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post #1 of 15 Old 04-04-2009, 01:30 PM Thread Starter
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question about lvls

im at week 6 of my "with fish" cycle
ammonia lvl is 0 ppm
nitrite lvl is 5 ppm
and nitrate lvl is about 15 ppm

my question is.. i thought w/ nitrate present in my tank that my nitrite lvls should be low or 0ppm , is that wrong info?

im headed to do a 20% water change now to get those nitrite lvls down a bit

thanks in advance for any help
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post #2 of 15 Old 04-04-2009, 01:36 PM
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Its very normal to still have nitrites with nitrates present. Think it takes a while for the nitrates to get busy and catch up to the nitrites.
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post #3 of 15 Old 04-04-2009, 01:39 PM Thread Starter
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Its very normal to still have nitrites with nitrates present. Think it takes a while for the nitrates to get busy and catch up to the nitrites.
ok thanks

the fish seem to be happy and healthy, should i just leave the nitrite lvls high to help "feed" the bacteria?
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post #4 of 15 Old 04-04-2009, 02:26 PM
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No, I would do a water change. During my fish cycles, I have always done water changes to try and keep my nitrites and ammonia under .25 ppm.
I do not feel my fish cycles with water changes took any longer to cycle than my fishless cycles with no water changes.
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post #5 of 15 Old 04-04-2009, 02:36 PM
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ok thanks

the fish seem to be happy and healthy, should i just leave the nitrite lvls high to help "feed" the bacteria?
I don't think its normal to have a nitrite reading of 5 after six weeks of cycling. As you say the fish are fine, are you sure the nitrite test is accurate? Do you remember when the ammonia levels were first at 0 (where I'm assuming they have since remained)?

I wouldn't do a water change for the nitrite (if it really is 5), that may make it worse--unless the fish are stressed. The biological cycle has to establish itself naturally, the nitrobacter bacteria in this case have to multiply to handle the available food (nitrite) produced by the nitrosomonas bacteria, and you don't want to be removing them. As you say, better to leave them to fe the bacteria. I would recheck that nitrite.

As for nitrate, it is almost always present in a biologically established tank. Nitrates are produced by the nitrobacter, and then usd by the plants (if you have plants) and removed (kept in check) through the weekly water changes. Nitrates are only toxic to fish at high levels, most aquarists consider a nitrate reading above 40 to be dangerous, but if the system is balanced and you are doing regular (weekly) partial water changes, and don't overload the biological system with overfeeding, too many fish, dead fish, etc., you should never see nitrate problems.

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 15 Old 04-04-2009, 02:47 PM Thread Starter
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i actually did the nitrite lvl check twice. the water lvl is a little low right now due to evaporation, so ill top it off and re-check
ill post those results after i get them
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post #7 of 15 Old 04-04-2009, 03:57 PM Thread Starter
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well, i topped off the water and tested the nitrites again. me, my wife, and sister in law all agree that the color of the water matches up w/ 5ppm
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post #8 of 15 Old 04-04-2009, 04:48 PM
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I have read that it can take from 2 to 8 weeks to fully cycle a tank, but a nitrite readng of 5 sems high to me. When did you first notice the ammonia at 0?

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 #9 of 15 Old 04-04-2009, 05:39 PM Thread Starter
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I have read that it can take from 2 to 8 weeks to fully cycle a tank, but a nitrite readng of 5 sems high to me. When did you first notice the ammonia at 0?
i had been taking a bag of water into my LFS once a week, but i would think that the ammonia hit 0 about 1-2 weeks ago
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post #10 of 15 Old 04-04-2009, 05:42 PM Thread Starter
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about a week ago was when i was told my nitrites were high and to do a 20% water change

today i went out and bought my own test kit so i can do daily testing w/o having to drive all the way to the store
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