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Old 02-28-2009, 08:59 PM   #1
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my fishless cycle is screwed up

everything was going fine until my nitrite spiked, the problem is that it hasnt gone down for about two weeks
i have been adding a teaspoon of ammonia every day and my ammonia reading has been 0
yesterday i added a little too much ammonia and it went up to about 2-3
my nitrite is till about 3-4
what should i do?
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Old 02-28-2009, 10:21 PM   #2
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The nitrite can spike for several weeks.
Are you seeding the tank?
It helps to seed the tank at the beginning of the cycle and again at the nitrite phase.
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Old 02-28-2009, 10:26 PM   #3
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THis is normal, don't fret.

Sometimes adding a pinch of flake food can help (trace elements) since you're dosing raw ammonia
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Old 03-01-2009, 08:49 AM   #4
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If you are adding ammonia everyday and you aren't getting nitrate then you should be continually building your nitrite levels up. I did this during my fishless cycle. Double check that you are still getting 3-4 ppm if you have over 5.0 it can mess with the cycle.
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Old 03-03-2009, 12:02 AM   #5
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so its been 3 days since i added too much ammonia
i just did my tests and ammonia is still at 2-3 and nitrites at about 4
i really dont know what to do, should change some water to lower ammonia or just let it go down by itself
please help, i am getting sick of waiting
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Old 03-03-2009, 12:18 AM   #6
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Just keep waiting.
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Old 03-03-2009, 01:12 AM   #7
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Your doing fine, just let it sit for a while. keep testing
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Old 03-03-2009, 11:56 AM   #8
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Two thoughts...

1. Neilanh's suggestion comes from the need (as I understand it) for a little bit of phosphorus to get the 2nd bacteria established that converts nitrite to nitrate. Most fish foods are somewhere between 1% and 10% phosphorus (read the can, it should say something about phpsphorus levels).

[Edit... the comments below were based on faulty recolection of test readings. I've given number I was getting for nitrate and reporting them below as nitrite. In concept, everything I've said below is logically correct, but I've got my reported nitrite readings off by about a factor of 10.]

2. The 1st bacteria (ammonia to nitrite) is easy to establish, but the 2nd (nitrite to nitrate) is a little more difficult. While you are waiting for the 2nd bacteria to become established, the 1st bacteria will be converting all the ammonia you're dumping in the tank into nitrite with almost nothing there to convert the nitrite to nitrate. At this time, your nitrite levels can easilly go through the roof. I know in my case, I at one time had a nitrite level of 150+ppm. At that level, two 75% PWC will still leave nitrite levels at 10ppm. Even a third 75% PWC will only bring it down to 2.5ppm, and that assumes no additional nitrite is produced during the PWCs.

It's even possible for your cycling to be complete and you just don't know it yet.

Think of it this way...
Let's say your fish are going to release enough ammonia per day to raise the ammonia levels to say 3ppm with no filtration. For your tank to be cycled, you need enough bacteria build up that they can convert 3ppm of ammonia to 3ppm of nitrite in 24 hours and 3ppm of nitrite to nitrate in 24 hours. If the ammonia==>nitrite bacteria got so far ahead of the the nitrite==>nitrate bacteria that your nitrite levels went to 120ppm, even if you now have enough bacteria to convert 3ppm of nitrite to nitate, it will take 40 days for the bacteria to do so (assuming it did not continue to multiply).

So if you are doing a fishless cycle and you think your cycle has stalled, here is what I suggest:
1. Do as many PWCs as needed to get nitrite levels BELOW 5ppm. Remember, at 75% PWCs, this could easily require 3 PWC to get a huge spike in nitrite levels down below 5ppm (at it's max, my nitrite levels exceeded 150ppm).
2. Continue to add ammonia at the rate you were adding before (i.e. what ever was needed to say raise ammonia to 3ppm).
3. After 24 hours, test nitrite levels again. If the nitrite levels continue to rise, then you are not finished cycling, and in a few days your nitrite levels might spike again such that PWC will be required to bring it back down below 5ppm. If the nitrite levels are the same or dropped, then your cycle is nearly complete. If nitrite levels are zero, again dose enough ammonia to get a 3ppm reading, wait 24 hours, and test nitrite levels again. If they are still zero, then your cycle is complete (at least to handle a bio-load equal to the amount of ammonia you were dousing the tank with).

This is exactly what happened to my first fishless cycle... my cycle was actually finished, but because I had had such a HUGE nitrite level, I just didn't know the cycle was complete.
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Old 03-03-2009, 12:05 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Naws View Post
...my nitrite is till about 3-4 what should i do?
Are you sure that the levels are only about 3-4?

One of the other things I learned during my fishless cycle is that while most people consider the liquid test kits to be more accurate, once you start getting a few colors above zero, the tests are quickly overwhelmed.

As an example, I had both some liquid tests and test strips. I reached a point where every day I was getting a reading of 4.0 for nitrite and 40 for nitrate. I tried testing with a test strip and got readings of 10ppm for nitrite and 120 ppm of nitrate. After two 75% PWC, I finally started getting a nitrite reading of 1ppm (the test strip showed 3ppm).

In other words, based on my experience, the liquid tests are great for determining if there are trace amounts ( 0 - 3ppm for nitrite). But once you start getting higher levels, the liquid tests become meaningless (other than to indicate 'HIGH" levels) and you need a test strip to determine HOW HIGH.
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Old 03-03-2009, 12:36 PM   #10
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Yes.. Naws, how are you testing?
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Old 03-04-2009, 07:03 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HooKooDooKu View Post
Are you sure that the levels are only about 3-4?

One of the other things I learned during my fishless cycle is that while most people consider the liquid test kits to be more accurate, once you start getting a few colors above zero, the tests are quickly overwhelmed.

As an example, I had both some liquid tests and test strips. I reached a point where every day I was getting a reading of 4.0 for nitrite and 40 for nitrate. I tried testing with a test strip and got readings of 10ppm for nitrite and 120 ppm of nitrate. After two 75% PWC, I finally started getting a nitrite reading of 1ppm (the test strip showed 3ppm).

In other words, based on my experience, the liquid tests are great for determining if there are trace amounts ( 0 - 3ppm for nitrite). But once you start getting higher levels, the liquid tests become meaningless (other than to indicate 'HIGH" levels) and you need a test strip to determine HOW HIGH.
I have actually found this to be true with nitrate test.
I had a tank that had such a high level of nitrate that it stalled my cycle in the nitrite phase. It was so high that it overwhelmed the liquid test kit which actually showed 0 nitrate. The only way I finally figured it out was when I was testing several tanks at the same time and I noticed that on the one tank the first regent would breifly change colors when added and it didn't on the other two tanks, a big water change and another test confirmed it.
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Old 03-04-2009, 02:16 PM   #12
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Wow, this is getting intersting. My tank is only 2 weeks old and started with high nitrate i guess form the tap water i used. the nitrate has since come down a bit, but still 10ppm if i recall. I have high ammonia but no nitrites being made yet. It went up a little yesterday, but now its back down to 0 today. I dont think theres been enough time for the bacteria for ammonia to nitrite to develop yet, but maybe the nitrate is stunning the developement.. I have been using API freshw ater master kit. Maybe i should buy some strips too??

sorry dont mean to highjack, heres my thread Nicks 10g FRESH Project w/ live plants
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Old 03-04-2009, 04:10 PM   #13
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thanks for the responses,
i am using liquid test kits,
just tested the water again today, my ammonia has dropped to about 0.5,
the nitrite is a little hard to tell, its either dropped to 0.5 or is very high, looks more like 0.5 though
and my nitrate is about 5
so am i doing ok?
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Old 03-04-2009, 05:16 PM   #14
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The fact that you have ANY Nitrate is a good sign (that some of the nitrite ==> nitrate bacteria is growing) ... IF your water source does not contain nitrate.

Do a test on your water source. Determine how much nitrite and nitrate it already contains. If you find basically zero nitrate, then you've at least got both forms of the needed bacteria present (ammonia ==> nitrite, and nitrite ==> nitrate). From there, it's just a mater continuing to feed the tank ammonia and give the bacteria time to reproduce.
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Old 03-16-2009, 06:41 PM   #15
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hey guys Ive had no improvement with this stupid cycle since I last posted

my ammonia goes from 0 to 1 once in a while, my nitrite hovers around 0.5-5 although its hard to tell with the colours
I am adding a teaspoon of ammonia on the days that its at 0, the heat is at 80 and my filtration is good

so what am I doing wrong? Its been almost 3 months since I started the cycle! I am really tempted to just add fish to it because this is just rediculous
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Old 03-18-2009, 06:14 PM   #16
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bump
any thoughts
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Old 03-18-2009, 06:22 PM   #17
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didnt read the whole thread but you should keep the ammonia at 3-4ppm.... maybe getting some gravel from the lfs to help boost it. the whole point is to keep a steady supply of ammonia in the tank. if it hits zero for too long they stop dividing and start to die. maybe this is your problem. what kind of nitrate reading are you getting?
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Old 03-18-2009, 08:08 PM   #18
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fish fish fish fish fish fish fish fish fish cylce
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Old 03-18-2009, 08:32 PM   #19
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Help me please!

I'm really sorry to get off subject but I am a major noob at this site and I don't know how to post a new post. I don't know what a cycle is. From what I heard it's easyer and less fish stressful then changing the water(60% change) every 2 months. I have a 10gal FW with 2 baby koi, 2 sarpas and a snail. I will eventualy get a 30gal for when my koi gets a little bigger(1 is about 2 inch and the larger one is bout 4 inches). So what is a cycle and how can I start it? I'm not a pro at collecting fish or anything and I only came to this site because my koi were acting weird and it looked sick so I only do pH and nitrate tests when something looks wrong. Thanks for all the help I got on this site!
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Old 03-18-2009, 08:36 PM   #20
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Fishless Cycling For Dummies

read that kora
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