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Discussion Starter #1
I'm in the process of cycling my 20 gallon tank and the ammonia levels have steadily been going down, but there have been no nitrites whatsoever.
Right now my readings are 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites, & 5 nitrates.
 

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Do you have live plants in your tank?

Also, don't let the ammonia run out, what little bacteria you're starting to grow will starve. When it reaches 1ppm, dose it back up to 4ppm. Plants can eat the ammonia, they won't give you the levels of nitrites (if my memory serves me correctly)

I'f you don't have live plants... well.... I'm stumped then. haha... but yeah, just dose your ammonia back up to 4 and don't let it get past 1ppm.

You're using the API freshwater liquid test kit yes? Not strips? If you're using strips... toss them. They're ridiculously expensive and not worth it because they're very inaccurate.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Do you have live plants in your tank?

Also, don't let the ammonia run out, what little bacteria you're starting to grow will starve. When it reaches 1ppm, dose it back up to 4ppm. Plants can eat the ammonia, they won't give you the levels of nitrites (if my memory serves me correctly)

I'f you don't have live plants... well.... I'm stumped then. haha... but yeah, just dose your ammonia back up to 4 and don't let it get past 1ppm.

You're using the API freshwater liquid test kit yes? Not strips? If you're using strips... toss them. They're ridiculously expensive and not worth it because they're very inaccurate.
No, I don't have live plants. But I should have ammonia from my fish I just put in. I must admit I do have the strips though. I had used them before and didn't really have a problem. They were a lot cheaper at the store and I had already spent a lot of money. Plus no one really told me they were bad quality.
 

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Well, if you're doing a fish-in cycle (which many do not recommend) then never mind on the dosing. You want to do about 10% WCs every day or every other day and you want to be testing every day. Fish-in cycles are a LOT more time-consuming in terms of maintenance because you have to keep close eyes on your water parameters so you don't harm your fish. With fishless cycles.. you just dose up the ammonia and leave it alone for a few weeks (for the most part)

I would HIGHLY recommend to either return the strips (if you have other containers you haven't already opened) or to just throw them out and get the API liquid test kit. Strips are highly inaccurate and more expensive in the long run while the API kit is about 25$ up front and it lasts you a long time... a ... LONG time. The people in the store won't tell you things like that. They just want your money 90% of the time so they won't tell you if a product you buy is 'wrong' or 'faulty'.


As a side note... with a fish-in cycle and using strips to test every day.. you're going to be running out of those reaaaaaal fast. We don't have the 'tubes' of strips here, just the little 4 or 6 piece packs that they charge $8 for. Not worth the investment for those.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Well, if you're doing a fish-in cycle (which many do not recommend) then never mind on the dosing. You want to do about 10% WCs every day or every other day and you want to be testing every day. Fish-in cycles are a LOT more time-consuming in terms of maintenance because you have to keep close eyes on your water parameters so you don't harm your fish. With fishless cycles.. you just dose up the ammonia and leave it alone for a few weeks (for the most part)

I would HIGHLY recommend to either return the strips (if you have other containers you haven't already opened) or to just throw them out and get the API liquid test kit. Strips are highly inaccurate and more expensive in the long run while the API kit is about 25$ up front and it lasts you a long time... a ... LONG time. The people in the store won't tell you things like that. They just want your money 90% of the time so they won't tell you if a product you buy is 'wrong' or 'faulty'.


As a side note... with a fish-in cycle and using strips to test every day.. you're going to be running out of those reaaaaaal fast. We don't have the 'tubes' of strips here, just the little 4 or 6 piece packs that they charge $8 for. Not worth the investment for those.
Alright :) I've heard that you shouldn't change your water until the very end. But I will try to invest in the liquid test kit.
 

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for fish-in cycles? No you want to be doing daily water changes to keep the levels safe for your fish.

Fishless cycles is when you just leave it alone for a few weeks until you get a 0 ammonia 0 nitrite reading and a WHOOOLE lot of Nitrates.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
for fish-in cycles? No you want to be doing daily water changes to keep the levels safe for your fish.

Fishless cycles is when you just leave it alone for a few weeks until you get a 0 ammonia 0 nitrite reading and a WHOOOLE lot of Nitrates.
Okay, I'll do that now then. I was just afraid I would loose some of the bacteria I put in. That's stupid now that I think about it because they'd be in the substrate.
 

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actually, though they live on every surface of ur tank, the majority of them LOVE your filter media cus its oxygen rich. thats why your not suppose to change your filter media without seeding the new replacement
 

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When your filter media starts to look about ready to fall apart you just want to slide the 'new media' in beside it and give it few weeks I would imagine before removing the old media so the new media can take over. You never want to just take out the old media and put in new without seeding it, it will cause your tank to relapse and you'll basically have a 'mini-cycle' where you'll experience ammonia and nitrite spikes that, if not caught, could kill your fish.

You want to make sure that when your media starts to look dirty that you gently clean it in emptied tank water during water changes. I know for mine i have two large sponges in mine and some bio ceramic balls so when it looks dirty or there is debris caught in the filter I'll dunk each piece in my water bucket with the dirty tank water and gently wash them clean before putting them back. When it comes time for me to change sponges I'll remove one and place in a new one (great thing about haveing a filter that requires two sponges and not one, double the space woot woot) that way the 2nd one can seed the knew, then after awhile I'll remove the last old one and put in another new one. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #11
When your filter media starts to look about ready to fall apart you just want to slide the 'new media' in beside it and give it few weeks I would imagine before removing the old media so the new media can take over. You never want to just take out the old media and put in new without seeding it, it will cause your tank to relapse and you'll basically have a 'mini-cycle' where you'll experience ammonia and nitrite spikes that, if not caught, could kill your fish.

You want to make sure that when your media starts to look dirty that you gently clean it in emptied tank water during water changes. I know for mine i have two large sponges in mine and some bio ceramic balls so when it looks dirty or there is debris caught in the filter I'll dunk each piece in my water bucket with the dirty tank water and gently wash them clean before putting them back. When it comes time for me to change sponges I'll remove one and place in a new one (great thing about haveing a filter that requires two sponges and not one, double the space woot woot) that way the 2nd one can seed the knew, then after awhile I'll remove the last old one and put in another new one. :)
Hmm well since I have just a standard filter I wonder if I could slide in a new filter while leaving in the old filter for a few days..
 

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I agree with everything dragon said. Very good advice.
I buy cut-to-fit filter pad material and keep an extra layer or two in each of my filters. Then when the filter cartridge disintegrates and has to be replaced, I'll keep the extra pads in with the new stuff. I only change cartridges maybe once or twice per year.
Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Well I got the liquid test kit and it read .25 ammonia, 0 nitrites, and 5 nitrates. I still don't know how the ammonia is going down but I continue to has no nitrites?
 

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There might be bacteria there, just a little bit, eating that ammonia and creating Nitrites in just too little of quantities to be picked up by the test kit. It happens :) Better that it's going down and not up right? hehehe
 

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reduced ammonia & no nitrites, ...

could be the limits of your test kit (not likely)
could be you've got the bacteria in place to do that process in sufficient supply already (more likely, but i don't think it's realistic, but who knows)

after that, ... i don, lots of blanks from this mind.

---

on plants and ammonia

in all my research i have not heard of plants consuming ammonia directly
i have heard the internal pH of plants is expected to be low enough to ensure it's all ammonium
plants will directly use ammonium

ammonium is not detected by any test kits i know of, if looking at your test kit for ammonium it lists ammonia and a number relating to your pH, ... this turns into math so you can get an idea of how high things are by a mathematical multiple when your pH is lower
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I tested my water and guess what?
It has .25 ammonia in it. I also tested the tank 24 hours after I had changed the water and it was still at .25...It might be ammonium that the test is reading as ammonia? I hope so.. I'm not really excited to try and do water changes with store bought water :-(
 

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might be the lighting you're reading your test results with.

that's my first default thought when every test reads the same and you're sure it should be lower.

test kits don't test ammonium, and the ammonia that is tested is only going to be a fraction based on pH the rest being ammonium. the two convert back and forth in the aquarium easily as H ions roam around back & forth

if your pH is changing, (and the water your adding has no ammonia/ammonium), ... a changing pH can give you different readings leaving you scratching your head twice as hard wondering WTF is going on here?
 

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Discussion Starter #18
might be the lighting you're reading your test results with.

that's my first default thought when every test reads the same and you're sure it should be lower.

test kits don't test ammonium, and the ammonia that is tested is only going to be a fraction based on pH the rest being ammonium. the two convert back and forth in the aquarium easily as H ions roam around back & forth

if your pH is changing, (and the water your adding has no ammonia/ammonium), ... a changing pH can give you different readings leaving you scratching your head twice as hard wondering WTF is going on here?
Haha yeah, well I've tried looking at the tube in different lighting places around the room but it still looks like .25. It's at the very least not at zero and continues to remain the same color so..
I'll check my pH again to see if it's been changing..
 

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i had a sudden thought.

if your ammonia test kit also conditions the water to a high pH and you have enough ammonium in your tank ...

everything i've come across ammonium is safe, but ... you can't remove/process ammonia to get only ammonium, it's fraction ratio thing, remove X amount of ammonia, the ammonium will just balance out till the same ratio exists again (i dono if i said that clearly)

i don't know if this would be good or bad as a low ph (i think 6.4 or 6.2 and lower) your tank will have no significant ammonia, even if it's all ammonium, it will stay ammonium and you'll have happy fish... a test kit changing ph and testing will then give a higher reading then what your tank is actually experiencing.

again, this is just a sudden thought, does not mean it's real
 

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i had a sudden thought.

if your ammonia test kit also conditions the water to a high pH and you have enough ammonium in your tank ...

everything i've come across ammonium is safe, but ... you can't remove/process ammonia to get only ammonium, it's fraction ratio thing, remove X amount of ammonia, the ammonium will just balance out till the same ratio exists again (i dono if i said that clearly)

i don't know if this would be good or bad as a low ph (i think 6.4 or 6.2 and lower) your tank will have no significant ammonia, even if it's all ammonium, it will stay ammonium and you'll have happy fish... a test kit changing ph and testing will then give a higher reading then what your tank is actually experiencing.

again, this is just a sudden thought, does not mean it's real
Well I do have high pH..Are you saying that because of this that means that what's in my tank is actually ammonium?
 
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