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Old 11-21-2021, 01:12 AM   #1
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High Nitrite levels, No ammonia

Hey im very new to freshwater tanks. Over two-weeks ago I set up my 20litre freshwater tank. I treated the water adding prime. And then continued adding the recommended amount of stability daily. Its been roughly 15 days and I have the following readings:

Ammonia - 0ppm
Nitrite - 5.0ppm

I have dirty filters that i have placed in the top of the tank from my local aquarium running for days now. Still no change in Nitrite levels. I have done a 50% water change and still no change in Nitrite levels.

Possible issues/Things i did wrong

- Not enough water agitation/aeration how ever i see the plant leaves moving around, even towards the bottom of the tank )



-The new quieter pump i bought does not push as much water as the last one since i had to ghetto rig it and there may be some some possible leaks in the piping before it reaches the top filter)



-Added prime directly to the tank after a water change.

-Slime growing in bottom of tank )



---

I am baffled as is my local aquarium shop owner

Any ideas out there as what is going wrong here.

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Old 11-21-2021, 04:18 AM   #2
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What do you understand about the nitrogen cycle?

Are you trying to do a fishless cycle or do you have fish in the tank? Have you added anything as an ammonia source?

If you havent an ammonia source where do you expect the ammonia to come from?

What did your local aquarium store owner tell you about how to cycle a tank?
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Old 11-21-2021, 05:04 AM   #3
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What do you understand about the nitrogen cycle?

Are you trying to do a fishless cycle or do you have fish in the tank? Have you added anything as an ammonia source?

If you havent an ammonia source where do you expect the ammonia to come from?

What did your local aquarium store owner tell you about how to cycle a tank?
fishless cycle
im using stability and the used filter sponges he gave me
I dont know much about nitrogen cycles
I was told to add prime and stability
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Old 11-21-2021, 05:25 AM   #4
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Ill post some stuff about the nitrogen cycle and how to do a fishless cycle.

Firstly, your local aquarium store knows enough about cycling to suggest using filter media from an established filter to speed up the process, but its only halfway there, and not the important part. You need to put ammonia in there or the bacteria you need to grow has no food available to grow to the levels you need to safely keep fish.
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Old 11-21-2021, 05:26 AM   #5
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The nitrogen cycle is the natural processes that go on in your tank that convert ammonia into less harmful substances.
Ammonia gets into your tank through various pathways. Fish waste, decaying uneaten food, and dead, decaying plants are common ammonia sources in an aquarium. Its also possible your tap water is an ammonia source. Chloramine is a common water treatment and when treated with most water conditioners the bond in the chloramine breaks and releases ammonia into the water.
Ammonia can be toxic to fish, depending on how much there is, and what the pH and temperature of your tank water is.
The first stage of the nitrogen cycle is the removal of ammonia. If you have real plants in your tank some of this ammonia will be absorbed as part of their natural growth. Generally though ammonia is consumed by denitrifying bacteria that lives mostly on your filter media. These bacteria consume the ammonia and produce nitrite. Unfortunately nitrite is pretty much as toxic to fish as ammonia.
The second stage of the nitrogen cycle is the removal of nitrite. A different denitrifying bacteria will consume the nitrite and produce nitrate. Nitrate is much less harmful than ammonia and nitrite, and for most aquariums the nitrogen cycle ends there. Excess nitrate is removed through your regular water changes.
A further stage of the nitrogen cycle can also happen, but its difficult to remove all the nitrate from a typical freshwater aquarium. Plants will absorb some nitrate in a similar manner to how it absorbs ammonia to grow. There are also nitrifying bacteria that consumes nitrate and gives off nitrogen gas which will simply offgas from your aquarium. This nitrifying bacteria is difficult to grow in freshwater aquarium.
“Cycling” a tank is the process you go through to grow denitrifying bacteria in your aquarium to consume ammonia and nitrite. You are said to be “cycled” when you have enough bacteria to consume all the ammonia and nitrite that your tank produces and turns all of it into nitrate. If you test the water of a cycled tank you should see 0 ammonia and nitrite and some nitrate.
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Old 11-21-2021, 05:26 AM   #6
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To cycle a tank you need to grow denitrifying bacteria to consume ammonia and nitrite that your tank produces. The bacteria needs an ammonia source to grow colonies sufficient in size to consume all the ammonia and resultant nitrite and turn it into nitrate which typically you remove through your regular water changes.
A fishless cycle uses an ammonia source to replicate the fish waste that a tank of fish would produce. This ammonia source can be pure ammonia, an aquarium specific ammonium chloride product like Dr Tims Ammonium Chloride, a cocktail shrimp or fish food.
Ill assume we are using an ammonium chloride product.
Set up your tank. Make sure everything is running smoothly. Make sure you have used a water conditioner product with any tap water you have put in your tank. If you have an adjustable heater raise the temperature to 28c/82.5f.
Dose the ammonia chloride to approx 4ppm and start testing daily for ammonia. Once your ammonia drops below 1ppm redose it back to 2ppm. This may take a couple of weeks.
Start to test daily for ammonia, nitrite and nitrate. Whenever your ammonia drops below 1ppm redose it back to 2ppm.
You should start to see nitrite and possibly nitrate in your daily tests. Over time your nitrite should start to rise and the amount of ammonia should start to drop further. Your ammonia may start to not be detectable in your daily tests. Keep redosing ammonia daily if you see it below 1ppm. Your nitrite may rise off the testing chart. I prefer to keep nitrite within measurable levels so it shouldn’t hurt to do a water change to keep readings on the chart. Remember to add water conditioner whenever you put tap water in the tank. Nitrate should appear in your water test at some point too.
Over time your nitrite should level off and begin to fall in a similar manner to what your ammonia tests did. When you are able to dose ammonia to 2ppm and 24 hours later see 0 ammonia and nitrite you are cycled. At this point you have enough denitrifying bacteria to consume all the ammonia and nitrite of a moderately stocked tank. You may want to continue dosing ammonia for a few days to make sure it continues to consume all the ammonia and nitrite and be sure your cycle has properly established before proceeding.
You nitrate will likely be very high. Do a big water change to get nitrate down. Preferably below 10ppm. Adjust your temperature to the needs of your fish. Get your fish, acclimate and add to your tank. I would advise stocking lightly to start with and slowly adding fish until fully stocked.
A fishless cycle typically takes 6 to 8 weeks.
A good way to speed up this process would be to put a small amount of filter media from an established filter into your filter, or get a sponge from an established filter and squeeze it into your tank water. Perhaps you have a friend who keeps fish who could let you have some? This will seed your filter with the bacteria you are trying to grow and speed up the process.
Another option is bottled bacteria like Dr Tims One + Only or Tetra Safestart. These products wont instantly cycle a tank as they claim but in a similar manner to adding established filter media they can seed your filter with the bacteria you are trying to grow to establish your cycle. These products are hit and miss as to whether they work at all, but are an option if established filter media isnt obtainable and may speed up the process from several months to several weeks.
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Old 11-21-2021, 05:32 AM   #7
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Nothing you have been using is adding ammonia into the tank, so your tanks cycle cant progress.

Prime is a water conditioner. It removes chlorine and chloramine which will kill fish pretty quickly.

Stability is bottled bacteria similar to One + Only and Safestart i mention in my post. I suspect its also the source of your nitrite as i often see it described as "nitrite in a bottle" and thats all it is.
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Old 11-22-2021, 12:38 AM   #8
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Nothing you have been using is adding ammonia into the tank, so your tanks cycle cant progress.

Prime is a water conditioner. It removes chlorine and chloramine which will kill fish pretty quickly.

Stability is bottled bacteria similar to One + Only and Safestart i mention in my post. I suspect its also the source of your nitrite as i often see it described as "nitrite in a bottle" and thats all it is.
So now that i have no ammonia and nitrite levels should i stop using stability?



Since u say its nitrite in a bottle?
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Old 11-22-2021, 03:08 AM   #9
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Your nitrite has gone from 5ppm to 0ppm? Thats a positive sign.

If you are set on continuing a fishless cycle then i would start from the beginning of the fishless cycle instructions and see it through. That includes adding bottled bacteria. If you have stability, may as well use it up. But i probably wouldnt buy any more.
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