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Old 02-05-2013, 09:16 PM   #1
ave
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confusing test numbers today

Yesterday I got .50 ammonia, 0 nitrite, 8.0 ph
Today I got 2.0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, 8.2 ph, and between 0 and 5.0 nitrate
My tank has been cycling for almost three weeks. I used terra safestart but I don't think it worked.
Here are my questions. Can I get nitrate before nitrite? Why did my ph change? Why is my ammonia climbing so fast?

More helpful info....I do 10-20% water changes daily. I have six young fish. 20 gal tank with a 20 gal filter. No live plants.
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Old 02-05-2013, 09:18 PM   #2
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Terra safestart will not do anything to start your cycle. Are you using liquid tests? Usually you get nitrite before nitrate but it is possible that you might not have caught the nitrite on the test. However if your ammonia is accurate at 2 ppm, you need to do a water change. If you are using test strips you might be getting inaccurate results.
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Old 02-05-2013, 10:00 PM   #3
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Yes liquid test (api master test) .
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Old 02-05-2013, 11:41 PM   #4
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Do another water change and keep an eye on things. You sound like by the numbers you have, that you are on the way to getting that tank cycled.
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Old 02-20-2013, 09:12 AM   #5
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So I have two filters running (20 gal and 50 gal) with a friends filter in the one. I'm testing high ammonia, no nitrites and low nitrates levels. This doesn't make sense to me. Why have I never gotten a nitrites reading? Does the used filter have anything to do with this? Why do I still have high ammonia? I have 6 young fish in a 20 gal with plenty of filtration and we are not over feeding. So confused.
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Old 02-20-2013, 09:19 AM   #6
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It's a bit early for nitrites IMO. They typically show 3-4 weeks in after ammonia starts dropping. I wouldn't worry yet. The seeded media might help some too. What kind of fish? 6 neons in a 20 gal has a very different bioload than say 6 platys in a 20 gal, so depending on what fish that could be why you're seeing ammonia rise so quickly. Keep testing and doing water changes as needed. If ammonia is over 1, you'll need to do 50% water changes a few hours apart to get the levels down. What dechlorinator are you using?

These links might help if you haven't seen them yet:
I just learned about cycling but I already have fish. What now?! - Aquarium Advice
Guide to Starting a Freshwater Aquarium - Aquarium Advice
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Old 02-20-2013, 09:31 AM   #7
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My confusion is coming from seeing nitrates before nitrites. To answer your questions I have 1 BB molly, 1 platy and 3 guppies (guess that's only 5) , I'm using API as water conditioner (I ordered Prime and it's being shipped).
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Old 02-20-2013, 09:35 AM   #8
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Those fish are all pretty high bioload, which is why ammonia is rising so quickly. I'm assuming your tap water has 0 nitrates? It is possible to get nitrates before nitrites; maybe the safe start worked some, maybe the media from your friends' tank is helping. It's hard to say for sure and until the tank cycles a bit longer we won't know whether nitrites will show up at some point. I wouldn't worry about it yet though. Just work on keeping that ammonia down.
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Old 02-20-2013, 09:53 AM   #9
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No, my tap water has no nitrates. Thanks Library Girl.
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