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Old 10th February 2018   #1
Katie
(mermaid)
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Unhappy Never-ending cycle?

Hi everyone,

I desperately need help! I have dangerous water conditions and no idea how to alleviate them. I had to get a new tank and am in the process of cycling it. Yes, my axolotl is in there. I thought it would be ok to cycle with him in there as long as I did daily water changes when levels started to rise. But since then I have discovered that this really isn't the case.

So here is what happened:

-First I had an ammonia spike (like normal at the beginning of a cycle), mostly alleviated and then totally eliminated with water changes, bringing ammonia to 0 ppm;

-Then immediately I had a HUGE HUGE nitrite spike. I had to remove my axolotl from the tank as the test was turning dark purple INSTANTLY after adding the test drops, even though I was doing 50% water changes every day.

-Then I went up to 95% water changes daily, and I added some plants.

-At first upon doing this all my problems seemed solved! -- Everything was at 0 ppm (ammonia, nitrites and nitrates)!

-But then after about 4 days I began having elevated ammonia, nitrites and nitrates (before it was just a nitrite spike, now it is all three).

-I've continued doing daily 95% water changes this entire time (so, altogether doing that for a few weeks now) still with no change.

-All this time I have of course been adding Prime with every water change. Since the nitrite spike I've been doing 5x the normal dose (as it says you can on the bottle during emergencies). And despite this, after 24 hours my levels are high again. I thought Prime was supposed to work for 24-48 hours, so I'm confused.

Here are what my readings have been at for the past week (they fluctuate slightly):
Ammonia = 0.25-0.50 ppm
Nitrite = .50-1.0 ppm
Nitrate = 5.0-10 ppm
pH = steady at 7.4

Before, during the initial nitrite spike, nitrite was reading at 5 ppm (although I think it was higher--that is just the max reading, and it was turning that color instantly). Now it is lower, but still bad, and accompanied by the increased ammonia and nitrates.

I'm really lost on what to do. Could the plants just be dying but not visibly showing it yet? Could that be causing the issues?

I'm worried that this problem will never go away! I am trying so hard to fix it with the daily 95% water changes, adding Prime always, getting the plants, and for the last few days adding Stability (another seachem product that introduces beneficial bacteria). Is this just a part of the cycle? It seems not to me as the ammonia and nitrate levels have risen again, rather than nitrites dropping to zero and nitrates rising as should happen toward the end of a cycle. I don't know what to do!!

In case it makes a difference, here is my tank setup: It's 10 gallons, bare-bottomed, with a few hiding places for him (all safe material, I got them at petco in the aquarium section), hang-off-the-back filter, several java ferns and a moss ball, and I have a nano chiller running that keeps his tank at a steady 67 degrees f. I also have a small air stone thing in there.



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