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Zippy
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Discussion Starter #1
I have read it more than once in passing. And one member, Susankat, I believe, also mentioned it.
So here's the question::fish9:
What makes a 3 gallon tank unstable?
If you can answer this then you may just help me figure out why it has been in a perpetual nitrite spike for 2 weeks while trying to cycle it.
 

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Well, such small volumes of water are naturally unstable because even the tiniest change in parameters can manifest itself in a huge way. Please tell us more about your tank so we can help: ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, temp, pH, equipment, and critters. How did you start your tank cycling?
 

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Zippy
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57 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Marine Land Eclipse 3 gallon

Cycle began 2/9/10
pure ammonia cycling method
no fish, snails, etc
tank has gravel and 1 decoration
using activated carbon and bio-wheel

Nitrite spike began 3/8/10
ammonia is kept at about 3.0 ppm

Current specs:
temp 80
PH=7.4
Nitrite=5.0 or higher using API liquid test kit
ammonia=0 this AM then added a few drops as usual
 

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Alright. Sometime what happens when cycling is that the nitrite levels get so high that the newly established (and likely kind of weak) bioligocal filter (your beneficial bacteria Nitrosomonas and Nitrobacter) is so overwhelmed with toxins that it doesn't have time to fully develop. Right now, you have lots of Nitrosomonas oxidizing the ammonia into nitrite, but not enough Nitrobacter converting that into nitrate. I'm guessing your nitrate reading is at zero? Essentially, your cycling process is stalled right now. I had exactly the same thing happen in one of my tanks a while ago. I did a big water change (since you have so little water, I'd take out most of it) and then gave the tank a day to settle with no ammonia addition. The next day I added 1.0 ppm ammonia and left it alone until I started seeing nitrate and then slowly bumped up ammonia addition as needed. I did water changes along the way too to avoid stalling out the system again. Then you should be on your way. Keep us posted.

What are you going to put in the tank when it's finished cycling?
 

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Zippy
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Discussion Starter #5
based on the last post I am thinking the filter that comes with the eclipse is quite weak. Which makes me wonder about the long term stability of this tank.

The tank is not mine, so I don't know what will end up in it.
 

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Absolutely correct. I had that exact tank running for about 3 weeks before I was convinved it was even close to being cycled. It did fine after that though, but I put lots of substrate and plants in mine to compensate for the weak filtration.
 

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Zippy
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Discussion Starter #7
Since you have the same tank, what do you keep in it, how often do you change the water, and how much do you change?

Since this tank is going to a 12 y.o. girl maybe I can give her some tips to keep it up.
 

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I had 5 cardinal tetras, an otocinclus catfish (they are supposed to be kept in small schools, but he was a stranded one from a friend), 5 or 6 cherry shrimp, and trumpet snails. It was planted with javaferns and java moss in about 1.5 inches of sandy substrate. In hindsight, I would have used gravel so it was easier to clean. I changed out 1g of water twice a week and that kept it perfect, though it's hard to do water changes too often on such a small system. It gets pretty warm in the tank during the summer months, so I left the top open most of the time during the day so the water didn't get too hot.

I recently moved everybody into a 10g planted tank so I didn't have to screw around with such a tiny tank. Plus, the plants were out of control.
 

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Zippy
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Discussion Starter #10
Finally. The tank is cycled. I changed about 50% of the water and took out the seemingly weak filter and switched it with a matured filter from my q-tank. Now the q-tank looks cloudy though, just after about 48 hrs. I think I am going to recommend that the girl buy the same filter I used from my q-tank. It looks a bit big in such a small tank but it made the water super clear and I wasn't using carbon.

Thx for everyone's help and advice. I will pass along this info to the new tank owner.
*thumbsup thanx
 
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