Should my nitrate be higher

Diab2005

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I've just added dose 6 of ammonia in the guide. The last nitrites took 48 hours to be reduced to near 0 and same again for does 5. Today I tested for nitrate and its only on 10? I thought it would bea lot higher? Its quite heavily planted though so maybe its the plants taking the nitrate out? I added water lettuce yesterday and read these like to zap nitrate etc.
 

essjay

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Most plants prefer ammonia to nitrate. This is because if they take in nitrate they have to convert it to ammonia before they can use it. If you have live plants, they will take up some of the ammonia you are adding.
What have your nitrite readings been?
 
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Diab2005

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Nitrite has been going up and down as it should like. I would say roughly 1.5-2ppm after 24 hours of dosage then 0 the day after
 

essjay

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What's the highest your nitrite has been at any time since you started?

I'm wondering if the plants have used most of the ammonia, but some was converted to nitrite and then on to nitrate. If your nitrite reading ever got high, there should be more nitrate than your tests indicate; but if nitrite has never been very high then there won't be much nitrate.

I forgot to ask - what is the nitrate level in your tap water?
 
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Diab2005

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My highest was 12ppm roughly in nitrites so quite high. Everything seems to be going as planned apart from that nitrate reading. Just tested water n its 0 nitrate so there's definitely some in the tank
 
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Diab2005

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I've added an extra 15 drops of ammonia see if that helps. Checked the calc and I should have been adding 80 not 60 so figured 75 should be a safe bet
 
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Diab2005

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24 hours later my ammonia is 0 but nitrite has gone all the way up to 4...looks like im going well past the 6th dose.
 

essjay

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It took 7 weeks for my tank to cycle. The method says the maintenance dose #3 should be between 21 and 27 days, but I only reached dose #2 at about 22 days!
 
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Diab2005

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It took 7 weeks for my tank to cycle. The method says the maintenance dose #3 should be between 21 and 27 days, but I only reached dose #2 at about 22 days!
Wow haha I cant even remember when I started mine now
 
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Diab2005

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Have you any live plant in this tank, if not load it to about 30-50% of the volume of the tank. That will sort your cycling problem out.
Yea id day its already planted fairly substantially, just done another test 0.25 nitrite and 5-10 nitrate. The ammonia is leaving within a day no issues whereas the nitrites are taking 2 days
 

essjay

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The KH could be an issue - what is the tank pH now? All the nitrite made during cycling is acidic and when KH is low it gets used up quickly leaving nothing to stabilise pH which then crashes off the bottom of the tester chart. The bacteria we are trying to grow don't multiply at low pH so the cycle stalls.

Plants take up ammonia and they do so faster than the bacteria. When there are a lot of plants, very few bacteria grow because the plants take up all the ammonia. With a few slow growing plants, they can't remove all the ammonia so some bacteria do grow, just less than a tank with no live plants. I think your tank falls into the second type as I can see mainly java fern and anubias which are slow growers.
Few plants take up nitrite, so bacteria have to deal with that. It may be that you have some ammonia eating bacteria and they and the plants are removing all the ammonia; the ammonia processed by the bacteria is turned into nitrite but the ammonia processed by the plants is not. This would explain why you have less nitrite than usual.
The water lettuce plants you have added remove ammonia; they 'remove' nitrate by stopping it being made. Once the water lettuce begins to grow - the plants get bigger and new ones develop - you'll probably find all the ammonia is removed by the plants. Floating plants are particularly good at taking up ammonia because two of their other requirements - light and CO2 - are plentiful at the water surface.

I think you are now at the waiting stage. Waiting for enough nitrite eating bacteria to grow to remove any that is made, and waiting for the water lettuce to get bigger/start growing new plants.
 
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Diab2005

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My PH had dropped to to around 7. It was 8. Ive added bicarb now to try get the kh up to 4ish n ph up a little. I only added the lettuce 2 days ago bit annoying it might slow the cycle down haha
 
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