Jump to content

How to do water change to lower nitrates during cycle?


Bigdog99
 Share

Recommended Posts

I am on day 20 or 21 I think and nitrite is 3 or so ppm.(hard to tell between 2 and 5 ppm on API master kit reading) and ammonia is going down and today it is 0.25 ppm  and going down.ph is fine at 7.5 ppm too. Nitrates are 90 ppm!! Is this ok?this is a freshwater tank and it is a 10 gallon.Do I wait too lower nitrates with a water change and how doi do this? How big of a change do I do?50%? And when nitrite and ammonia go down to 0 ppm I add more ammonia to 2? Or less????? First time fishless cycling and I thought It would be like 7 days for the cycle to be done but NO!!!!lol because I used dr Tim’s one and only thinking that it would be quick but I know NOW! What conditioner is best for this too? Prime,stress coat,topfinn conditioner?All advice is welcome!! Please help.😁

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 1/20/2024 at 7:16 AM, Bigdog99 said:

I am on day 20 or 21 I think and nitrite is 3 or so ppm.(hard to tell between 2 and 5 ppm on API master kit reading) and ammonia is going down and today it is 0.25 ppm  and going down.ph is fine at 7.5 ppm too. Nitrates are 90 ppm!! Is this ok?

Yes this is very normal.

Basically it's an indication that you're cycling the tank, not fully cycled, but haven't done water changes. You should start with an immediate big water change to drop the nitrates way down, 75-90% is normal in this cass as a one time large water change, followed by daily 30-50% water changes.

Even with the tann cycling, this is normal practice for what is known as a fish in cycle. If you see nitrite above a certain level it would trigger water changes. Ammonia over a certain level would be the same reason. However, if you don't have fish in there, then a lot of people just let nitrates build and do so after they see 0 ammonia and/or 0 nitrite. 

On 1/20/2024 at 7:16 AM, Bigdog99 said:

First time fishless cycling and I thought It would be like 7 days for the cycle to be done but NO!!!!lol because I used dr Tim’s one and only thinking that it would be quick but I know NOW! What conditioner is best for this too? Prime,stress coat,topfinn conditioner?All advice is welcome!! Please help.

Basically any of them work. Prime is fine. Stress coat is fine. Topfin is fine. Etc. you just pick one and use it after water changes.

When you say Dr. Tim's, I assume you mean ammonia source?

Everything you're doing is perfectly correct, just takes time. (And sometimes water changes)

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 1/20/2024 at 10:23 AM, nabokovfan87 said:

Yes this is very normal.

Basically it's an indication that you're cycling the tank, not fully cycled, but haven't done water changes. You should start with an immediate big water change to drop the nitrates way down, 75-90% is normal in this cass as a one time large water change, followed by daily 30-50% water changes.

Even with the tann cycling, this is normal practice for what is known as a fish in cycle. If you see nitrite above a certain level it would trigger water changes. Ammonia over a certain level would be the same reason. However, if you don't have fish in there, then a lot of people just let nitrates build and do so after they see 0 ammonia and/or 0 nitrite. 

Basically any of them work. Prime is fine. Stress coat is fine. Topfin is fine. Etc. you just pick one and use it after water changes.

When you say Dr. Tim's, I assume you mean ammonia source?

Everything you're doing is perfectly correct, just takes time. (And sometimes water changes)

What I mean by Dr Tim’s is his one and only live Beneficial bacteria. And I do have his ammonia

So do do water change? Or wait? I have no fish in here so….

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 1/20/2024 at 7:26 AM, Bigdog99 said:

What I mean by Dr Tim’s is his one and only live Beneficial bacteria. And I do have his ammonia

So do do water change? Or wait? I have no fish in here so….

Ok. Makes sense.

So yep, do a big water change, then add in your dose of bacteria for the day after you add in the dechlorinator and bacteria, wait a minimum of 24 hours before the next water change.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ohhhh so u add bacteria after the water change???

On 1/20/2024 at 10:29 AM, nabokovfan87 said:

Ok. Makes sense.

So yep, do a big water change, then add in your dose of bacteria for the day after you add in the dechlorinator and bacteria, wait a minimum of 24 hours before the next water change.

 

I do a 50 to 80% change right @nabokovfan87? Want to get this right

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 1/20/2024 at 7:31 AM, Bigdog99 said:

I do a 50 to 80% change right @nabokovfan87? Want to get this right

Correct. This is lowering your nitrate levels. So basic math. If it's at 90 and you want it at say.... 50, then you do a 45% water change. If you want it at 20ppm then you would do 75% or more.

On 1/20/2024 at 7:31 AM, Bigdog99 said:

Ohhhh so u add bacteria after the water change???

Correct, after the water change, after dechlorinator.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

So step 1: take a lot of water out by using gravel at the top of water line 2: add new clean tap water with prime and benaficial bacteria 3: wait 24 hours and do another one????????is this right?

Ok totally understand now I will do it now! Thanks for ALL the help!!

Soooo helpful thanks 

Edited by Bigdog99
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I just rielized 70% water change!!!!???do I do that or just a 50% I mean wow that is a lot. Wouldnt that start cycle over!!!!??? I have worked SO hard and have spend 200+ $ on this and just clarifying that I do this I mean my goodness do I turn off filter?

Soooo confused all the sudden!!!!

Please help

How many water changes between days???

Just making sure…

Do I leave filter on?!

Edited by Bigdog99
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 1/20/2024 at 10:35 AM, nabokovfan87 said:

Correct. This is lowering your nitrate levels. So basic math. If it's at 90 and you want it at say.... 50, then you do a 45% water change. If you want it at 20ppm then you would do 75% or more.

Correct, after the water change, after dechlorinator.

75% is what I would need to do right? Or does lower nitrates mean slower cycles or stopped cycles

I might start with a 25% change and see what happens

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You and do water changes or not. if you have fish in definitely do one. keeping your nitrates under 50 for planted tanks, under 20 for no plants. The beneficial bacteria don't actually care about your nitrate levels. But getting in a habit of seeing higher nitrates and changing water is good. your bacteria don't inhabit the water.  they live on your tank's sides, filter material, plants. So, water changes won't kill your cycle. Then water add dechlorinator and Dr Tims after. chlorine will kill you're cycle

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I see.

On 1/20/2024 at 11:14 AM, Tony s said:

You and do water changes or not. if you have fish in definitely do one. keeping your nitrates under 50 for planted tanks, under 20 for no plants. The beneficial bacteria don't actually care about your nitrate levels. But getting in a habit of seeing higher nitrates and changing water is good. your bacteria don't inhabit the water.  they live on your tank's sides, filter material, plants. So, water changes won't kill your cycle. Then water add dechlorinator and Dr Tims after. chlorine will kill you're cycle

I don’t have fish and I think I might wait for a couple of days to wait for nitrit to go down to 0 

When ammonia and nitrite are 0 do I add more ammonia and how much?

I think I won’t do a water change until cycle is completed and do a big one

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 1/20/2024 at 11:16 AM, Bigdog99 said:

I see.

I don’t have fish and I think I might wait for a couple of days to wait for nitrit to go down to 0 

When ammonia and nitrite are 0 do I add more ammonia and how much?

I think I won’t do a water change until cycle is completed and do a big one

Most bottles say to take it up to 2 again and wait for it to clear again

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 1/20/2024 at 7:50 AM, Bigdog99 said:

75% is what I would need to do right? Or does lower nitrates mean slower cycles or stopped cycles

I might start with a 25% change and see what happens

You can change anywhere up to 90% of the water and everything would be fine. This doesn't affect your cycle, you're just removing the nitrate, and lowering levels of the ammonia and nitrite.

On 1/20/2024 at 8:16 AM, Bigdog99 said:

When ammonia and nitrite are 0 do I add more ammonia and how much?

It sort of depends. Basically you would follow the directions on the bottle. The other method is to "feed the tank" just fish food every few days untill you add some fish.

Once it's cycled, you shouldn't have ammonia. It should be converted to nitrate pretty quickly.

On 1/20/2024 at 8:16 AM, Bigdog99 said:

I think I won’t do a water change until cycle is completed and do a big one

You're going to be doing multiple water changes. Not just one. Whether it's weekly.or however you end up maintaining the tank. You'd want to start replicating that process at least.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 1/20/2024 at 11:59 AM, Tony s said:

Most bottles say to take it up to 2 again and wait for it to clear again

Then when that is back down to zero, you can slowly add your fish. you have a basic cycle with a small bacteria colony. adding too many fish will overwhelm them. and cause ammonia spikes. Take your time, add slowly. Within a month or so you should be able to get what you want in. You may even change your mind about what you want. 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank u everybody I might do a water change today and next weeek. The app wouldnt let me react to your comments because I have done it to much😂😂😂

On 1/20/2024 at 12:10 PM, Tony s said:

Then when that is back down to zero, you can slowly add your fish. you have a basic cycle with a small bacteria colony. adding too many fish will overwhelm them. and cause ammonia spikes. Take your time, add slowly. Within a month or so you should be able to get what you want in. You may even change your mind about what you want. 

 

On 1/20/2024 at 12:00 PM, nabokovfan87 said:

You can change anywhere up to 90% of the water and everything would be fine. This doesn't affect your cycle, you're just removing the nitrate, and lowering levels of the ammonia and nitrite.

It sort of depends. Basically you would follow the directions on the bottle. The other method is to "feed the tank" just fish food every few days untill you add some fish.

Once it's cycled, you shouldn't have ammonia. It should be converted to nitrate pretty quickly.

You're going to be doing multiple water changes. Not just one. Whether it's weekly.or however you end up maintaining the tank. You'd want to start replicating that process at least.

@nabokovfan87 I meant do one big one and then do weekly water changes. Sorry if I confused u

Edited by Bigdog99
Link to comment
Share on other sites

For a little clarification, most beneficial bacteria in cycled tanks is on surfaces (glass, sand, rock, wood, plants, as well as filter media), and only a negligible amount in the water.  Plenty of bb exist on surfaces to do 100% water changes.

For an example, in salt water with live rock, ppl can remove all sand and water when changing sand bed (I've done it), refill with water and fish, and there is no restart of the cycle.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 1/20/2024 at 9:24 AM, Bigdog99 said:

@nabokovfan87 I meant do one big one and then do weekly water changes. Sorry if I confused u

yes...  You would want to do one time waterchange of large volume to drop the high parameters back towards normal.  Then you would get into normal maintenance routine so that you can maintain the parameter levels that are acceptable.  You can do so with daily water changes if you need to, if you see things still spiking high levels.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The only issue with doing a water change in your situation would be lowering the amount of food for the bacteria and possibly retarding the growth of those bacteria (taking away nitrite before the colony has grown to the "right" size, for example).  That said, I don't think that's probably too big of a concern for you.  Either change water or don't.  There's nothing to be harmed by the nitrates, so there's no necessity at this point.  

The amount of water to change, in this circumstance, is also pretty unimportant.  

Your colonies exist, it will be OK.  I don't bother trying to cycle anything without livestock.  I understand the reasoning behind it, but I think it overly complicates the hobby well in advance of really actively participating in it.  I think you'd be safe doing a 100% water change today and putting fish in it once you fill it back up.  You can continue to monitor the water, but my approach is just to do a daily 50% water change for at least two weeks.  In a 10 gallon it's easy as pie on account of how small it is.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm not sure that a water change is needed.  You are doing a fishless cycle.  So, there are no fish to be hurt by the nitrates.

I haven't seen any information about high nitrates being bad for beneficial bacteria (please share if you've got a link).

Water changes would seem counter-productive as you want to keep up your levels of ammonia and nitrite.  You can add back the ammonia.  However, it is difficult to add back nitrite (there really isn't a great source for nitrites).  So, you'd be slowing down your cycle (nitrite would have to slowly build up again).

So, unless nitrates are bad for beneficial bacteria (and would slow down the cycle), I suggest not doing a water change.  Once your ammonia and nitrite are down to zero, then you could consider a 90% water change before adding fish.

Basically, just don't do anything and keep waiting... 🙂

Edited by Galabar
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 1/20/2024 at 3:51 PM, Galabar said:

I'm not sure that a water change is needed.  You are doing a fishless cycle.  So, there are no fish to be hurt by the nitrates.

I haven't seen any information about high nitrates being bad for beneficial bacteria (please share if you've got a link).

Water changes would seem counter-productive as you want to keep up your levels of ammonia and nitrite.  You can add back the ammonia.  However, it is difficult to add back nitrite (there really isn't a great source for nitrites).  So, you'd be slowing down your cycle (nitrite would have to slowly build up again).

So, unless nitrates are bad for beneficial bacteria (and would slow down the cycle), I suggest not doing a water change.  Once your ammonia and nitrite are down to zero, then you could consider a 90% water change before adding fish.

Basically, just don't do anything and keep waiting... 🙂

I totally agree! Thanks 

On 1/20/2024 at 3:34 PM, jwcarlson said:

The only issue with doing a water change in your situation would be lowering the amount of food for the bacteria and possibly retarding the growth of those bacteria (taking away nitrite before the colony has grown to the "right" size, for example).  That said, I don't think that's probably too big of a concern for you.  Either change water or don't.  There's nothing to be harmed by the nitrates, so there's no necessity at this point.  

The amount of water to change, in this circumstance, is also pretty unimportant.  

Your colonies exist, it will be OK.  I don't bother trying to cycle anything without livestock.  I understand the reasoning behind it, but I think it overly complicates the hobby well in advance of really actively participating in it.  I think you'd be safe doing a 100% water change today and putting fish in it once you fill it back up.  You can continue to monitor the water, but my approach is just to do a daily 50% water change for at least two weeks.  In a 10 gallon it's easy as pie on account of how small it is.

I am not going to d one I decided.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I feel the need to mention you can’t really trust a nitrate test when nitrite is present nitrite will give a false high nitrate reading 

this doesn’t really matter but if your using liquid ammonia you can calculate the exact nitrite and nitrate amounts 1ppm of ammonia will be 2.7 nitrite and that will turn into 3.6 nitrate its based off the weight of the molecule 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 1/20/2024 at 12:51 PM, Galabar said:

I'm not sure that a water change is needed.  You are doing a fishless cycle.  So, there are no fish to be hurt by the nitrates.

I haven't seen any information about high nitrates being bad for beneficial bacteria (please share if you've got a link).

Water changes would seem counter-productive as you want to keep up your levels of ammonia and nitrite.  You can add back the ammonia.  However, it is difficult to add back nitrite (there really isn't a great source for nitrites).  So, you'd be slowing down your cycle (nitrite would have to slowly build up again).

So, unless nitrates are bad for beneficial bacteria (and would slow down the cycle), I suggest not doing a water change.  Once your ammonia and nitrite are down to zero, then you could consider a 90% water change before adding fish.

Basically, just don't do anything and keep waiting... 🙂

You do the water change to drop your nitrate and remove it. You can always add more ammonia.

It's built up, change out water to reduce nitrates. Doing water changes when cycling is very normal and happens often.

There's a lot of mixed messages and back and forth over multiple threads, so the main thing is to literally make it simple.... Treat the tank like normal, nitrate is high, do a water change.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 1/20/2024 at 3:24 PM, nabokovfan87 said:

You do the water change to drop your nitrate and remove it. You can always add more ammonia.

It's built up, change out water to reduce nitrates. Doing water changes when cycling is very normal and happens often.

There's a lot of mixed messages and back and forth over multiple threads, so the main thing is to literally make it simple.... Treat the tank like normal, nitrate is high, do a water change.

Thanks for the response.  My feeling is that, if nitrate is not harmful to nitrifying bacteria, there is no need to lower your nitrite levels (with water changes) and slow down your cycle.  Although you can add back the ammonia, you can't (easily) add back the nitrite.

I also agree that we should keep things simple.  However, my feeling is that not doing anything is simpler than doing something. 🙂

In any event, @Bigdog99, whatever you decide to do, make sure ammonia and nitrite hit 0 and you reduce the nitrate level (either with one water change at the end or routine water changes while cycling) before adding fish.

...and keep us informed as to how it goes! 🙂

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 1/20/2024 at 7:59 PM, Galabar said:

Thanks for the response.  My feeling is that, if nitrate is not harmful to nitrifying bacteria, there is no need to lower your nitrite levels (with water changes) and slow down your cycle.  Although you can add back the ammonia, you can't (easily) add back the nitrite.

I also agree that we should keep things simple.  However, my feeling is that not doing anything is simpler than doing something. 🙂

In any event, @Bigdog99, whatever you decide to do, make sure ammonia and nitrite hit 0 and you reduce the nitrate level (either with one water change at the end or routine water changes while cycling) before adding fish.

...and keep us informed as to how it goes! 🙂

Thanks sooooo much @Galabar and @nabokovfan87 I will wait till the end and do a big change! I will let u know how it goes and the fish I get too!!!

On 1/20/2024 at 5:08 PM, face said:

I feel the need to mention you can’t really trust a nitrate test when nitrite is present nitrite will give a false high nitrate reading 

this doesn’t really matter but if your using liquid ammonia you can calculate the exact nitrite and nitrate amounts 1ppm of ammonia will be 2.7 nitrite and that will turn into 3.6 nitrate its based off the weight of the molecule 

Yes I have heard that. Thanks! @face!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...