Confusion on Nitrate and Nitrite in saltwater tank.

https://www.triton.de/en/

thinktank

Community Member
View Badges
Joined
Mar 14, 2017
Messages
63
Reaction score
62
So, I migrated over to saltwater from freshwater and am currently waiting for my 100 gallon tank to finish cycling.

I cycled using 5 dead shrimp I bought from a supermarket. After about 5 days of them rotting in my tank my Ammonia finally started to show up and when it hit 8ppm on around day 7 I removed the shrimp. Ammonia stayed at 8 for about 5 more days. Nitrites finally showed up, skyrocketed to 5+ppm (very, very deep purple, like...off the charts), and then after about 12 days into the cycle, Nitrates showed up. They hit 20ppm and have dropped back down to around 5-10ppm.

Just yesterday (day 14) my Ammonia finally went back to zero. However, my Nitrite is still 5+ppm (deep purple) and my Nitrates are around 5-10ppm still.

My question is this:

Is it safe to put fish in with Nitrite and Nitrate still present? I've read a lot of conflicting opinions on this, but most of the science based info I have come across indicates that Trites and Trates are neglible to saltwater tanks.

Apparently Trites are as high as 100ppm in ocean reefs and Trates merely lead to algae blooms, which can be taken care of with some Chaeto, from what I understand.

Any input on this?

Here's just one article (good, in my opinion) that outlines what I've said here:
http://reefkeeping.com/issues/2004-05/rhf/

And some more:

Nitrite-
http://reefkeeping.com/issues/2005-06/rhf/index.php

Nitrate-
http://www.advancedaquarist.com/2003/8/chemistry

I'd really like to add some Chaeto, a shrimp or two, and a couple of fish in the next week.

Thanks!
 

jeff williams

Well-Known Member
View Badges
Joined
Nov 21, 2016
Messages
605
Reaction score
326
So, I migrated over to saltwater from freshwater and am currently waiting for my 100 gallon tank to finish cycling.

I cycled using 5 dead shrimp I bought from a supermarket. After about 5 days of them rotting in my tank my Ammonia finally started to show up and when it hit 8ppm on around day 7 I removed the shrimp. Ammonia stayed at 8 for about 5 more days. Nitrites finally showed up, skyrocketed to 5+ppm (very, very deep purple, like...off the charts), and then after about 12 days into the cycle, Nitrates showed up. They hit 20ppm and have dropped back down to around 5-10ppm.

Just yesterday (day 14) my Ammonia finally went back to zero. However, my Nitrite is still 5+ppm (deep purple) and my Nitrates are around 5-10ppm still.

My question is this:

Is it safe to put fish in with Nitrite and Nitrate still present? I've read a lot of conflicting opinions on this, but most of the science based info I have come across indicates that Trites and Trates are neglible to saltwater tanks.

Apparently Trites are as high as 100ppm in ocean reefs and Trates merely lead to algae blooms, which can be taken care of with some Chaeto, from what I understand.

Any input on this?

Here's just one article (good, in my opinion) that outlines what I've said here:
http://reefkeeping.com/issues/2004-05/rhf/

And some more:

Nitrite-
http://reefkeeping.com/issues/2005-06/rhf/index.php

Nitrate-
http://www.advancedaquarist.com/2003/8/chemistry

I'd really like to add some Chaeto, a shrimp or two, and a couple of fish in the next week.

Thanks!
Here's my opinion it's not ok to add fish yet your cycle has probably stalled due to nitrites being over 5 ppm and ammonia at 8 ppm is toxic to the bacteria also. This is the problem with shrimp you don't have much control over the amount of ammonia they add to the tank. I personally would never consider a tank cycled until you can add at least 1 ppm of ammonia and in 24 hrs the bacteria has broke down the ammonia to 0 and the nitrite to 0 then the tank is properly cycled. I don't believe adding an ammonia source once and then waiting for the ammonia to breakdown to nitrite and then to nitrate is sufficient. I cycle like this. Add nitrifying bacteria and ammonia to 1 ppm measure ammonia until you get a reduction then start measuring nitrite when ammonia hits 0 and nitrites are around .25 redose ammonia at 1 ppm then start measuring again keep repeating this process until you can dose 1 ppm of ammonia and in 24 hrs your ammonia and nitrites are 0 then measure nitrate it will be off the chart high do a 50% water change give it a week and do another WC. the reason I only do a 50% WC is because i don't want to do to much at once some people say a 100% water change it all depends upon how much nitrate your trying to reduce.
 

Best Fish-Jake

Valuable Member
View Badges
Joined
Mar 9, 2017
Messages
1,103
Reaction score
755
Location
Wisconsin
Wait untill your ammonia and nitrites are both reading 0, then do about a 20% WC. After that, add about 1/3 of your cleanup crew (about 30 snails/ hermits) and no more than 2 small and hardy fish (pair of clowns or ~2 chromis). Wait at least 2 weeks before adding anything else and make sure you have 0 ammonia and 0 nitrite. Do another ~20% WC and add a couple more fish.
 

cnseekatz

Well-Known Member
View Badges
Joined
Dec 15, 2014
Messages
538
Reaction score
670
Location
Newport Beach, CA
Do not add any livestock if you still have measurable nitrites. Be patient, and wait until ammonia and nitrites disappear entirely. Wait until green algae starts growing in your tank. At this point, you can add some cleaners (snails, hermits, etc.). When the green algae is gone, SLOWLY add your livestock.
 
OP
thinktank

thinktank

Community Member
View Badges
Joined
Mar 14, 2017
Messages
63
Reaction score
62
Thanks to both of you. It appears my cycle has indeed stalled, because 24 hours later and I'm still stuck at 5ppm Nitrite and 10ppm Nitrate. :\

I'll grab a bottle of pure ammonia and dose it a bit at a time to see how the cycle handles fresh ammonia.

Should I wait for the Nitrite and Nitrate to die back down? I don't want to stall it further...
 
OP
thinktank

thinktank

Community Member
View Badges
Joined
Mar 14, 2017
Messages
63
Reaction score
62
Do not add any livestock if you still have measurable nitrites. Be patient, and wait until ammonia and nitrites disappear entirely. Wait until green algae starts growing in your tank. At this point, you can add some cleaners (snails, hermits, etc.). When the green algae is gone, SLOWLY add your livestock.

Wrote my last reply the same time as you I think. That makes sense to wait for the algae to grow and add cleaners first.

Thanks!
 

Best Fish-Jake

Valuable Member
View Badges
Joined
Mar 9, 2017
Messages
1,103
Reaction score
755
Location
Wisconsin
Thanks to both of you. It appears my cycle has indeed stalled, because 24 hours later and I'm still stuck at 5ppm Nitrite and 10ppm Nitrate. :\

I'll grab a bottle of pure ammonia and dose it a bit at a time to see how the cycle handles fresh ammonia.

Should I wait for the Nitrite and Nitrate to die back down? I don't want to stall it further...

Nitrate will not die down, it is the final stage in the nitrogen cycle and will only be removed by water changes, skimming, or if it is converted into algae (but it will still be in your tank as algae) I would get your ammonia reading ~.3 then make sure it's able to convert that, and any nitrite into nitrate
 

jeff williams

Well-Known Member
View Badges
Joined
Nov 21, 2016
Messages
605
Reaction score
326
Thanks to both of you. It appears my cycle has indeed stalled, because 24 hours later and I'm still stuck at 5ppm Nitrite and 10ppm Nitrate. :\

I'll grab a bottle of pure ammonia and dose it a bit at a time to see how the cycle handles fresh ammonia.

Should I wait for the Nitrite and Nitrate to die back down? I don't want to stall it further...
Do not add more ammonia it will compound your problem you have to get your nitrite down to unstall the cycle do a dilution test mix say 1/8-1/4 cup of tank water to an equal amount of Ro water then measure out your test sample 5ml into your test vial and retest nitrite see if you get a color reduction that matches your test card colors if you do x's that result by two and that's your nitrite if the test sample is still off the chart reading 5ppm you can do another dilution test by adding another 1/8-1/4 cup Ro water to the sample you already diluted and retest and x's that reading by 3. My suggestion is do this test find out exactly were your nitrite is and then do a water change to get the nitrite below 5 ppm. If nitrite is above 5 ppm your cycle will stall and it will eventually get going again but it can take a while if you do what I said the cycle will start up again. As you can see 2-3 people replied to your post and everyone has there own opinion of what to do but I'm telling you do not add more ammonia this will compound your problem nitrite and ammonia should NEVER go above 5 ppm or your cycle will stall. One thing I want to add is 8 ppm of ammonia is going to = 3x that in nitrite depending on the test kit you have (api) is common and it is one that measures this way if your nitrate is not climbing your nitrite bacteria are stalled. Do the dilution test and a water change in the amount needed to get nitrite below 5 ppm
 
OP
thinktank

thinktank

Community Member
View Badges
Joined
Mar 14, 2017
Messages
63
Reaction score
62
Do not add more ammonia it will compound your problem you have to get your nitrite down to unstall the cycle do a dilution test mix say 1/8-1/4 cup of tank water to an equal amount of Ro water then measure out your test sample 5ml into your test vial and retest nitrite see if you get a color reduction that matches your test card colors if you do x's that result by two and that's your nitrite if the test sample is still off the chart reading 5ppm you can do another dilution test by adding another 1/8-1/4 cup Ro water to the sample you already diluted and retest and x's that reading by 3. My suggestion is do this test find out exactly were your nitrite is and then do a water change to get the nitrite below 5 ppm. If nitrite is above 5 ppm your cycle will stall and it will eventually get going again but it can take a while if you do what I said the cycle will start up again. As you can see 2-3 people replied to your post and everyone has there own opinion of what to do but I'm telling you do not add more ammonia this will compound your problem nitrite and ammonia should NEVER go above 5 ppm or your cycle will stall. One thing I want to add is 8 ppm of ammonia is going to = 3x that in nitrite depending on the test kit you have (api) is common and it is one that measures this way if your nitrate is not climbing your nitrite bacteria are stalled. Do the dilution test and a water change in the amount needed to get nitrite below 5 ppm


Thanks a lot for this, it all makes perfect sense. That was my concern with asking if I should go ahead and wait for the Nitrites and Nitrates to die down, but it's obvious that Nitrates won't die down unless I have some Chaeto or other plants in the refugium to eliminate it (or water changes and a good skimmer).

The idea to test small amounts of diluted tank water to get an idea of where it's at is great. I'll do that tonight and see what's going on.

My cycle stalled at the Ammonia stage, too, as it was above 5ppm for 8 days straight before Nitrite started to show up heavily and Ammonia started to die down. My Nitrites have only been above 5 for 5 days, so the stall may fix itself in a couple more days, just as Ammonia did.

I really don't feel like using more salt to do a water change to unstall the Nitrite, just to do another water change to empty the resulting Nitrates before adding livestock. That's some $$$ in salt in a 100 gallon tank.... :\
 

jeff williams

Well-Known Member
View Badges
Joined
Nov 21, 2016
Messages
605
Reaction score
326
Yes it's definitely money down the drain here's a link to dr Tims fishless cycling and you can roam around his site and find other charts an so on that deals with cycling. Dr Tim is one of the guys behind a lot of products. Also one thing you may consider is adding some nitrifying bacteria to jump jump start the cycle I would recommend dr Tims one and only it's good stuff.
http://www.drtimsaquatics.com/resources/fishless-cycling
 
Aquarium Specialty - dry goods & marine livestock

Randy Holmes-Farley

Reef Chemist
View Badges
Joined
Sep 5, 2014
Messages
40,173
Reaction score
28,327
Location
Arlington, Massachusetts, United States
Apparently Trites are as high as 100ppm in ocean reefs and Trates merely lead to algae blooms, which can be taken care of with some Chaeto, from what I understand.

Any input on this?

Input is, that statement is just wrong. lol

You posted my articles, but this is what I said in one you posted:

"In the ocean, nitrite typically varies in concentration from very low levels to about 0.2 ppm. The higher end of this range is typically found only in anoxic layers deep below the surface. Nitrite in surface Atlantic and Caribbean seawater has been reported to range from 0.000005 to 0.00002 ppm, and a series of measurements in the South China Sea and the Philippine Sea showed an average of 0.00002 ppm."
 

sean rand

Well-Known Member
View Badges
Joined
May 23, 2018
Messages
650
Reaction score
358
Hi. What did u end up doing? I am in the same situation at the moment. My cycle is stuck and my nitrites r sky high
 

PirateDan

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
Oct 5, 2018
Messages
193
Reaction score
358
Location
Ashland va.
14 days is nothing. Stop trying too rush it. I keep hearing people say add this and that. Just let the tank cycle it takes time.
 
https://www.triton.de/en/

How do you feel about showing off your tank to "non-reefing" guests?

  • I really enjoy it

    Votes: 122 32.4%
  • I like it if they are interested

    Votes: 189 50.1%
  • I really don't care either way

    Votes: 36 9.5%
  • I don't like showing my tank to people who don't understand it

    Votes: 17 4.5%
  • Other (please explain)

    Votes: 13 3.4%

Online statistics

Members online
2,441
Guests online
5,354
Total visitors
7,795
Budman's Corals LLC
Top