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Too much ammonia??

Ami-Jane

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Currently in the process of cycling my new tank. Got ammonia readings of around 3/4ppm and last night took a reading of nitrite which is at it's current highest reading of 4.

Every time the ammonia drops below 3ppm I have been topping up the ammonia to feed the bacteria. I'm now wondering if this is correct and should only be adding the ammonia when the reading reaches 0??

Also to double check, I don't do any water changes until both ammonia and nitrite are at 0 for 24/48 hours?

Thanks :)
 

essjay

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No, don't top up the ammonia every time it drops to zero. That will make so much nitrite it will stall the cycle. Once the nitrite level goes past the highest level on the chart it will still show that colour regardless of how high it actually is.

This method was written so that of followed to the letter, nitrite can never get get high enough to stall the cycle. You will see that with this method, ammonia is not added until certain targets have been reached.


I would do a water change, big enough to get the nitrite reading somewhere on the chart. If the tank is small enough, I would empty all the water and refill. If it's a big tank, maybe experiment by mixing tank and tap water to work out how much you need to change.
Then follow the method in the link. The first part will go very quickly as you have already grown a lot of bacteria.
 
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Ami-Jane

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Thanks. It was reading that article that prompted my post! The Nitrite chart goes up to 8 so will see tonight if it has risen from 4 (the post above was meaning this is my highest reading of nitrite so far). If has risen more will then do the water change.

Will now leave the ammonia alone and keep testing!
 
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Ami-Jane

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Home and re-tested ammonia reading 3 and nitrite has gone up to 8.

My delivery of Dr Tim’s once and only has arrived today which says it reduces ammonia and nitrite naturally and builds the beneficial bacteria. Is it worth adding this to the tank or best do the water change then add it?

Now worried I’ve stalled the cycle and back to square one.

Tank is 150l
 

essjay

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I agree. If the nitrite reading is 8 it could be 8 or anything above that. Stall point is only around 15 to 16 ppm nitrite. A water change will get the nitrite down to something on the scale, then only add ammonia once the targets are reached. The Dr Tim's will speed things up.
 
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Ami-Jane

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Thanks guys! Taken out and replaced about 25%

Will have another test before I go to bed and when I get up tomorrow morning.

Absolutely gutted as thought I was doing the right thing :( really hoping not stalled the cycle.

Will add the Dr Tim’s tomorrow

Keep fingers crossed for me please
 

essjay

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Reducing nitrite below 15 to 16 will un-stall the cycle. Above that level, the bacteria don't multiply; below that level they do multiply. That's all we mean by stalling.
 
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Ami-Jane

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Just tested again and ammonia has dropped to 1.5 but nitrite is still poxy high. Hard to tell in my kitchen lights but still looks at 8.

Will check again in the daylight tomorrow and will do another water change :(
 
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Ami-Jane

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Another day and not good news :( changed about 70% of the water and done a retest. ammonia is now reading 0 but nitrite is still at 8 and nitrate is at 80 ph is reading 7.

Can’t believe this has gone so wrong. :(
 

essjay

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It is possible that the tank nitrite was so high that the water changes still haven't diluted it enough to get it somewhere on the chart.

Try diluting the tank water with tap water - fill the test tube about half way up with tank water, then fill to the line with tap water. If you have a graduated pipette or syringe it will be more accurate. If the half and half mix still shows 8 or above, try a in 4 dilution (1 part tank to 3 parts tap) and test that. If that is still too high, try a 1 in 10 dilution (1 part tank and 9 parts tap). These won't give very accurate results but if you can manage to find a dilution which shows somewhere less than the max on the chart, then multiply up you'll have a very rough estimate of the actual tank nitrite. That will tell you how much water you need to change to get nitrite on the chart - if nitrite was very high, it might take a total water change.
 

essjay

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I hadn't realised there were plants in the tank. In this case you need to be careful about adding ammonia as it can kill plants. There are only a few plants so they are insufficient for a 'silent' cycle. Plants use ammonia as fertliser and they don't turn it into nitrite or nitrite. When there is a good amount of live plants, they can take up all the ammonia made by a sensibly stocked tank, but I don't think you have enough plants for that.


The plant in the back left corner - is it java fern, and is it planted in the substrate? If it's yes to both,, you need to un-plant it as the rhizome (ther thick root like thing the leaves grow out of) will rot if planted. It needs to be attached to decor, and that piece of wood looks ideal :)
 
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Ami-Jane

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Thought would post a photo of the tank ;)

So current readings after a bit of experimenting with the tank and tap water

Ammonia 0 Nitrite between 2 and 4 Nitrate still high at 80 which explains my brown plants

Now I absolutely do not want to mess this up again!!!

As Ammonia is reading 0 am I right saying I need to snack at 2 or 3ppm?should I now add the Dr Tim’s stuff?

Will nitrates be ok that high for now?
 
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