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Old 03-14-2017, 01:08 PM   #1
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Strange Fishless Cycle Test Kit Results

Hello everyone,

I set up my 200l/55 gallon aquarium three days ago, and added ammonia up to around 3.0ppm two days ago. I also added Tetra Safestart because it was cheap and apparently it can speed up my fishless cycle slightly.

Today I tested my water and saw that the ammonia has decreased to around 1.5ppm, without me adding any more ammonia since two days ago. I then tested to see if any nitrites had shown up, and it says it's over 5.0 ppm. I tested nitrate and it says it's between 5 and 10ppm.

I would be confused enough considering I have nitrites and nitrates only two days into my cycle, but I've not added more than 3.0 ppm of ammonia overall, so it seems even stranger.

Can anyone explain these results? Is it because of the Tetra Safestart? Should I add more ammonia back up to 3.00 ppm?
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Old 03-14-2017, 02:02 PM   #2
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Hello everyone,

I set up my 200l/55 gallon aquarium three days ago, and added ammonia up to around 3.0ppm two days ago. I also added Tetra Safestart because it was cheap and apparently it can speed up my fishless cycle slightly.

Today I tested my water and saw that the ammonia has decreased to around 1.5ppm, without me adding any more ammonia since two days ago. I then tested to see if any nitrites had shown up, and it says it's over 5.0 ppm. I tested nitrate and it says it's between 5 and 10ppm.

I would be confused enough considering I have nitrites and nitrates only two days into my cycle, but I've not added more than 3.0 ppm of ammonia overall, so it seems even stranger.

Can anyone explain these results? Is it because of the Tetra Safestart? Should I add more ammonia back up to 3.00 ppm?
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Must be the safestart, I've never used it but that's the only explanation for nitrites and nitrates showing up that fast in that volume. I would NOT add more ammonia, let it go to zero which will allow nitrites to peak, then they should start to drop down to zero, after that you should be ready to roll after a few 50% water changes to get the nitrates to a manageable level.
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Old 03-14-2017, 02:53 PM   #3
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I think there is a little overlap in the cycle with the peaks in Ammonia, Nitrites, and Nitrates. Just depends at which point in the cycle you are at when the testing is performed. Check it for a few days and write it down. Took me about two weeks to cycle fishless but I also brought ammonia back up slightly after it was negative to "double check" my cycle. But I am a little paranoid though. Ha
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Old 03-22-2017, 02:14 PM   #4
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Hi again, back with some more strange test kit results.

I'm currently on my 11th day of cycling and it was going pretty well. I'm converting 2.00ppm of ammonia to 0.5ppm within 24 hours. My nitrites have been over 5.00ppm since the third day of cycling and haven't changed since.

For the past 4 days my nitrates have been 30ppm, but when I tested it today it's dropped to 5ppm but I haven't done any water changes and I don't have any live plants. Any explanations?

Thanks again
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Old 03-24-2017, 12:22 PM   #5
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Anyone? Level has still dropped to 5.00ppm
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Old 03-24-2017, 01:09 PM   #6
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Anyone? Level has still dropped to 5.00ppm


Sounds fairly normal to me, as long as there is ammonia reading there is something feeding the increase in Nitrites. Once the ammonia gets consumed down to approx zero you will have reached highest peak nitrites. From there you will see the same process happen with Nitrites that happened to ammonia, nitrites will start to decrease and nitrates will increase.
You're getting closer, I would give it about ten days and do another test.
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Old 04-03-2017, 09:36 PM   #7
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Do you have an API test kit? If your nitrAtes are dropping it's probably because you aren't shaking bottle #2 well enough. I was having similar issues and I did a lot of research. Seems the chemical in #2 bottle likes to solidify and stick to the sides a bit. You have to shake the heck out of it and beat it on all sides on the counter. I end up shaking mine and beating it in the counter and my hand for about 3 or 4 min before using it. Otherwise I get weird nitrAte results. Hope that helps.
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Old 04-04-2017, 12:04 PM   #8
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Do you have an API test kit? If your nitrAtes are dropping it's probably because you aren't shaking bottle #2 well enough. I was having similar issues and I did a lot of research. Seems the chemical in #2 bottle likes to solidify and stick to the sides a bit. You have to shake the heck out of it and beat it on all sides on the counter. I end up shaking mine and beating it in the counter and my hand for about 3 or 4 min before using it. Otherwise I get weird nitrAte results. Hope that helps.


Thank you! I'll try that next time I test
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