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Old 06-20-2012, 06:04 PM   #1
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I am new to this site and have question about water parameters

I am using a red sea marine test kit and my water is showing 0 nitrates, .25 ammonia, .1 nitrites, 8.4 ph. LFS said to do 25% water change and I did but the nitrites haven't come down. I need some advice!

55g tank
40lbs live rock
2 cardinalfish
2 clown fish
2 firefish
Cleanup crew

Also another Lfs said to try microbacter7 and have used this for 4 days
10 ml per day

Thanks for help
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Old 06-20-2012, 06:42 PM   #2
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This is a pretty easy answer. Your tank isn't cycled. The livestock you have is producing more waste than the bacteria can handle, hence the ammonia reading. They are turning it into nitrites, which you also do not have enough bacteria of to turn into nitrates.

You have 2 options. 1 is to return your fish and cycle your tank with either pure ammonia or an uncooked shrimp. 2 is to keep them in and cycle your tank, but do 25% water changes to keep the ammonia levels from killing your fish. This will make the cycle take much longer.

As for the "bacteria in a bottle" solutions that pet stores love to give out, there is little evidence that they are helpful...if they do anything at all. The only way to make sure you do not get readings of ammonia or nitrites is to properly cycle your tank and not try to take shortcuts. Patience is the key to this hobby.
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Old 06-20-2012, 07:35 PM   #3
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My tank had already cycled once before and I was religious about testing before adding live stock so that is why I was concerned about spike in nitrites and ammonia.
You say do 25% water changes. How frequently would you do those?
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Old 06-20-2012, 08:52 PM   #4
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Old 06-20-2012, 09:14 PM   #5
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Thanks for the help! Is this normal for the nitrites to spike like that after it had already cycled once or could there be some other explanation? I am just confused by all the EXPERTS who keep giving conflicting recommendations. Thanks again for helping!
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Old 06-20-2012, 09:48 PM   #6
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No, if a tank is properly cycled you will not see spikes in ammonia or nitrite. Did you cycle by ammonia dosing, an uncooked shirmp, or by the die off from your live rock? It sounds to me like your tank just ran out of ammonia source shortly before the end of your cycle. This would explain why small amounts of ammonia and slightly larger amounts of nitrite.

When you cycle a tank, you are growing the bacteria needed to consume ammonia and nitrite. These are 2 different types of bacteria (maybe even more). But for those that consume nitrite to grow, you first need the ones to consume ammonia. This is why you will see higher amounts of nitrite as the cycle is going on because they are "playing catch up" to the bacteria that consumes ammonia.

The only other thing that it could be is that there isn't enough area for bacteria to grow. You normally want to have 1-1.5 lbs of live rock per gallon. 40 is close, but how many lbs of sand do you have? If there isn't very much then that could be leading to the issue as well, meaning that you did fully cycle your tank...there just isn't enough area for the bacteria you need to support your livestock.

And final reason why you could have had a spike. How long did you spread out adding your fish? Adding too many fish at once can cause an ammonia spike. This with a tank that didn't have an ammonia source for too long could be the issue. Even a properly cycled tank that loses its ammonia source, by being fallow, will then have a spike in ammonia and nitrites due to the bacteria dying off from starvation.
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Old 06-20-2012, 10:11 PM   #7
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I was told to use the live rock to cycle the tank by the Lfs. I waited more than a month as advised and then began testing water and all parameters were correct both by me and Lfs. That is why I was surprised by spike.

I have 60 lbs of sand in tank.

I will test water again in morning after doing water change to see if that helped.
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Old 06-20-2012, 10:12 PM   #8
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If you only tested at the end and the live rock was cured there could have never been a spike. I bet that's what happened.
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Old 06-20-2012, 10:18 PM   #9
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If that is indeed what happened what would you suggest I do?
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Old 06-20-2012, 10:20 PM   #10
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Return the fish or be really devoted and do water changes.
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