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High Nitrate In Cycling Tank
January 28, 2011
2:58 pm
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Fishwife
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I'm in the process of doing a fishless cycle which is taking rather a long time, but today my readings are: Ammonia 0 (1st day its been 0) Nitrite 3.3 (it's been this for about a week now) and Nitrate >110 (my chart only goes up to this but it looks like its gone off the chart)

I've received some new plants today for the community tank and I intend to put some of the older ones in the new tank and was wondering if it would be OK to put them in with these readings? One of the plants is a rather lovely Cryptocorene on lava rock, the other 2 Anubias nanas on wood and I don't want to spoil them. Do you think they'll suffer if I put them in with such high reading

January 28, 2011
4:49 pm
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Colin
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no, they'll be fine... they'll actually help lower the nitrate too...

the best way to get rid of nitrate is with water changes

January 28, 2011
6:26 pm
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Fishwife
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I'll do a big water change when the nitrite drops a bit, I've been using the Waterlife system, BioMature and BacterLife, It's been really long drawn out and I won't use it again, but thought I'd give it a try /rolleyes.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":rolleyes:" border="0" alt="rolleyes.gif" />

Thanks for reply /thumbs_up.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":thumbsup:" border="0" alt="thumbs_up.gif" />

January 28, 2011
6:27 pm
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Eyrie
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High nitrAte is nothing to be concerned about at this stage. It will be removed by the 90%+ water change at the end fo the fishless cycle so it can be ignored for now - indeed I wouldn't even test for it until after that big change.

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January 28, 2011
7:22 pm
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MatsP
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I agree that it's not terribly important what nitrate level is duing the cycle isn't terribly important.

However, if the nitrate level goes high enough, the cycling process can stall - this is clearly not good.

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Mats

January 29, 2011
11:06 am
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Eyrie
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Hadn't heard that before. What sort of levels are we talking about, and how does the nitrAte impact on the bacteria colonies? Might need to amend the cycling sticky.

Also, isn't it the case the the nitrAte test can be affected by the presence of nitrIte, making it difficult to establish the actual nitrAte reading?

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January 29, 2011
12:27 pm
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Colin
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The nitrate is the by-product of the aerobic part of the nitrogen cycle. Nitrate is produced by the bacteria which has changed ammonia to nitrite and then to nitrate. That is over simplified as it involves different species etc...

you need a different species of bacteria to convert nitrate to harmless nitrogen and that is more tricky as it involves anaerobic bacteria. I have had nitrate reactors in the past that work in oxygen deficient conditions and they are a pain at best. i only used these nitrate filters with marines as with freshwater it is so much easier to carry out large water changes with low nitrate water.

Have you tested your tap water nitrate level? always interesting...

anyway 110 is niot really that high for most common freshwater species. Stock sensibly and carry out regular partial water changes and it will come down. I have had planted tanks with zero nitrate before so the more plants the better, especially fast growing stem plants at this stage

cheers

January 29, 2011
4:48 pm
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MatsP
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I don't know exactly at what level nitrate "stalls" the cycle. I expect it's quite high. I have no personal evidence that it's actually nitrate, but I have read on other forums about a "cycle that is not completing", and after a water change (which lowers the nitrate, but also clearly affects other water parameters) it "works as expected" again.

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January 30, 2011
9:06 am
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Colin
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Is it not the case that if the filter gets clogged or is faulty that the nitrification cycle can go in reverse and that the nitrate can revert back to nitrite? Simply cleaning filter sponges during a water change may be all that was needed to aerate the media the aerobic bacteria are living on?

January 30, 2011
9:39 am
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MatsP
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In the cases where I've heard of this, no one has suggested that the filter is clogged or to clean the sponges.

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January 30, 2011
12:23 pm
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Eyrie
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Interesting, and thanks. Can always learn something on here.

There's usually a delay in the Nitrospira bacteria colonies growing to a level where they reduce all the nitrIte within 24 hours, so I wonder if the "stall" is simply an expectations gap on the part of the person cycling and the completion of the cycle following the water change just being due to the colonies catching up.

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January 30, 2011
1:10 pm
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Colin
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Is it fair to say that a fish-less cycle is becoming more popular as a technique?

never done it myself

January 31, 2011
6:30 pm
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Eyrie
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There's certainly greater awareness of it now, and I often come across new fishkeepers wanting more information about how to fishless cycle. Makes a pleasant change from when most people starting out were posting because their fish were dying.

Never tried it myself though, having started out with a small tank overstocked with fish (and a lot of mistakes /blush.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":blush:" border="0" alt="blush.gif" /> ) and my subsequent tanks have all been upgrades which I could seed using the existing media.

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January 31, 2011
9:06 pm
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Colin
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yeah same here.... I can set up a brand new tanks and just throw in a mature sponge filter and rarely see any problems

January 31, 2011
10:06 pm
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Bluedave
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I've always fishless cycled, generally using household ammonia.

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