now. Because I'm pretty sure I'm currently stalled. The lack of nitr8tes is really bothering me, though...
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Old 09-20-2017, 11:44 PM   #6
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Are you doing any water changes? Sometimes doing one can push things along.
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Old 09-20-2017, 11:47 PM   #7
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I have not done any yet. What % pwc would you recommend?
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Old 09-21-2017, 08:05 AM   #8
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I'd do half as a small tank but really any decent, convenient amount. The idea being this will replenish any used up elements. Unfortunately cycling a tank is a long-winded process.

The bacteria themselves can last weeks (if not months) without a food source and still re-start.

Water conditioner dosed as per bottle instructions and not over (just in case).
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Old 09-21-2017, 12:56 PM   #9
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I second the water change. I remember when I cycled my first tank it seemed to stall on nitrite so I did a big enough water change to get nitrite to a readable level and it cycled within a week after however my cycle still took a month.
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Old 09-21-2017, 01:59 PM   #10
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Okay! I just did a ~60% water change.

I tested this morning before that (I had dosed ammo to 4ppm before my original post). Same as before. Ammo down to 0 in less than 24 hours, nitrIte off the chart, and nitr8te originally looked like almost 5... And then I started shaking it and somehow it become more yellow.

Also, when I do water changes, how long do I leave the prime in before I add it to the tank? Because now that I'm thinking about it, all I did was get the water ready, put prime in, stirred it for about 10 seconds, and then I started siphoning the water out of the tank. Then I retied a piece of moss to my drift, so maybe 30 minutes it was sitting with the prime before I added it to the tank. Did I make a mistake there?

Anyway, it's been about 30 minutes since I did a pwc. Tested for nitrIte and it's still 5+. Ammo predictably at 0, since it was about there before the water change.

Should I just leave it at 0 for now? How long before I should dose ammo again? I'm assuming only to 2ppm this next time.
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