This morning, all my ammonia had been consumed by the BB (so I added more to 4ppm). I'm definitely in the Nitrite spike. And they're still sky high off the chart. But now with mixed replies, I'm not sure if I should or shouldn't change the water. And now I'm confused as to whether or not high Nitrite CAN stall a cycle of if it's only ammonia that can. Because now at least, my ammonia is under control.
After yet another test this morning, My ammonia was 0ppm (down from 4) Nitrite: off the chart >5ppm and Nitrate off the chart >160ppm. I then did ANOTHER 80% water change and nitrite and nitrate were still off the chart. I just can't seem to get rid of it. And I really need to know if this is a problem or if it's stalling it. I have done 2 80% PWC and nothing is changing. The ammonia is consumed by the BB and then nitrite and nitrate are sky high. Could somebody that knows for sure and has experience with this please chime in and help because it's really starting to bother me that it won't change.
This is sorta weird. . For now I would stop adding ammonia completely (the bacteria will last months without eating) and just leave the tank for a few days to see if the nitrites will go down.. They are probably extremely high to have such readings.
I don't think the nitrates will harm the bacteria so that should be fine, but if you don't have nitrates in your water, technically by this point your cycle should already by completed.
Well, you're going to have to make a decision on what you believe to be true because I have to respectfully disagree with Olympia. I would do a water change & I would dose ammonia to only 2. I will say your cycle is stalled if your readings do not change at all for several days to a week, IMO, if ammonia is not being converted within 24 hrs.
I'm with Olympia on this one - I've seen similar things happen to others in the past. Try not to get too frustrated, taking a break is probably the best solution right now! I second the recommendation of leaving the tank for a day (or three!!). Don't do any water changes, don't add ammonia, but do continue tracking the levels. As Lympie said - the bacterial colonies you've already established in there won't come to any harm. Your ammonia IS dropping, so the tank is cycled - more or less. Now is time to sit back and watch nature take its course.
Just out of curiosity - do you know your water hardness?
ETA: looks like Shell got her post in while I was typing, lol. I *also* agree with her. Realistically, there is no way that you'll be stocking this tank with enough fish to create 4ppm of ammonia in a day, so there is absolutely no harm in dialing it back a notch. I still suggest that you sit back and watch for a day or three, and see what happens first. I'm betting that your problem will resolve itself quite nicely if you just stand back for a bit. Do continue posting results, please!
I'm not an expert by any means, but I've seen this issue come up a few times before. :)
Thanks for all the responses. Chesh, I don't know my water hardness. I will try and leave it for two or three days and see what happens. My ammonia goes from 4ppm to 0ppm between when I dose again (every morning - so it's gone in less than 24 hours) therefore that part is defnately working. I will quit the ammonia like suggested for a bit and see what happens. Or what would be better, dosing 2ppm or none? I'm just worried about the BB dying.
Here are some interesting results. Just to see if anything is happening I tested my nitrites again. It's been about 8 hours since I dosed 4ppm ammonia this morning (and it is now down to 0ppm and has been for a few hours) but the nitrite even after the BB having ate the ammonia is definitely lower. It would be hard to tell because it's still of the chart but I compared it side by side to this morning's nitrite test and there certainly is not as much. Therefore, I think it is actually working now - just a little slow. I'm going to keep adding the ammonia like I have been seeing as how if it's working I'd rather keep it that way without any more trouble. I will keep everyone posted. :)
This morning my nitrites have finally dropped a whole bunch. They are now sitting at 1-2ppm with ammonia still going to 0ppm. I'm almost done at last, the last of the nitrites should go away within a few days. I guess it was just being a little bit slower than usual. I'm glad to be almost done with cycling, I think the first time was enough let alone doing it again with this tank.
Final Update. Yesterday afternoon I had Ammonia: 0ppm Nitrite: off the charts STILL. I was at the point I quit caring and was just going to keep adding ammonia and see what happened. This morning I go to test expecting to see the deep purple colour of the nitrite test. Instead, I see it neon blue which means 0ppm! Finally, it's done! I guess it just had to take it's time and be slow. Thanks everyone for their help and hopefully others can benefit from this thread if theirs is going slowly as well.