Weird Nitrogen Cycle

ssssstu

New member
Hi all, new here. Can someone offer a bit of advice to a newbie.

Got a new nano in place which will eventually become our quarantine tank going forward. But it was a good place to do a bit of trial and error.

Anyway, we filled it up with RO water and substrate but had to wait about a week or 2 to get the salt for it. Mixed the salt in, left it for a couple of days.

On Saturday just gone there, happy that the salinity was 1.025 we bought a couple of bits of LR and popped those in. I done an ammonia test at this point and it was showing as a trace at best. I must confess at that point I didnt bother testing nitrite or nitrate as I suspected the nitrogen cycle hadnt kicked off.

So I'd read the thing to do was pop in a raw uncooked prawn, up to tesco, done that.

Tested 24 hours still no ammonia so I suspected that the decay process hadnt taken full hold of the prawn as yet.

Came in today (48 hours since the prawn and LR went in) and the prawn looked horrible and definite signs of decay. So I done an ammonia test....again negligible trace.

Thinking that there might be some ammonia consuming cultures on the LR I done a nitrite test which showed up around 0.25mg/l, naturally I done a nitrate which shows up as 0.50mg/l (high I know).

I was going to wait till tomorrow and pick out the prawn to let the nitrite consuming cultures take hold. Then a water change on Wednesday to reduce nitrate. Does anyone think this is a good/bad approach?

And secondly is it likely the ammonia consuming cultures were on the LR and I by passed that step, but in saying that why would the nitrite cultures not be on it?

Anyone got some insight they could share?

Cheers in advance
 
Last edited:

Randy Holmes-Farley

Reef Chemist
Premium Member
[welcome]

Maybe the ammonia kit is not accurate, or perhaps the ammonia converting bacteria just reestablished themselves more rapidly. The ammonia may just be below the limit of detection.

I'd leave the prawn in a bit longer and let it decay further to drive the cycling.
 

ssssstu

New member
Thanks for the reply Randy....I thought Nitrites were a direct by product of ammonia break down? That not entirely true?
 

Percula9

New member
Nitrites are the direct product of the oxidation of ammonia. They are being converted to rapidly to detect the ammonia. Don't do any water changes as it will extend the cycle by removing the nitrite which is the bacteria's food. Once nitrites are gone you will be cycled. Nitrite to nitrate takes longer than ammonia to nitrite to complete.

NH3>NO2>NO3
 

Randy Holmes-Farley

Reef Chemist
Premium Member
Nitrite is most often formed from ammonia, but you have a very small nitrite reading, so I would not assume that you necessarily ever had any specific size of detectable ammonia spike.
 
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