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Nitrite problems

scotty027

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Hello everyone, i need some advice on fishless cycling.I'll give information about my tank before stating the problem.
46 gallon
running a penguin 150 biowheel and a fluval c4 hob filter
planted
tap water readings 0/0/0
ammonia-old country (5 percent)
Lots of seeding material

So i'm in the process of doing my first fishless cycle, everything was going great.
Day 1- put ammonia up to 4 ppm
Day 3- Ammonia .25 ppm,nitrite 2 ppm, nitrate 0 ppm. topped ammonia back up to 3 ppm
Day 5- Ammonia 0 ppm, nitrite off the charts unreadable, nitrates 80 ppm.

This is where i started having problems. In my research most places say to do a partial water change at this point cause to high of nitrites can kill of bacteria. So i did a 50 percent change. It brought nitrates down to 40 but nitrites were still unreadable, so i did another 50 percent change. No change in readings. Did another 50 percent change. No change in readings. Finnally got frustrated and did about a 90 percent change. Finally brought my readings down to ammonia-0 ppm,nitrite, .25 ppm, nitrate 10 ppm.

So i dosed ammonia back up to 2 ppm, tested 12 hours later, ammonia 0, nitrites off the charts unreadable,nitrates 40 ppm.
What the heck is going on? why are my Nitrites so out of control?
 
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scotty027

scotty027

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It takes about a month and a half
But shouldn't you be able to control them with partial water changes? And the nitrates i have should help a little to. Everything ive read is saying leaving nitrites that high will stall the cycle
 

Toney

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You would think so but it doesn't work very good.
 

flchamp89

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Using a bb product makes ammonia cycle much easier. Day two my guess is you dropped to low. Keep 2 to 3 ppm going.

Are you using api master kit?

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G890A using Tapatalk
 

jonnyf84

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So you seeded and dosed ammonia, I would do one or the other next time. Seeding is best.
Patience is key, let it run it's course, your only 5 days in after all, it could take many weeks. Keep a eye on PH, much under 6 and the cycle will stall.
Chill :)
 

Gruntle

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Where to start?

Firstly, read the Cycling Your Tank thread (under how to tips in the top ribbon) a few times. It takes a while for the nitrite bacteria to grow a big enough colony to cycle the nitrite created by the ammonia bacteria. It seems like you may already have a healthy ammonia bac colony, but nitrite bacs take considerably longer (roughly speaking, an ammonia colony doubles in size about every 8 hours, a nitrite colony about every 24). So your ammonia bacs are creating ever more nitrite, while your nitrite colony is in its infancy.

The cycling thread states:

If at any time after the first ammonia addition (Dose #1) you test and ammonia is under .75 ppm and nitrite is clearly over 2 ppm, it is time to add more ammonia (Dose #2). Add the same full amount as you did the first time. Now, begin to test the ammonia and nitrite levels every other day. (You should be seeing nitrate soon if you have the kit.)

You have done this bit. Now you are up to this bit:

After the second ammonia addition (Dose #2), while waiting for nitrite to rise, peak and drop, the bacteria will need a maintenance feeding (Dose #3). Give the bacteria a “snack” by adding 1/3 of the full dose when you get two consecutive every other day ammonia test readings of 0 ppm,. This “snack” (Dose #3) should be needed somewhere between days 21 and 27 of the cycle. Only a single snack dose is needed.

So assuming today is Day 0, you will need to test 48 hours from your last ammonia dose, and then again 48 hours after that (so we're probably talking 4 days from now, or a little less). If at that point your ammonia is reading 0, add 1ppm ammonia.

You don't need to do any water changes at this point until the cycle is complete. Forget nitrate readings, if you have no fish they are not important until your cycle is complete (0 ammonia, 0 nitrite after 24 hours).

Again roughly speaking, 1ppm ammonia converts to 2.5ppm nitrite. So 3ppm ammonia converts to 7.5ppm nitrite. Once you get beyond 16ppm nitrite (which is around 2 doses at 3ppm plus the snack dose, assuming there are some nitrite bacs in the tank that will reduce the concentration while your cycle continues),you are in danger of a stalled cycle, so we don't want to keep adding ammonia before the nitrite colony is big enough to handle the amount in the tank.

Changing the water has reduced your nitrite concentration, so I think it's safe to assume you shouldn't stall your cycle.

Now you need to be patient, and test the water every 48 hours.

After the maintenance feeding (snack Dose #3), whenever you test and ammonia is .25 ppm or lower and nitrite is clearly under 1 ppm, it is time to add another full ammonia dose (Dose #4) and then test in 24 hours.

Please keep posting and let us know what's happening (post the results when you've done your tests). Seeding your tank and doing a water change has altered the "classic" cycling timeframe, so we'll help you monitor your progress.
 
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scotty027

scotty027

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Where to start?

Firstly, read the Cycling Your Tank thread (under how to tips in the top ribbon) a few times. It takes a while for the nitrite bacteria to grow a big enough colony to cycle the nitrite created by the ammonia bacteria. It seems like you may already have a healthy ammonia bac colony, but nitrite bacs take considerably longer (roughly speaking, an ammonia colony doubles in size about every 8 hours, a nitrite colony about every 24). So your ammonia bacs are creating ever more nitrite, while your nitrite colony is in its infancy.

The cycling thread states:

If at any time after the first ammonia addition (Dose #1) you test and ammonia is under .75 ppm and nitrite is clearly over 2 ppm, it is time to add more ammonia (Dose #2). Add the same full amount as you did the first time. Now, begin to test the ammonia and nitrite levels every other day. (You should be seeing nitrate soon if you have the kit.)

You have done this bit. Now you are up to this bit:

After the second ammonia addition (Dose #2), while waiting for nitrite to rise, peak and drop, the bacteria will need a maintenance feeding (Dose #3). Give the bacteria a “snack” by adding 1/3 of the full dose when you get two consecutive every other day ammonia test readings of 0 ppm,. This “snack” (Dose #3) should be needed somewhere between days 21 and 27 of the cycle. Only a single snack dose is needed.

So assuming today is Day 0, you will need to test 48 hours from your last ammonia dose, and then again 48 hours after that (so we're probably talking 4 days from now, or a little less). If at that point your ammonia is reading 0, add 1ppm ammonia.

You don't need to do any water changes at this point until the cycle is complete. Forget nitrate readings, if you have no fish they are not important until your cycle is complete (0 ammonia, 0 nitrite after 24 hours).

Again roughly speaking, 1ppm ammonia converts to 2.5ppm nitrite. So 3ppm ammonia converts to 7.5ppm nitrite. Once you get beyond 16ppm nitrite (which is around 2 doses at 3ppm plus the snack dose, assuming there are some nitrite bacs in the tank that will reduce the concentration while your cycle continues),you are in danger of a stalled cycle, so we don't want to keep adding ammonia before the nitrite colony is big enough to handle the amount in the tank.

Changing the water has reduced your nitrite concentration, so I think it's safe to assume you shouldn't stall your cycle.

Now you need to be patient, and test the water every 48 hours.

After the maintenance feeding (snack Dose #3), whenever you test and ammonia is .25 ppm or lower and nitrite is clearly under 1 ppm, it is time to add another full ammonia dose (Dose #4) and then test in 24 hours.

Please keep posting and let us know what's happening (post the results when you've done your tests). Seeding your tank and doing a water change has altered the "classic" cycling timeframe, so we'll help you monitor your progress.
I mostly followed that, a little confusing.lol because sometimes it seems like its saying not to add ammonia anymore (it takes less than 12 hours for 3-4 ppm ammonia to completely disapear) and sometimes it seems like its saying to add smaller doses,
So as of right this moment, i'm 0 ppm ammonia, unreadable nitrites(i even tried diluting half and half clean water to try to get a reading) and 80 ppm nitrates. Next step should be wait? Or small dose of ammonia to snack feed the bac? or?
 
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scotty027

scotty027

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Using a bb product makes ammonia cycle much easier. Day two my guess is you dropped to low. Keep 2 to 3 ppm going.

Are you using api master kit?

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G890A using Tapatalk
yes i am. stupid leaky thing lol
 

Gruntle

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Yes, you should wait a few days. Adding more ammonia will just add more nitrite, to the point where your cycle will stall. You need to give your nitrite colony some time to get established. From experience, you'll think nothing is happening, but suddenly your nitrite is gone.

I think if I read your post correctly, you've added 9ppm of ammonia in total. This will convert to around 22.5ppm of nitrite. I am not sure of the biology of the ammonia bacs, but it appears they are still creating nitrite. Fortunately you did a water change and have only added 2ppm since (is this correct?) so your nitrites should be well below 10ppm, which is still higher than the maximum 5ppm that the API test will show.

Let's assume you have enough nitrite bacteria to convert 0.25ppm to nitrate. Tomorrow there will be enough to convert 0.5ppm nitrite. The day after, 1ppm. and so on. Meanwhile your ammonia bacs have grown in size by a factor of 128, so they can process 128 times the amount of ammonia into nitrite. Which is why your nitrites spike initially.

Be patient. It will happen, and at the moment you're not hurting fish.

As for the guide itself, it can be shortened a bit.
Add 3ppm ammonia (the old methods would add up to 5ppm but that puts your cycle at risk of stalling).
Wait. Test every three days.
Once your ammonia is below 0.75ppm AND nitrite is above 2ppm, add 3ppm ammonia
Wait. Test every 2 days
When you get 2 consecutive readings of 0ppm ammonia (4 days total) add 1ppm ammonia
Wait. Test every 2 days
When you get a reading of 0.25ppm ammonia (or lower) AND a nitrite reading of less than 1ppm, add 3ppm ammonia
Test every day. Repeat the previous step (0.25ppm ammonia AND less than 1ppm nitrite = add another 3ppm ammonia).
When you get a 0 and 0 reading, you're cycled. It's probably wise to add another 3ppm ammonia and test after 24 hours at this point to make sure you're complete.
Do as big a water change as possible (empty the tank right down to the substrate), add fresh, treated water, get the water up to the right temperature, and add fish.
Enjoy a trouble-free fish keeping experience from then on.
 
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