Ammonia in freshly filled tank?

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Stratnoob

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The danger with adding ammonia is that nitrite will get high enough to stall the cycle. If your nitrite test showed the same pink as nitrate, it is showing the highest colour for the nitrite tester so it could 8 or anything above 8. Stall point is around 15 ppm.
Nitrate testers work by converting nitrate into nitrite then testing for nitrite so if there's already nitrite in the water, the nitrate test picks that up as well making the nitrate reading higher than it really is.


I know you have not started following the fishless cycling method on here yet, but I would start following that.
From your test results (0 ammonia, 8+ nitrite) I would start adding the snack dose of ammonia (1 ppm dose, labelled as dose #3) or you risk pushing nitrite too high.
Thanks. I had went through some articles, and common recommendation is to make water change if nitrates go over 100ppm. I'm at 320 now (test is chowing 80, but for this kind of test the number has to be multiplied by 4.43)

And yes, would love to follow the fishless cycling guide, but the bloody ammonia appeared in my tank out of no where and I hadn't yet poured any in myself. :-(

So should I not worry about the nitrates, or should I do 2x50% water change and dose 1ppm of ammonia?
 

Essjay

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320 ppm nitrate sounds extremely high. I would empty the tank and refill but don't add any ammonia. There has been discussion as to whether something in the tank caused ammonia when you set it up, so if you wait until next day then test for ammonia you'll know if this is going to happen again. If ammonia is zero next day, then add ammonia.

What is the nitrate level in your tap water?
 
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Stratnoob

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320 ppm nitrate sounds extremely high. I would empty the tank and refill but don't add any ammonia. There has been discussion as to whether something in the tank caused ammonia when you set it up, so if you wait until next day then test for ammonia you'll know if this is going to happen again. If ammonia is zero next day, then add ammonia.

What is the nitrate level in your tap water?
As far as I can tell the nitrates in the tap water are 0 or close to 0.
I'll empty the tank to the substrate, re-fill, test all the water and then see if there will be any difference until tomorrow.. thanks
 
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Stratnoob

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After 80% water change (down to substrate), nitrites and nitrates still feel pretty high. I'm not sure if I shouldn't make another water change to get it even lower.. Although nitrites at 4ppm seem ok, and there is some headroom. Will se in the morning, if it increases hinting the ammonia leak. :-(
IMG_20220118_222540.jpg
 

Essjay

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If an 80% water change got nitrite down to 4 ppm then it was ~20 ppm before the water change. That's over stall point so it's a good thing you didn't add more ammonia. Tomorrow's ammonia reading will decide what to do next.
 
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Stratnoob

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Ok, so I did 3 more measurements and while I'm on 0 ammonia, both nitrites and nitrates are rising. So all indicates there is some source of ammonia in the tank... I have no idea what to do now.
I will take the water to my local fish shop to test to at least confirm my measurements.
 
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Stratnoob

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Just to give final update, the tank has sucessfully cycled. Just needed to wait it out. If the nitrites won't go down I was planning to start removing rocks and wood as my lfs pointed there might have been something dead trapped in it. But now 24 hours after feeding 1ppm ammonia it is 0 amonia, 0 nitrites. So all good.
 
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It looks like Severn Trent do sometimes use different reservoirs and depending on which one they use, they sometimes use chloramine (See here). I'd still be really surprised if it was enough to give a 4ppm reading though.

I've used NT Labs test kits before and always found them decent but (and I'm in no way meaning to sound patronising) but I'm wondering if you read them right the first time. The reading seems odd and the changes of your filter being able to take care of 4ppm ammonia after less than 24 hours is virtually zero. You definitely checked it against the ammonia chart, as you say it was 4ppm but the NT Labs ammonia chart jumps from 2 to 5 with nothing in between.

Just a word of warning when it comes to the nitrate test with the NT Labs kit. NT Labs measures nitrates in N03-N. Most kits (such as API which is the most popular) measure nitrates in N03-. If you multiply the NT Labs figure by 4.43 you'll get to the nitrate figure that everyone else on the forum will be using (See here for some info on that).
Actually I think you don't need to do any multiplication for the ntlabs test. I got also api master test kit and both were giving the same ammount of nitrates. Also api test strip, plus water test at my local fish store. All the same readings without any multiplication needed for ntlabs.
 

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