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Old 02-11-2013, 10:24 PM   #1
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Fishless cycle puzzling readings- HELP

Hi all! First of all- thank you! I've been lurking around here for weeks and all the posts have been VERY helpful.

I am doing a fishless cycle on a 29 gal tall tank. I am 4 weeks in and getting VERY puzzling readings. I am using the API test kit and dosing with blue ribbon clear ammonia from ace hardware (no surfactants, perfumes etc.) Any water I add to the tank is put into a bucket and does with a few drops of PRIME before going into the tank.

I have the tank temp at a steady 80 degrees, PH holding around 7.8/7.9. I have two HoB filters cycling the water about 10x per hour. I have an air stone causing nice aeration. I have no live plants in tank. I have added (i forget the name) the porous little cylinder things into the HoB's for added media for bacteria to grow on. I also have lava rock in the tank too.

Two days ago I saw the ammonia go from 4.5 (ish) ppm down to maybe .25- NitrItes showing had fallen from 5 to 0 over the prior week. So I'm thinking AWESOME its finally done. But NitrAtes are showing 0...??!?!?!

After looking around the forums I found some similar posts that discussed the API NitrAte kit showing a 0 when the counts were off the charts. Following the post advice I tested using 25% tank water to 75% tap water and sure enough NitrAtes showed about 25-30 ppm.

So I figure THAT is the problem and do a 90% water change yesterday with a dosing of ammonia. Now 24 hours later my ammo dropped to about 2 with no raise in TrItes or TrAtes.

I don't understand how the ammo dropped without causing a bump in either NitrItes or NitrAtes (depending on which phase of the cycle I am in.

Any thoughts? Thank you all for reading my long long post!!!

If it helps I will post my weekly reading below:

Ammo not posted (Whenever it got near 1ppm I dosed it up to 4ppm)

(Day 1 (1/6) PH 7.8, NitrIte 0, NitrAte 0
(end of) Week 1 (1/14): PH 7.8, NitrIte .35, NitrAte 5
Week 2 (1/22): PH 8.0, NitrIte 1.5, NitrAte 10
Week 3 (1/29): PH 8.2, NitrIte 5, NitrAte 80
Week 3.5 (2/1)- after PWC 50%- PH 8.0, NitrIte .25, NitrAte 10

Last few days:
2/6: Ammo-3 ppm, NitrIte 5, NitrAte 80
2/7: Ammo-2 ppm, NitrIte .25, NitrAte 30
2/8: Ammo-.25 ppm, NitrIte 0, NitrAte 10 (topped ammo up to 4)
2/9: Ammo- 0 ppm, NitrIte 0, NitrAte 0 (topped ammo up to 4)
2/10: 90% PWC + Ammo Dose- Ammo -4ppm, NitrIte 0, NitrAte 10.
Now: Ammo -2 ppm, NitrIte 0, NitrAte 0.

I am trying to be patient and do things right, but I cant help but feel my chemistry is messing with me!!!
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Old 02-12-2013, 12:26 AM   #2
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When doing the nitrate test, are you shaking bottle #2 really hard? You should try banging it on a countertop and shake hard, and see what happens.
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Old 02-12-2013, 01:52 PM   #3
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I will try again tonight when I get home but I have been thoroughly shaking every API bottle before each test
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Old 02-12-2013, 05:24 PM   #4
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Ok- so I smacked the ever-loving crap out of my NitrAte test bottles and VOILA!

Ammo- .5, NitrIte-0, NitrAte- I would guess 60-80.

Thanks for the help!!
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