Cycle help - Nitrite

LordMomo

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Hi all,

So i've been cycling my tank as per the guidance and procedures ive read online, I used Dr Tims method and today's test with the API test kit My Ammonia is 0ppm but my nitrite is high like either 1 or 2ppm (difficult to get spot on accuracy with these "match the colour" tests.)

Can anybody advise me further please? Just so confused as to where i stand now.

Thanks
 

dw1305

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Hi all,
Hi all,

So i've been cycling my tank as per the guidance and procedures ive read online, I used Dr Tims method and today's test with the API test kit My Ammonia is 0ppm but my nitrite is high like either 1 or 2ppm (difficult to get spot on accuracy with these "match the colour" tests.)

Can anybody advise me further please? Just so confused as to where i stand now.

Thanks

It will be OK, the NO2 level should fall as more of it is converted to NO3, but when you have a planted tank <"none of it really matters">.

If the tank is already planted? Just stop adding the ammonia. If the tank isn't planted yet? Just stop adding the ammonia, do a water change, wait a couple of days and then plant it.

If the ammonia is coming from an active substrate (like ADA Amazonia etc), have a look at <"@Cor's comments">.

The traditional view of cycling was that it was a linear process from NH4 > NO2 > NO3, but more recent scientific research has found that things <"are much more complex"> than that and that COMAMMOX Nitrospira can directly oxidise ammonia to nitrate.

Have a look at <"Dr Timothy Hovanec's comments about Bacterial supplements">. Dr Hovanec was kind enough to answer a few questions we had about "One and Only" as a bacterial supplement.

cheers Darrel
 

LordMomo

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Thanks Darrell, The tank is planted but not heavily, it's same one in my profile picture.

Ammonia and Nitrite were high yesterday so I did a 25% water change and then those readings today are kind of what I expected except for nitrite which i thought would be much more in line with ammonia.

I know patience is the name of the game in fishless cycling, but i am getting keen to add some stock now.
 

dw1305

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Hi all,
The tank is planted but not heavily, it's same one in my profile picture.
Definitely no more ammonia addition and a couple of big water changes.
I know patience is the name of the game in fishless cycling, but i am getting keen to add some stock now.
You just really need to let the plants grow in. I like at least six weeks of growth and a fair covering of floating plants.
so I did a 25% water change and then those readings today are kind of what I expected except for nitrite which i thought would be much more in line with ammonia.
The added ammonia complicates things a bit. If you want to carry on measuring nitrite NO2, you need to get it down to undetectable ("0" ppm) before you add any fish.

Have a look through the linked threads to my earlier reply. All the bits you need should be in there.

cheers Darrel
 

LordMomo

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Hi all,

Definitely no more ammonia addition and a couple of big water changes.

You just really need to let the plants grow in. I like at least six weeks of growth and a fair covering of floating plants.

The added ammonia complicates things a bit. If you want to carry on measuring nitrite NO2, you need to get it down to undetectable ("0" ppm) before you add any fish.

Have a look through the linked threads to my earlier reply. All the bits you need should be in there.

cheers Darrel
Sorry for the mass quote, haven't quite worked out individual ones yet! :)

I understand the basic principle of getting the ammonia and nitrite to 0ppm. I don't plan on adding any more ammonia, but was thinking oif ammonia is low, and nitrite high, how do i feed my colony to ensure i finish the cycle without stalling it or killing the colony off, or will it just be ok?

I'd never add stock early despite having "empty tank itch" LOL! But i do want to get the conditions right before adding any stock as their welfare is important to me.
 

lilirose

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If your plants are grown in and healthy, you don't need to worry about the health of your "colony"- your tank is ready for fish. The test kits are not strictly necessary, but you can use them if they make you feel more secure. However, "the colony" is growing in your substrate, in the roots of the plants, on all the surfaces of the plants, as well as in your filter. It's not a terribly fragile thing that requires a huge amount of nurturing beyond the first few weeks.

So...look for healthy, grown in plants (which should take about six weeks), and you can consider your tank cycled and ready for fish. Test if it makes you feel better but you can tell everything you need to know about your "cycle" by looking at your plants.
 

dw1305

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Hi all,
how do i feed my colony to ensure i finish the cycle without stalling it or killing the colony off, or will it just be ok?
It will just be OK. Cycling doesn't really exist in the traditional linear sense (figure below).

The cycling concept was based on the <"premise of their being a relatively small number of bacteria that converted ammonia to nitrite"> and then an equally small assemblage that converted nitrite to nitrate. The ammonia oxidising bacteria (which had been isolated and cultured from sewage works) required high alkalinity and carbonate levels, which is why you need to add ammonia etc. and then it took an even longer time for the levels of nitrite oxidising bacteria to rise until your tank was "cycled". I'll be honest I was pretty sure that <"the traditional view of cycling wasn't right">, long before I knew about Archaea etc.

But times have changed, and techniques have been developed that allow scientists to look at the actual genes, the DNA and RNA, that codes for <"ammonia and nitrite oxidation in aquarium filters">, and it has totally changed what we know about aquarium biological filtration.

The other thing with the "Cycling graph" is that it only looks at water changes as a way of lowering nitrate levels and totally ignores the <"contribution from plants">.

cheers Darrel
 

sparkyweasel

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I'll be honest I was pretty sure that <"the traditional view of cycling wasn't right">, long before I knew about Archaea etc.
It's also not traditional. :)
For three hundred years or so aquarists didn't do that. They set up the the equipment, and when they were happy it was all working and not leaking they planted. When the plants were settled in and growing nicely they started adding livestock. It worked. It still works. :)
Adding toxins to try to encourage (possibly the wrong) bacteria is a fairly new fad. Maybe it will pass. Maybe it will be replaced by some-one selling some 'magic' product that removes the 'need' for adding ammonia. :)
 

dw1305

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Hi all,
When the plants were settled in and growing nicely they started adding livestock. It worked. It still works.
I'm old enough to have used the <"sacrificial fish"> method, and it did work for me as well. I've always kept planted tanks, but plant growth would decline, or be non-existent,
  • in the winter
  • or after the tanks had been set up for a while.
I didn't understand the nitrogen cycle then, or how important plants are, and usually my fish deaths started a few months in, probably because I used aquarium gravel as a substrate (and didn't syphon it ), didn't have appropriate lighting, never fed the plants and <"never changed any water">.
.......that's because it was 'borrowed' from marine aquarists. Especially as the one above is marked 'after Spotte'.
Thank-you, that would make perfect sense. I had no idea where it came from, or who Spotte was, but now I know it is from:
<"Stephen Spotte "Fish and Invertebrate Culture: Water Management in Closed Systems" Hardcover – 8 Aug. 1979">.

cheers Darrel
 

LordMomo

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Thanks everyone for the info, guess there is no easy clear cut way.

Will continue with what im doing as i think im on the right path and will monitor plant growth and still test.

The java fern I have in the tank is taking off, loads of new light green growth, but then as a moss, that stuff just grows! :)
 

LordMomo

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It will be fine dude. Chillax and no need for more ammonia. Just watch and wait.
I have no intention of adding any more ammonia. Was just concerned about how the colony would sustain itself if there was nothing to feed them, but that's been cleared up.
 

LordMomo

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Just done a test now again and Ammonia is 0ppm, Nirtite is 0ppm and my nitrate is like 40ppm

Thinking im getting there! Will perform a 50% water change this evening and check again in morning.
 

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