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Old 08-26-2011, 02:22 AM   #1
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Question ammonia, no nitrite, and high nitrate??

Hi Guys!!! Im new to this forum, and to having a successfully cycled tank and I have a quick question.

soooo ive only been cycling my 3 gallon tank for like 3 days. I've been keeping a journal on all the changes in the water (ive been obsessively testing it with the API freshwater master kit thing) and so heres my question: I've seen the ammonia drop substantially, but I've not seen any nitrites in the tests I've done, but for some reason the Nitrate level is rapidly climbing!!! Is this normal??? Is it possible that I somehow missed the peak in nitrite??

tested the water @ 1:40am this morning:
ammonia: 0.25ppm
ph: 7
nitrite: 0ppm
nitrate: 0ppm

tested the water @ 12:30pm this afternoon:
ammonia: 0ppm
ph: 7.8
Nitrite: 0ppm
Nitrate: 5 ppm

so I added Ammonium hydroxide (the right kind from Ace Hardware) *8 eyedropper drops to be exact* to raise the ammonia level to 2ppm. and the ammonia level has since dropped to between 0.5-1.0 ppm and the nitrate level is now between 10-20 ppm and still Nitrite has tested at 0ppm.

Is this supposed to happen?? I tested my tap water and it showed 0ppm Nitrate. As the level of Nitrate rises should I do a partial water change? Please any advice for how to continue cycling properly would be GREATLY appreciated. If theres any information I can provide that I left out pls reply

Thanks for your help!!!
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Old 08-26-2011, 02:55 AM   #2
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Strange how it only took 3 days (Although ive never cycled a tank using pure ammonia) lol I seem to stick to the old fashioned painful way.

I got to this point after a few weeks but then all of a sudden my Nitrite peeked and the Nitrate went to 5. I am doing daily water changes to combat this.

If you can id wait another week before adding fish. As in my experience there is a nitrite spike coming then once this is done you will be done cycling.

I think if your testing your tank every day you will come across nitrites at some point.

Hope it goes well a pic would be nice of the little fella when you take the plunge and put him in
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Old 08-26-2011, 09:09 AM   #3
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Hm, did you add anything to the tank such as a bacteria starter or seeded media from another tank? The ammonia dropping and nitrate rising is very good, but not sure how it's happening in 3 days without help. Usually with seeded media (or bacteria starter) the nitrite phase is skipped or delayed, so I would't worry about it. I'm just not sure how you're getting those readings in 3 days.

I'd keep dosing ammonia when it gets to 0 (only dose once in 24 hours though) and see what happens over the next week.

What do you plan to add to the tank? 3 gallons is way too small for any fish, except maybe a Betta (although 5 gals is recommended for them)
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Old 08-26-2011, 09:44 AM   #4
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I must have read this wrong, I coulf swore you were going to add a red a white Betta? I must be getting this mixed up with another thread :S
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Old 08-26-2011, 09:45 AM   #5
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That was it! I read it in your about me section ... Thought I was cracking up then!
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Old 08-27-2011, 12:05 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by librarygirl View Post
Hm, did you add anything to the tank such as a bacteria starter or seeded media from another tank? The ammonia dropping and nitrate rising is very good, but not sure how it's happening in 3 days without help. Usually with seeded media (or bacteria starter) the nitrite phase is skipped or delayed, so I would't worry about it. I'm just not sure how you're getting those readings in 3 days.

I'd keep dosing ammonia when it gets to 0 (only dose once in 24 hours though) and see what happens over the next week.

What do you plan to add to the tank? 3 gallons is way too small for any fish, except maybe a Betta (although 5 gals is recommended for them)
Oh yeah!! I forgot to add that I've been adding "Nutrafin Cycle" every day, and I also have "Nite-Out II" that Ive used too. But based on all the reviews I've read online about both products I assumed It may help but I didnt think it would make a substantial improvement like cycling the tank really fast. I know its what the claim on the bottle but I mean, I dunno how accurate it is. like the nutrafin bottle says you can introduce fish immediately and it like instant cycles the aquarium but I know nothing instantly cycles a tank (other then adding substrate/media from a already cycled tank which still takes time for the bacteria to establish) soooo I dunno.

Since I added the ammonia yesterday the level of ammonia hasnt decreased enough for me to believe that its cycled. Even though its really hard to be patient, especially me, I guess Ive just gotta hang in there monitor the water and wait to see what happens.

I'm still unsure, so I dont do any water changes at all? the Nitrate level isnt something I should be concerned with/trying to reduce?

Thanks for everyone's speedy responses! I really appreciate it!! Now I feel really bad though about having purchased a 3 gallon tank. Like I'm a bad fish mama. Lmao my boyfriend just informed me his sister has a really nice tank the "BioCube" tank, still waiting to find out if its the 14g or 29g, and so I guess I'm gonna upgrade to that. Im hoping its not the 29g tank... because thats a BIG TANK for just 1 betta fish...
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Old 08-27-2011, 09:38 AM   #7
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The problem with the instant cycle products is that they usually don't work; they can just not work at all or they can appear to cycle the tank but then in a few months your cycle crashes and you can potentially end up with a lot of dead fish.

I'd stop adding those products now.

Keep testing every day; if ammonia gets .5 or less, redose (but only dose once in 24 hours). Once you are consistently dropping ammonia every 24 hours and nitrites stay at 0 then you could be OK, but I think it could be a while yet. If you can get some seeded media that would help speed things along (safely). Yo don't typically need to do water changes during a fishless cycle; there are exceptions of course but you're not anywhere near that point yet. You don't need to worry about dropping nitrates; once your tank is cycled and fish are there, you will do weekly water changes to keep nitrates <20 and replenish minerals but since it's a fishless cycle it's OK to let them build up for now.

If you do upgrade from the 3 to a larger tank, move all the media over into the new tank so you don't lose any progress you might be making with your cycle. Also SOME bettas are OK in a community tank with other fish; a lot of people here have bettas in a larger community tank. It probably depends on the gender of the betta and its temperament which is something you won't know until you try it. Good luck!
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