Nitrates and ammonia with no nitrites

Biglog

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I’m about 2 weeks into a fish in cycle and have ammonia and nitrates but have been testing every day and haven’t seen any nitrites. I have been using SeaChem Prime and Stability to protect the fish and introduce the bacteria but am not sure what’s going on. The pH also rose to around 7.8 up from my tap water that was testing around 6.8. I turned off the air pump for a day to see if the pH would come down with less O2/more CO2 but nothing happened. Any advice of what’s going on would be helpful as I can’t seem to find anything about why I am getting these readings.
Edit: Water tests with API Master kit is pH 7.8, 2 ppm ammonia, 0 nitrite, 20 ppm nitrate and 80 F on the thermometer
Tap water is pH 6.8, 0 ammonia and nitrite and 5 ppm nitrate
 
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Sgooosh

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i think those conditions are dangerous for a fish in cycle, fish in cycles require a lot of skill and no fluctuations. you should put the fish back for a while and use old filter media to help
 
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Biglog

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I checked in the chart and it said the actual ammonia (NH3) is .02 which is stressful but safe. I’m just confused as to how I am getting nitrates without nitrites
 

PorshaF

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It could be the start bac you're using that is causing your tests to turn out that way. I've seen it happen before when I tested the same day as adding starter compared to before and after. Another problem I've heard of was filter size, if you have the correct sized filter than its not that but I agree that its not only safer for the fish but also easier on you to run a fishless cycle
 

Colin_T

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Test the tap water for ammonia, nitrite and nitrate. If you have nitrates in the tap water, that is where the nitrates came from in the tank.

The filter bacteria that eat ammonia take 2-4 weeks to develop. Then it takes another 2-4 weeks for the bacteria that eat nitrite to develop.

Once the ammonia and nitrite have both gone up and come back down to 0ppm, then monitor the nitrates, because that is when the tank has cycled.

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To help speed the cycling process up, raise the water temperature to 28C, increase aeration/ surface turbulence, and add a liquid bacterial supplement. If you don't have live plants in the tank, then turn the light off until the tank has finished cycling.
 
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Biglog

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I have a couple of air stones and add SeaChem stability every day. The only thing in the tap water is 5 ppm nitrates but I don’t get how they are climbing to 20 in between water changes especially with plants that I thought used nitrates
 

Slaphppy7

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Have you been doing daily WC's to get that ammonia level down?....that much ammonia is toxic to fish.

What size tank, and what fish are in it?
 

Byron

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I have a couple of air stones and add SeaChem stability every day. The only thing in the tap water is 5 ppm nitrates but I don’t get how they are climbing to 20 in between water changes especially with plants that I thought used nitrates

This is due to all the "bacteria" you are adding with the Stability. I put bacteria in quotation marks because it is not the true nitrifying bacteria, but it does according to tests somewhat help them establish a bit faster. Stability does seem to work, somewhat, I used it once in a problem tank. Anyway, this plus the tap water nitrate is the cause of the nitrates.

If you have live plants, and they are showing signs of growth (not dying off), and some are fairly fast growers (surface plants are ideal for this), you should not be adding anything else (other than water conditioner at water changes. You will still see some nitrates due to the source water, but they would be lower than what you report. And BTW, aquarium plants do not use nitrate. They take up ammonia/ammonium as their preferred nitrogen form, and they are so fast at this (if rapid growing) they outcompete the nitrifying bacteria so the ammonia/ammonium is taken up but nitrite is not produced, and thus less nitrate (some heavily planted tanks have zero nitrates for years).

On the pH issue inn post #1...the CO2 dissolved in tap water can cause a false (low) pH reading. Out-gas the CO2 before testing tap water. Do not need to do this for tank water, just tap. That will give you a more accurate reading of the true pH of the tap water. Let a glass of fresh tap water sit 24 hours to outgas, or some will agitate the water very briskly for a few moments.

I don't see the fish species mentioned, but 80F is way too warm for most fish (there are a few exceptions). This is stressing the fish, as temperature drives their metabolism and thy must work much harder just to maintain normal bodily functions. And never turn off air to an aquarium, especially here, that adds more stress as you seem to have noticed. Things like this only stress fish more, weakening them, and that allows other problems to emerge.

Last comment for now, on Prime. This is not the "saviour" many assume. It does not remove ammonia, nitrite or nitrate, it "hides" them for 24-36 hours (maybe) but they remain. There have been controlled studies carried out on Prime, and you might be surprised at the results. A couple links.
5.5.3.2.1. Prime, Safe and Ammonia (aquariumscience.org)
5.5.3.1. Ammonia Detoxifying (aquariumscience.org)
Fresh water is of more benefit in the long run, certainly when live plants are present.
 
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Biglog

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This is due to all the "bacteria" you are adding with the Stability. I put bacteria in quotation marks because it is not the true nitrifying bacteria, but it does according to tests somewhat help them establish a bit faster. Stability does seem to work, somewhat, I used it once in a problem tank. Anyway, this plus the tap water nitrate is the cause of the nitrates.

If you have live plants, and they are showing signs of growth (not dying off), and some are fairly fast growers (surface plants are ideal for this), you should not be adding anything else (other than water conditioner at water changes. You will still see some nitrates due to the source water, but they would be lower than what you report. And BTW, aquarium plants do not use nitrate. They take up ammonia/ammonium as their preferred nitrogen form, and they are so fast at this (if rapid growing) they outcompete the nitrifying bacteria so the ammonia/ammonium is taken up but nitrite is not produced, and thus less nitrate (some heavily planted tanks have zero nitrates for years).

On the pH issue inn post #1...the CO2 dissolved in tap water can cause a false (low) pH reading. Out-gas the CO2 before testing tap water. Do not need to do this for tank water, just tap. That will give you a more accurate reading of the true pH of the tap water. Let a glass of fresh tap water sit 24 hours to outgas, or some will agitate the water very briskly for a few moments.

I don't see the fish species mentioned, but 80F is way too warm for most fish (there are a few exceptions). This is stressing the fish, as temperature drives their metabolism and thy must work much harder just to maintain normal bodily functions. And never turn off air to an aquarium, especially here, that adds more stress as you seem to have noticed. Things like this only stress fish more, weakening them, and that allows other problems to emerge.

Last comment for now, on Prime. This is not the "saviour" many assume. It does not remove ammonia, nitrite or nitrate, it "hides" them for 24-36 hours (maybe) but they remain. There have been controlled studies carried out on Prime, and you might be surprised at the results. A couple links.
5.5.3.2.1. Prime, Safe and Ammonia (aquariumscience.org)
5.5.3.1. Ammonia Detoxifying (aquariumscience.org)
Fresh water is of more benefit in the long run, certainly when live plants are present.
I have a hornwort “bush”, about 6 pieces of Java fern, and 4 of the plants that kind of look like bamboo stalks with flowers on the top. There are tertras, corys, roseline sharks, shrimp, angelfish, and a dwarf neon gourami in there with them. Just left some tap water out to de-gas so will test that tomorrow.
 

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