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Old 11-12-2012, 06:33 AM   #1
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Default Cycling Tank (for 1 1/2 months) High Nitrite... Water change or no water change?

I posted here before about a fish tank that I am cycling for a school I work at. I got some great advice regarding a stalled tank from you guys so thank you. My levels of ammonia at the time were not even readable, the color was black (without a hint of green) and the ph was 5. I also received some really bad advice from the fish store that I shouldn't have followed. As a first timer, I learned my lesson.

As directed, I did frequent water changes (50%) for about a week. Once I got the ammonia down to 2.0 I stopped the water changes (it has been 5 days since water change). Now my readings with the API kit are as follows:

Ammonia: 2.0 ppm
Nitrite: 5.0 ppm
Nitrate: 20 ppm

Should I do a water change? How much? For how much longer?

Thank you guys SO much. I originally had two goldfish in there but had to move them to a MUCH smaller established tank (it was my only choice, they were about dead). They are doing really well but they need to get moved to this tank, so hopefully a cycled tank is on the horizon. Besides, all the children gripe at the sight of an empty tank. LOl.

Thanks again!

Last edited by dccstl; 11-12-2012 at 06:36 AM.
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Old 11-12-2012, 08:33 AM   #2

Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Johns Creek, GA
Posts: 12,525

2 things,

yes, change more water, at least another 50%. you have to get the nitrite down low enough that the bacteria can grow. It looks like it got caught in the middle of cycling and didn't finish. Then add a snip of the established tank's filter media (even a just few threads) to seed it again

second, pH. I usually tell people to ignore pH, but at 5.0, "cycling" will take forever. What pH is the established tank? that is likely your target (assuming the fish are doing well) Just get it > 7 and the "cycle" will likely come "unstuck". Bump this tank's up with a little bag of crushed coral or dolomite, a 1/4 tsp of baking soda / 10 gallons, a 1/2 dose of seachem "alkaline regulator", whatever you have.
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