High nitrites, low ammonia, what to do next?

katienewbettakeeper

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Okay so i’ve been cycling my ten gallon tank for about a week. I started with an initial dose of about 3ppm ammonia (looking back probably too high) and waited a couple days. I added a full cap of seachem stability on the first day and have been adding a half cap every day since.

By day four i had nitrites showing up (.25) and the next day they exploded! Ammonia had lowered to about 1ppm as well. A biofilm became visible on many parts of the substrate and on the driftwood, yay!

This morning (two days later) I tested for nitrites and they appeared (to my eye) off the charts, as the test tube was a very bright fuschia color. I thought, uh oh, because according to Dr Tim’s instructions a too high nitrite reading can stall the cycle? Ammonia was about .25 at this point. I was worried that the nitrites were too high, so I filled a test tube with half dechlorinated tap and half tank water. although diluted, it still showed the same color nitrite reading.

i did a 50% water change to decrease the nitrite. Now it’s still showing up bright fuschia as i expected, but i hope if i completely stop dosing ammonia for the next couple or more days it will start to naturally decrease since i removed some?

Am i doing this entirely wrong? Should i do another water change? when should i do my next ammonia dose and how much should it be? Sorry if this was too ramble-y, I’ve never had an aquarium before so any advice is welcome!
 

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outofwater

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I'm fairly new too, started back in the hobby about 3 months ago, after a good couple decades, so it was basically start from scratch.

I think your cycling is going well, it takes at least a week to get done. Remember that the bacteria grow and stick to surfaces, so your levels might go down slightly with a big water change, but they won't stabilize until both types establish their respective colonies. Don't scrap the biofilm or clean any surface yet. Other than that IMHO you're on the right path: ammonia went down and nitrites up, next step is nitrites down nitrates up, and then hopefully you're done. Good luck!

If possible/If you plan to, add plants now, the bacteria will also grow on them, plus they help with the whole cycle too.
 

Rocky998

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One thing I would like to add that is a bit off topic is, you can submerge the heater fully... You dont have to have it stick out
 
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katienewbettakeeper

katienewbettakeeper

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I'm fairly new too, started back in the hobby about 3 months ago, after a good couple decades, so it was basically start from scratch.

I think your cycling is going well, it takes at least a week to get done. Remember that the bacteria grow and stick to surfaces, so your levels might go down slightly with a big water change, but they won't stabilize until both types establish their respective colonies. Don't scrap the biofilm or clean any surface yet. Other than that IMHO you're on the right path: ammonia went down and nitrites up, next step is nitrites down nitrates up, and then hopefully you're done. Good luck!

If possible/If you plan to, add plants now, the bacteria will also grow on them, plus they help with the whole cycle too.
thank you, that’s reassuring. I will be adding plants in soon.
 

MermaidHeather

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Okay so i’ve been cycling my ten gallon tank for about a week. I started with an initial dose of about 3ppm ammonia (looking back probably too high) and waited a couple days. I added a full cap of seachem stability on the first day and have been adding a half cap every day since.

By day four i had nitrites showing up (.25) and the next day they exploded! Ammonia had lowered to about 1ppm as well. A biofilm became visible on many parts of the substrate and on the driftwood, yay!

This morning (two days later) I tested for nitrites and they appeared (to my eye) off the charts, as the test tube was a very bright fuschia color. I thought, uh oh, because according to Dr Tim’s instructions a too high nitrite reading can stall the cycle? Ammonia was about .25 at this point. I was worried that the nitrites were too high, so I filled a test tube with half dechlorinated tap and half tank water. although diluted, it still showed the same color nitrite reading.

i did a 50% water change to decrease the nitrite. Now it’s still showing up bright fuschia as i expected, but i hope if i completely stop dosing ammonia for the next couple or more days it will start to naturally decrease since i removed some?

Am i doing this entirely wrong? Should i do another water change? when should i do my next ammonia dose and how much should it be? Sorry if this was too ramble-y, I’ve never had an aquarium before so any advice is welcome!
You're on the right track! I wouldn't add any more ammonia though, just let it do its thing! If you have fish food sometimes it helps to add that in every few days too. Also the heater should be submerged more! Id put it up to the black on it! Cover the grey. 😊 good luck!!
 

outofwater

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thanks, I didn’t know that! 😅
That was a great observation. If the heater is sticking out too far out of the water it might actually shatter due to the temp difference, definitely submerge it all the way and never let a part of it out of the water while connected too long, you don't want to be picking up broken glass from your substrate, or worse, electrocute your fish or yourself.
 
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katienewbettakeeper

katienewbettakeeper

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I'm fairly new too, started back in the hobby about 3 months ago, after a good couple decades, so it was basically start from scratch.

I think your cycling is going well, it takes at least a week to get done. Remember that the bacteria grow and stick to surfaces, so your levels might go down slightly with a big water change, but they won't stabilize until both types establish their respective colonies. Don't scrap the biofilm or clean any surface yet. Other than that IMHO you're on the right path: ammonia went down and nitrites up, next step is nitrites down nitrates up, and then hopefully you're done. Good luck!

If possible/If you plan to, add plants now, the bacteria will also grow on them, plus they help with the whole cycle too.
You're on the right track! I wouldn't add any more ammonia though, just let it do its thing! If you have fish food sometimes it helps to add that in every few days too. Also the heater should be submerged more! Id put it up to the black on it! Cover the grey. 😊 good luck!!

probably helped me avoid a stressful disaster! i appreciate it 🙏
 

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Rocky998

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probably helped me avoid a stressful disaster! i appreciate it 🙏
Much better! Yah, there is a bit of a debate online about the fluval M series being fully submersible or not, even though the instructions said that it is "fully submersive up to the plug in"... Of course I wouldnt put all of the cord in up to the plug in, but the cord is made to be in the water so its fine.
 

Essjay

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when should i do my next ammonia dose and how much should it be?
Which cycling method are you using? The one on here was written so that nitrite can never get high enough to stall the cycle.
Since the tank is 10 gallons, doing a 100% water water change won't take long, so I suggest you remove all the water and refill the tank, which will reset ammonia and nitrite to zero. Then add enough ammonia to get 3 ppm, no higher, and follow these instructions

The first part will probably go quickly as you already have some ammonia eaters.
Adding more Stability is OK as well :)
 
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katienewbettakeeper

katienewbettakeeper

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I'm fairly new too, started back in the hobby about 3 months ago, after a good couple decades, so it was basically start from scratch.

I think your cycling is going well, it takes at least a week to get done. Remember that the bacteria grow and stick to surfaces, so your levels might go down slightly with a big water change, but they won't stabilize until both types establish their respective colonies. Don't scrap the biofilm or clean any surface yet. Other than that IMHO you're on the right path: ammonia went down and nitrites up, next step is nitrites down nitrates up, and then hopefully you're done. Good luck!

If possible/If you plan to, add plants now, the bacteria will also grow on them, plus they help with the whole cycle too.
You're on the right track! I wouldn't add any more ammonia though, just let it do its thing! If you have fish food sometimes it helps to add that in every few days too. Also the heater should be submerged more! Id put it up to the black on it! Cover the grey. 😊 good luck!!
Which cycling method are you using? The one on here was written so that nitrite can never get high enough to stall the cycle.
Since the tank is 10 gallons, doing a 100% water water change won't take long, so I suggest you remove all the water and refill the tank, which will reset ammonia and nitrite to zero. Then add enough ammonia to get 3 ppm, no higher, and follow these instructions

The first part will probably go quickly as you already have some ammonia eaters.
Adding more Stability is OK as well :)
I dont want to add another couple weeks to my cycle, so I think I'm just going to add the second ammonia dose, and continue the cycle as per the instructions you reffered me to.
 

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Essjay

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Doing a 100% water change won't delay the cycle. The bacteria are attached to solid surfaces so all a water change will do is allow the nitrite to drop to a manageable level. When the tank is refilled, all the ammonia eaters will still be there, then after ammonia is added it's the same as doing the second ammonia dose but without the risk of sending nitrite past stall point.
 
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katienewbettakeeper

katienewbettakeeper

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Doing a 100% water change won't delay the cycle. The bacteria are attached to solid surfaces so all a water change will do is allow the nitrite to drop to a manageable level. When the tank is refilled, all the ammonia eaters will still be there, then after ammonia is added it's the same as doing the second ammonia dose but without the risk of sending nitrite past stall point.
Oh that makes sense! Thank you for explaining, Its taking me a long time to understand this haha. I'll do the 100% change.
 
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katienewbettakeeper

katienewbettakeeper

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Doing a 100% water change won't delay the cycle. The bacteria are attached to solid surfaces so all a water change will do is allow the nitrite to drop to a manageable level. When the tank is refilled, all the ammonia eaters will still be there, then after ammonia is added it's the same as doing the second ammonia dose but without the risk of sending nitrite past stall point.
hi again! I’d like to get your thoughts on everything I’ve done since you gave me your advice, if you don’t mind answering. I did the water change on tuesday, and added 18 drops of ammonia (a little over 2ppm) I tested the water the next day and had .25 ammonia and 2ppm+ nitrites. My tap water has 5ppm nitrates, I tested for that as well and nitrates were at 10ppm. I didn’t test it again until today, planning to add a 1/3 dose of ammonia after i got a couple readings of 0ppm ammonia. When i tested it today i got 0ppm ammonia, but also only around .5ppm nitrites! I was so confused how they could have gone away so fast, because I tested nitrates and they were still the same, at 10ppm, so i don’t think is was converted? Then i checked the PH and it was SUPER low, maybe less than 5!! my tap water is around 6.8 so i was shocked. I added some baking soda (2 teaspoons) and now ph is around 8-8.5 i then added close to a full dose of ammonia (1-2ppm) to feed the bacteria, hoping to watch nitrites rise again.

Here’s the weirdest part; three hours later, i tested for nitrite again and got a high reading, and ammonia is at only 0.5 ppm!! just a few hours after adding the full dose! So now i’m pretty sure the ammonia converting bacteria is established, but i don’t know about the nitrite converting ones. thoughts?
 
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NannaLou

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The cycling process takes a lot longer than one week, usually about 6 or 7 weeks, so I would be patient and follow the instructions that @Essjay gave you.

I don’t fully understand the Ph stuff…but I’d be cautious of adding other stuff while going through the cycle.
 

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