Nitrites over 5ppm almost a month into cycling

DustinDec

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We started cycling our tank in Jan, almost a month ago. We're running a Flex fluval 32.5, and made changes along the way. I understand this was likely not the best choice, but I figured it was better to make those changes at the time given the information we had. In addition, I figured it was better we made them then while no fish/coral were in the tank. That said, for over a week now, the Nitrites had been 5ppm or higher and I'm really not sure what to do at this point.

We started the cycle with around 30 lbs dry rock, and along with maybe 3 -5 lbs of live rock, wet sand. To kick things off, we used Dr Tim one and only fishless cycle bottle, used about half for 30 gal.

Around a week or two later, I switch out the media filter that came with the flex after reading and receiving many suggestions to get rid of it in favor of intank media baskets. Originally I had been using just one filter with the stock media as I had an ATO on the other side. So I only switched the one side and instead of using stock media, I put a bag of Seachem Matrix in the bottom along with Boyd Enterprises Chemi-pure in the middle and a small inTank Bonded poly filter floss at the very top. A day later, I got the second media basket I ordered, and went ahead with that one, so there would be two (one on each side). I did this because water flow appeared incorrect. The side with the one filter had the heater to the right, and since water was not circulating properly, heat would build up there and shut off. That is no longer a problem with both media baskets in. I just adjusted the ATO to fit on the side of the media baskets with after market mounts. At this time, I also put in the rest of Dr Tim one and only. The API saltwater test case had shown 0 nitrite and low Nitrates to none at this point in time.

The next day, the nitrite basically skyrocketed. This is where I think I really started messing up.

I would see Ammonia drop to zero, and after a day of no change in anything else, add enough to bring Ammonia up to 2ppm. Wait for it to cycle, and still see no change in nitrite. Reading and listening to suggestions, a water change, approximately 8-10 gallons. Same results, though the PH went from 7.8 to 8.

I visited my local fish store, they gave and suggested Microbe-lift Special blend. At this time I also switched to Red Sea blue bucket salt from Aquaforest Sea Salt. My LPS suggested doing a larger change of water since I was changing salt anyways, then add the special blend. I ended up doing a 15g water change with the new salt, and added the special blend.

This was last weekend. Nothing has changed with Nitrites at this point. I've ordered a hanna nitrite HR to see if I can really track the numbers to ensure it's actually going down. But, I'm also about to do a 15 g water change, followed by another 15g maybe one day later per some feedback I've received. I also ordered Microbe-lift nite out. I'm debating if I should hold off on a water change and try the nite out first, or what. Feedback would be appreciated!
 
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Snowxcross

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We started cycling our tank in Jan, almost a month ago. We're running a Flex fluval 32.5, and made changes along the way. I understand this was likely not the best choice, but I figured it was better to make those changes at the time given the information we had. In addition, I figured it was better we made them then while no fish/coral were in the tank. That said, for over a week now, the Nitrites had been 5ppm or higher and I'm really not sure what to do at this point.

We started the cycle with around 30 lbs dry rock, and along with maybe 3 -5 lbs of live rock, wet sand. To kick things off, we used Dr Tim one and only fishless cycle bottle, used about half for 30 gal.

Around a week or two later, I switch out the media filter that came with the flex after reading and receiving many suggestions to get rid of it in favor of intank media baskets. Originally I had been using just one filter with the stock media as I had an ATO on the other side. So I only switched the one side and instead of using stock media, I put a bag of Seachem Matrix in the bottom along with Boyd Enterprises Chemi-pure in the middle and a small inTank Bonded poly filter floss at the very top. A day later, I got the second media basket I ordered, and went ahead with that one, so there would be two (one on each side). I did this because water flow appeared incorrect. The side with the one filter had the heater to the right, and since water was not circulating properly, heat would build up there and shut off. That is no longer a problem with both media baskets in. I just adjusted the ATO to fit on the side of the media baskets with after market mounts. At this time, I also put in the rest of Dr Tim one and only. The API saltwater test case had shown 0 nitrite and low Nitrates to none at this point in time.

The next day, the nitrite basically skyrocketed. This is where I think I really started messing up.

I would see Ammonia drop to zero, and after a day of no change in anything else, add enough to bring Ammonia up to 2ppm. Wait for it to cycle, and still see no change in nitrite. Reading and listening to suggestions, a water change, approximately 8-10 gallons. Same results, though the PH went from 7.8 to 8.

I visited my local fish store, they gave and suggested Microbe-lift Special blend. At this time I also switched to Red Sea blue bucket salt from Aquaforest Sea Salt. My LPS suggested doing a larger change of water since I was changing salt anyways, then add the special blend. I ended up doing a 15g water change with the new salt, and added the special blend.

This was last weekend. Nothing has changed with Nitrites at this point. I've ordered a hanna nitrite HR to see if I can really track the numbers to ensure it's actually going down. But, I'm also about to do a 15 g water change, followed by another 15g maybe one day later per some feedback I've received. I also ordered Microbe-lift nite out. I'm debating if I should hold off on a water change and try the nite out first, or what. Feedback would be appreciated!
Hey Dustin! Dont stress it man, cycles can take less than a month or way more than a month. In most my experience it's been 2 months minimum while cycling with dr. tims. I always use that method. And the same thing happened as well, ammonia at zero, but nitrites 5+. Just my opinion, but i wouldnt do anything but be patient, it will go down when ready.
 

Dbichler

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Biggest thing you shouldn’t have done is add more ammonia. Once it cycles initial dose to 0 your cycled. Nitrites have no bearing on the cycle in saltwater. If your showing nitrates it’s also a sign your cycled. However if your nitrites are that high nitrates will show extremely high. That doesn’t matter. If it were my tank I would do a 90-100% waterchange and start with a small fish.
 

Mr. Mojo Rising

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Nitrite is not important in a reef tank, the below article will explain more. Cancel the order for the hanna nitrite test, you will never need to test nitrite, ever.

The important info is to know the ammonia and nitrate. If the ammonia is zero and you have nitrates, then the tank is cycled, go buy your first fish. When your nitrate gets to around 30, then plan the next water change.

Remove the chemipure and any other chemicals you have in there, just let the system marinate, it doesn't need anything right now, there is nothing in your water to clean out. Weekly water changes will keep your tank in good shape, should be no need for anything else right now.

 
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DustinDec

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I asked that to the local fish store, and they said the idea of putting in fish terrified him. I was going to do 2 clownfish + a duncan, but his feedback has held me off. I'm currently mixing enough to do back to back 15g (so 30g total). Would it hurt to go ahead and make that change and then grab the above mentioned clowns + duncan?
 
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DustinDec

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Also, big thank you for the feedback. I was kinda scared I would get grilled here, but everyone's feedback has been very appreciated!
 

Mr. Mojo Rising

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I asked that to the local fish store, and they said the idea of putting in fish terrified him. I was going to do 2 clownfish + a duncan, but his feedback has held me off. I'm currently mixing enough to do back to back 15g (so 30g total). Would it hurt to go ahead and make that change and then grab the above mentioned clowns + duncan?
I think its a bit much on water changes, I think one change of 10 gallons is plenty sufficient myself. Then go get your clowns and duncans!!!

Be aware that corals don't like brand new tanks so it might suffer or take a while to acclimate. But they are very inexpensive, it will give you an idea of how to proceed. Good luck.
 

slingfox

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As suggested by @Mr. Mojo Rising you likely do not need a nitrate test, especially an expensive one from Hanna. If you are paranoid, get a Seachem Ammonia Alert badge. If / when it shows yellow you can start adding in a fish or two.
 

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