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Old 02-01-2005, 01:29 PM   #1
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TRUE OR False

Was told by a few fish stores that it is impossible to have ammonia if your nitrites are o
If you show 0 nitrites but show ammonia then this is a false reading from something , either a bad test kit or chemicals added to your tank causing a false reading ,in fact some even advised me they never check ammonia unless they have nitrites
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Old 02-01-2005, 01:36 PM   #2
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False I believe the bacteria can convert the ammonia to nitrite as fast as its produced. I thought I heard that somewhere or from someone. Correct me if I'm wrong.
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Old 02-01-2005, 01:39 PM   #3
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You want ammonia and nitrites to read 0 on any test kit you have. If you get a reading on any consumer grade test kit, your tank is not cycled.

That does not mean that they are NONE in the water, just that the ammount of total ammonia and nitrites is so low it is undetectable. In an established tank, the ammonia gets converted to nitrites and then converted to nitrates with so much effeciency you get the 0 readings. There could acoutlyy be 0.05ppm in the area directly around fish waste, however that is nothing to worry about, as it will get processed almost instantly. This is not a problem with test kits, they are not designed to pickup such miniscule readings.
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Old 02-01-2005, 01:47 PM   #4
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ok heres the thing, my ammonia has been reading .25 for two months now, I've been doing water changes every week changing about 15 / 20 gal a week now for the last month because I show ammonia but no nitrites at all, the only thing I did was add a better filter, add a skimmer, if anything made my system better for the fish but yet I keep showing ammonia but no nitrites at all and I used several kits to test in case one was bad
All three fish stores keep telling me the same thing, thers no way you can have this ammonia and no nitrites at all so i'm lost
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Old 02-01-2005, 01:51 PM   #5
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Tank specs? Size, fish, how much LR, type of equipment, feeding schedule...
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Old 02-01-2005, 01:53 PM   #6
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Bet its a bum test kit. Can you take your water to your LFS for testing?
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Old 02-01-2005, 01:57 PM   #7
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I have a 125 gal tank ,about 125/150 live rock, for fish I have four tangs and a squrrial fish
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Old 02-01-2005, 02:02 PM   #8
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If your tank is cycling it is quite possible to have ammonia and no Nitrites. Here's the denitrification process in a nushell. Animals give off ammonia. Bacteria converts that ammonia to nitrites. different bacteria converts the nitrites to nitrates. and a third bacteria converst the nitrates to... ACK. ... somthing else that leaves you tank through gas exchange

those forms of bacteria don't just come with your tank, they have to be cultured. If there is something preventing that first level of bacteria from being created, then there is nothing to convert the ammonia into nitrites.

Now if you're still cycling... STOP changing water. the bacteria needs a high level of ammonia to become established. (if you have fish in your tank and it's not cycled you need to get them out. return them to the LFS or find a friend who can hold them for you.) For some more information you can read an article we have here on How Ammonia is converted to Nitrates, that should give you plenty of information.
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Old 02-01-2005, 02:08 PM   #9
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already did this ,they also show .25 plus I bought three different kits ,They only thing I can think of was I attemted to do a few easy corals, they died ,I took them out ,im talking mushrooms and polyps ,I did add some of the coral addatives and calcium, also added some prime when I saw ammonia so I dont know if this can affect the test and for how long, at one time a did not add anything for two days , rechecked and still showed .25 ammonia but never show any nitrites, store says does not make sense
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Old 02-01-2005, 02:20 PM   #10
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ok I will stop the water changes ,the thing is after two months though you think I would see some nitrites but not seeing any, also whould I still keep adding something like prime while cycling so I dont loose any fish
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Old 02-01-2005, 02:21 PM   #11
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something seems weird for sure. From your description it sounds like your tank is going through another cycle but from your description of previous events I can't put my finger on anything that would cause a second cycle. Second cycles are typically caused from one of two events. A sudden and large increase in the amount of ammonia produced in your tank. Either from a large animal dying and decaying (you removed your corals so it shouldn't be them) or from a sudden increase in tank stocking. The second is from some chemical imbalance destroying the denitrifying bacteria in your tank. It would seem like the second cause is the more likely just from your description but what that could be I'm really not sure.
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Old 02-01-2005, 02:26 PM   #12
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why is my tank cycling anyway? ,my tank has been up and running for about a year, the only thing I did was one by one every couple of weeks take off one of the hang on filters as I added a wet and dry, I did remove the balls and replaced them with rock ,seems like ever since this I've had a problem, I even just for the heck of it put the hang ons back on so now I have a filter with bio wheels, another filter no bio wheels just a carbon filter plus the wet and dry
If I would at least show some nitrites I would under stand that for what ever reason i'm cycling again but no nitrites, well I did see some nitrites about two month ago when I first added the filter but they went to 0, have not had any for a few months, the only reason I started doing double the amount of water changes was per the instructions on all the test it said to do a daily water change for ammonia but even wiht the water changes nothing had changed ,stuck at .25, not going up or down and its been two months
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Old 02-01-2005, 03:20 PM   #13
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I have a feeling it's the additives you are adding that is giving you the false readings. I would stop adding chemicals and then test. Your switching out filters could cause a spike but, could have been controlled with a water change. The biological filter would have compensated for the spike if given time. I understand your concern with your fish but, PWC's would have been enough. If your still adding stuff to the tank to control ammonia, stop. Give the tank a few days to adjust and test again. As long as your fish are doing well.
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Old 02-01-2005, 05:49 PM   #14
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Did you add anything like Ammolock ? I did that once and got weird reading for a long time.
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Old 02-01-2005, 05:56 PM   #15
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If you pulled off your old filtration system and put in a new one the new filter system doesn't have the bacteria build up that your old one had. Because you removed some of the ammo converting bacteria when you removed your filter you started a cycle of building ammo so that you can build the bacteria. If you added Prime (is that an ammonia blocker?) that is probably causing false readings on your test kits. Does that allow the bacteria to continue to build? Hmmm... Anyway that's my take on it. Keep up with water changes and your fish will be fine. You have plenty of established live rock in your system which should begin to assume the load from your old filtration system causing a shortened less severe cycle.
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Old 02-01-2005, 07:23 PM   #16
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Ammonia to Nitrite bacteria is different than Nitrite to Nitrate bacteria. 'though...both are aerobic.

Is it possible that something damaged one population, and left the 2nd population less damaged?

This would result in a weak population of ammonia eaters producing a little nitrite...then the nitrite eaters immediately removing all the nitrite so that it is unmeasurable.

No matter what has caused it, it is a situation that isn't stable and will fix itself. Stop adding funky chemicals and just wait. The situation has to improve. Don't remove any more filtration material, then only do so very slowly.
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