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Old 06-23-2006, 08:43 PM   #1
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No Nitrite

I started a tank 4 weeks ago. My setup:

29-gallon tall tank
Penguin Bio-wheel 200
UGF
standard thermometer, heater, decor, etc

3 Yellow Rams
2 Angelfish

Within the first few days with fish, I noticed an increase in ammonia. Around day 5, it hit 4 PPM and I got panicky. I ran out to the store and treated the tank with Ammo-Lock (wish I hadn't). Anyway from that point on, the ammonia readings have been sky high. I've done partial water changes regularly. (Yes, I realize that the Ammo-Lock causes false positives.) The fish don't seem terrible bothered by all this. My main concern is that it's been a month and I've seen NO indication of Nitrite in my tank. NADA. From what I've read, it normally takes a week or two. What am I doing wrong? Is this very abnormal?
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Old 06-23-2006, 09:08 PM   #2
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I think it took be about three-four weeks to finally see nitrites...for me the coversion from nitrites to nitrates was faster then the one from Am-nitrites.

How high is "sky high"?
What kind of test kit?
How big are the partial water changes? and how often?
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Old 06-23-2006, 09:12 PM   #3
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Welcome to AA,

I think in your current situation, there hasent been a chance for the ammonia to convert, once it has stabled then it will start, this happened to me when i started.

BTW check your test kit, make sure its working correctly and is not out of date, perhaps go to your lfs and ask them to test the water to get a second result?
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Old 06-23-2006, 09:19 PM   #4
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Thanks for the replies.

"Sky High" means that my Aquarium Pharmaceuticals liquid kit is showing 8.0 PPM ammonia. Tap water gets zero. This HAS to be off because of the Ammo-Lock or the fish would be quite dead, right?

I'm doing 15% water changes twice a week.
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Old 06-23-2006, 09:24 PM   #5
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Duke you need a big water change in my opinion.Something along the lines of 70%.If it were me I would do it right now.

Let it recirculate for at least an hour and test again.

You really want to keep that number around .5 with 1 ppm the max allowed imo.

If its still high I'd do the same tomorrow.

The test kit results dictate when and how much water to change when cycling with fish...Its really not the kind of thing that can be scheduled.
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Old 06-23-2006, 09:26 PM   #6
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Thanks for the advice SCFatz. While I'm sure the 8 ppm is wrong, will doing that big of a water change slow down the cycling time even more? (less ammonia = less bacteria?)
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Old 06-23-2006, 09:36 PM   #7
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Actually no.

think of it this way...the less ammonia there is,the less bacteria will be needed to convert it to nitrites so you get em sooner.

And given the small water changes,that 8ppm might be real...although you are correct, the "ammolocked" ammonia will still test positve.
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Old 06-23-2006, 09:37 PM   #8
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Plus if you want to keep your fish alive you will need to change water and live with a longer cycle.
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Old 06-23-2006, 09:37 PM   #9
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Sounds good - The water's draining as I type this...
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Old 06-23-2006, 09:48 PM   #10
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Glad to hear it.

Keep in mind that .5 is a good target for nitrites as well when you start to get em.The nitrates are fine until 20 or so imo.

Best of luck and hit us back with some results after the water has recirced a bit.
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Old 06-23-2006, 10:43 PM   #11
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Alright - the water change went smoothly. I've retested now that the tank has cleared. Well... it's not great, but it's better than what it was. When I tested it before, the color was VERY deep green, almost blue. Now, it's still dark green, but lighter than before. Maybe 4-5 ppm. I'll be doing another water change like this tomorrow. Thanks for the help, folks!
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Old 06-24-2006, 02:12 AM   #12
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the angel fish will outgrow that samll of a tank in no time
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Old 06-24-2006, 10:16 AM   #13
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How fast to the Angels grow? They don't appear to have gotten any bigger since I bought them. Right now, they're about 3" from top fin to bottom feeler fin.
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Old 06-24-2006, 10:22 AM   #14
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i had my angels in a 30gall for about 6 months and had no problems, granted there dead now, but thats not because of the tank, my filter broke and had a ammonia spike they went withing 3 days :-(

But keep the number of fish low, and make sure they have swimming places and hiding places! gd luck!
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Old 06-24-2006, 10:57 AM   #15
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A couple of angels will do fine in a 29 gallon. I have a pair in mine, well over a year old and laying eggs every two weeks. Just keep changing water you should be ok.
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Old 06-24-2006, 02:13 PM   #16
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I did another 70% water change this afternoon. According to my tests, I'm down to about 2 ppm.
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Old 06-24-2006, 07:06 PM   #17
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Looks like your headed in the right direction.Do it again tomorrow and you'll be set for now.

Cut the feedings to every other day and only what can be eaten in a few minutes.That will help keep the ammonia spikes from being really large.

Keep testing for nitrites every day as well as ammonia with .5 pmm the target for each....try to avoid adding anything to the water that would not be found there naturally.

Your declorinated water is all you need to get the tank cycled,you just need to use more of it then you have been.

Glad to help if I have.
Best of luck and keep us posted.
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29g fw planted at 1.2 wpg
10g fw planted at 3 wpg cf
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Old 07-04-2006, 11:30 AM   #18
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UPDATE

It's been about 10 days since my last post.

Results:
Ammonia - stabilized at around 2ppm
Nitrite - NONE
Nitrate - NONE

The fish don't seem phased by any of this, but it's been well over a month with NO cycling. I'd like to buy a few more fish, but I'm leery of doing it until the tank cycles. I'm getting very frustrated. I haven't used any chemicals in the last 2 weeks other than carefully metered doses of Aquasafe when I do water changes. Any other suggestions as to why I haven't been able to build a bacteria colony?
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Old 07-04-2006, 12:04 PM   #19
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Duke I have read that very high ammonia levels (Which you had) will stall the conversion.

I'm not sure how ammolock impacts the conversion,but I would imagine it doesn't help....someone else may know for sure.

Either way you have rectified both of those situations so you will get there....but those may be the reasons you are a little farther behind then you should be right now imo.
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10g fw planted at 3 wpg cf
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Old 07-04-2006, 12:37 PM   #20
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Thanks for the reply, SCFatz. Over the weekend I visited my parents and liberated a filter from their tank. It looked like it hadn't been replaced in months. Inches of thick goop all over it. Anyway, I put it in a container of tank water, along with a cup of gravel. I put the old filter in one of my free slots on my biowheel filter. I'm hoping that, along with the gravel, will unleash some bacteria into my system.
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