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JDM 01-20-2013 02:33 PM

...and I thought I might avoid the whole cycling issue
 
I've been doing some spot checks for ammonia, pH and hardness, today I thought I'd run all the tests so I started with nitrates... zero as always. I hate having to shake that bottle so much.

Then I ran the nitrites... uh oh. Apparently the cycle is still happening in the background but I never saw ammonia... ever.

It is worth noting that the five minute wait time IS necessary when it says to wait before reading the chart. I have always seen that if the value is zero, the colour is correct immediately. Now I see that if it is not zero, it takes this time to fully react to generate the appropriate colour. I initially thought "zero nitrites" but I set a timer to be certain, as instructed. If you don't want to set a timer and wait, at least don't empty the tubes. Once they settle on a colour it stays for a long time so just check them later... 5 minutes or more.

I suspect that the ammonia stage never happened as in a typical plantless/fishless cycle but that the nitrites are still being generated by the perhaps smaller initial bacterial culture. They would still build up as the next stage bacteria start developing and I assume that I will see them drop off and then I will start seeing some nitrates.

So, new regimen to include daily water changes (hocked my fountain pump to look after the refill step now) and stepped up testing until everything clears.

It's too bad that there isn't a way to avoid getting those nitrifiers going in the first place if the plants can absorb the ammonia without generating nitrites. Of course, as efficient as the plants may be, there is still some ammonia available for bacterial consumption so I guess, on one level or another, it can't be avoided.

Well, if nothing else, this gave me a chance to do the gardening that I have been itching to do, it is easier if I remove lots of water first. The plants are really starting to fill in, swords are growing new leaves nicely and no new brown spots... lost count of the Dwarf Hygrophila stems. Nothing is languishing and better than half are thriving.

Jeff.

Byron 01-20-2013 04:17 PM

To my knowledge I've never had this occur (nitrites I mean). What was the number? Have you tested the source water on its own?

Byron.

JDM 01-20-2013 04:50 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Byron (Post 1397971)
To my knowledge I've never had this occur (nitrites I mean). What was the number? Have you tested the source water on its own?

Byron.

Great, something new.

I thought it was very odd and certainly didn't expect it... they've been zero and are zero from the tap. My last nitrite test was on the 10th, only testing ammonia, pH and hardness since as I really didn't think they could go up, let alone spike, without a preceding ammonia spike, and not in 10 days. New rule, run them all.

I thought maybe I had fouled the test with the wrong number of drops or something but I was changing water anyway so I just went to 75% instead of 25% and didn't bother to double check the test before the change. Less water was a benefit as I was playing with plants.

Nitrites are at 0.25 now so they had to have been 1 ppm. Fish look healthy with good colouring, no sign of brown gill, everyone ate well this morning, no change in swimming patterns. Other than the water looking unnaturally clear (I get used to the tannin stain, I don't mind it at all) everything looks fine... but isn't that they way it goes?

Is there any other source of nitrites that could occur in an aquarium?

Jeff.

beaslbob 01-20-2013 05:26 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JDM (Post 1397825)


...


So, new regimen to include daily water changes (hocked my fountain pump to look after the refill step now) and stepped up testing until everything clears.

..

Jeff.


I see very very short nitrite spikes.

Stop feeding and they will drop down quickly.

please, pretty please don't do water changes.


my .02

JDM 01-20-2013 05:39 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by beaslbob (Post 1398045)
I see very very short nitrite spikes.

Stop feeding and they will drop down quickly.

please, pretty please don't do water changes.


my .02

What is very, very short... quantify please.

While I might agree, I am only three weeks and change in on this tank so there is a real chance that the proper bacteria are not in place to handle this yet and it will not self correct quickly. I don't think that the plants are going to suck up nitrites in a hurry.

I feed the fish one pellet at a time and watch them eat them. There's no extra pinch going in, a couple of pellets perhaps, but that's it. And they pick them off the bottom later anyway. A couple of medium pellets in 37 gallons aren't likely to push much up at all.

Oh, I already did the water change before posting. If they go up tomorrow I will be changing water again, not likely 75% again, although that depends on where they go to.

Jeff.

beaslbob 01-20-2013 05:46 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JDM (Post 1398074)
What is very, very short... quantify please.

While I might agree, I am only three weeks and change in on this tank so there is a real chance that the proper bacteria are not in place to handle this yet and it will not self correct quickly. I don't think that the plants are going to suck up nitrites in a hurry.

I feed the fish one pellet at a time and watch them eat them. There's no extra pinch going in, a couple of pellets perhaps, but that's it. And they pick them off the bottom later anyway. A couple of medium pellets in 37 gallons aren't likely to push much up at all.

Oh, I already did the water change before posting. If they go up tomorrow I will be changing water again, not likely 75% again, although that depends on where they go to.

Jeff.


With no feeding 1 day.

max 5 days. If you peg the kit 2 days.

my .02

JDM 01-20-2013 07:00 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by beaslbob (Post 1398088)
With no feeding 1 day.

max 5 days. If you peg the kit 2 days.

my .02

So the only mechanism you are referring to here is the over feeding = ammonia = nitrite with the next logical step being nitrite = nitrate?

I could easily see that being the case in a month or two more for me, not sure when the last part of that equation will be operational in my case though. I know when I was going to do a whole fishless dead shrimp cycle I was planning on 5ish weeks. I decided to switch to plants, understanding that the nitrifying bacteria would still develop but at a much slower pace. Being at 3 weeks... apparently the first ones have (sorry, forgot which are which so I'll just skip naming them) and I doubt the second ones have... which makes me think that my only option, immediately, is to change the water to lower the concentration of nitrites.

Jeff.

beaslbob 01-20-2013 07:16 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JDM (Post 1398180)
So the only mechanism you are referring to here is the over feeding = ammonia = nitrite with the next logical step being nitrite = nitrate?

I could easily see that being the case in a month or two more for me, not sure when the last part of that equation will be operational in my case though. I know when I was going to do a whole fishless dead shrimp cycle I was planning on 5ish weeks. I decided to switch to plants, understanding that the nitrifying bacteria would still develop but at a much slower pace. Being at 3 weeks... apparently the first ones have (sorry, forgot which are which so I'll just skip naming them) and I doubt the second ones have... which makes me think that my only option, immediately, is to change the water to lower the concentration of nitrites.

Jeff.


Understand.

Stop adding food and nitrItes will come down.

Meanwhile I have had nitrItes before I used plants and when I fed the fish, for weeks and weeks. The fish (in a marine tank) did just fine. NitrItes pegged the kit ot aver 5ppm. Then dropped down 3 days after I stopped feeding the fish.

So now I just don't feed the fish for a week after I add them. NitrItes just remain low.

still just my .02

Byron 01-20-2013 07:17 PM

Jeff, are you using Prime as your conditioner? If nitrite really was as high as 1 ppm, you would see it in the fish, they would be under considerable stress and some likely at the point of death. Which says to me that either the test is not accurate for some reason, or a detoxifier such as Prime is present to make these "nitrites" harmless.

I know that new tanks can be established with fast-growing plants and never show ammonia or nitrite above zero with our standard test kits. Too many experienced aquarists have written about this, so there is no doubt it occurs. For myself, I've never seen ammonia or nitrite issues in the dozens of new tanks I have set up using live plants. But I no longer measure ammonia and nitrite as there is no need. My fish are actively spawning and reaching their expected lifespans, so I can't believe they are being somehow affected by ammonia or nitrite.

As to sources of nitrites, yes, there are others beside the nitrification cycle. Walstad writes of these in her book, but I don't really fathom it and frankly never worry. Maybe I should.:shock:

Byron.

JDM 01-20-2013 07:23 PM

They eat pretty much every speck I put in and I automatically think "uneaten food" whenever someone mentions overfeeding. I forget that it has to come out the back end too.

Every little bit helps... or in this case I guess every little bit contributes to the problem.:shock:

Jeff.


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