Need A Way To Lower Nitrates And Finish Cycle
Hi. I need suggestions on things to do to encourage the nitrite-eating bacteria or remove whatever is hindering its growth.
Ammonia: 0 (U)
Nitrite: around 5.0 ppm
Nitrate: 80 ppm
This has been the same for the last week. I have a 10 gal. tank, this is day 32 of cycling.
The nitrate present (in no small amount) indicates that there was at some point and probably for some time a good population of nitrite-eaters. The 0 ammonia may be enough to encourage the nitrite-eaters.
I have an extra sponge in my Aquaclear 30 and it's going full speed. I took out the "Bio-Max" from the filter last Saturday and have since put it back in. This is ceramic biological media.
Thanks for your help.
I had this same problem with my saltwater aquarium. It is 72 gallons and people told me that water changes is the best way to fix the problem. I did several huge (50%) water changes and nothing happened. it turned out to be a huge waste of time and I don't want to think about how much money I wasted on salt alone. My reccomendation to you would be to purchase a box of fluval nitrate reducer pads. I placed three of them in my sump and all the nitrate dissipated in a week. in a tank your size you could see zero nitrates in a few days.
How are you cycling this tank again? If I remember its a fish less cycle right? so are you adding ammonia? or are you adding fish food etc? the nitrates could be coming from your source water, or it could be from a build up of uneaten fish food if thats how your feeding the cycle? if your using the API master test kit drops, the nitrate level is hard to read once you get over 40ppm, so is it definitely 80ppm your seeing? there are many variables to consider.
day 32 of a cycle is only 4 weeks in, it can take up to 8 weeks to properly cycle. This is along time to wait.....
I had fish in my tank by week 2, and never had any problems. I bypassed the cycle by adding around 10 live fast growing plants in a 29g tank. I did get a slight nitrite spike in week 2 but did a hefty water change and never saw nitrites again. live plants, and a few hardy fish is probably the quickest way to go. unless you want to keep waiting.
Why sorry - you're welcome to jump in.
Yes, I'm going fishless, with fish food. I'm using a very small amount that I grind up in the palm of my hand. I've been wondering when is the better time to feed the tank, during the day or after the light goes off. I heard bacteria were light-o-phobic and I know the first step is fish food ->decay bacteria -> ammonia. I'm betting that decay bacteria are not light phobic and would produce the bacteria during the day.
Remember this problem with the guy at Petco who tested my water using the same as me and came up with 80 instead of my 10. I have shaken that bottle so many times for so long my arm's sore.
I would love to get a few Pygmy Chain Swords.
where are you reading the test results? It's best to do it in a well lit room.
To be honest I am at a loss, I am no expert here. I wish I could help, but it seems that maybe your over complicating the matter. I personally could not wait all that time with a tank with no fish in it, messing about feeding the tank etc.
That food your putting in is probably going into the substrate and causing the build up of nitrates that your reading.
In a 10g, you could just pop in 4 or 5 fast growing stem plants, like Green Cabomba or Anacharis, both readily available I am sure. and a few fish, say 6 glow light tetra, or other similar hardy tetras that can withstand the cycle process. ask at the LFS which ones are good and hardy, avoid the likes of neons though, they are finicky buggers. with the plants in you won't even notice these issues. I promise. oh and get yourself some bacteria seed, theres a few available. I am not sure which ones are the best. I used API quick start, but I have heard seachem do a good one. not sure of the name though, you could pop some of that in too.....wont hurt.
The food does not decompose into nitrates without first turning to ammonia and nitrite.
I would be curious as to how a fish would change things...
Ammonia. The entire cycle is dependent on the production of ammonia, so in order for the fish food method to work, it must break down into ammonia. If it immediately became nitrate, then that method would not work to cycle the tank.
I dont understand your comment about how fish would change things? Adding fish ensures theres a steady supply of ammonia, which like you say is the corner stone of any nutritional nitrogen cycle....
the guy is worrying about whether to feed his empty tank during lights out or daytime, I am trying to unravel the mystery. I explained what worked for me, this is my advice for him. Do you have an explanation as to why he is showing 5ppm nitrite and 80ppm of nitrate? in an empty tank 32 days into a cycle?
I wouldn't bother wasting my time. the fish I added in week two are all healthy and growing fine. never had any issues with my cycle.
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