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Old 12-09-2014, 12:54 PM   #1
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Fish-in cycle question

I have been working on my tank for almost a week. Every time I do a reading, my nitrates are high. Still no ammonia. And everything else fine (chlorine, ph, nitrites) Everything I read online says the ammonia comes first, then the nitrates and once a 0 reading on both you're done. Any reason why I am having a nitrate issue? Is this normal? I've been doing 2X daily 50% water changes, using Seachem Prime and Tetra Easy Balance plus. Any suggestions or is this just normal? Thanks!
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Old 12-09-2014, 04:33 PM   #2
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Fish In Tank Cycling

Hello varth...

There's no mystery to cycling a tank with fish. You add 3 or 4 hardy fish for every 10 gallons of water you want to cycle. Add a floating plant like Hornwort to help steady the chemistry of the water. Feed sparingly and test the water daily for traces of ammonia and nitrite. If you have a positive test, change out 25 percent of the water, but no more. Your aim is to keep the fish reasonably safe, but also to grow the bacteria needed to use the ammonia and nitrite. If you remove too much water, you'll starve the bacteria and if the bacteria doesn't grow, the tank won't cycle.

Just test the water every day and remove and replace a quarter of it when needed. In a month, you'll have several tests with no trace of the above forms of nitrogen. The tank is cycled. Then, just remove and replace half the water every week or two to maintain safe water conditions.

Easy peezee.

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Old 12-09-2014, 05:30 PM   #3
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I have been working on my tank for almost a week. Every time I do a reading, my nitrates are high. Still no ammonia. And everything else fine (chlorine, ph, nitrites) Everything I read online says the ammonia comes first, then the nitrates and once a 0 reading on both you're done. Any reason why I am having a nitrate issue? Is this normal? I've been doing 2X daily 50% water changes, using Seachem Prime and Tetra Easy Balance plus. Any suggestions or is this just normal? Thanks!
Three nitrogen cycle is as follows:
Ammonia> nitrite> nitrate

If you are having nitrate problems and you've yet to see ammonia check your tap water for nitrates.

Do you have fish in the tank? It sounds like you do. Are you using a bottled bacteria? If you are, you may be having success with it and you're cycled. What are "high" nitrates in this case? Nitrates aren't nearly as toxic as ammonia and nitrite, so a 40-50ppm reading isn't going to kill fish that you're cycling with.

I would hold off on the water change until you see ammonia if you aren't cycled. You didn't say the tank size, but the smaller the tank, the faster it will happen, so test accordingly. Once you see ammonia then change water to reduce it. If you never see ammonia and have a rise in nitrates then you are cycled.

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Old 12-09-2014, 10:15 PM   #4
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It is a 10 gallon tank with one fish. I have not used a bottled bacteria. The reading, using the API kit is somewhere between 5.0ppm and 10ppm (hard to tell).
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Old 12-09-2014, 10:23 PM   #5
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Well I tested my tap water and my nitrate reading is between 40ppm and 80ppm. Now what? Bottled water??? Forgive me, I have never done this before and wasn't prepared (daughters carnival fish).
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Old 12-09-2014, 10:51 PM   #6
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Well I tested my tap water and my nitrate reading is between 40ppm and 80ppm. Now what? Bottled water??? Forgive me, I have never done this before and wasn't prepared (daughters carnival fish).
A couple of options are bottled water, culligan type filter to remove nitrates, nitrate removing products that you would use on water you set aside for future water changes.
Hope this helps
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Old 12-09-2014, 10:58 PM   #7
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Well I tested my tap water and my nitrate reading is between 40ppm and 80ppm. Now what? Bottled water??? Forgive me, I have never done this before and wasn't prepared (daughters carnival fish).
Alright, sorry somehow I miss the fish-in part of the title earlier. Since I assume it is a goldfish, you have more than enough of an ammonia source to cycle this tank. Unfortunately for you, the small tank size can make the process stressful because toxins can spike quickly. Hold off on one water change and see if you get an ammonia reading, feed every other day, and be patient. Michelangelo didn't paint the Sistine chapel in an afternoon, bacteria colonies don't establish overnight.

Also be aware that if this is a goldfish it's is going to NEED a larger tank down the road in a few months to thrive, as well as make the maintenance easier. Goldies get surprisingly big, easily up to 10 inches if allowed the space. I've also seen a goldfish live in a tank that was about 1qt with no filter and less than daily water changes. Sad, but it was surviving.

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Old 12-09-2014, 10:59 PM   #8
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It is a 10 gallon tank with one fish. I have not used a bottled bacteria. The reading, using the API kit is somewhere between 5.0ppm and 10ppm (hard to tell).
What reading is 5-10ppm? Ammonia? Nitrite? Nitrate?

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Old 12-10-2014, 07:49 AM   #9
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Thanks all. And the reading is for Nitrate.
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Old 12-10-2014, 10:04 AM   #10
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Well I tested my tap water and my nitrate reading is between 40ppm and 80ppm. Now what? Bottled water??? Forgive me, I have never done this before and wasn't prepared (daughters carnival fish).
Ouch!
you should test it again because that is very high for tap water and is well beyond the EPA maximum of 10 ppm/liter.
Are you on "city" water or a well or something?
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Old 12-10-2014, 05:58 PM   #11
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Thanks all. And the reading is for Nitrate.
40ppm in the tap and 10ppm in the tank doesn't work mathematically. Test again and make sure you shake the second bottle like there's no tomorrow.

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