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Old 04-23-2013, 02:10 PM   #1 
Deanna01's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2013
Cycling: Ammonia 0, Nitrite .25, Nitrate 5

Hi. I'm in the midst of cycling my tank, and I had to do several large water changes in a row because my nitrite was scarily high (5 ppm). At the time, my nitrates were about 40. I tested this morning (two days since the last 25% water change and addition of Prime), and my ammonia is at 0, nitrites at .25, and nitrates at 5.

I don't know what to do now. Is my cycle done? Should I do a water change or leave it alone? I've read the stickies, but I don't know what to do with this combination. I think I should do a 25% water change again, but the people at PetCo told me I'm killing my cycle and that I should leave it alone, so I'd like to verify.

Last edited by Deanna01; 04-23-2013 at 02:17 PM.
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Old 04-23-2013, 02:12 PM   #2 
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Location: Goleta, California
I'm new to tank cycling myself. But since your nitrites are fairly low, I wouldn't do any more water changes and wait for it to go down to zero.
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Old 04-23-2013, 02:15 PM   #3 
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Thank you! I was just researching more and wonder if my nitrates dropped so much partly because I vacuumed the gravel thoroughly when I did the water changes. I didn't realize that wasn't (apparently) necessarily needed.
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Old 04-23-2013, 02:41 PM   #4 
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Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Mojave Desert, California
A low concentration of ammonia and nitrites during cycling are fine (since cycling is a relatively short term process). In fact it helps to speed up the cycling process. Of course, this is a contentious issue on here since some people are very conservative with ammonia/nitrite levels (prefering to have zero in the tank at all times), and some people are a bit more relaxed about it.

The guy from Petco is partially correct. Constantly changing the water to try and maintain zero levels of nitrite and ammonia all the time is only making for a lot of work for you! And by doing so, it will take much longer to cycle your tank. Personally (and you'll get a lot of differing opinions here), I'd change the water as often as necessary to keep ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates below 0.5 ppm, 1ppm, and 40 ppm while cycling. After the cycle completes, ammonia and nitrites should always stay at zero (or very close to zero), and you should try and keep your nitrates below 40 ppm if possible. I've found that 25-30% water changes are generally very safe for the good bacteria. Anything larger than that, and you risk killing off large amounts of good bacteria... it's hit or miss.

Last edited by ryancalif; 04-23-2013 at 02:48 PM.
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Old 04-23-2013, 02:47 PM   #5 
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Thank you, Ryan! I appreciate the help!
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Old 04-23-2013, 05:01 PM   #6 
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Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: south central PA
I would leave it at .25. When it starts getting to .50 change the water. I did many many many large water changes durning my nitrite part of my cycle.
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