AHHH!!! Fishless cycling went wrong!
So I left this weekend to go on a hike with the following...
Ammonia = 5ppm
Nitrite = 5ppm
Nitrate = 15ppm
I added a tad of ammonia to last the weekend and keep the bacteria happy...
I come back to this...
Ammonia = 6ppm
Nitrite = 0ppm
Nitrate = 0ppm
I have a planted 20 gallon tank with no fish and I started my cycling about 1.5 weeks ago. What happened this weekend!!!
Have you been using plant fertilizer and what types of plants do you have in your tank? Though I can't imagine plants that would suck up that much nitrates over a weekend.
No plant fertilizer... nothing but plants and flourite. I am ending week two of the cycle and I still have no nitrites or nitrates... but the ammonia won't drop below 8ppm. Maybe If I let it sit for a few days it should drop? It's like the cycle stopped and is now stuck at a brick wall.
Give it time, 1.5 weeks isn't very long. nitrates dropping like that is not that uncommon with the right plants. I can drop mine when I have a mass of Wisteria growing from 30ppm to almost 0 in less than 3 days. You should see some more nitrites though which has me wondering if something has happened that stopped the denytrifying bacteria from working very fast. Give it some time and maybe lower the doisng of the ammonia a little to see if the bacteria can catch up at all. Keep us up to date on your progress, sooner or later we should figure something out.
Ok, so here's an update.
I then added some ammonia after this test (1.5 tsp).
I tested my tank today and got these results.
My bacteria is processing the ammonia EXTREMELY fast...
My plants are processing the nitrates EXTREMELY fast...
but that still leaves me with the nitrite dilemma. Where on earth are they??? Are they buried in the substrate in hiding?
All I can think of is a bad nitrite test. There should be loads of them if your tank is processing 5ppm of ammonia a day. Unless you have a ton of bacteria for the nitrites and not so much for ammmonia which is a scenerio I have not heard of before. If you are using the all in one test strips, try this:
Cut the strips apart and use a dropper to soak the test section for each and see how they come out.
If it is a liquid regent test kit then have your LFS verify the test results to make sure it is good.
If it all tests out then I don't know what to tell you except to wait until you see 0 ammonia and your cycle should be over.
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