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Old 04-30-2011, 05:39 PM   #1
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Ok to do a water change?

Hi my tank has been cycling without fish for about a week now.

my apt test kit now shows
Nitrates have climbed to 5 ppm
Ammonia 1 ppm
Nitrites at .25 ppm

Am I to a point where I can do a PWC to help bring the ammonia and nitrites back down to 0?

Its a 90 gallon tank and I had 3 uncooked shrimp in the tank for about 4 days then removed them when the ammonia had reached somewhere between 2 and 4 ppm.

Thanks for your help.
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Old 04-30-2011, 05:41 PM   #2
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Your ammonia and nitrites don't need to be 0, that's only if you're cycling with fish.

Just leave it alone, and it'll do its work. Though, you shouldn't have removed the shrimp... they need to die and rot completely to provide enough ammonia. If you don't plan on adding more shrimp, you'll need to dose your ammonia to keep it up to 4 ppm.

Doing a PWC won't be necessary unless your nitrates or nitrites or ammonia go over the readable range.
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Old 04-30-2011, 06:40 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rosenweiss
Your ammonia and nitrites don't need to be 0, that's only if you're cycling with fish.

Just leave it alone, and it'll do its work. Though, you shouldn't have removed the shrimp... they need to die and rot completely to provide enough ammonia. If you don't plan on adding more shrimp, you'll need to dose your ammonia to keep it up to 4 ppm.

Doing a PWC won't be necessary unless your nitrates or nitrites or ammonia go over the readable range.
Agreed. The shrimp simulates having fish in the tank and basically trains the bacteria to handle the ammo once the fish are added. If you haven't already, check out the link in my signature. It'll tell you all about the process and when to do pwc's.
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Old 04-30-2011, 06:40 PM   #4
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I guess I was thinking the rise in nitrates was a sign that the bacteria is strong enough to slowly start adding fish.

But I'll continue to raise the ammonia levels and keep waiting.

Thanks for your help
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Old 04-30-2011, 08:39 PM   #5
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No problem!
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Old 05-07-2011, 01:27 AM   #6
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ok I am getting confused as to what is happening

I think it was monday night maybe tuesday the ammonia levels had not really done anything since i dosed them but the nitrates and nitrites had both maxed out my test kit seemed odd to me so i did a 50% water change redosed it with ammonia and let it sit.

wed night i saw the ammonia had fell to 1 ppm after dosing it up to 4 ppm the night before and again the nitrites/nitrates are maxed out. so i am like ok just wait and see what happens. I dosed it back up to 4 ppm.

Last night same story ammonia fell and the others were maxed out.

tonight i came home and same thing so I decided I am going to do a huge water change just because i want to see the nitrites and nitrates actually measure on my test kit and hopefully stay down.

I changed 80 gallons of the 90 let it sit 20 min tested the ammonia it barely registered so I dosed it waited another 20 min then tested, it was right at 4 ppm.

Ok i said now i wait, a few hours have gone by and I thought i would test the nitrites and nitrates, they are really high again!

the nitrates are between 20 and 40 ppm just barely still orange in color
the nitrites are a deeper purple then my test kit shows (so off the chart)

my tap water is .25 ppm nitrites, has .5 ppm ammonia, and 0 nitrates to start

does this seem right to you guys i would of thought after that large of a water change my nitrites/nitrates would be much lower?
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Old 05-07-2011, 01:44 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mwestendorf
ok I am getting confused as to what is happening

I think it was monday night maybe tuesday the ammonia levels had not really done anything since i dosed them but the nitrates and nitrites had both maxed out my test kit seemed odd to me so i did a 50% water change redosed it with ammonia and let it sit.

wed night i saw the ammonia had fell to 1 ppm after dosing it up to 4 ppm the night before and again the nitrites/nitrates are maxed out. so i am like ok just wait and see what happens. I dosed it back up to 4 ppm.

Last night same story ammonia fell and the others were maxed out.

tonight i came home and same thing so I decided I am going to do a huge water change just because i want to see the nitrites and nitrates actually measure on my test kit and hopefully stay down.

I changed 80 gallons of the 90 let it sit 20 min tested the ammonia it barely registered so I dosed it waited another 20 min then tested, it was right at 4 ppm.

Ok i said now i wait, a few hours have gone by and I thought i would test the nitrites and nitrates, they are really high again!

the nitrates are between 20 and 40 ppm just barely still orange in color
the nitrites are a deeper purple then my test kit shows (so off the chart)

my tap water is .25 ppm nitrites, has .5 ppm ammonia, and 0 nitrates to start

does this seem right to you guys i would of thought after that large of a water change my nitrites/nitrates would be much lower?
It sounds like you're REALLY close to finishing your cycle. What's happening is that the bacteria is absolutely tearing through the ammonia you add, and you're watching it be converted from ammo to no2 then into no3.

You should be days (or hours) away from the nitrItes dropping to zero and the cycle being complete.

The only thing that raises my eyebrow a bit is how quickly the no2 and no3 climbed to such massive levels. My only suggestion is to double check your testing method. If you're using the API master kit...99% of people mess up the nitrAte test. Make sure you're shaking the #2 solution for a full 30 seconds, then shake the heck out of the entire test tube for a solid minute. The results are accurate at the 5 minute mark.
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Old 05-07-2011, 03:31 AM   #8
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eco,

I really hope your right! I am getting excited to actually add some fish!

I do shake the heck out of it, but just to be safe next time i'll use the timer and not my own head to count the 30 seconds and minute.

your other comment
Quote:
The results are accurate at the 5 minute mark.
does this mean that they are not accurate at say 10, 20, or 30 minutes? I didn't actually time the 5 minutes I simply set it down, go work on something else and come back later when I know more than 5 min has passed.

Thanks for your help in this
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Old 05-07-2011, 11:36 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mwestendorf
eco,

I really hope your right! I am getting excited to actually add some fish!

I do shake the heck out of it, but just to be safe next time i'll use the timer and not my own head to count the 30 seconds and minute.

your other comment

does this mean that they are not accurate at say 10, 20, or 30 minutes? I didn't actually time the 5 minutes I simply set it down, go work on something else and come back later when I know more than 5 min has passed.

Thanks for your help in this
Yep. Try and measure it at close to 5 minutes from the time you shake it. I think they tend to get much darker the longer they sit out (unless the levels are zero).
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Old 05-07-2011, 11:41 AM   #10
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Got ya, so I got to be somewhere at 10 but I tested the ammonia quick and its basically zero!

this is getting exciting cause it turned 4ppm ammonia into zero in less than 24 hours!

so I will test the other parameters and time the 5 minutes correctly when i get done running my errands, i think I know what my wife is getting for mothers day, lol even though she only half way supports my fish habit!
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Old 05-07-2011, 11:50 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mwestendorf
Got ya, so I got to be somewhere at 10 but I tested the ammonia quick and its basically zero!

this is getting exciting cause it turned 4ppm ammonia into zero in less than 24 hours!

so I will test the other parameters and time the 5 minutes correctly when i get done running my errands, i think I know what my wife is getting for mothers day, lol even though she only half way supports my fish habit!
Good deal. You're having your nitrIte spike...just keep dosing up the ammo every 24 hours and suddenly the no2 is gonna drop to 0 overnight just like the ammonia is. Then your tank is cycled. All you've gotta do is another big pwc to get the no3 below 20...then add fish!

keep us posted!
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Old 05-07-2011, 01:53 PM   #12
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you guys are great so far everything you've said has been spot on and after retesting it confirms what you said ecco.

the nitrItes were off the charts even before the 5 min mark
the nitrAtes however were only at 5ppm at the 5 min mark

so I was just letting it sit to long in the test tube.

however at least this makes more sense to me now. the first level bacteria is turning the ammonia into nitrItes but the second level isn't strong enough yet to turn it into nitrAtes.

looks like i got more waiting to do :|
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Old 05-07-2011, 01:59 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mwestendorf
you guys are great so far everything you've said has been spot on and after retesting it confirms what you said ecco.

the nitrItes were off the charts even before the 5 min mark
the nitrAtes however were only at 5ppm at the 5 min mark

so I was just letting it sit to long in the test tube.

however at least this makes more sense to me now. the first level bacteria is turning the ammonia into nitrItes but the second level isn't strong enough yet to turn it into nitrAtes.

looks like i got more waiting to do :|
Seems like you have an awesome understanding of the process . You've probably already got the info, but you can check out my guide in my signature if it helps at all. Doesn't seem like you need it though
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Old 05-07-2011, 02:25 PM   #14
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I've read that thing like 5 times, its a great read and explains it all well!

what was throwing me off was the fact that my nitrAtes were so high but it turns out i was just doing the test wrong.

thanks again
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Old 05-10-2011, 08:32 PM   #15
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this is my first time doing a fish-less cycle and I just want to make sure I am not doing something wrong.

my tank stopped tearing through the ammonia as fast, it was turning about 4 ppm of ammonia to 0 in 12 hours now its only taking it down to about 2 ppm in 12 hours.

my nitrItes haven't budged still off the charts and my nitrAtes are holding at 5 ppm?

the only parameter that I have seen change is the temperature of the water it went from about 82 to 90. Were having a little heat wave here in the midwest and we haven't turned our ac on yet since it is only suppose to last a couple days. (hopefully this rise in temperature didn't kill off my bacteria)

am I stalled or am I still in the need to have patience stage?
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Old 05-10-2011, 08:43 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mwestendorf
this is my first time doing a fish-less cycle and I just want to make sure I am not doing something wrong.

my tank stopped tearing through the ammonia as fast, it was turning about 4 ppm of ammonia to 0 in 12 hours now its only taking it down to about 2 ppm in 12 hours.

my nitrItes haven't budged still off the charts and my nitrAtes are holding at 5 ppm?

the only parameter that I have seen change is the temperature of the water it went from about 82 to 90. Were having a little heat wave here in the midwest and we haven't turned our ac on yet since it is only suppose to last a couple days. (hopefully this rise in temperature didn't kill off my bacteria)

am I stalled or am I still in the need to have patience stage?
Ummmmm......I think it might be stalled. Go ahead and knock out a ~50% pwc (remember the dechlorinator!), and if you've got some fish food, put in a tiny pinch finely ground up. The high temp might throw it off a little, but not too bad. That will be a serious problem for fish however unless you want them for dinner . Other than this possible stall, everything else looks right on track.
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Old 05-10-2011, 08:45 PM   #17
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Don't be afraid to do a little bit larger pwc. We want to be able to get your no2 level far enough down that we can tell what it is.
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