No nitrates are present anymore.

Shepvault111

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Hi all. I've being doing a fishless cycle with my 19L tank. The cycle has been doing really well and recently I finally started having Nitrites and Nitrates showing up. I kept at it for a while as the Ammonia wasn't going down at all.y Nitrates ammonia and Nitrites were well over what the test could read, so i eventually did a water change of 50% to bring it down to readable levels.

I woke up one day to 0 of everything. I wasn't sure if that meant my tank was cycled or not so I've been adding a little bit of ammonia to see how long it takes for it to be converted into Nitrates but I'm afraid I may have messed up here because now when I add Ammonia, very quickly, Nitrites are present on the test. About an hour later, all Nitrites are gone, but no nitrates are present in the test kit either.

Does this mean I've messed up somewhere or that the tank has cycled?
It's been around 4 year since I've had a tank, so I'm getting back into the swing of things and a little lost. Help would be very appreciated. Thank you!
 

Essjay

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I think what I would do is to empty all the water (easy enough with 19 litres ;)) then refill and add enough ammonia to get maybe 2 ppm. Then test in 24 hours. If both ammonia and nitrite are zero, the tank is cycled. If one or both are not zero, it's not cycled. If it's not cycled, report back with the readings. Ignore nitrate for now.

Since there are few fish suitable for 19 litres and they are either single fish or a shoal of very tiny fish, 2 ppm with grow more than enough bacteria.
 
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Shepvault111

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I think what I would do is to empty all the water (easy enough with 19 litres ;)) then refill and add enough ammonia to get maybe 2 ppm. Then test in 24 hours. If both ammonia and nitrite are zero, the tank is cycled. If one or both are not zero, it's not cycled. If it's not cycled, report back with the readings. Ignore nitrate for now.

Since there are few fish suitable for 19 litres and they are either single fish or a shoal of very tiny fish, 2 ppm with grow more than enough bacteria.
So I tested the water before I did a change and the Ammonia and Nitrate levels were quite high. Way more than the test kit could read. After doing as close to 100% water change as I could manage the levels are as follows
Ammonia 0.50 ppm
Nitrite 0 ppm
Nitrate 5 ppm.
I've just added the Ammonia to 2ppm so I will monitor to see the results.

I'm also concerned about my ph levels. Using the testing kit, ive tested both pH and High range pH, both don't seem to match any of the colors, instead they just look yellow but it'd not the yellow that the test kit has for 6.0 pH, this yellow is very different. I'm not sure what that is indicating and I just want to make sure my pH is suitable before I add the Betta fish.
 

Essjay

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Can you post a photo of both pH test tubes next to the colour charts, please.
 
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Shepvault111

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So I retested just to be sure and these were the results. Seems like the pH test didn't work the first time. But the High Range pH stayed the same colour.

I am visually impaired so I may be reading it wrong as it can be quite difficult for me to distinguish between the colour shades.

Image 1: pH test
Seems to be 6.6?
20210609_152347.jpg

Image 2: High range pH test
20210609_152422.jpg
 

Essjay

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You can ignore the high range test as your pH does indeed seem to be 6.6. This is OK for bettas.

The pH often does weird things during cycling; you could try leaving a container of tap water to stand and test it every day - you may find it chnages from freshly run tap water, and after it's stood for a day or two you'll get an idea of what the pH will be when the tank has finished cycling.
 
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Shepvault111

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You can ignore the high range test as your pH does indeed seem to be 6.6. This is OK for bettas.

The pH often does weird things during cycling; you could try leaving a container of tap water to stand and test it every day - you may find it chnages from freshly run tap water, and after it's stood for a day or two you'll get an idea of what the pH will be when the tank has finished cycling.
Okay phew. Thank you! I'm glad that it's suitable at least.
 
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Shepvault111

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I think what I would do is to empty all the water (easy enough with 19 litres ;)) then refill and add enough ammonia to get maybe 2 ppm. Then test in 24 hours. If both ammonia and nitrite are zero, the tank is cycled. If one or both are not zero, it's not cycled. If it's not cycled, report back with the readings. Ignore nitrate for now.

Since there are few fish suitable for 19 litres and they are either single fish or a shoal of very tiny fish, 2 ppm with grow more than enough bacteria.


Here are the results. Although Ammonia is down significantly, it is not gone completely.
Image 1: Ammonia reading


20210610_205213.jpg

Image 2: Nitrate reading
20210610_205241.jpg
 

Essjay

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What is the nitrite reading? That and nitrite are the important ones during cycling.

Nitrate can be ignored for now, particularly if there is nitrite in the water as the nitrate tester will pick that up as well as nitrate.
 
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Shepvault111

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What is the nitrite reading? That and nitrite are the important ones during cycling.

Nitrate can be ignored for now, particularly if there is nitrite in the water as the nitrate tester will pick that up as well as nitrate.
The Nitrite reading is 0.
20210611_190551.jpg
 

Essjay

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You mentioned in post #3 two days ago that you'd done a 100% water change then added 2 ppm ammonia. Yesterday the ammonia level had dropped substantially and today there is no nitrite.
To be 100% certain, you could try adding another 2 ppm ammonia and test both ammonia and nitrite 24 hours after - if they are then both zero, the tank is cycled.

I'm still curious as to why nitrate is so high, though. 2 ppm ammonia should be converted to 5.4 ppm nitrite then on to 7.2 ppm nitrate.
 

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You mentioned in post #3 two days ago that you'd done a 100% water change then added 2 ppm ammonia. Yesterday the ammonia level had dropped substantially and today there is no nitrite.
To be 100% certain, you could try adding another 2 ppm ammonia and test both ammonia and nitrite 24 hours after - if they are then both zero, the tank is cycled.

I'm still curious as to why nitrate is so high, though. 2 ppm ammonia should be converted to 5.4 ppm nitrite then on to 7.2 ppm nitrate.
I would test tap water for nitrates.
In a lot of places tap water comes with very high nitrates as it's not considered harmful to humans. Thus has no limit.
It happens with water sources with high ammonia levels that are treated in quite similar way to aquarium. (recycled water, etc)
 

Essjay

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And in agricultural areas where a lot of nitrate containing fertiliser gets washed into rivers/reservoirs.

In the UK, the maximum nitrate level permitted in drinking water is 50 ppm. In the USA it's around 45 ppm.
 
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Shepvault111

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I would test tap water for nitrates.
In a lot of places tap water comes with very high nitrates as it's not considered harmful to humans. Thus has no limit.
It happens with water sources with high ammonia levels that are treated in quite similar way to aquarium. (recycled water, etc)
I tested my tap water and although it doesn't look like Nitrites are present, it is testing positive for Ammonia and I think Nitrates as well. I've put the results below.
Image 1: Ammonia
20210612_134216.jpg

Image 2: Nitrites
20210611_190551.jpg

Image 3: Nitrates
20210612_134333.jpg
 

Essjay

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Tap water will show a reading for ammonia if your water provider uses chloramine to disinfect it. Chloramine is an ammonia and a chlorine joined together and the ammonia half shows up in the test.

Yes you do have some nitrate but not a lot. The UK allows up to 50 ppm in drinking water and in some places it is almost that high.
 

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