Louis Louis
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  • Posted on: 9/7/2020 16:08
Confusing Readings when cycling #1
Hello to anyone who can share advice and help on my issue,

I have been following a reliable and clear and effective guide on how to successfully perform a fish-in cycle and how to perform it safely for the fish involved, however my readings when testing the water have left me confused and I’m hoping I can find someone who can help explain to me how this has happened and what it means and if I need to do anything to fix my issue.

So when I added my fish to the tank, within a few days my tank read positive ammonia, nitrite AND nitrate readings, however I made the mistake of interpreting my ammonia and nitrites too high and thus performed a 50% water change such as the article suggested, however looking back at the readings I’d say that my readings weren’t high enough to warrant the water change. This event occurred almost 2 weeks ago now and ever since my ammonia has been around 1-2ppm and nitrates at 5ppm, yet my nitrites have stayed at 0. Looking back, my nitrites looked to be around 1ppm when I did the water change so expectedly they should have dropped 0.5ppm not 0?

So my question is, why do I have nitrates when my ammonia is still high? What does this mean for my cycle’s progression? And is there anything I need to do to get my nitrites to appear in order to counter the ammonia?

I hope I have explained myself clearly and that someone out there can shed some light on my issue and help explain these events to me and what course of action I need to, if necessary.

Thank you,
Louis
fcmf fcmf
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  • Posted on: 9/7/2020 18:13
Re: Confusing Readings when cycling #2
Hmmm - not sure of the source of that guide but its advice doesn't sound reputable to me.

Firstly, any presence of ammonia or nitrite is not safe to the fish - it's toxic. Therefore, it's absolutely crucial that water changes are done to reduce that, so you definitely took the right course of action. Having ammonia around 1-2 ppm, and if the fish have been living in that for a fortnight, unfortunately is going to / will have adversely affected them, whether evolving into an illness or shortened lifespan. Going forwards, keep up the water changes, even if that has to be daily and 50%+. I'll also PM you a link.

My feeling is that the nitrites will likely (re-)appear - it usually takes a couple of weeks for that to happen but could be a lot longer. What is the nitrate level of your tapwater? If it's high, it might account for the presence of nitrates in your aquarium. Also, have you been using any 'beneficial bacteria' products? These may cause confusing results - they're a bit 'hit and miss' as to how effective they are and may cause unstable/unexpected readings.

Hope this helps - and the link.
Louis Louis
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  • Posted on: 9/7/2020 18:59
Re: Confusing Readings when cycling #3
Hi,

Thank you for your reply!

Yes, I’m using seachem prime which I was told helps protect my fish as it locks up the ammonia and nitrites for 24-48 hours so I’ve been doing daily doses in hopes it will help protect my fish but also speed up and influence the cycle.

But thank you for your reply, I shall just have to be patient I guess and hope that the nitrites reappear soon, do you have any tips on how to speech up the cycling process? I know it’s a waiting game but I just wondered if you have any tips from your own experience.
fcmf fcmf
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  • Posted on: 11/7/2020 1:07
Re: Confusing Readings when cycling #4
I'm afraid it's a waiting game, especially in the case of a fish-in cycle. [I can't offer any advice as my cycle took a while to establish after firstly attempting the fish-food fishless cycling method (ammonia for fishless cycling method is much more reliable) and then little happening (I have negligible KH, and, at the time didn't realise I ought to have added bicarb of soda to help establish the fishless cycle). I've not cycled a tank since then, and use a portion of mature media from the main tank filter, with some Tetra Safe Start for extra measure, when setting up the quarantine/hospital tank in the case of new/sick fish respectively.]