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High ammonia, no nitrates or nitrites

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  • High ammonia, no nitrates or nitrites

    Hi!
    I have been cycling my saltwater tank since January 15 using the dead shrimp method. During all of that time I have been using stability. I have never had any nitrates or nitrites. There is no live rock in the tank. The ammonia was at 2, now it is at 8. Why am I not getting to the next stage? I have tried water changes, using prime. PH keeps dropping to 7.8
    Thanks!

  • #2
    Thanks for the post and we are sorry that your tank is not cycling. Can you please provide a bit more information regarding your tank? What type of filtration do you have on it? Do you have any biological media in the filter? If so, what type and how much? How often are you performing water changes? Are you still adding the dead shrimp? Have you been adding Prime throughout the cycle, not just at water changes? Sorry for all of the questions, but if you can provide more info, we will be happy to assist further!

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    • #3
      Sorry for not including that information in the first place!
      It is an aqua one 620 tank, 90litres. It has the standard filter which contains ceramic noodles, carbon and black sponge. There is also another aqua one filter in there. There is no live rock in the tank, just normal decorations. I havr no substrate either as I am hoping to do bare bottom. Water changes have been irregular... once a week I was doing 70%, and I did a couple of 50% changes back to back. Otherwise I have been doing 10 to 30% every 2nd day.
      I have been adding prime to all water changes and every day.
      Also I did read on another post here to not add stability every day as the bacteria will grow in large quantities and then die due to competition for food source...i have been adding it every day practically (probably only missed a day here or there) so that could be an issue.
      I had the dead shrimp in there for about 6 weeks but it's out now..
      Let me know if you have any other questions! Thankyou!

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      • #4
        Thanks for the additional info! That is what we needed!

        I think all of the water changes may have slowed down the cycling process. I would recommend holding off on water changes for at least a week. Add Prime every 24-48 hours and discontinue the use of Stability for now. You need to let the tank settle in and allow the bacteria to become established inside the filter. The more water changes you do, the more it becomes disturbed. Cycling can take a lot of patience because it doesn't always happen as fast as we'd like, however, if we let it completely cycle before we add a ton of fish, it pays off in the long run, I promise!!

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        • #5
          I did read somewhere that such high ammonia will kill the bacteria hence why I've been doing more water changes than I usually would. I havent added stability for a few days now or done any water changes.

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          • #6
            That is a good start, if you can hold off on the water changes and add Prime as suggested above instead, this will allow the bacteria time to settle and begin multiplying to match the organic load (which is made up of the combo of ammonia, nitrite & nitrate levels at this point).

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            • #7
              So I had a major accident last night... the tank cracked so I had to start up a new tank. I probably only saved about 10 litres of water from the old tank, however transferred all the decorations, used some of the filter media and added substrate. The ammonia was still at 2 (in the new tank) so thankfully there is some there. I have added more stability and prime and will leave it at that as I am guessing the cycle will pretty much have started from nothing

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              • #8
                Ammonia is back up to 4, still no trace of nitrites or nitrates...

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                • #9
                  I am very sorry to hear of your tank debacle! You will have to re-start the cycle, but hopefully you were able to sustain some bacteria from the decor and filter media. If ammonia is at 4ppm, I would do a 4x dosage of Prime to detoxify and add more Stability at this time.

                  I hope this helps!

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                  • #10
                    Woo hoo! I finally have nitrites and nitrates! Ammonia is 4, nitrites either 2 or 4, and nitrates are about 20! Yay!

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                    • #11
                      Great news! I hope that things continue to progress for you :)

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                      • #12
                        Thankyou! Very slow going (which I knew it would be) so it's nice to finally see some different colours on the test kit!

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                        • #13
                          It is always a good sight to see! :)

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