No Ammonia, high Nitrite & Nitrate - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 28 Old 02-22-2012, 05:31 PM Thread Starter
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No Ammonia, high Nitrite & Nitrate

Hello all, I was wondering if you could help me figure out a confusing scenario I am experiencing.

The last few days I have been testing my water, and my readings have been:

Ammonia: 0 to .25
Nitrite: 5
Nitrate 10

Now the 50 gallon tank is pretty well planted, has a Fluval 206 Canister filter, and I am not sure if it matters, but yesterday I added a DIY moving bed filter.

I feel like my levels are kind of strange and I am worried about the fish. Could this just be the end of it cycling? (As the tank has only been running 3 weeks)

All advice appreciated.
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post #2 of 28 Old 02-22-2012, 06:21 PM
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Yes, you're in the midst of cycling. Those nitrates are still present (lethal to fish) but are being converted to nitrates. That's why you don't see ammonia since stage one has been completed.

Animal testing is a terrible idea; they get all nervous and give the wrong answers.
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post #3 of 28 Old 02-22-2012, 06:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Romad View Post
Yes, you're in the midst of cycling. Those nitrates are still present (lethal to fish) but are being converted to nitrates. That's why you don't see ammonia since stage one has been completed.
Nitrite to Nitrate :D

I read this in the Cycle main forum:
Ammonia will go down first. Then when its completely gone the Nitrospira bacteria convert the nitrite into nitrate


In non-planted tanks, we must manually remove nitrate with water changes but in heavily planted tanks, plants can absorb nitrate and prevent it from building up in our tanks. Luckily, nitrate is safe at low levels so water changes and/or plants can prevent it from ever building up to problematic levels. The entire process takes anywhere from 4-8 weeks although cycle lengths shorter or longer than this time frame aren't rare.


Read more: http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/f...#ixzz1n9zUmRqJ.

Last edited by Termato; 02-22-2012 at 06:27 PM.
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post #4 of 28 Old 02-22-2012, 06:23 PM Thread Starter
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Anything I can do to prevent fish loss?
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post #5 of 28 Old 02-22-2012, 06:30 PM
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Anything I can do to prevent fish loss?
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If you haven't changed the water today I would do so.

Other then that you can trim off dead parts of the plants to keep it clean. There are chemicals you can use but your best bet is the water change.

My Nitrate levels are so high I don't know how my fish are alive. I am going to have to do another water change right now.
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post #6 of 28 Old 02-22-2012, 08:05 PM Thread Starter
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Lost 3 or 4 fish so far, I threw in a few doses of Prime, hopefully that helps. I just want this cycling thing to be over.
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post #7 of 28 Old 02-22-2012, 08:09 PM
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Lost 3 or 4 fish so far, I threw in a few doses of Prime, hopefully that helps. I just want this cycling thing to be over.
You lost fish...oh no! Im sorry.

Did you do a water change? Do you have any plants?

I don't understand it because my Nitrate reading is coming back as 60ppm for the TAP water AND the tank. The fish are swimming fine....

I have no nitrite though so that could be the big difference. I hope you water levels out.
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post #8 of 28 Old 02-22-2012, 08:13 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Termato View Post
You lost fish...oh no! Im sorry.

Did you do a water change? Do you have any plants?

I don't understand it because my Nitrate reading is coming back as 60ppm for the TAP water AND the tank. The fish are swimming fine....

I have no nitrite though so that could be the big difference. I hope you water levels out.
Did a 50% water change a couple hours before I tested the water today, at that point I had no fish loss.

I have a lot of plants in there.

I wonder if it has something to do with me putting in the homemade moving bed filter last night? Or if it just a very lethal part of the cycle..

Edit, here is how many plants I have

Last edited by Adamson; 02-22-2012 at 08:18 PM.
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post #9 of 28 Old 02-22-2012, 08:28 PM
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Your Nitrite level is the only thing that is concerning because that is literally off the chart.

I found High level of nitrate in my tap water. You should maybe try taking a sample from that to see if that could be the problem?

Your tank looks beautiful....and the plants in it should be more than enough according to everything I've been told and read.
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post #10 of 28 Old 02-23-2012, 10:54 AM
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Something is definitely wrong here. If there are lots of live plants, and some fast-growing ones like stem plants or better still floating plants, you should not see ammonia or nitrite at all in a new tank (unless the fish stocking is way over the top). Also, nitrites at 5ppm would kill all fish immediately, though if this number is correct the Prime is likely preventing that.

What exactly is this moving bed filter? If you could explain this, how it works, what it contains, I may have some suggestions.

Also, have you tested the tap water on its own for nitrite and nitrate?

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 youíre going to take it under your wing then youíre 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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