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Old 02-22-2006, 11:13 AM   #1
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Nitrites out of control

I’m having trouble keeping my QT Nitrites under control. Just added a Yellow Tank to QT last Friday. The tank is 10gal has a heater, power head, and a biowheel filter. I ran the Biowheel on my main tank for a week prior to build up bacteria. I can’t remember the actual level of the reading, but it’s between the 0 (blue) and something (purple) on the Nitrite test kit. More purple then blue. The Ammonia has been 0. I did a 50% water change using water from the main tank (levels are all normal on the main tank). I did a 25% water change with new water. What else do I need to do to get them to zero? How can I keep them down in the future? Will the fish be ok?
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Old 02-22-2006, 11:23 AM   #2
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The QT really has nothing in it besides the bio wheel to get bacteria growing. 1 week is not enough IMO to let bacteria grow good enough to process. I would just keep up with water changes and keep the level down that way. The bio wheel will catch up sooner or later, most likely after the fish is in the main tank , as QT will prolly be over in 2 weeks or less..
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Old 02-22-2006, 11:30 AM   #3
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I have a media filter that came from the main tank also....it's been there for ever. How often should I change the water? Will the fish be ok with a small trace of Nitrite?
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Old 02-22-2006, 11:44 AM   #4
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I assume you mean yellow tang and not tank. If the tang is <=4” then the 10 gal tank is doable but I wouldn’t use a 10 gal tank as a qt for any fish larger then 4” personally or you will always have issues whether you use cycled filtration or not. A 20+ gal tank for qt is much easier to maintain quality water parameters.

You didn’t give your bio-wheel sufficient time to build up enough bacteria. Just because your tank has bacteria doesn’t mean that the bio-wheel will be cycled instantly within a week. IMO you need to allow the bio-wheel the same amount of time to build up the bacteria as you would a newly cycled tank or for about 4-6 weeks prior to using on the qt. The fact that you don’t see any nh3 is probably because your bio-wheel did build up sufficient bacteria to convert the nh3 to no2 but not enough for no2 to no3.

I also use the bio-wheel for qt filtration and keep one spinning on my main at all times and when I need to qt I just move it over to my qt tank. This method only works if you have either two bio-wheels on the main and a light bio-load, if you use lr as your main bio-filtration, or if you bio-filtration is mostly handled in your sump. Otherwise any remaining fish in the main will quickly foul up the tank. If you use any medications that could possibly hurt your main tank (ie: copper) then I would trash the bio-wheel (costs about $5) along with any other media/filtration used on the qt tank and use a new one to avoid main tank contamination.

If the tang is from the lfs I would return and get a larger qt tank along with running your bio-wheel on the main tank for another 4 weeks and then re-acquire the tang again.

If the tang came from your main and is sick then you will have to keep performing pwc to keep the no2 level at less then .25 ppm until the bio-wheel catches up or else risk losing your tang.
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Old 02-22-2006, 11:45 AM   #5
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How often should I change the water?
That will depend on the concentration of Nitrite. Nitrite is poison to fish. The fact that you have any providing you put filter material in with the bio wheel, filter media that has been in your main tank a long time should have enough bacteria to break it down quick. Are you sure the main tank has no trace of nitrite? If you just use water from the main tank only, then you should not have nitrite at all.

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Will the fish be ok with a small trace of Nitrite?
That depends on the fish. Yellow Tangs are one of the most hardy of the Tang specie. Will it be ok with Nitrite in the tank? I do not know. Probably for a little while, but not at high concentrations. 1.0 > should not be permissible. You want < 0.5.
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Old 02-22-2006, 12:07 PM   #6
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The tang is less then 4''. I ordered it online so no returning. My main tank is 90gal with 110 +pds of LR. Nitrite is zero. If the nitrite does not drop soon I guess I could do a 10gal water change on the main tank and ditch all the water in the QT. I could also swap one of the biowheels on the maintank witht he one from QT.
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