cycle help - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 8 Old 02-09-2012, 08:29 PM Thread Starter
cycle help

m cycling a tank well two, One with fish and one with out, For the one with, the ammonia tests are all different, the strips show .25 and the seachem test with the sensors, the sensor is supposed to go from green to blue, but it looks brown! it works on the fish less one tho. I had a nitrite spike then the nitrite went down but now I'm getting some ammonia again, unless my test kits are false.

My question is, i have 20 ppm nitrate in my tap water, so why after 3 weeks in the aquarium, trying to get it to cycle, my tests read

ammonia-.25 if its correct?
nitrates .25! when my tap water had 20!!

how did it go down?

Its freshwater
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post #2 of 8 Old 02-09-2012, 08:45 PM
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I can't say that it went down at all, because those texts can be very inaccurate. When cycling, its best to use a liquid test kit. The API Master Kit is about the best you can buy, and worth its weight in gold during a cycle. I would strongly encourage you to get one ASAP!

In the meantime, I would do 50% water changes on your tank with fish every day. Until we know the exact values with liquid tests, we should assume that there is Ammonia and/or Nitrites present and act accordingly... which means 50% water changes daily. Fish sustain a lot of damage from toxins during the cycle, and we need to do our best to protect them. They're counting on you!

When you get the API kit, make sure to shake the Nitrate bottle #2 VERY hard and for 2 minutes. Really beat the bottle against a table or something. After adding bottle #2 to your test tube, beat the daylights out of the test tube for another 2 minutes. Despite what the directions say, this is the way to get accurate results.

You can read an excellent article by our very own Bryon right here:

In the article above, take note of suggestions regarding using live plants and "seeding".

"My dither fish need dither fish!"
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post #3 of 8 Old 02-09-2012, 09:27 PM Thread Starter
i should of mentioned this before but i have the API master test, test strips and seachems testing kits. For some reason APIs ammonia liquid does not work well, even adding pure ammonia to water in the test tube it stays at a light yellow. I bought another one to make sure. The test strips and seachems test show close to the same. The API, test strips and seachems nitrate test all show 20 ppm nitrate in tap and now .25 in aquarium after 4 weeks. There is green gunk maybe algae in my filter hoses, maybe thats consuming the nitrates?
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post #4 of 8 Old 02-09-2012, 10:57 PM
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Oops, I meant to say "Byron". Sorry Byron!

Perhaps it could be the algae, I'm unsure. Do you have any live plants? If so, what kinds and how many? If you don't already, it would be wise that you a add large amount of some fast growing, floating plants for a few reasons- 1. They'll help lessen or obliterate the cycle issues by sucking up the Ammonia. 2. They'll help use up the Nitrates present in your tap water. (I've not heard of Nitrates being quite that high straight out of the tap. You have it rough that way! But it would be awesome for your plants!)

Also, if you have access to some substrate or filter media from a HEALTHY, established tank, you could "seed" your tank with that to give it a big boost in the cycle.

I'm not sure what to say about the API Ammonia test malfunctioning. After you add #1, do you invert the tube 5 times? After you add #2, do you invert the tube 5 times? Are you sure you're adding the correct number of drops (8) of each? Are you holding the bottle completely vertically as you add the drops? Are you reading your results in natural daylight? Are you waiting 5 minutes to read the results? Are you sure it really is reading inaccurately, and its not the other tests that are off? If you're doing it exactly correctly, I'm baffled as to why the test would malfunction. I've haven't heard of any problems with it when done correctly. I'm stumped!

Also, are you doing the daily 50% water changes?

"My dither fish need dither fish!"
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post #5 of 8 Old 02-10-2012, 12:12 PM
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I can't add much to what Mina said. Except that i always and only use live plants, and I never have any of these issues. Let nature do it for you.

Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]
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post #6 of 8 Old 02-10-2012, 06:27 PM Thread Starter
Yes for the sake of the fish I'm changing the water so the levels stay safe. Its just a few tiger dainos, no live plants yet. Yeah I'm doing the api test right. It still is off, no matter what i try. It turns green sometimes and sometimes it stays yellow, even with the same amount of ammonia. Ive seen this online somewhere as well. My ammonia was 0 today and the nitrites were below .25, and the nitrates went up some, still lower the the tap i put in there. But they did climb.

My fishless cycle completely went haywire. I think i added way to much ammonia oops my plant in there grew almost double in two days tho haha
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post #7 of 8 Old 02-10-2012, 06:35 PM Thread Starter
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post #8 of 8 Old 02-10-2012, 07:03 PM Thread Starter
Back to my fish less cycle I'm showing nitrites in two days! how is this possible? my tap has no nitrites. The ammonia was over dosed to like 6ppm 4 hours later its gone and i have nitrites? I am testing correctly, its not rocket science lol
Thats why i thought the api didn't work. It does work, just pure ammonia is too strong to register. It was showing no ammonia when there wasn't! i just couldn't believe it went away so quick
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