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Old 01-06-2009, 01:42 AM   #1
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Fishless cycle: any nitrite level too high?

I haven't done this before. I've heard that too much ammonia can be detrimental to the bacteria colony (or encourage different kinds of bacteria to develop instead). Is the same true of nitrite? Today I saw the first measurable drop in ammonia (5 days in using filter media from an established tank), and the nitrite is off the chart. Should I be changing water to get a level I can read, or is this a case of the more the better?
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Old 01-06-2009, 03:21 AM   #2
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No water change during a cycle if your fishless. You are seeing a nitrite spike which is totally normal. That will drop as your cycle progresses. Dont be suprised if your nitrates star to to bounce. High nitrites interferes with some kits.
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Old 01-06-2009, 08:04 AM   #3
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How high is your nitrIte? If it gets above 8ppm I would consider a partial water change personally. Just like you said, it's been proven too much ammonia is bad, but I don't recall ever seeing any discussion on nitrIte.
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Old 01-06-2009, 11:30 AM   #4
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The highest reading on my color chart just says 3.3-33 ppm, so I don't really know. I don't think it's worth getting a test that's accurate at higher ranges, since we're well into instant fish-death territory. It says wait five minutes for color to develop, but it was blood-red before I'd even finished adding the drops.
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Old 01-06-2009, 11:45 AM   #5
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If it were me I'd do a PWC to get the range into at least something I can read and evaluate. Whether or not it's necessary, I'm not sure about.
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Old 01-11-2009, 02:58 PM   #6
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Thanks for the replies. I did end up deciding to change out some water so I could see when nitrites started going down. Based on the amount of ammonia consumed, nitrite could have reached a peak as high as 19 ppm (assuming no consumption of nitrite at this stage). Looks good now anyway.
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Old 01-12-2009, 12:44 PM   #7
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A bit late for this .... But to read an off the chart level using your existing kit, you can do serial dilution.

You take the tank water, dilute it 50% with pure water. if you can take a reading, just double it to get your actual result. If your reading is still off the chart, you dilute it again. <Now it is 25% of original so you multiply the result by 4.> Eventually, you will get to a point where you get a reading. You just have to keep tract of your dilutions to apply the multiplier.
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Old 01-12-2009, 02:06 PM   #8
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That makes a lot of sense. Thanks for the tip. Still no idea if that level is harmful though?
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