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 Normal for new tank using a fishless cycle to have high ammonia and nitrite, and form thick white foam?

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Dominic
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PostSubject: Normal for new tank using a fishless cycle to have high ammonia and nitrite, and form thick white foam?   Thu Nov 18, 2010 2:57 pm

Hey all,

I'm starting a new 70L tank to keep my peppermint fry (purchased not bred by me :P) because they seem to keep wondering into my l066's cave and it's pretty territorial, so i'm worried that they'll end up getting seriously injured or worse Sad

Anyway, this is the first time i've started a tank without fish and it has been running for almost a week now. When i tested the ammonia it was 20+ mg/L and nitrite was 0.5 mg/L. This is also the first time i use aqua soil instead of gravel as i plan on having plants in the tank. ALSO, i have some sort of thick formation of white foam on the top of the tank. Is this in relation to the ridiculous ammonia level or is it the aqua soil?? I've literally scooped the foam out from the top.

I've conditioned the water with 'Prime' and 'Stability' by adding half a cap in every morning. Any advice will be greatly appreciated Smile
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hxpikey
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PostSubject: Re: Normal for new tank using a fishless cycle to have high ammonia and nitrite, and form thick white foam?   Thu Nov 18, 2010 3:26 pm

Hi Dominic,

I have cycled a few tanks without fish using Ammonia and yes the ammonia and nitrite can get high. If your adding ammonia each day or every couple of days I would start to cut back when the Ammonia levels get high as to keep adding more and more ammonia will not speed up the process. The rise in ammonia is then followed by a delayed rise in Nitrite as you have already witnessed. The nitrite level will keep rising until it peaks and then starts to drop, only when both ammonia and nitrite levels reach 0 and stay at 0 even when ammonia is added, can you start to think about adding fish but only a few at a time.

As for the thick white foam I have not experienced this but I guess it could be down to the substrate or something your adding to the water.
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Doug
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PostSubject: Re: Normal for new tank using a fishless cycle to have high ammonia and nitrite, and form thick white foam?   Thu Nov 18, 2010 10:52 pm

Yeah, the ammonia is quite normal. What you are seeing is what happens when all the good bacteria are dead, the ammonia spikes.

the process, simplified, goes like this. THe ammonia will spike, causing the first set of good bacteria to move in and start munching down on it. they produce nitrite, so after a while you will start to notice the nitrite levels begin to rise while the ammonia levels fall. after the nitrite levs get highish, the second round of bacteria will move in and begin to turn the nitrite into nitrate. So you will see th nitrite levels drop and the nitrate levels rise. THis process can take several weeks and quite often the best bet is to just leave the tank well enough alone. Do a weekly water change of about 30-40% and ad prime and stability to this but not to the main tank. let it sort itself out.

As for the bubbles i have no idea. ammonia causes cloudy water, not bubbles in my experence so i would suggest it is the substrate or even something left of the tank (detergent from cleaning it or something). either way, it will go with time. I would try and forget about it for a week, then do the water change and re-test. then forget about it for another week then do the water change and re-test. the more you fiddle with it, unfortunatly, the longer it takes.

If you want to speed it up then grab a filter from an exsisting tank and clean it in the new tank. this will fill the new tank with that horrid brown muck which will look a bit unsightly but it is loaded with good bacteria, that will seed the tank for you and give it a help along.

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Dominic
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PostSubject: Re: Normal for new tank using a fishless cycle to have high ammonia and nitrite, and form thick white foam?   Fri Nov 19, 2010 2:36 am

Thanks heaps pikey and doug! More than helpful!

I will clean my established tanks sponge in my new tank (it was needing a clean anyway) Very Happy

Always helpful and many thanks Very Happy
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lakatu
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PostSubject: Re: Normal for new tank using a fishless cycle to have high ammonia and nitrite, and form thick white foam?   Fri Nov 19, 2010 6:16 am

What is in the tank? With the new tank, the white foam could be from something you put in it or high protein. If you have lots of bubbles it could be like a tank size protein skimmer.
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Dominic
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PostSubject: Re: Normal for new tank using a fishless cycle to have high ammonia and nitrite, and form thick white foam?   Sun Nov 21, 2010 1:32 pm

ahh lucky you asked because i just remembered i was trialing the seachem product called 'purigen' in my filter. It's suppose to add extra filtration and i think add something back to the water, i can't remember because i threw the box out but i remember when i bought it i thought it sounded good enough to try since most of seachem's products have worked for me :P

Any idea on whether or not this is causing the bubbles? I did a water change last night and the bubbles are forming again but not in excess
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PostSubject: Re: Normal for new tank using a fishless cycle to have high ammonia and nitrite, and form thick white foam?   Today at 12:07 am

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