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I'm in the third week of cycling and getting exciting results, nitrites are 5+ and nitrates are between 100 and 140.  Little confused on ammonia at this stage.  Do you continue to add ammonia or stop and wait for it to go to zero and then the nitrites follow?  Sylvia's book says your waiting for ammonia and nitrites to go to zero before adding in the fish, but then talks about once fish are added you can stop adding ammonia.

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Your system is managing the ammonia. Hence the lack of appreciable amounts. The microbes in your system are converting it to Nitrites and Nitrates. When your plants become more efficient in using the nitrates, there shouldn't be much of that either.  Ammonia is not something you want to see much of as it is detrimental to the fish.

Yeah, you can stop with the ammonia for now, let it fall to zero (nitrites will follow, eventually)...You want to get to where you can add 1 to 2ppm ammonia and within 24 hours have both ammonia and nitrites fall back to zero. When you can do that 3 or 4 days in a row...you're done with cycling and can add fish...

Great,

Thanks for the info.

Vlad,

As a follow-up, after ammonia and nitrite went to zero, I dosed 1 ppm ammonia and waited and waited, it took 4 days to go back to zero, so I'm not cycled yet, but one question, when the ammonia and nitrite go to zero, is it common for the nitrate to go to zero or close to zero as well?  I had expected the nitrate to stay elevated.  I have redosed the the ammonia and will continue to wait till they go to zero within 24 hours as you recommend, but hat the question on the nitrate.

Thankd,
 
Vlad Jovanovic said:

Yeah, you can stop with the ammonia for now, let it fall to zero (nitrites will follow, eventually)...You want to get to where you can add 1 to 2ppm ammonia and within 24 hours have both ammonia and nitrites fall back to zero. When you can do that 3 or 4 days in a row...you're done with cycling and can add fish...

That depends on what you have planted, and how much of it you have planted...but yes, if you haven't planted heavily NO3 is usually on the rise at this point.

Dan Bartlett said:

Vlad,

As a follow-up, after ammonia and nitrite went to zero, I dosed 1 ppm ammonia and waited and waited, it took 4 days to go back to zero, so I'm not cycled yet, but one question, when the ammonia and nitrite go to zero, is it common for the nitrate to go to zero or close to zero as well?  I had expected the nitrate to stay elevated.  I have redosed the the ammonia and will continue to wait till they go to zero within 24 hours as you recommend, but hat the question on the nitrate.

Thankd,
 
Vlad Jovanovic said:

Yeah, you can stop with the ammonia for now, let it fall to zero (nitrites will follow, eventually)...You want to get to where you can add 1 to 2ppm ammonia and within 24 hours have both ammonia and nitrites fall back to zero. When you can do that 3 or 4 days in a row...you're done with cycling and can add fish...

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