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Hello, 

I was wondering if anyone can make sense of these stats for my AP system. I thought that when the nitrates spike then the nitrites should start going down. As you can see from my data sheet both my nitrites and nitrates are above the maximum ppm and the ammonia that I've been adding has been getting used up in one day. 

Thanks for any info,

Dan

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Hi Dan:

Nice data collection!  (what no graph?)

You're almost there 

What has happened here is that you are way off the chart with nitrites, you have maxed out the testing kit's ability to test reliably.

I would quit adding ammonia for a few days maybe even a week, so your nitrites can come down and the nitrates will catch up soon too.  If your nitrites don't come down in a week, do a 1/4 water change. 

Add your plants if you haven't yet.

You have nitrates and that's the biggest hurdle in cycling your system.  

Right now you are waiting for the nitrates to grow into a army from a squad. 

When your nitrates get down around zero add ammonia again (only half as much) to see if the army is in place.

The bacteria will get overwhelmed by too much ammonia, same with adjusting the pH, easy does it if you are adding pool acid.

When your pH is right and the ammonia, nitrites and nitrates come down to around zero in 24 hours, quit adding ammonia.  I would let the system breathe for a day or two and then add your fish.

Make sure you degas your top up water for a day or two.  The chlorine will stunt the bacteria growth.

You want to always remember that you are not growing fish and plants; you are growing bacteria. 

The fish and plants are just a byproduct of your system...

All the best,

Jim

Dan, it may have something to do with some of the products you mentioned adding...or it might not, I can't recall what all you exactly you added...At any rate, doesn't seem like anything to worry about. Hold off on ammonia dosing for a few days (or dose real real whimpilly...like about half of what you were dosing up til now). The idea there is to kind of 'starve' the N. sonomas, giving the N. spira (or N. bacter) a chance to 'catch up'...

Thanks Guys,

Great info! I did add plants some time ago and I've been very pleased at how great everything is growing. Especially the lettuce. Here are two photos of the growth rate in just eleven days. The first picture is 7 days after planting and the second picture is 18 days after planting. 

Thanks again,

Dan

The advice just provided is what I wound up doing about a week ago when my nitrates were over the limit of the test kit and nitrates seemed to be stalled after an initial growth and then decline.  I think I had been overdosing ammonia as I was trying to keep it near to that 4 ppm level that is often recommended AND was dosing twice a day which was probably overkill (next tank I will certainly use a lot less and be more patient:-)   As I understand it, the nitrate producing bacteria grow much more slowly than nitrite generators so I suppose lose the battle for real estate in the biofilter.

After backing off ammo for a couple of days the Nitrobactor must have taken off as my nitrates zoomed up, nitrites plunged and now my tank is very very close to being safe for fish!  

BTW: I did email API about a weird deal with my nitrate testing - where the solution would change from deep purple to blue after 10 or 15 minutes.  Their reply was:

you may have further reactions which occur as the solution sits.  The correct reading for the kit will be present at the 5 minute mark.  You can try a dilution to see if the level is just slightly above the highest reading.  I would add 2.5 ml of the vial with bottled water (0 ppm nitrites) then add 2.5 ml with tank water.  This will give a 50% dilution and should allow you to see how much higher the nitrites are then what is resented on the card.

Is there anything that might have locked up nitrates until the addition of heat? Just thinkin' out loud.

I've been sitting at zero nitrates for almost a week now (zero ammonia and nitrites, too, despite my feeding the tank). Maybe warmer water could trigger a nitrate release?


Thanks for the feedback Geoff and Jeffrey, Valuable information for me. 

Thanks!
Jeffrey Ihara said:

Is there anything that might have locked up nitrates until the addition of heat? Just thinkin' out loud.

I've been sitting at zero nitrates for almost a week now (zero ammonia and nitrites, too, despite my feeding the tank). Maybe warmer water could trigger a nitrate release?

Hi Dan,

You could have stopped dosing with ammonia since the first day with that 3ppm reading. At least you know for sure that you have the both types of nitrifying bacteria necessary for successful AP. If you need faster results you can do some water exchanges but wait a couple of days while doing more water test to decide.

Hi Jeffrey,

If you're all zeros means all proper conversion of Ammonia to Nitrite to Nitrate are taking place. Your plants are consuming all of the Nitrates as they come off the shelf which means they're probably growing well, that is unless you've planted a little more than the standard ratios recommend. Your system is fine

If you have any other concerns you can start a post of your own so that we won't run the risk of hijacking Dan's topic.......

Jeffrey Ihara said:

Is there anything that might have locked up nitrates until the addition of heat? Just thinkin' out loud.

I've been sitting at zero nitrates for almost a week now (zero ammonia and nitrites, too, despite my feeding the tank). Maybe warmer water could trigger a nitrate release?

Okay. Sorry, Dan. I was thinking/hoping that your nitrate spike may have related to water temp, and (the hoping part) I'd get a big nitrate bump once my water heats up as well.

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