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I have been cycling since the 3rd or 4th of Nov. I used ammonia to start and on the 10th we added fish, even though we weren't cycled yet. I stumbled upon a website that stated not to use ammonia with surfactants. We used about 1 to 1-1/2 cups of that ammonia. It suds up pretty BADD when it's shaken a lot.
My Levels today are:
PH: 8.0
Ammonia: 0.0- 0.25 (had peaked at 4.0 ppm)
Nitrite: 5.0+
Nitrate: 40
In the last week I have put in 2 small bottles of "Microbe lift, nightout" we have been battling to keep water above 68•.
Do I need to empty everything and start cycling over.??
Thank you all in advance for your help.

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Thank you Jeff. I removed all water, filled, rinsed, filled, rinsed, wiped all DWC bed walls, and FT walls, and rinsed again. I've had it running for a few days now(since Sat. Night) and it seems to be almost where I left off bacteria wise that is. This afternoons reading where:
PH: 7.8-8.0
Ammonia: 1.0- 1.5
Nitrites: 5.0 +
Nitrates: 15.-20.
I use the intermediate numbers because my colors are in between those colors on the chart. As soon as I filled my system again, I also put 20 gallons from my aquarium in it to give it a kickstart as well as added about a 1/4 cup of ammonia. Ammonia on Sunday evening was 6.0+ today it has dropped considerably. I have uncovered all my beds and DWC because it is raining and I want that lower PH water to help my levels. Out of the hose my water is about 7.8-8.0
As of yesterday evening:
PH: 7.8
Ammonia: 0.0
Nitrites: 5.0
Nitrates: 20.0
I haven't added anything since I started it back up Saturday night. I think tonight I might put a bit of ammonia in it to see if it comes down again in a few days. Not quite sure why my nitrites are so high though.

If I remember correctly the bacteria that converts the nitrites is different from the ones that converts the ammonia. Don't know why you'd have one and not the other.

I am very new to this but, I think I have both types just not enough of the type that converts nitrites to nitrates. Basically my balance is off.

Adding a little more ammonia shouldn't hurt anything.

Mike...that is a normal part of cycling called the "nitrite spike" phase. Adding 'lots' of ammonia will prolong the spike a bit (but your system will get beyond that phase eventually nonetheless).

Cutting the ammonia dosing both in size (amount of ammonia) and frequency gives the nitrates a chance to "catch up" (by somewhat crippling the nitrite producers ammonia source temporarily).

What your going through is not unusual at all. Just this summer I had a client completely crash his system...so he had to re-cycle it. It didn't take as long to fully cycle as it does the first time, but you still go through the nitrite spike phase and all that...just be patient, the nitrates will catch up and your nitrites will fall (you should just starve them a little bit...not too much though...

BTW...Nitrosomonas oxidize ammonia into nitrite, while Nitrospira, and Nitrobacter oxidize the nitrite into nitrate. (Not that knowing their names makes your system work any better...but just in case anyone was wondering :)

Thank you VERY much Vlad & JeffS. I appreciate the names of the bacteria as it kind of helps a little more. I have added 3 cap fulls of "ace brand" ammonia. My Nitrates before I cleaned everything out, had spiked at about 80ppm. I know it will get back up there soon, not too worried if it takes some time as I have the fish in an aquarium until this system cycles itself.

I do have the crawdads in there mainly because the water is warmer in the sumps than it is in small kiddie pools on my lawn.

It doesn't get too cold here in this part of So Cal until christmas, then we will see a few nights around 30-32 F. once thats gone and over with, I will put the fish back in the tank.

Vlad,   I was going through some stuff that came with a pair of aquariums I bought in the spring and came across a bottle of something called CYCLE. Says it "rapidly matures new aquariums"   "Cycle releases massive amounts of beneficial bacteria." "Cycle is an all natural product that will not harm plants, animals, or humans. It is impossible to overdose."

Have you ever heard of this stuff?

Yeah, there are a lot of 'nitrifiers in a bottle' products...and most of them are rubbish, and wont really speed up cycling. 

Jeff S said:

Vlad,   I was going through some stuff that came with a pair of aquariums I bought in the spring and came across a bottle of something called CYCLE. Says it "rapidly matures new aquariums"   "Cycle releases massive amounts of beneficial bacteria." "Cycle is an all natural product that will not harm plants, animals, or humans. It is impossible to overdose."

Have you ever heard of this stuff?

I'm getting ready to start a smaller GB with a mature fish tank so I think I'll run a test with it. I'll let you know how fast it starts cycling.

my most recent reading were 2 days ago with:

PH; 7.8

Amm; 0.0

Nitrites; 5.0+

Nitrates 40

with irregular dosing of ammonia i have found exactly what Vlad had said, my nitrites have fluctuated from 5.0+ down to about 3.0. I have just added a few (14) new lettuce plants in, so I think thats part of my problem. Another issue I believe is my water temp, it has been hovering in the range of 64 - 59 degrees ( F ).

It has rained pretty good here in So. California lately so I took my plastic covers off my GB to allow rain water to fill up my system. (trying to add lower PH water naturally)

 I will get new readings today and possibly add more ammonia.

BTW, it only takes 1-2 days for 2.0 - 3.0 ppm ammonia to disappear due to the Nitrosomonas bacteria.

sunday my readings were:
PH: 7.8
Ammonia: 0.0
Nitrites:2.0
Nitrates: 40.0
Then I added 3/4 cup ammonia.

On Tuesday:
PH:7.8
Ammonia: 8.0
Nitrites: 5.0+
Nitrates: 80.0

Then checked Thursday and found this:

PH:7.8
Ammonia: 0.0
Nitrites: .25
Nitrates: 80. - 160.
I added a splash of Ammonia and will check Saturday to See what it says.
I think I might be getting close to being cycled, correct?

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