Backyard Aquaponics

Nitrogen Cycle Nitrite and Nitrate Spike
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Author:  Rithy [ Oct 18th, '17, 16:30 ]
Post subject:  Nitrogen Cycle Nitrite and Nitrate Spike


I just started to first cycle my water using fish-less cycling by adding Ammonia drop from Dr. Tim.
It's a 20 gallons barrel with a 3 gallons expanded clay pebbles to be my filter for bacteria habitat.

It's been 2 weeks now. I've added 2ppm worth of Ammonia and it lower to 0.5ppm within 24 hours.
Yet, my nitrite is very high about 5ppm or more. The same goes for nitrate, 80ppm or more.

Should I keep adding ammonia daily to raise to 2ppm whenever it's down to 0.5ppm or lower?
What should I do now or just wait?

Note: I'm using API Fresh Water Kit to test my water.


Author:  Vonapster [ Oct 18th, '17, 17:34 ]
Post subject:  Re: Nitrogen Cycle Nitrite and Nitrate Spike

Hi Rithy
Welcome to the forum

It sounds like your system has both bacteria colonies present otherwise you wouldn’t be getting any nitrites and nitrates on your water tests. I would personally not introduce anymore ammonia to the system until the bacteria colonies have grown and caught up. Just keep on testing until your ammonia and nitrite level come down to 0 because that will indicate the system is “ fully cycled”. Then you can put in your fish
It is also useful to find out your water temperature and PH level as they are factors to when ammonia is toxic but that’s not an issue for you just yet as you have no fish in your fish tank yet.

Hope that helps you out mate

Author:  Rithy [ Oct 30th, '17, 11:45 ]
Post subject:  Re: Nitrogen Cycle Nitrite and Nitrate Spike

Hi Mike,

Thank you for your input. I've stopped adding any more Ammonia to prevent the nitrite spike. My nitrite is currently lower to 0.25ppm. Oddly enough, I've tested the nitrate, and it showed 0ppm. I never change the water.

Today, I added 2ppm ammonia to see if both ammonia and nitrite could process within 24 hours.

Tnank you!

Author:  Rithy [ Oct 31st, '17, 11:46 ]
Post subject:  Re: Nitrogen Cycle Nitrite and Nitrate Spike

After added another 2ppm worth of Ammonia yesterday, today, I test it again today after 24 hours.

Ammonia - 0
Nitrite - 0
Nitrate - 80

It seems that my system is cycled. To make sure, I've added another 2ppm of Ammonia again and test tomorrow.
Hopefully, my system is already cycled.

What do I need to do next?
Do I need to change the water or just fill more water in as it's evaporated about half?

Author:  Vonapster [ Oct 31st, '17, 15:46 ]
Post subject:  Re: Nitrogen Cycle Nitrite and Nitrate Spike

Yep just add more water to where you want, no need to do a any more water changes as it definitely sounds like your system is fully cycled!
Now all you need to do is add fish.....Your system is very small
Fish tank: 20 gallons = 75 litres
Growbed: 3 gallons = 11 litres

What fish were you thinking of putting in?

Author:  Rithy [ Nov 1st, '17, 12:06 ]
Post subject:  Re: Nitrogen Cycle Nitrite and Nitrate Spike

I'll add guppies as my fish tank is small, therefore guppies are the best suited.
Beside guppies, I think to add goldfish but I doubt my tank is too small for them.

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