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Ammonia-0 ppm, nitrites 5 or more ppm, nitrates a solid 5 ppm

Last few days ammonia is getting gobbled up almost every day. Nitrites are high. Does it take some time once the nitrates appear for the nitrites to disappear?

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Hi Gregory,

If your temps are high it won't be long before you see the system cycled. With ideal temps it can take as little as one day.

Thank you for the encouraging news Harold! The last 3 days the water temps were 70,72 & 73F. How do people raise cooler water fish ( trout, perch) if one needs temps in the 70's to have your bio-filter healthy?

Hi Gregory,


The temperature for optimum growth of nitrifying bacteria is between 77-86° F (25-30° C).

Growth rate is decreased by 50% at 64° F (18° C).

Growth rate is decreased by 75% at 46-50° F.

No activity will occur at 39° F (4° C)

Nitrifying bacteria will die at 32° F (0° C).

Nitrifying bacteria will die at 120° F (49° C)

Nitrobacter is less tolerant of low temperatures than Nitrosomonas. In cold water systems, care must be taken to monitor the accumulation of nitrites.

So Gregory you can see that the optimal conditions for building bacteria(cycling) is 70F-90F. However bacteria will survive above 40F. This means you can cycle fairly quickly in the warmer months, build the bacterial population and keep them as a slightly declining population over the colder months. The fish themselves feed less in colder temps, so you'll require less bacteria for converting Nitrogen, and as it warms and the bacteria expand again the fish can feed more. This way you can work with the AP over the seasons successfully.

Great points and information Harold for a beginner such as I. Again, Thanks a bunch!

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