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Old 02-15-2005, 03:05 PM   #1
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Need some advice/help

We started a 10 gallon tank 6 weeks ago. All was going well with it till the ammonia spike fell to zero and the nitrites started showing up. The nitrites stayed at 2.0 for 2 weeks and the nitrates at 7.0 We then got another tank, 58 gallons and put bio spira in with the fish that we had in the 10 gallon. The 10 gallon is now empty of fish. I did a 50% water change and the nitrites are still 2.0 and nitrates 5.0. That is my first question, how do you get the nitrites to go to zero? I'd like to get the 10 gallon ready for fish again and won't put any in until it's good to go.

The second question is, when testing the water with the bio spira how should everything go with the ph, ammonia, nitrites and nitrates? Do they stay high for a day or so and drop? It's our first time using it and there really isn't too much I can find on that info. I have tested twice since putting it in and the ph is 7.2-7.5 the Ammonia was .25 and now is 0, the nitrites are 3.0, nitrates are about 15. Those didn't change from one test to the next. Thank you in advance for any advice.

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Old 02-15-2005, 06:05 PM   #2
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Without any fish in your 10 gal, it will be difficult to get it to finish cycling. I might just say some things you already know, so if I do then just ignore that part.

The purpose of cycling is to get colonies of "good" bacteria. In particuliar, you need two different types. One will convert ammonia to nitrite. The second will convert nitrite to nitrate. When you have enough of the first type to handle the amount of amonia created by the fish, then the amonia levels will drop to zero and the nitrite level with rise. When you have enough of the second type to handle the amount of nitrite that was created, then the nitrite levels will drop to zero. By removing the fish, you have stopped the supply of ammonia so that the first type will start to die off. With the first type dying off, there won't be any nitrite and so the second type will start to die off. If it happens fast enough, they may die off before they have converted all the nitrite in the system. The nitrite level might have stayed consistent because the bacterial colonies had yet to grow large enough but were still converting ammonia (which is why those levels were 0).

The point is, by removing the fish you have just halted the cycling process when it sounds like it was almost finished. Put some fish back in or try some "fishless" chemical methods (I'm not going into those here).

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Old 02-15-2005, 08:08 PM   #3
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Exactly, unicorn2tears, the 10gal needs a dose of ammonia in it every day for the cycle to get back on track. Just put in about 10 drops a day of pure ammonia until you are seeing no ammonia and nitrite. They will mimic the presence of fish.

In the big tank, if you dosed Bio-Spira with enough product for a fully stocked 58 gallon tank, but only added fish for a 10 gallon tank, you might actually see an ammonia and nitrite spike, because of the bacterial die-off. You need to dose it according to the fish load. The very best use of it would have been to buy all of the fish that you plan to keep in that 58gal and use a full dose of Bio-Spira along with them. Then you would have instant cycle, well overnight, and the next day you would see no spikes, just a low nitrate level, because all of the fish you put in would provide enough waste material to consume all of the live bacteria you put in the tank. It's a beautiful thing!

pH is not really a part of this process and pH issues should be addressed separate from the cycle, for the most part.
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