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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Okay. Starting a journal of the progress of my new tank and how long it takes to cycle. Basic info on my tank is: 29 gallon tank, 2 filters, fluval 206 canister filter and fluval aquaclear 70 hob power filter, artificial plants, glofish black gravel, hydor koralia circulation pump, and fluval vueTech 200 watt heater. I let a cup of tap water sit for over 24 hrs and these are my initial parameters: gh 161.1, kh 125.3, ph 7.4, ammonia 0, nitrite 0, nitrate 0. All tests were done with api test kits. Not strips.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Forgot to mention. 2 pieces of mopani driftwood recently added which I hope will keep my ph from fluctuating too much as my ph tends to move around a bit.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
So today I set up my tank and added ammonia purchased from ace hardware store. This is what your looking for Ace Hardware Stores | Browse for Hardware, Home Improvement, and Tools.
Does not have to be the 6 pack. You can buy it by the quart. Cost my 3 dollars.

I got my ammonia up to about 4 ppm, turned off all lights, cranked up heater to 86 degrees, got a bubbler and circulation pump going for aeration.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
well i checked my water parameters and got one heck of a surprise. My ph is still 8.0, ammonia dropped to 1.0, nitrite is either 5 or off the charts, and my nitrates are at 40!!! i know its suppose to take a while for these numbers to start moving so i was wonder how it was possible i was moving along this fast. everything that was in the tank from my old tank had sat out and dried for a couple days so i thought any good bacteria on it would be dead by now. then i remembered i never emptied the water from my hob until the last minute and filled it back up within a couple mins. so the bacteria in the filter stayed alive! my question now is where do i go from here?? should i do a water change?? should i redose the ammonia back up to 4 ppm? what do i do??
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Okay I redosed the ammonia and when I checked it today it was at 1ppm or under. So the ammonia is getting broken down pretty quick. The nitrite is also being turned into nitrate just not as fast a rate as the ammonia tho. Because my nitrites are 5.0 ppm but my nitrate are 80 ppm. So definitely moving along. Do I need to do a water change or should I just keep letting them build??
 

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Nitrite (or ammonia) >5.0ppm can slow the cycle. It typically takes a little longer for the nitrite to get oxidized. Change 50% and dose ammonia back to 4.0ppm.

Your tank is responding well. Good you had some "seeded" media.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Well my tank is breaking down 4 ppm of ammonia in 24 hrs now. My nitrites are still lagging tho. They are over 5 ppm. But are turning into nitrate since currently my nitrate is at 40 ppm. Now its just the waiting game until my nitrite eating bacteria catch up. Will probably do a water change later on today to drop the nitrite and nitrate. One question tho. Is it normal for my ph to move around a lot? I have read that when a tank is cycling your ph can move a lot. There not huge swings. But one day it will as low as 7.4 and slowly climb to 8.2 or start high and drop. But it doesn't consistently rise or fall. Some days it rises some days it falls.
 

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i don't know about cycling and PH, ...
i know that day/night can affect pH

day plants gobble up CO2, and your PH can rise
night, critters release CO2 and your pH can fall

i have no idea how dramatic this is, i think a full point or so it could swing

as for your nitrates, ... plants :) plants can gobble up your nitrates (if you don't have them in there already)

or lava rock (personal suggestion for freshwater tank) will eventually develop bacteria in it's deeper centers that can process nitrates into nitrogen gass ... same idea as live rock (from coral rock) in saltwater tanks
 

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Discussion Starter #12
No my tank isn't planted. And doesn't have any live animals in it yet either. I do eventually want to switch to a planted tank tho. Just not now. Only thing in tank is gravel and a couple decor pieces. Thinking maybe one of those is leeching something causing my ph to move. Thanks for suggestions tho. Will look into that lava rock for sure.
 

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Double Water Change... Safe?

I'm doing daily water changes in an attempt to reduce NitrIte in my new 20-gal freshwater tank. The tank has been running for a total of fourteen days, and fish have been in it for ten. Ammonia is under 0.25ppm, but NitrIte has been 5ppm or higher for a week. Today, I did a 40% water change and saw no measurable decrease in NitrItes immediately following the dilution. Note that there are no detectable NitrItes in my tap water.

Is it safe to do back-to-back water changes on a single day? Is there a minimum interval I should wait?
 

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A nitrite reading of 5.0ppm is hazardous to your livestock. Change as much water as you need to as often as necessary to reduce nitrite to <0.50ppm and keep it there. Double-dose Prime to help detoxify nitrite.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Okay. So my ammonia doses are getting broken down in 24 hrs now. But my nitrites seem to be turning over really slowly and my nitrates were high also so I decided to do a water change. I did about a 90% water change. And the little ammonia I had went down to 0 but my nitrites were still 5 or higher and my nitrates were still at least 40 ppm after a 90 to 95 percent change. I didn't dump the water in my filter tho since I was scared I would kill the good bacteria. Should I do another water change and clean filters this time?
 

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Persistent nitrite is a frustrating but common problem while cycling. The only way you'll get nitrite is by oxidizing ammonia. Livestock bio-processes and decomposing waste is how you get ammonia.

So, stop feeding for a couple of days (or cut way, way back). What you want to do is stop ammonia production until your ammonia-oxidizing bacteria stops making as much nitrite.

Change water to keep nitrite <0.50ppm. Double-dose Prime.
 

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Jay0884, you mentioned you don't have any livestock in the tank yet so you really don't need to do water changes during a fishless cycle . Once the tank is cycled do a large water change to drop the nitrates a bit before you add fish.
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Discussion Starter #18
Hey guys. Thanks fir the comments. I think I'm finally getting a hang of this. Yes I have no live stock yet but I did a water change because my nitrites and nitrates were off the chart. I kept dosing ammonia in fear my ammonia eating bacteria would die if I didn't and overloaded my nitrites and nitrates. It took 2 ninety percent water changes but I got my nitrites and nitrates down. So ammonia was at 0, nitrites was under 1 and nitrates were at 5 ppm. So I dosed 1 ppm of ammonia last night and now its gone. But my nitrites are at 5 again. How is it possible that 1 ppm of ammonia turned into so much nitrite?? Also so I'm assuming I shouldnt dose anymore ammonia until this nitrite is broken down. How long can you go with the ammonia at 0 without starving and losing the bacteria that breaks down ammonia?
 

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You're still cycling is all. Be patient. When you can dose 4ppm of ammonia (which you should be doing when you dose) and it is converted into nitrates in 24 hours, you're all done. Do this 2-3 times to be sure, do a water change to bring nitrates down and you're ready for fish!
 
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