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The ammonia level 2ppm doesn't seem to be going down.  Nitrites are zero but nitrate level is 80 to 160 ppm.  The ammonia level actually increased when I added ph down after checking ph and found it 8.5ppm.  Am I just being impatient.  Also, has anyone raised bluegills?  I checked and they tolerate a wide variation in water temperature.  Here in Michigan I will need to heat in winter but not as warm as tilapia.

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Comment by TCLynx on March 10, 2013 at 6:19pm

N03 is Nitrate, I've never had bacteria stall out due to high Nitrates.

NH3 on the other hand Ammonia, if too high can stall out some of the bacteria so if your ammonia level gets way high then a water change may be needed to get the cycling process back under away.

Comment by Steve Winchell on March 9, 2013 at 9:50pm

I have found if N03 levels rise to high your bacteria will stal out try water change that should help

Comment by TCLynx on June 28, 2011 at 6:25pm

Ok sounds like you just needed a little more patience.  What are your nitrite levels looking like now?


I'm now raising bluegill but it is only my first season with them so I can't tell you much yet.  Having grown up in Michigan we caught a lot of bluegill when fishing up there.  Good eating as long as you don't mind cleaning small fish.

Comment by Glenn Dennis on June 28, 2011 at 6:07pm

I  have been cycling for about 3 weeks.  I initially add some ammonia waited a day and checked the level with API test kit.  It was .25ppm so I added more and got it up to 2pmm.  I have also added  bacteria in the mean time, two doses a week apart.  I just checked the level again and it is down to .5ppm this afternoon.  The tank is fishless and plantless, however I am preparing plants this evening to place in tomorrow but they are seedlings.

Comment by TCLynx on June 27, 2011 at 8:04pm

When did you start the fishless cycling?

Check the ingredients on the pH down since some hydroponic pH down products will really add way too much ammonia to a system.

What test kit are you using?

Have patience it can take a while for the cycling to happen.

Comment by Kobus Jooste on June 27, 2011 at 6:55pm
Your post does not supply information around the amount of time that you have been busy cycling, or if you have added ammonia recently.  Thus here are some thoughts - first, by reigning in the pH you have potentially reduced your bacterial activity levels as they would hae preferred the alkaline conditions and will be less effective at a neutral pH (but it is still good - that compromise pH we are looking for).  If you have a slow trickle of ammonia coming from somewhere, the pH shift alone could give you a small spike in ammonia reading as the bacterial population will be less effective than before the adjustment.  If you adjusted over a wide range in a short period of time, you could also have surpressed the bacteria quite a bit.  I assume that you have nothing like dead plant or fish material in the system that could gradually be giving off ammonia, and that your system is totally aerobic, thus not allowing the complete nitrogen cycle potential of breaking complex nitrogen bonds back down to ammonia again.  If your water source is not high in ammonia, I'll be a little puzzled as to why ammonia readings remain.  The 2 ppm presence suggests some kind of source trickling in (barring sampling issues).  Did you go through your nitrite spike? I have not read past post yet thus I'm not sure how far down the cycling path you have gone.  The most obvious suggestion I would have offered is that somewhere you have small ammonia introductions and not enough plants to deal with the nitrates yet.  Do you have algae in there?  Algal growth can sometimes also mess with readings.  They bloom and die off at a relatively constant rate related to nutrient availability though, and 100 ppm + nitrates would give you very green water in no time.

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