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Discussion Starter #1
Hello all,

My tank has been cycling for about 4 weeks now. Up until 5/4/13 it was only on the ammonia phase. I did a 50% water change on the 4th because of really high ammonia levels, and waited 2 hours and tested the water again. The ammonia had dropped to 3.0 and nitrites finally appeared at 0.25ppm. Needless to say I was happy to finally see nitrites. On the 5th I tested the water again prior to a water change to find ammonia at 6.0 and 0ppm nitrites. Can anyone help with this problem? I'm new to the whole water chemistry thing and have a basic understanding of the cycling process just not the best trouble shooter.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Freshwater, African cichlids.
 

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It can take 6-8 weeks to cycle a new tank...sometimes even longer, especially w/o a bacteria seed.

Be patient, stay on top of water changes to keep the ammonia on the low side as ammonia is toxic not only to fish, but in excess even to the bacteria/archae that convert (oxidize) it to nitrites and nitrites to nitrates.


Hello all,

My tank has been cycling for about 4 weeks now. Up until 5/4/13 it was only on the ammonia phase. I did a 50% water change on the 4th because of really high ammonia levels, and waited 2 hours and tested the water again. The ammonia had dropped to 3.0 and nitrites finally appeared at 0.25ppm. Needless to say I was happy to finally see nitrites. On the 5th I tested the water again prior to a water change to find ammonia at 6.0 and 0ppm nitrites. Can anyone help with this problem? I'm new to the whole water chemistry thing and have a basic understanding of the cycling process just not the best trouble shooter.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I was wondering why nitrites appeared and then disappeared? Just wanted to make sure I didn't do anything to make it happen.
 

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Hard to say...coulda been a testing error. What are your nitrates?.... and if you have nitrates, have you tested your source (tap) water?

There is most often an ammonia spike...and later a nitrite spike as it takes awhile to develop the appropriate colonies. As I mentioned, we just need to be patient and do the water changes to control the levels and keep them down.

Nowadays, if you don't have media from a healthy, established tank, it makes good sense to use one of the bottled supplements to help speed things along.

I was wondering why nitrites appeared and then disappeared? Just wanted to make sure I didn't do anything to make it happen.
 

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so it happened again. I check my water and 0.25 ppm nitrites were present. I did a 25% water change, waited 2 hours, and checked it again to find the ammonia levels went down as well as the nitrites. Now they are non existent (0ppm). Next time I get nitrite Levels should I just not change the water for awhile??
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so it happened again. I check my water and 0.25 ppm nitrites were present. I did a 25% water change, waited 2 hours, and checked it again to find the ammonia levels went down as well as the nitrites. Now they are non existent (0ppm). Next time I get nitrite Levels should I just not change the water for awhile??
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Nitrites are just as lethal as ammonia. So if fish are present,,then water changes are the order of the day(maybe twice daily depending on number's of fish and amount of food being offered.)
Is wise to feed sparingly with fish in cycling.Feed the fish tiny amount once each day, or every other day.
Can feed more often once the biological filter has matured.
Need to keep ammonia AND nitrites as close to zero as possible so less food and more water changes(50) % would be my plan.
 

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Ok, so despite the nitrite level being 0 they ate still building in the tank? It's been over a month and I have not seen a decrease in the ammonia level yet.
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Ok, so despite the nitrite level being 0 they ate still building in the tank? It's been over a month and I have not seen a decrease in the ammonia level yet.
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Any nitrAtes?
If not,,you just need to keep up on water changes so fish aren't killed, and have patience.
 

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Okay, lets back up... fish and waste produces ammonia. Bacteria/Archea oxidize ammonia and produce nitrItes. Another bacteria/archea colony develops to oxidize nitrItes into nitrAtes.

Ammonia and nitrItes are not only toxic to fish, but also toxic at higher levels to the bacteria/archea that oxidize them. This is why water changes during the process are so very important. (higher levels of nitrates can also be harmful to fish long term which is one reason for routine weekly partial water changes.)

As 1077 points out, until you begin to see an increase in nitrItes that lead to an increase in nitrAtes, you have insufficient colonies for the N2 cycle.
So again, be patient and stay on top of the water changes to keep ammonia levels on the lower side.

Ok, so despite the nitrite level being 0 they ate still building in the tank? It's been over a month and I have not seen a decrease in the ammonia level yet.
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This is a fishless cycle. My compliments.

In my experience, as long as the ammonia doesn't get >5.0ppm, your tank is going to cycle as quickly as it's going to. About the same for nitrite.

Get some fresh Tetra Safestart or Dr Tims One-and-Only (shipped fresh), and use the whole thing. Can't hurt anything.

Oh, and run the temp up >82*, turn the filter up and keep it dark.
 

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This is a fishless cycle. My compliments.

In my experience, as long as the ammonia doesn't get >5.0ppm, your tank is going to cycle as quickly as it's going to. About the same for nitrite.

Get some fresh Tetra Safestart or Dr Tims One-and-Only (shipped fresh), and use the whole thing. Can't hurt anything.

Oh, and run the temp up >82*, turn the filter up and keep it dark.

OP states 4 cichlid's and a pleco which I assumed was/is the source of ammonia.
 

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Hello all,

... I did a 50% water change on the 4th because of really high ammonia levels...The ammonia had dropped to 3.0 .....I tested the water again prior to a water change to find ammonia at 6.0 ....
Ammonia was 6.0ppm before the 50% pwc. I had to assume that running these levels of ammonia for weeks would have sickened any inhabitants ...or worse.
 
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