ammonia/nitrite spike, now nitrates are up


New member
I started cycling my 55 gal tank 10 days ago. I only use liquid tests, no dip strips. I have monitored ammonia every day. I have not seen it spike at all. I have been less active about monitoring nitrites/nitrates, about every other day. Today I measured and got Ammonia/Nitrites=0 and Nitrates=5-10. Every other time I checked my nitrates they were also 0, until today. I ran the Nitrite test twice and the Nitrate test three times and ran a reference test, so it should be accurate

What's up? How come my nitrates are up, but I never saw my ammonia or nitrites spike? I thought Ammonia went up, then nitrites, then nitrates. That's why I was mainly watching ammonia. I have been checking my ammonia with two different tests (Seachem and API) for the last 4 days, before that I only used the seachem test, both have always read 0.

Is it possible I suppresed my ammonia and nitrites by running my protein skimmer and the live sand I used?

On day 1 I added 80 lbs of semi-cured live rock (which was shipped to me via FEDEX overnight) and 60 lbs of Caribsea Arag-Alive sand.

I ran my protein skimmer non-stop day 2 through day 7. I turned the protein skimmer off on day 7 because after day 5 it was pulling a lot of very nasty smelling skimmate and I though it might be suppressing my ammonia spike and I wanted to see if it was.

Does it seem to anybody that my tank has cycled, or am I getting ahead of myself?
i never saw ammonia either, but i used cured living rock, i did see nitrite though, however your nitrate is quite low for a cycling tank and its only 10 days old, i suggest patience and keep testing and keep a log of results, if you still see no readings at all by next weekend then its possible youve cycled, its a strange 1 though, as for the skimmer, i run mine 24-7, my nitrite went to 4 and then to 0, keep testing and monitoring, it does sound though like it could just be there now or very close anyhow, a little more patience and soon you will know either way