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Old 11-20-2012, 12:34 AM   #1 
Bowser416
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Smile Nitrogen Cycle Help

Hi guys, so I've been preparing a tank for a future betta (hopefully by xmas) and I was doing the Nitrogen cycle. I started it expecting to buy a master test kit really soon after, but I just got it a couple days ago. Well, yesterday the readings were:
pH: 7.8
Ammonia: 0.5-1 ppm (can't tell 100%)
Nitrite: 0 ppm
Nitrate: 5.0 ppm
and today the readings were as followed:
pH: 7.8
Ammonia: 0.5-1 ppm
Nitrite: 0 ppm
Nitrate: 20 ppm (possibly 40)
The guide says wait for Ammonia and Nitrites to drop to zero before doing a 75% water change, but it seems Nitrates are growing really fast. Should I wait for that 0 ppm Ammonia reading despite the high Nitrates? Also how do I get the pH down to a more neutral level? "pH down" products kinda make me uneasy because I've never used one.
Its a 5 gallon tank, overhead filter, gravel, java moss, and a ramshorn snail that hitched a ride on the moss. Any help is appreciated!
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Old 11-20-2012, 06:39 AM   #2 
shellieca
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Because you have a snail I wouldn't let the ammonia go above .25, I'd do a 50% water change to bring down the ammo. The water change will bring down the nitrates as well. How long have you had the tank set up? When cycling you should see an ammonia spike then nitrites spike then nitrates will spike. Once that's done hopefully your ammo & nitrites will zero out & nitrates will level out. Your Ph is fine there is no need to try to adjust it. Adjusting your Ph will typically cause big fluctuations which is more harmful to fish & a Betta will adjust to that Ph.
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Old 11-21-2012, 03:13 AM   #3 
Bowser416
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Originally Posted by shellieca View Post
Because you have a snail I wouldn't let the ammonia go above .25, I'd do a 50% water change to bring down the ammo. The water change will bring down the nitrates as well. How long have you had the tank set up? When cycling you should see an ammonia spike then nitrites spike then nitrates will spike. Once that's done hopefully your ammo & nitrites will zero out & nitrates will level out. Your Ph is fine there is no need to try to adjust it. Adjusting your Ph will typically cause big fluctuations which is more harmful to fish & a Betta will adjust to that Ph.
Hi Shellieca, thanks for the help!
The tank's had water for about 2 months, but I didnt place the shrimp for the ammonia until about 3 weeks ago. I didnt get the test kit until a couple of days ago so I didnt get to see the spikes, but since it appears Nitrates are spiking now, I could only assume Nitrites and Ammonia already went through theirs. I did the 50% water change and the readings afterwards were:
pH: 7.8
Ammonia: 0.25 ppm
Nitrites: 0 ppm
Nitrates: 20 ppm (possibly 40)
Should I leave the shrimp in the tank?
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Old 11-21-2012, 03:34 AM   #4 
Kevron56
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I agree with Shellieca, also I know exactly what u mean when u can't distinguish between the greens on the ammonia test kit, lol! I can only assume you're using the API Test Kit. If you try to keep the Ammo below 0.25 then as long as the color is not really yellow, do a partial water change to bring it back down. Have u considered relocating the snail so it won't have go through the stress that comes with cycling a tank?
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Old 11-21-2012, 04:03 AM   #5 
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Yea I have the API master test kit and it is lol. I was just thinking that, Ill probably keep him in a vase meanwhile (I dont have anymore tanks). I just hope the cycling doesnt take too long
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Old 11-21-2012, 06:08 AM   #6 
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Are you doing a fish LESS cycle? If so I misunderstood & you'll need the ammonia to get up to 4 if possible so leave the shrimp in. What I said before about keeping the ammonia below .25 was because I thought you were doing a fish IN cycle.
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Old 11-21-2012, 11:42 AM   #7 
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Originally Posted by shellieca View Post
Are you doing a fish LESS cycle? If so I misunderstood & you'll need the ammonia to get up to 4 if possible so leave the shrimp in. What I said before about keeping the ammonia below .25 was because I thought you were doing a fish IN cycle.
+1, I have found the best way I was able to distinguish between the various shades of greens and oranges is by placing the tube on the counter upright in a well lit area and holding the color chart about a 1/2" behind it. Sometimes it helps to hold the chart upside down so u can't read the numbers which may result in a skewed color decision. I have also used the process of elimination method... "It's not that shade.....it's not that shade either.... Therefore it's gotta b THAT shade!" In eegards to the nitrite levels... If it ain't light blue, there's still nitrite.

You may also want to test your tap so u have a reading on that. Sometimes there is trace amount of ammonia right from the start!
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Old 11-21-2012, 01:20 PM   #8 
Bowser416
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Originally Posted by shellieca View Post
Are you doing a fish LESS cycle? If so I misunderstood & you'll need the ammonia to get up to 4 if possible so leave the shrimp in. What I said before about keeping the ammonia below .25 was because I thought you were doing a fish IN cycle.
Yeah, it's fishless. I moved the snail to a vase and kept the shrimp in the tank, Ill test again once I get home. Would you recommend just switching to pure ammonia so I could control its levels easier? How long should I keep it at 4 ppm?
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Old 11-21-2012, 01:27 PM   #9 
Bowser416
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Originally Posted by Kevron56 View Post
+1, I have found the best way I was able to distinguish between the various shades of greens and oranges is by placing the tube on the counter upright in a well lit area and holding the color chart about a 1/2" behind it. Sometimes it helps to hold the chart upside down so u can't read the numbers which may result in a skewed color decision. I have also used the process of elimination method... "It's not that shade.....it's not that shade either.... Therefore it's gotta b THAT shade!" In eegards to the nitrite levels... If it ain't light blue, there's still nitrite.

You may also want to test your tap so u have a reading on that. Sometimes there is trace amount of ammonia right from the start!
Sweet, Ill try that, though Im hesitant to keep using tap water since I think its pretty hard. I spilled a little on my mini fridge and it left a huge stain like a calcium deposit or something. Our water's from a well so that's probably why.
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Old 11-21-2012, 01:32 PM   #10 
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If you can get pure ammonia YES I recommend it. You dose it to 4, wait 24 hrs test your water, if down to one re-dose to 4. When it hits 0 in a 24 hr period, re-dose to 4 if it does it again & your nitrites have spiked & are now 0 you should be cycled. You'll also see your nitrates spike up so you'll have to do a big water change or 2 before you add fish.
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