What is going on?

metropolis93fan

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Twice now I have gone 2-3 days while cycling my 10 gallon. When I left it the ammonia was at 1 ppm and nitrite .5 ppm. When I came back nitrite was still .5 ppm but ammonia was 0. What do I do to get the nitrite down too? I'm awaiting a package of duckweek which I had hoped would come while I was here today. I won't be able to get back again until Monday (MAYBE Sunday afternoon). I'm helping my parents 30 miles away prepare for and have Fri-Sun a massive garage/moving sale while I'm struggling with almost-daily migraines and bladder pain. Coming back after a full day of selling and moving probably won't be an option. I will if I can, of course.
Other than the floaters (I have a baby crypto but it can't do much of course) what can I do get the nitrite down? Appreciate your help as always.
 

Rocky998

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You are waiting on the nitrAtes.
They take a bit but once they build everything will be A ok. Just do a large water change once its all cycled to bring the high nitrAtes down
 

ChasingFish

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The process you're describing is the natural flow of cycling. First ammonia is high, then ammonia starts dropping and nitrites climb, and then finally nitrates start climbing and when that happens your nitrites and ammonia should still be falling or at zero. Do you have anything (alive) in the tank? I wouldn't worry about being gone if you don't, but if you do have fish (even some plants) they will suffer/die with high ammonia/nitrites.
 

ChasingFish

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The process you're describing is the natural flow of cycling. First ammonia is high, then ammonia starts dropping and nitrites climb, and then finally nitrates start climbing and when that happens your nitrites and ammonia should still be falling or at zero. Do you have anything (alive) in the tank? I wouldn't worry about being gone if you don't, but if you do have fish (even some plants) they will suffer/die with high ammonia/nitrites.
Oh sorry, just reread and saw you have some plants? Well, time (for bacteria to do their thing) and water changes will lower nitrites. Plants use the nitrates for food, but I don't think they lower nitrites.
 

Rocky998

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Oh sorry, just reread and saw you have some plants? Well, time (for bacteria to do their thing) and water changes will lower nitrites. Plants use the nitrates for food, but I don't think they lower nitrites.
Plants use ammonia which in affect brings down nitrites and nitrAtes produced
 
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metropolis93fan

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@ChasingFish @Rocky998 Thanks guys. How could I forget that last step to the cycle? Okay this IS only my 2nd cycle ever but still I was a biology major emphasis on environmental studies with one class on aquatic ecology... but hey that class was 08 and I haven't needed nitrogen cycle stuff for anything until these two tanks. Well I had other tanks but didn't cycle them. Never again!

Out of curiosity on a different topic (kinda) is 20 ppm nitraAtes too high? Pet store clerk who used to own his own aquarium store was bragging about that. Seemed kinda high to me.
 

Rocky998

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@ChasingFish @Rocky998 Thanks guys. How could I forget that last step to the cycle? Okay this IS only my 2nd cycle ever but still I was a biology major emphasis on environmental studies with one class on aquatic ecology... but hey that class was 08 and I haven't needed nitrogen cycle stuff for anything until these two tanks. Well I had other tanks but didn't cycle them. Never again!

Out of curiosity on a different topic (kinda) is 20 ppm nitraAtes too high? Pet store clerk who used to own his own aquarium store was bragging about that. Seemed kinda high to me.
It's fine we all forget things here and there...

20ppm is high and really shouldn't be at that level IF FISH WERE IN THE TANK. For my cycle it was past the top level on the color chart. And your cycle may be the same. You have plants which is really helping to keep that reading low.
I
 

ChasingFish

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I dont worry about nitrAtes until they are over 40. With my heavy planted tanks, they never really seem to go over that because my plant babies are using the nitrAtes for food.
 

ChasingFish

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For example, here's a 10 gal tank I have with female guppies, fry, and Java moss/subwassertang in it. NitrAtes are between 20-40, and I am nor worried about it because it's stable. I'm testing every couple days because of the feeding load of baby brine shrimp, plus trying to feed the females enough to keep them from eating fry.
 

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Essjay

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It used to be thought that nitrate wasn't very dangerous and levels were fine up to the hundreds. We now know that levels over 20 ppm have long term effects. Those of us who have little nitrate in our tap water should have no problem keeping nitrate well below 20 ppm though those with tap nitrate over 20 ppm can struggle.
 

ChasingFish

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Well it seems that there is conflicting info regarding this, but I can tell you that I have several fish tanks with fish not dying or seeming to be stressed or anything at all, with nitrates above zero and below 40. So based on my experience, I am not worried about these levels of nitrate.
 

Rocky998

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Well it seems that there is conflicting info regarding this, but I can tell you that I have several fish tanks with fish not dying or seeming to be stressed or anything at all, with nitrates above zero and below 40. So based on my experience, I am not worried about these levels of nitrate.
It's really not healthy...
 

Essjay

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The effects of nitrate are long term, meaning the fish may look healthy but they won't live as long as they should. For example there is now evidence that it leads to hole in the head in cichlids.

There is scientific evidence that nitrates do affect all fish. The fish species, the level of nitrate, and the exposure time are factors but the bottom line is nitrate is dangerous. Ammonia and nitrite harm rapidly, but nitrate also harms but more slowly. The issue here is that it weakens the fish so they become more susceptible to whatever. It is proven that nitrate causes hole in the head in cichlids, which are especially susceptible to nitrate. But it affects all fish in some manner.
 

Byron

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Well it seems that there is conflicting info regarding this, but I can tell you that I have several fish tanks with fish not dying or seeming to be stressed or anything at all, with nitrates above zero and below 40. So based on my experience, I am not worried about these levels of nitrate.

You should be worried, if you care about the fish, and I trust you do. I went into a conversation with Dr. Neale Monks about nitrate. There are few in this hobby who have the level of knowledge that Neale has, and I highly value him as an online friend who has taught me a great deal, and I have been keeping fish for over 30 years. The following is from our conversations concerning nitrate.

The effects of nitrate on aquarium fish has not been greatly studied, and most scientific studies relate to commercial food fish raised in outdoor ponds. But these studies have shown that nitrate does impact fish growth, and fry especially are susceptible. You might argue that this means mature aquarium fish are OK, but this would be false reasoning. If "x" affects fish at any stage, then "x" is clearly a serious health issue.

With regard to aquarium fish, there is evidence that nitrate does weaken the fish, so in time the fish are more susceptible to various issues like disease, which they should and normally would be able to fight off were it not for the weakening from the nitrate. Ammonia, nitrite and nitrate are all toxic to fish. The levels can vary, and the effect on the fish may vary (ammonia and nitrite are rapid acting) but all are toxic. Cichlid sources now list nitrate as a prime cause of diseases, and this group of fish has been found to be especially sensitive to nitrate.

Natural habitat waters of all of our fish have nitrates so low it would probably be impossible to measure them with our kits. In the fish, nitrate will act much like nitrite, making it more difficult for the blood to carry oxygen. Nitrate has been directly linked to issues like bloat (especially in cichlids, Malawi Bloat), hexamita (hole in the head), and shimmies (mollies especially). There are no actual visible signs of nitrate's detriment, but the effect over time weakens the fish leading to disease/death which is not directly linkable to nitrate, but was due to the long-term effects resulting from the high nitrate. And we are talking anything at or over 20 ppm.
 

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