Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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jordanGutts 03-07-2012 02:09 PM

Nitrogen Cycle Question
Hi this is my first post so hopefully I'm not asking something that's already been answered.

I have been cycling a 55 gal tank for a little over a month now and everything seemed to be going ok, I am using 8 cherry barbs and 1 small plant. The ammonia went up, then came down as the nitrite went up. Then both (nitrite and ammonia) started coming down together until they were both at .25ppm. Then yesterday when I checked the levels the ammonia was .2 and the nitrite was at 0. So I checked the nitrate and it was only 1 or 2ppm. I don't know if I somehow killed the bacteria or what's going on, if the nitrite is 0 shouldn't the nitrate be up higher than 2? And shouldn't the ammonia be at zero if the nitrite is?

Just wondering if anyone has experienced this or has ideas as to what's going on, thanks.

AbbeysDad 03-07-2012 03:49 PM

What are you using to test the water - API Freshwater Test kit?
I ask because the test strips are not considered very accurate. Also, regent #2 of the API liquid nitrate test has an element that wants to separate from the liquid and if not mixed well can yield a false low result. You may need to shake it very vigorously for 2 minutes, maybe even tap it on a table to make sure it's mixed properly. I suspect your nitrates are actually higher than they first appeared.

Although ammonia is evil and most cycled systems do not show trace amounts in the test results, ammonia is constantly being produced and I think seeing a low value from time to time is not extraordinary. I mean if it never existed, what is all this cycle hype?

jordanGutts 03-07-2012 04:22 PM

Yes I have the API Freshwater master test kit, I did shake the bottle for 30 seconds and then shake the tube for 1 minute but maybe I need to shake more, I'll try that.

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