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Old 01-25-2007, 07:03 PM   #1
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cycling my tank, how high is too high for nitrates?

Hi everyone, I'm fishless cycling a 55 gallon tank. (Thank you so much to everyone on this board, I had no idea what a fishless cycle was, and I definitely didn't know that a fishy cycle hurt the fish...I'm so glad i found out!)

Anyways, on sunday I added my ammonia, and was too impatient to wait an hour before adding any more. To make a long story short, when I got home 4 hours later, there was 8-9ppm ammonia. I figured I wasn't in a huge hurry, so I'd just leave that much in and make a massive bioload. Seeded the tank with a filter pad and gravel from a 10 gallon. Today (Thursday), when I got home from school I tested, and got these results...

Ammonia - 4
Nitrite - 2
Nitrate - somewhere around 40

it's gonna be a pretty quick cycle, eh?

I know that the nitrate is going to skyrocket even more. I think I remember reading somewhere that too much nitrate can harm the cycle process. Any truth to this? Obviously, I'm going to make water changes before adding livestock, but do I need to worry about getting rid of some of those nitrates while the tank is empty? Thanks.

Side note...I was never one for aquarium castles...much too cliche for me...but I was in the LFS and I found the Age of Magic castle set by Penn Plax...two pieces, in total 115 bucks...I'll definitely post a pic of it when i have it in there, if you haven't seen it before, it's unbelievable!
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Old 01-25-2007, 09:53 PM   #2
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As I understand it, nitrate level should not matter to a tank that has nothing living in it but bacteria. However, you are reaching the level where it will be very difficult to tell if there is an actual change in nitrates. A water change should not hurt you as long as you use something like Prime to dechlorinate the water you are adding back into the tank. This should help bring your nitrates down in the scale where you can watch for change.

I think you will be the envy of the board with a cycle that is going so fast. Congratulations!
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Old 01-26-2007, 09:02 AM   #3
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I don't think you have any reason to do a PWC. Both your ammonia and nitrIte levels are in perfectly readable ranges, and nitrAtes are inaccurate for cycling purposes. Your 40ppm nitrAte value doesn't make much sense unless you have nitrAte in your tap water. Most likely its just difficult to tell the difference between 20 and 80ppm (at least for me it is).

All that's important is that your ammonia and nitrIte levels are zero, then redose to 2ppm or so and monitor how long to get to zero again. Then you can do a HUGE PWC to get the nitrAte levels down and stock your fish.

Again I really see no reason to do anything now but wait. And your cycle is ROCKING along. Your results are telling me that both your ammonia to nitrIte and your nitrIte to nitrAte (slower replication) are both in good numbers. Keep an eye on your ammonia and redose to 2ppm or so when you get to zero (probably close to zero by the time you read this).

Congrats on a very good cycle.
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