high nitrates in tank- can't cycle!

CourtneyLeigh97

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So I've been trying to do a fishless cycle for about 3 weeks now. My tank is about 120/140 litres and I've been struggling to add the dr tims ammonia to get the ammonia to 4ppm without the nitrates rocketing past 80 (I've come to realise I have nitrates sitting at around 20 straight from the tap) I did a 40-60 change using ro and treated tap water, tested to see the parameters and added 30 drops as seen below

11/9
Ammonia: 0
Nitrite: 0.5
Nitrate: 5
Ph: 7.5-8
+30 ammonia

12/6
+100 drop
Ammonia; 2
Nitrite: 8
Nitrate: 80?
Ph: 7-7.5

the second day I added another 100 as my tank is around 120/140 litres and then the nitrates are sky high again.. what process do I need to take from here? do I need to do a water change with ro? if so how much? and then from there how much ammonia should I add? it's getting to the point where I'm at a loss or what to do now and I'm not sure where to go from here.. any help would be greatly appreciated.
 

Calgarycoppers

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You are doing awesome and are getting a strong cycle if your nitrates are converting quickly so be patient!!!! You are SOOOOOOO close.

Dont stress about nitrAte until it is over 160ppm then do a 50-75% water change to bring down and not stall your cycle.
The NitrIte at 8 is a bit concerning for stalling a cycle.

Let it runs its course today.

Test after 24 hours

First if NitrAtes are over 160ppm - you may need a 50-75% water change
Second if NitrItes are off the chart - again the 50-75% water change
Third Ammonia - fingers crossed for 0 if not need to dose to 4ppm AFTER water change.

RO water - If you plan to use all or partial RO when you have your lotl in the tank you will need to add Seachem Equilibrium which remineralizes it in balance and is actually almost identical to Holtfreters which is a huge bonus for preventive health of your lotl.

So I've been trying to do a fishless cycle for about 3 weeks now. My tank is about 120/140 litres and I've been struggling to add the dr tims ammonia to get the ammonia to 4ppm without the nitrates rocketing past 80 (I've come to realise I have nitrates sitting at around 20 straight from the tap) I did a 40-60 change using ro and treated tap water, tested to see the parameters and added 30 drops as seen below

11/9
Ammonia: 0
Nitrite: 0.5
Nitrate: 5
Ph: 7.5-8
+30 ammonia

12/6
+100 drop
Ammonia; 2
Nitrite: 8
Nitrate: 80?
Ph: 7-7.5

the second day I added another 100 as my tank is around 120/140 litres and then the nitrates are sky high again.. what process do I need to take from here? do I need to do a water change with ro? if so how much? and then from there how much ammonia should I add? it's getting to the point where I'm at a loss or what to do now and I'm not sure where to go from here.. any help would be greatly appreciated.
 

CourtneyLeigh97

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Thank you so much!! I think I need to change my test kit, it only does up to 80 so I'm not sure it it's sitting at 80 or much higher, someone suggested the API master test kit so I may buy that alongside the seachem! I'm pretty new to the cycling, so once I reach 4ppm how long do I keep it like that? Will nitrite spike all the way up and gradually come down, just keep an eye on nitrate? Sorry I've been back and forth with the parameters and it's starting to make my head feel like mush lol
 

Binditheaxolotl

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Thank you so much!! I think I need to change my test kit, it only does up to 80 so I'm not sure it it's sitting at 80 or much higher, someone suggested the API master test kit so I may buy that alongside the seachem! I'm pretty new to the cycling, so once I reach 4ppm how long do I keep it like that? Will nitrite spike all the way up and gradually come down, just keep an eye on nitrate? Sorry I've been back and forth with the parameters and it's starting to make my head feel like mush lol
I wouldn’t recommend doing a 60-75% water change, that will crash the amazing cycle you have going. I would do 20% daily if the nitrates sky rocket, much safer for your cycle and actually has been known to help it.
 

CourtneyLeigh97

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Ok brilliant, so keep dosing ammonia to get that sitting at 4ppm and 20% water changes.. when do I stop dosing? Once nitrite has gone all the way up then starts dropping or? Sorry it's hard for me to get my head around 😅
 

Binditheaxolotl

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Ok brilliant, so keep dosing ammonia to get that sitting at 4ppm and 20% water changes.. when do I stop dosing? Once nitrite has gone all the way up then starts dropping or? Sorry it's hard for me to get my head around 😅
You can stop dosing once you see it’s all cleared away within 24 or 48 hours, which means it’s cycled. That’s okay!! I just got my tank cycled a month ago😂
 

CourtneyLeigh97

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Oh ok thank you so once nitrite and nitrate spike then go right down? Do I need to do a big water change at the end? double checking because I feel like this tank has been trying to run for ages and it just all easily confused me, I bet you were so relieved that day had finally come! 😅
 

hunterwho

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Hi! Your ammonia and nitrite will spike; your nitrate will accumulate gradually. I'd recommend doing enough of a water change to get the nitrates to levels that are safe for axolotls to live in, but that's somewhat subjective, and will depend on your individual situation. You're doing great, and from those parameters you're almost done! Keep going, you got this :)
 

CourtneyLeigh97

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Ok brilliant thank you! I've purchase the api water test kit as I don't believe mine was very accurate with nitrate as my old kit only went to 80, these are my readings today:
Ammonia: 0

Nitrite: 5
Nitrate: 5
Ph: 7.6
High range ph: 7.4
60 drops ammonia added
Will proceed with ammonia and go from there!
 

Calgarycoppers

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What does 60 drops put you at for Ammonia?
You really want to get to 4ppm

Are you adding a nitrifying bacteria supplement to help ?

You are getting really close - don't give up!!!!

Just make sure you shake the SH*T out of the reagent bottles before doing the tests and follow the nitrate instructions very clearly it does affect the results. I learned the hard way when I started out.

Ok brilliant thank you! I've purchase the api water test kit as I don't believe mine was very accurate with nitrate as my old kit only went to 80, these are my readings today:
Ammonia: 0

Nitrite: 5
Nitrate: 5
Ph: 7.6
High range ph: 7.4
60 drops ammonia added
Will proceed with ammonia and go from there!
 
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