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Old 12-26-2011, 06:37 AM   #1 
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Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Brisbane, Australia
Confusing ammonia, help?

I have a 5 gallon, filtered tank that I'm attempting to cycle.

I tested the water tonight, and freaked because it had suddenly jumped to 0.5ppm! I did a 50% water change, then tested again... and the reading it the same? I'm not really sure what to make of this. :s It is possible? I threw in a little more Prime just in case, to detoxify the ammonia if it is present, but I'm still terribly confused. Help?

I've been trying to cycle this tank for over a month now, but I keep having ammonia readings that are <0.5ppm, this is the largest spike so far. Should I do another change tomorrow? (I didn't want to to another tonight, I figured that might stress my fish out a bit too much.)
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Old 12-26-2011, 11:17 AM   #2 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: USA
Since you are using Prime-most likely you are seeing ammonium-since the test product can't tell the difference.....what are the other numbers for-nitrite, nitrate and pH for the tank and your source water

Are you doing a fish-in or fishless cycle...the tank has been running for 30 days more or less...correct....
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Old 12-26-2011, 12:32 PM   #3 
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OFL poses some good questions. Sometimes we forget that during this initial cycling phase what's happening is that we're growing a culture of nitrifying bacteria. These bacteria are fragile and multiply slowly. They can die or be killed off by some of the chemicals we use. Eventually, there is a balance between the quantity of these bacteria and the food available to them, primarily from fish waste. Anytime there is a change to the food available (more or fewer fish, extra fish food, etc.), the bacteria have to die off or multiply to accommodate the change. Understanding this helps give us the patience to get through this initial cycle. Testing regularly and frequent water changes (which you're doing) are the best tools to accelerate the process.
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