Nitrite Level Not Falling As Quickly As I Would Like...

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Offline Emmdee

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Nitrite level not falling as quickly as I would like...
« on: March 10, 2018, 05:33:21 PM »
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So I've had water in the tank now since the end of January.  My ammonia level is showing 0ppm (yellow) using an API test kit.  It's been like this for 3 weeks or so.  My nitrite level is still showing between 1 and 2 ppm using an API test.  I was really expecting it to fall to zero by now.  My nitrate is basically at the level of the tap water, and my phosphate is 0.5ppm, also API test kit.

Given that I'm not feeding it with ammonia, just using fish food and waiting patiently, when should I realistically expect nitrite to reach 0?  I'm certain it didn't take this long to cycle last time I set up the tank...

Could it be because I was one filter sponge short?  I bunged in all the ones I had, but I was one fine sponge short.  I meant to buy another, but forgot until three days ago.

m.d.

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Offline fcmf

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Re: Nitrite level not falling as quickly as I would like...
« Reply #1 on: March 10, 2018, 05:50:00 PM »
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Do you know what your KH is? If not, check http://www.scottishwater.co.uk/you-and-your-home/water-quality/waterqualitysearch by inputting your postcode and also against here http://www.scottishwater.co.uk/-/media/Domestic/Files/You-and-Your-Home/Water-Quality/Scottish-Water-Hardness-Data.pdf?la=en to find out what your water hardness level is and the units of measurement. The reason I suggest doing this is because I also tried to do a fishless cycle using fish food as the ammonia source and didn't really progress; I only really learned the reason (or one of the reasons) why after joining the fish forum - low KH can cause the cycle to stall. Let us know what your water hardness is and the units of measurement and we may be able to advise on what action to take which might help the cycle to progress.

It might be that you do need to go down the dosing with actual ammonia route as it would make it a lot easier to gauge progress on the cycle.

How heavily planted is your tank? May we see a pic or can you spot someone else's pic on here which is roughly the same in terms of quantity of plants?

I doubt if the shortage of a filter sponge is necessarily the problem here as it's likely the beneficial bacteria would have just colonised the existing sponges, so I think the answer might lie elsewhere.

A Selection of Fish in my Fish Community Creator Tanks
Clown Barb (4) - Banded Rainbowfish (2) - Pearl Cichlid (1) - African Red Eye (4) - Cherry Barb (3) -
Note: The user may not necessarily own these fish, these are tanks that they may be building or researching for stocking purposes


Offline Matt

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Re: Nitrite level not falling as quickly as I would like...
« Reply #2 on: March 10, 2018, 09:25:29 PM »
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How are you testing the nitrite levels? Just wondering if this actually is zero?

I would also find some way to add ammonia to the tank even if it is with fish food as after three weeks the bacteria will be going dormant.

A Selection of Fish in my Fish Community Creator Tanks
Clown Barb (4) - Banded Rainbowfish (2) - Pearl Cichlid (1) - African Red Eye (4) - Cherry Barb (3) -
Note: The user may not necessarily own these fish, these are tanks that they may be building or researching for stocking purposes


Offline Emmdee

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Re: Nitrite level not falling as quickly as I would like...
« Reply #3 on: March 11, 2018, 10:56:30 AM »
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Thanks.  So I am using fish food, and I had a fish in there for 4 days (but that's another story!).
Readings from Scottish Water are:
Calcium 21.43 mg/l
Magnesium 3.63 mg/l
68.36 Hardness - Moderately Soft
4.8 Clark Degrees
6.84 French Degrees
3.83 German Degrees

I'm using an API Nitrite test kit.  Interestingly, the 2005 kit and brand new one are giving the same reading.  That. also, is another story.

Hoping to be able to add some more plants this weekend.
m.d.

A Selection of Fish in my Fish Community Creator Tanks
Clown Barb (4) - Banded Rainbowfish (2) - Pearl Cichlid (1) - African Red Eye (4) - Cherry Barb (3) -
Note: The user may not necessarily own these fish, these are tanks that they may be building or researching for stocking purposes


Offline fcmf

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Re: Nitrite level not falling as quickly as I would like...
« Reply #4 on: March 11, 2018, 12:24:47 PM »
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Your water is soft, albeit not as soft as my own; for that reason, I would say that it's unlikely that the cycle has stalled due to low KH (if the German Degrees figure were ~1, then there'd be a greater likelihood of that occurring. Some bicarbonate of soda is the "remedy" during the fishless cycle if that were the case but I don't think there's any indication of a need for this, at least not yet.

How often are you dosing the fish food and how much at a time?

A Selection of Fish in my Fish Community Creator Tanks
Clown Barb (4) - Banded Rainbowfish (2) - Pearl Cichlid (1) - African Red Eye (4) - Cherry Barb (3) -
Note: The user may not necessarily own these fish, these are tanks that they may be building or researching for stocking purposes


Offline Emmdee

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Re: Nitrite level not falling as quickly as I would like...
« Reply #5 on: March 11, 2018, 04:49:21 PM »
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Just a pinch a day.  I did a water change yesterday - about 20 litres.

m.d.

A Selection of Fish in my Fish Community Creator Tanks
Clown Barb (4) - Banded Rainbowfish (2) - Pearl Cichlid (1) - African Red Eye (4) - Cherry Barb (3) -
Note: The user may not necessarily own these fish, these are tanks that they may be building or researching for stocking purposes


Offline Sue

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Re: Nitrite level not falling as quickly as I would like...
« Reply #6 on: March 11, 2018, 07:24:47 PM »
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The trouble with using flakes is that you can't now how much ammonia you are adding, and therefore you can't know how many bacteria have grown, so once the tank is cycled you have to add fish a few at a time as with fish-in cycling.
Using ammonia from a bottle is easier because you know exactly how much you add and when the cycle is complete you know that you have enough bacteria for a sensibly stocked tank.


The best way to do a cycle with fish food is to add the food to a container of water and when it starts to decompose, measure the ammonia level in that water, then calculate from that reading how much of the water in the container you need to add to the tank to get a reading of 3 ppm in the tank. That way you know that you've added 3 ppm ammonia and will have enough bacteria once the cycle is finished.

A Selection of Fish in my Fish Community Creator Tanks
Clown Barb (4) - Banded Rainbowfish (2) - Pearl Cichlid (1) - African Red Eye (4) - Cherry Barb (3) -
Note: The user may not necessarily own these fish, these are tanks that they may be building or researching for stocking purposes


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