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Old 08-19-2013, 09:11 AM   #1
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I have nitrAtes


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Alright!!! .....Now what??

Short summery.....started tank and cycle Aug 10, followed ya'lls instructions to the T. So I believe now I need to test often, keep nitrites at a readable level. Keep ammo dosed up to 4? or 1 to keep nitrites fed.

Aug 19.
ph 7.5
ammo 3-4ppm
nitrite 3-5ppm
nitrate 5+ppm

Am I reading it right?
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Old 08-19-2013, 02:07 PM   #2
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You need the ammonia to feed the bacteria, but you also want the nitrites to come down, and then disappear, in favour of nitrates instead. I think you've got too much ammonia at this point.

Normally, once you start to see nitrites, the level rises for awhile, then slowly begins to come down, and then you should start seeing some nitrates.

So test in the morning and at night. Keep notes of the levels of ammonia, nitrite and nitrates.

Right now, you have sky high ammonia. But you also have sky high nitrites, so you have BB converting ammonia to nitrite, so you know you've got lots of those ammonia converting guys.

You also have nitrates, around 20 ppm,, which is where you want them, so you also have BB converting nitrite to nitrate and plenty of them too. Great. But given the levels of ammonia and nitrite that are still present, I think you are adding far too much ammonia at this point.

I would test each morning and evening. If there is ammonia, nitrite and nitrate, don't dose any more ammonia. Next test, if ammonia and nitrite begin to come down, great, that is what you want to see. If they come down dramatically, say they are near zero, then you can add a small amount of ammonia. You want just enough to last to the next test time.

Next morning, test again. If the levels don't come down too much, don't dose until they do. But if all the ammonia disappears and all the nitrite disappears, then add enough ammonia to last 'til the next test. Might be a bit of trial and error to get the right amount. Test that night, and adjust the ammonia dose if need be. I would hope those levels drop quite fast, given you obviously have healthy BB working away for you.

Ideally, in a very short time you'll have ammonia and nitrite at zero when you test, nitrate around 20 ppm or so. Then keep adding only enough ammonia to last for 12 or perhaps 24 hours, and go get some fish.

Add fish slowly, just a few at a time, the bacteria need to adjust both to a new ammonia source and also to the amount produced by the fish. Each time you add fish, it takes the filter BB some time to grow more to handle the load. So slow and easy with fish is the safe way to go.

My sincere appreciation that you are doing this without fish. My congrats on doing it the kind way.
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Old 08-19-2013, 02:46 PM   #3
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^^
Ok Fishfur, will do. Thanks for your help. This is a great community of people with knowledge. I can see without the right info and guidance there would be many people discouraged! Will keep a close eye on test and will post updates. Thanks again!!!
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Old 08-19-2013, 03:31 PM   #4
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If not for my local forum I would have been terribly discouraged when I got back into fish keeping, after a few decades. So much had changed, there was no knowledge of the nitrogen cycle when I was in high school, which is when I first kept fish and turtles.

We used to clean filters and scrub them out, toss the media and start over every time. I think now it's a minor miracle the fish survived.. but mostly they did. I had Angel fish that spawned often, though I could never raise their eggs, sadly.

Hang in, the end is very near.
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Old 08-19-2013, 04:51 PM   #5
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Ah, one other thing. To help speed things up, do a 50% water change now. It will reduce those crazy high levels of ammonia and nitrite, and make it easier to cope with this, with any luck at all speed up the final resolution of the cycle.
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Old 08-19-2013, 05:12 PM   #6
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Did the water change. Ammo dropped to around 2ppm,nitrite looked in between 2-5ppm(those colors are crazy close) nitrate looked to be around 5. ph was maybe 7.4.
I'll chek again around 9. Thanks again.
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Old 08-19-2013, 05:17 PM   #7
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When your ammonia drops to 1ppm you need to dose back up to 4ppm. Your showing nitrites so your ammonia level should be dropping a little faster as nitrites build up. What you are aiming for is to be able to dose 4ppm of ammonia and have it completely processed down to nitrates with a 0 reading for both ammonia and nitrites within 24 hours. Once you reach this level your BB will be at a very high level and stocking quickly will keep the bacteria rate high. If you add some fish, wait, add some fish, etc., the level of BB will actually drop if there aren't enough fish to produce a higher amount of ammonia.

If you want to add fish slower then once your ammonia drops to 1ppm then only dose it back to 2ppm and continue to do so whenever ammonia falls to 1ppm. When doing this not as much BB will build up and the cycle will usually go faster. Then your aiming to be able to dose 2ppm of ammonia and have it processed within 24 hours with readings of 0 ammonia and nitrites. You'll have less BB in your bio-media which is fine if you want to add fish slowly.

You can do either method depending on how you want to do your stocking.... quickly or slowly.
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Old 08-19-2013, 06:45 PM   #8
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When your ammonia drops to 1ppm you need to dose back up to 4ppm. Your showing nitrites so your ammonia level should be dropping a little faster as nitrites build up. What you are aiming for is to be able to dose 4ppm of ammonia and have it completely processed down to nitrates with a 0 reading for both ammonia and nitrites within 24 hours. Once you reach this level your BB will be at a very high level and stocking quickly will keep the bacteria rate high. If you add some fish, wait, add some fish, etc., the level of BB will actually drop if there aren't enough fish to produce a higher amount of ammonia.

If you want to add fish slower then once your ammonia drops to 1ppm then only dose it back to 2ppm and continue to do so whenever ammonia falls to 1ppm. When doing this not as much BB will build up and the cycle will usually go faster. Then your aiming to be able to dose 2ppm of ammonia and have it processed within 24 hours with readings of 0 ammonia and nitrites. You'll have less BB in your bio-media which is fine if you want to add fish slowly.

You can do either method depending on how you want to do your stocking.... quickly or slowly.
Thanks for the tip. I will probably have to add fish a little at a time since most of them I want are a little high and have to have 4-5 at a time. However,all donations are accepted lol!
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Old 08-19-2013, 06:50 PM   #9
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Then do the 2ppm ammonia dosing and get it over with.... AND let me know how the donation thing works, I'd be will to try it too... lol! I just brought in 100 nano fish a couple weeks ago so my donations have been donated to the pockets of those who sell us fish! Guess your too late
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Old 08-19-2013, 07:09 PM   #10
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Then do the 2ppm ammonia dosing and get it over with.... AND let me know how the donation thing works, I'd be will to try it too... lol! I just brought in 100 nano fish a couple weeks ago so my donations have been donated to the pockets of those who sell us fish! Guess your too late
(sigh.....) story of my life. That would have to be a pretty cool job, raisin' fish..
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Old 08-19-2013, 07:27 PM   #11
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Hey I just remembered to ask... you do have your heater running at 84-86 right? This will speed your bacteria growth.
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Old 08-19-2013, 07:52 PM   #12
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maybe a touch under 82-83. I didn,t know if too high of a temperature would damage my plants.
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Old 08-19-2013, 07:58 PM   #13
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That's good enough. Many plants aren't the happiest when really hot but some like most Ludwigia's can't tolerate the heat as they prefer cooler water. Although I have to admit when my metal halides are on my upper tank temp gets up to 80 even with fans blowing and my Ludwigia's do fine.
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Old 08-19-2013, 08:01 PM   #14
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ok i'll leave it alone for now. When I start to stock should I back it down?
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Old 08-19-2013, 08:11 PM   #15
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Yes, back it down to around 77-78 a day or so before getting your first fish that way you can monitor that the heater is going to hold that temp steady.
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Old 08-19-2013, 08:39 PM   #16
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Better details on maintaining the ammonia than I gave you, thanks Rivercats. I have had the luxury so far of being able to use media to seed filters, and have not actually done the cycle with ammonia.

I've read about it extensively to understand the basics of how it works and I've helped a friend with theirs, when they were too far away to donate media to the filter, but it is not the same as having done it.
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Old 08-19-2013, 10:10 PM   #17
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Better details on maintaining the ammonia than I gave you, thanks Rivercats. I have had the luxury so far of being able to use media to seed filters, and have not actually done the cycle with ammonia.

I've read about it extensively to understand the basics of how it works and I've helped a friend with theirs, when they were too far away to donate media to the filter, but it is not the same as having done it.
I guess I studied on starting an aquarium for 2 months. Like you say its different doin it. I have a good friend whose really into it. He actually offered me a 75 gallon to start with but it was a bare bones tank and the cost of everything it would have took to get started was quite a bit more than I wanted to shell out.

The folks on this forum sure do take a lot stress and wondering out of it. Will keep you posted on progress. I tested a bit ago and there wasn't much change ammo might of been a touch lighter ,not much though.Thanks again. Its a great help to have folks that's done been through kinda walk you through, you know?
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Old 08-19-2013, 10:14 PM   #18
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We care about the fish. And it is nice to be able to be helpful.
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Old 08-20-2013, 04:34 PM   #19
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Ammo dropped bit more. Looks like its in between 1-2. Nitrites are High. Nitrates look to be around 10+. I'm thinking I should Let my ammo creep on down a touch. Should I do a pwc or ride it out another 12-24 hrs?
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Old 08-20-2013, 05:25 PM   #20
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Try the pwc.. it can't hurt and might help get those nitrites down a bit sooner.
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