new Tank cycling, but no nitrites detected

jiffyjhn

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Hi All,

I started to cycle my new 20g office frag tank.

Started the cycle about a week ago:
- dry rocks.
- no sand
- dr tim's ammonia
- 3 bags of filter media
- Fluval cycle bacteria.

So when I added the ammonia a week ago I might have added too much. The bottle say 4 drops/ gallon, so I should add 80 drops. Taking into account the rocks and media, I added 60 drops. This was supposed to give me 2.0 ppm ammonia, but when I tested it was 8.0ppm(the darkest color in the API test kit)

I have been testing Ammonia, nitrate and nitrite each day.
- Ammonia hasn't changed. Still testing 8.0ppm. Although the test kit reached that color slower and slower each day I test.
- nitrite has always tested 0
- Nitrate was 0 on the first 2 days. now I am getting 5-10 ppm.

I'm confused why I am not seeing any nitrite but seeing nitrate directly. Previously when I cycled other tanks, I was seeing nitrite before nitrate. Also why Is my ammonia not decreasing, is it because the limit of the test kit?
 
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@brandon429 Will be able to give you a better rundown of where your cycle is at the moment.

But this is just my observation,

1. You overdosed the ammonia way to much. Hence why its still showing max as the API ammonia test kit is known for not being the most accurate. It is coming down daily but still over the max test range.
2. Your bacteria are doing their job and they are doing it well. They are converting ammonia to nitrite and nitrite to nitrate. that's why you are showing zero nitrite. That or you have a faulty nitrite test kit and or user error. And remember point 1. Dosed why to much ammonia.
3. I would venture a guess and say your basic cycle is complete in the sense that the bacteria are doing their job. if this was my tank and setup and situation, I would do a huge water change, like 75 to 80%. give it a day and retest. That way you are removing the huge amount of free ammonia in your water Colom and the bacteria are already seeded on your rocks and filter media.
That way you should be able to read the ammonia results within your test kits range limits and see if its going down.
Then add a tiny amount of ammonia again. Test and record your reading. Wait 24 hours and test again.
I the ammonia is going down and hovering below 1ppm and your nitrites are zero or super low and you see a rise in nitrates.....your cycle is done.

But thats just my opinion. But like i said, @brandon429 will be of better help to you.
 

brandon429

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if you do a full water change it’s ready per above that’s a direct match cycle fix

we no longer factor nitrite as it’s chemically neutral the entire process and only ammonia control matters, in the clean water condition yours is ready too.

choose fish disease protocol wisely, disease killed Jacks fish eight months later, having nothing to do with the cycle. They die anyway even if we slow cycle and skip disease preps

you can use that thread to run ammonia proofing on your tank or you can use it’s timelining to see your tank is ready because of how long water and feed and bac have been swirling. It’s no longer required to wait for wastewater to clear perfectly
 

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Hi All,

I started to cycle my new 20g office frag tank.

Started the cycle about a week ago:
- dry rocks.
- no sand
- dr tim's ammonia
- 3 bags of filter media
- Fluval cycle bacteria.

So when I added the ammonia a week ago I might have added too much. The bottle say 4 drops/ gallon, so I should add 80 drops. Taking into account the rocks and media, I added 60 drops. This was supposed to give me 2.0 ppm ammonia, but when I tested it was 8.0ppm(the darkest color in the API test kit)

I have been testing Ammonia, nitrate and nitrite each day.
- Ammonia hasn't changed. Still testing 8.0ppm. Although the test kit reached that color slower and slower each day I test.
- nitrite has always tested 0
- Nitrate was 0 on the first 2 days. now I am getting 5-10 ppm.

I'm confused why I am not seeing any nitrite but seeing nitrate directly. Previously when I cycled other tanks, I was seeing nitrite before nitrate. Also why Is my ammonia not decreasing, is it because the limit of the test kit?
I agree with @brandon429. - you are ready. Nitrite doesn’t matter you are after nitrate. If that shows you are ready.
water change and off you go.
 
AS

brandon429

why did you put a reef in that
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Cell nice catch! I read that setup description as Dr TIm's bac, not ammonia. nice one


Ill still hold my poker hand due to this though:
I have never seen one bottle bac fail to cycle given a week, a tad under the ammonia drop date from a cycling chart but boosted by the bacteria. if Fluval can't pull it off I'll laugh at them lol. surely they sell good water bac in water but agreed, that's a rare strain for us/not the big three.
since he's non seneye we need the test calibrated like Jack did.

based on that now Id really like to see the calibrated ammonia testing, to vet this strain.

*a way to do it here without doing full 20 gallon water change since we're verifying bioslicks on rocks

take out all the cycling rocks and put in a bucket of clean saltwater, filled even with the stack of rocks not above it. smaller gallons now to assess from

let it circulate and be heated to 78 just the same for a few hours take the baseline ammonia reading as pic 1

add in barely the ammonia we showed to cause a bare change, .25 level in the kit, post pic #2 with its bare change.

wait 24 hours post pic ammonia #3 from the bucket water we see if cycled or not.

nice catch.
 
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jiffyjhn

jiffyjhn

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I agree with @brandon429. - you are ready. Nitrite doesn’t matter you are after nitrate. If that shows you are ready.
water change and off you go.
Wow, that's a really fast cycle. It's only been 5 days.
Will do a 50% water change tonight, retest and report back.
 

brandon429

why did you put a reef in that
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Jiffy for reasons posted above the 50% water change isn't going to affect your test reads, that's a total change thread above. its the only way you're going to proof the cycle

its also ok to wait a couple more weeks for wastewater to clear, that's no harm just make sure to have a clear fish disease prevention plan in place in the mean time.


also see this thread, its why your ammonia test is about to set you back weeks and weeks of wait

every bottle bac Ive ever seen tested on seneye carries fish day one, that's skip cycle you're at a week out which is even safer. the reason your prior cycles may have seemed to take longer is due to reasons shown just above on the ammonia kit comparison thread.
 
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Thanks all for your replies

I did an experiment and took out about a gallon of water from the tank, added a gallon of freshly made saltwater to it. After mixing it, I tested ammonia and it went from 8.0ppm to 1.0 ppm. So I think API kit is not able to give accurate results above 1.0ppm.
Changed most of the water out from the tank, and now the tank sits at 0.5ppm Ammonia. Gonna wait till this remaining ammonia disappear I think it would be safe at that point to say the cycle is done.
 

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Thanks all for your replies

I did an experiment and took out about a gallon of water from the tank, added a gallon of freshly made saltwater to it. After mixing it, I tested ammonia and it went from 8.0ppm to 1.0 ppm. So I think API kit is not able to give accurate results above 1.0ppm.
Changed most of the water out from the tank, and now the tank sits at 0.5ppm Ammonia. Gonna wait till this remaining ammonia disappear I think it would be safe at that point to say the cycle is done.
Any update?

Sincerely Lasse
 
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jiffyjhn

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Did you see any ntrite after the start?

Sincerely Lasse
Yeah shortly after I did a big water change, ammonia went to 0, nitrates went up to 40. I was also testing for 1-2ppm nitrite. Now I’m still testing some nitrite in the water about .5-1, and nitrate about 20. The test corals I added seem happy.

I have to say things seem to happen a lot slower in this bare bottom tank compared to previous tanks I set up with a sandbed. Rock ratios about the same and I cycled the same way with same bacteria.
 
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Lasse

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As long as you have nitrites left (more than 0.1) the nitrification process is not fully cycled - IMO, Your high nitrate levels are not real - must of it are from interference with nitrite. when nitrite 1-2 - your nitrate 40 - now with nitrite 0.5 - 1 - nitrate 20. Nitrate does not disappear as fast as that. The 40 was mostly from your 1-2 nitrite and your 20 is mostly from 0.5-1 in nitrite IMO.

However - the nitrite levels is not critical for surviving of your clowns - but I would stop the feeding for a while - till NO2 is below 0.1

Sincerely Lasse
 
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jiffyjhn

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However - the nitrite levels is not critical for surviving of your clowns - but I would stop the feeding for a while - till NO2 is below 0.1
Thank you Lasse. I will try that. Skimmer for this tank is arriving next week so that should help too.
It was surprising to me how long it takes for nitrite to go away in this tank compared to my previous tanks. Even doing a big water change does not seem to decrease the nitrite measurement much.

While the clowns are surviving, and I cannot see any obvious signs of disease on them. They don't look as happy as when they were in the tanks they were moved out of. They are having less appetite and breathing more rapidly than normal. There could be other factors at play, but this never happened before when I added fish after nitrites tested 0.
 
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Lasse

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Thank you Lasse. I will try that. Skimmer for this tank is arriving next week so that should help too.
It was surprising to me how long it takes for nitrite to go away in this tank compared to my previous tanks. Even doing a big water change does not seem to decrease the nitrite measurement much.

While the clowns are surviving, and I cannot see any obvious signs of disease on them. They don't look as happy as when they were in the tanks they were moved out of. They are having less appetite and breathing more rapidly than normal. There could be other factors at play, but this never happened before when I added fish after nitrites tested 0.
Thank you for that update and your observations. I´ll think that it was you very high initial ammonia dose that create this problem. It is known from scientific studies that high ammonia readings (especially if pH is high and it is much of free ammonia in the water) can stall the second step. Your right that your "unhappy" clowns can be affected of something else but it is good to see that you measure NO2 too. Is few person that does that nowadays and we can´t get enough of data if sublethal nitrite concentrations affect fish or not. This can be an indication but it does not need to be it. Please comeback with an update of your clowns behaviour when you have bring down the nitrite concentration to more normal values (below 0.1)

Sincerely Lasse
 

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Thank you for that update and your observations. I´ll think that it was you very high initial ammonia dose that create this problem. It is known from scientific studies that high ammonia readings (especially if pH is high and it is much of free ammonia in the water) can stall the second step. Your right that your "unhappy" clowns can be affected of something else but it is good to see that you measure NO2 too. Is few person that does that nowadays and we can´t get enough of data if sublethal nitrite concentrations affect fish or not. This can be an indication but it does not need to be it. Please comeback with an update of your clowns behaviour when you have bring down the nitrite concentration to more normal values (below 0.1)

Sincerely Lasse
I would add what my experience is. I have measured no2 except never seen it when started with battled bacteria.

my view is very much simplify things on cycle.

I would put ammonia source of some sort as starting, add the right amount or more of battled bacteria, wait a few days and check. If ammonia gone and nitrate shows up that means to me the process has started at least. If otherwise the parameters are correct that can include no2 too you are ready to go really slow. If you think about it a pair of clowns are not producing much ammonia at all and if you go by not to double the bioload within every 2 weeks it is unlikely you go wrong.
my thank is just below 40g a pair of clowns were not even close to 2ppm ammonia a day. But again I could never measure it so I stopped trying to. No2 was the same I have stopped care about it after a week or so.

Not sure where the 2ppm ammonia a day comes from though but there seems to be more or less universal agreement on it. who am I to argue it?

I accept every tank is different and fact that mine had media coming from it’s freshwater life together with live sand may have helped this process the importance of NO3 is very little in my eyes when it comes to cycle solely because I only know about it but never seen it.

I would also highlight the fact you may can slow down but can not stop cycle even if you want to. I have had new water storage starting to have life within about 2 weeks with nothing else added but RO water and left the plug open.
 

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I would add what my experience is. I have measured no2 except never seen it when started with battled bacteria.

my view is very much simplify things on cycle.

I would put ammonia source of some sort as starting, add the right amount or more of battled bacteria, wait a few days and check. If ammonia gone and nitrate shows up that means to me the process has started at least. If otherwise the parameters are correct that can include no2 too you are ready to go really slow. If you think about it a pair of clowns are not producing much ammonia at all and if you go by not to double the bioload within every 2 weeks it is unlikely you go wrong.
my thank is just below 40g a pair of clowns were not even close to 2ppm ammonia a day. But again I could never measure it so I stopped trying to. No2 was the same I have stopped care about it after a week or so.

Not sure where the 2ppm ammonia a day comes from though but there seems to be more or less universal agreement on it. who am I to argue it?

I accept every tank is different and fact that mine had media coming from it’s freshwater life together with live sand may have helped this process the importance of NO3 is very little in my eyes when it comes to cycle solely because I only know about it but never seen it.

I would also highlight the fact you may can slow down but can not stop cycle even if you want to. I have had new water storage starting to have life within about 2 weeks with nothing else added but RO water and left the plug open.
To be very clear - a nitrification cycle is never completed before both two steps working more or less seamless. It is per definition.

More clarity - you can´t not trust nitrate reading when you start a new tank without analyze the nitrite. For the fiftyeleven time I will explain how nitrate is analysed in most of our hobby test (all as I know of today). Nitrate can´t be determined at all with cheap hobby tests (or methods that rely on colour change) The test will therefore convert nitrate in the sample (with help of different metal salts) into nitrite and after that will the colour charts recalculate this into nitrate. The problem with this is that the conversion is very time consuming. For full conversion it can take days. Therefore - the back calculation is done with known percentage of conversion at a certain time. This means that if it is already present nitrite in the water before the nitrate analyze - you will have a high reading of that nitrite. If 2 % is converted in 3 minutes - the factor of nitrite interference is around 50. It means that if the original nitrite concentration is 0.05 - the responding concentration you should subtract from your nitrate readings is 2.5 ppm. is it 1 ppm NO2 - subtract 50!. It seems that at least salifert have this 50 factor. Tropic marines normal NO2/NO3 test too but Tropic Marine Pro NO2/NO3 and Fauna Marine NO2/NO3 tests have 100 as factor, For other brands - i do not know.

How much do 2 pair of clowns excrete in 40 gallons (150L) tank. Nearly zero if you do not feed them. But if you feed them with 1 g dry food with a content of 40 % protein following will happen. You feed with 400 mg protein which is around (between the thumb and the index finger) 16 % pure nitrogen - it means that you feed with around 64 mg pure N. Of this around 20% will be bound as new biomass in the fish - left around 51 mg pure N. Of this around 80% will be direct excreted as NH4 in the first 2 - 3 hours through the gills of your clowns. It means that it will excrete around 40 mg as N to the water but it will be in the form NH4 -> 18/14*40 mg = 51 mg NH4.

51 mg NH4 in 150 L (40 gallon) is 0.34 mg/l = 0.34 ppm NH4. If you have feed them with 10 g this day in 40 gallon - you have add 3.4 ppm NH4 to your system. 2 ppm addition in 40 gallons during one day means feeding with around 6 g dry feed with 40 % protein. If you feed with fresh or frozen feed - multiply with 5 -> 30 g

A frozen cube has a weight of around 3 g. ten cubes a day will give 2 mg/L NH4 in 150 L -> addition of around 300 mg to your system. It means 3 ppm in 100 L; 0,6 ppm in 500 L and 0.3 mg/L in 1000 L.

Not so small amounts at all

With concern to ammonia content and not knowing anything about ph and temperature - the first advices in the thread about 100% WC and go on stocking was unscrupulous IMO. post 14 and 16 indicate this. The WC took away the ammonia but the OP start to feed and because the total nitrification process was not established - only the ammonium oxidation was working - nitrite build up. It is exactly what have happen if the OP have skipped the first ammonia addition - just start with two fishes an normal feeding of them. Here I describe a method with include fish from the first day and no risk for either ammonia build up or nitrite build up.

Sincerely Lasse
 

attiland

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To be very clear - a nitrification cycle is never completed before both two steps working more or less seamless. It is per definition.

More clarity - you can´t not trust nitrate reading when you start a new tank without analyze the nitrite. For the fiftyeleven time I will explain how nitrate is analysed in most of our hobby test (all as I know of today). Nitrate can´t be determined at all with cheap hobby tests (or methods that rely on colour change) The test will therefore convert nitrate in the sample (with help of different metal salts) into nitrite and after that will the colour charts recalculate this into nitrate. The problem with this is that the conversion is very time consuming. For full conversion it can take days. Therefore - the back calculation is done with known percentage of conversion at a certain time. This means that if it is already present nitrite in the water before the nitrate analyze - you will have a high reading of that nitrite. If 2 % is converted in 3 minutes - the factor of nitrite interference is around 50. It means that if the original nitrite concentration is 0.05 - the responding concentration you should subtract from your nitrate readings is 2.5 ppm. is it 1 ppm NO2 - subtract 50!. It seems that at least salifert have this 50 factor. Tropic marines normal NO2/NO3 test too but Tropic Marine Pro NO2/NO3 and Fauna Marine NO2/NO3 tests have 100 as factor, For other brands - i do not know.

How much do 2 pair of clowns excrete in 40 gallons (150L) tank. Nearly zero if you do not feed them. But if you feed them with 1 g dry food with a content of 40 % protein following will happen. You feed with 400 mg protein which is around (between the thumb and the index finger) 16 % pure nitrogen - it means that you feed with around 64 mg pure N. Of this around 20% will be bound as new biomass in the fish - left around 51 mg pure N. Of this around 80% will be direct excreted as NH4 in the first 2 - 3 hours through the gills of your clowns. It means that it will excrete around 40 mg as N to the water but it will be in the form NH4 -> 18/14*40 mg = 51 mg NH4.

51 mg NH4 in 150 L (40 gallon) is 0.34 mg/l = 0.34 ppm NH4. If you have feed them with 10 g this day in 40 gallon - you have add 3.4 ppm NH4 to your system. 2 ppm addition in 40 gallons during one day means feeding with around 6 g dry feed with 40 % protein. If you feed with fresh or frozen feed - multiply with 5 -> 30 g

A frozen cube has a weight of around 3 g. ten cubes a day will give 2 mg/L NH4 in 150 L -> addition of around 300 mg to your system. It means 3 ppm in 100 L; 0,6 ppm in 500 L and 0.3 mg/L in 1000 L.

Not so small amounts at all

With concern to ammonia content and not knowing anything about ph and temperature - the first advices in the thread about 100% WC and go on stocking was unscrupulous IMO. post 14 and 16 indicate this. The WC took away the ammonia but the OP start to feed and because the total nitrification process was not established - only the ammonium oxidation was working - nitrite build up. It is exactly what have happen if the OP have skipped the first ammonia addition - just start with two fishes an normal feeding of them. Here I describe a method with include fish from the first day and no risk for either ammonia build up or nitrite build up.

Sincerely Lasse
I trust your calculations as I know no better. And really find it helpful too.

When I had 2 clowns I have fed them 2xhalf a cube so according to your calculations 0.2mg/l nh4 in 100l so so maybe that is why I could never see it and no2 was so little my test couldn’t pick it up.

I find it also important to highlight that putting 2ppm ammonia in one go not exactly the same as feeding the same equivalent in food as the release of it is slow so the peak is not as high if my understanding of this process is correct.

I don’t doubt the importance of nitrifying process what I doubt though is is 2ppm process of nh4 is necessary in some cases if you go slow.
 
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