weird cycling test results...what do you think - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 6 Old 09-12-2014, 09:12 PM Thread Starter
weird cycling test results...what do you think

OK so let me start with my test kit is about 4 years old and after doing some research this kit "expires" after around 4 years. That said I'm not sure what bad effects an expired test would give. My tank has been cycling for around 3 weeks. I am cycling with fish in and test the water daily for ammonia and only recently for nitrite and only today for the first time for nitrate. I do water changes daily to reduce my ammonia reading to at least near 0. I add prime daily as well with my water changes. Ok so now for my test results. Ammonia daily produces around 2ppm and tests green before water changes bring it back to yellow. Nitrites have never shown up on my tests. And today when I tested my nitrate it was brown...I'd say 40+ nitrates. So....what do you think? Are all of my tests off? Is it possible I have a false ammonia reading and my cycle is done? Or is it more likely my nitrate test is off and I really don't have any nitrates yet since I haven't seen nitrite yet? My only thought on that is in my research I've read that low false nitrate tests are more common than the other way around. But like I said earlier, I didn't start testing for nitrite until recently so maybe I missed the nitrite part of the cycle and as for the ammonia the water changes do make the test results go back to 0. I've never tested for nitrates after the water change though since at the moment I'm most concerned about the ammonia levels. Well, thanks for reading through this book of mine....I'm totally confused with this one. By the way I have kept aquariums for years and do understand a lot about the hobby. These tests don't make any sense though.
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post #2 of 6 Old 09-13-2014, 11:31 AM
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First off, the cycle can take up to 6-8 weeks to get thru. So you should be seeing Nitrites first. Make sure... if this kit is 4 years old that you are shaking the heck out of those chemical bottles. They want us to shake them at least 2 minutes before you use them in some cases... You might want to do a bit more. DO NOT short cut the shaking step. And get a new kit as soon as you can.
My guess is the Nitrate kit is way off.

Every kid, regardless of what they are going through, is ONE caring adult away from being a success story. ~ Josh Shipp, Teen Behavior Expert
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post #3 of 6 Old 09-13-2014, 12:59 PM Thread Starter
Well, here's an update for you. I just got home from getting a new test kit. Granted it's still a little early to be conclusive since I did a water change maybe 12 hours ago but my tests are as follows: .25-.5 ammonia (expected), 0 nitrite (expected),
and 5-10 maybe even 20 nitrate (not sure what to think about this). Sooooo, here's my thoughts: either I'm cycled (I did use an established filter even though it was rinsed pretty well in tap water because it was very very dirty and sludged up) and just experiencing a slight ammonia surge from stocking, or my brand new nitrate test that I shook for the better part of 5 minutes is still inaccurate. I guess only more time and tests will tell for sure.
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post #4 of 6 Old 09-13-2014, 01:15 PM Thread Starter
The reason I never said anything about the filter before is because I was almost positive it was "dead" if you want to put it that way, because of how thoroughly I cleaned it. It is a bigger sized eheim canister filter with the original media that came with it...the ceramic rings, the substrat pro bioball type media, and polishing pads, all of which were rinsed long and hard.
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post #5 of 6 Old 09-13-2014, 01:25 PM
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You might be thru! Give it a day or 2 and retest. Good job getting the new kit. At least you should get proper readings with a new kit.
You've made a lot of changes this week it sounds... give them all a rest for a week or two before making any more. The tank will take a few months to "mature" as well.
Adding things like live plants would not be an issue. I mean changes like... "oh I don't like the color of the gravel any more... I think I'll change that tomorrow."

Every kid, regardless of what they are going through, is ONE caring adult away from being a success story. ~ Josh Shipp, Teen Behavior Expert
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post #6 of 6 Old 09-13-2014, 01:43 PM Thread Starter
The only changes I've made lately was adding a few small fish and water changes with prime. The filter was the one I was running since the start. Tests just seem weird is all. Funny how in the past I've been so confident but throw in a curveball like this and I'm all lost lol.
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