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Old 04-10-2013, 06:58 PM   #1
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Freshwater nitrite problem!

Hi my name is Rachel. I have a 10 gallon freshwater tropical aquarium. I have one large male (I think) ****ation Molly fish. I also have 4 Dalmatian Molly fry in a breeding net.

My friend was the original owner of the fish. I took the fry when they were born because she didn't have anywhere to keep them away from the bigger fish in her tank. Then I took one of her large Dalmatian mollies about 2 weeks after I took the fry. (I'm now at about a month since I've had any fish in my aquarium)

I've been removing the fry from the tank into a small tupper ware bowl every couple days to feed them baby brine shrimp because I know it helps them grow faster and it's good for them etc. Usually though I just feed them ground up tropical fish flakes in the tank about 3-5 times daily.

Since I got the large Molly my nitrite levels have begun to rise extremely fast. When I feed the large fish, he barely ever goes to the top to get the food and only catches a few of the flakes when they eventually sink to the bottom. I bought some algae wafers because I thought he might like those a bit more and he does eat them but no matter how small of a piece I break off and put in the tank there's always some left a few hours later.

Obviously the excess food and waste sitting on the bottom of the tank is what's making the nitrite rise, I've performed a full water change and scrubbed the tank which worked at first but in a week the nitrite levels were higher than they were before I did the water change. Today I performed a 40% water change and used a net to try and fish out some of the particles of waste sitting on the bottom of the tank. The nitrite level is still high and in the "danger" zone so I'm afraid to leave my fish in there for too much longer.

I've tried everything I can find on the Internet to solve this problem but nothing works. I plan on doing water changes daily for the next week or so and seeing if that helps.

My questions are, am I going to have to do daily water changes for the entire life of my aquarium? When will the nitrite level finally drop? And how can I restrict the level of waste in my aquarium besides cutting down feelings (which I've already done, it didn't help)?
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Old 04-10-2013, 08:23 PM   #2
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So you are having high nitrite & not high nitrate?

How are you testing your water-What kit?

What are you ammonia, Nitrite & NitRate level?

Is your tank cycled?
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Old 04-10-2013, 08:53 PM   #3
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My nitrite level is between 3 and 5. Nitrate is below 20. I'm using tetra brand 6 in 1 testing strips that test for nitrate, nitrite, pH, chlorine, hardness and alkalinity. So I have no way of testing for ammonia at the moment. I'm not sure if my tank is cycled. I don't think it is but that's the one thing that is quite hard for me to understand about aquariums. So could this just be my tank cycling? And as long as I do daily water changes until the nitrite levels go down my fish should be fine?
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Old 04-10-2013, 09:28 PM   #4
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I will first get a API test kit. Fresh water master kit. That will run you $20-$25+. The strips for what I have gather dont do a great job finding out where you are at.

How long did you have the fish in the tank? Did you set up the tank & the fish went in? Wait a week....etc...What you are doing is a fishin cycling.

Now, ammonia is very important to test and why you should buy the master kit. If you have high nitrite & showing nitrate you are not cycled and you are cycling now.

When you have 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite & you have nitrate you are cycled. Leave the filter only and do not clean it!!! I will do PWC till we find out where are you with ammonia and nitrite with the API test kit. Because you are doing a fishin' cycling you must do PWC everyday to keep these levels down or risk of your fishing dying and also helping keep his stress lvl down and not to catch something because he is stressing out. Once you are cycled, you will need to do once a week water change.

Are you using Prime? This will help to detoxifies nitrite at this stage for you.... not sure how much...but every little bit helps.

This will give you a better idea of everthing!!! Hang in there and come back for other to help you along you way with any questions!!!

Fish-in Cycling: Step over into the dark side - Aquarium Advice
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Old 04-10-2013, 09:43 PM   #5
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I had my tank set up for about a week before the fish went in. (Filled with water, heater in, filter running) the decorations came before and after fish were in the tank. Not sure if that matters. I was planning on letting my tank run for a few weeks then adding my own fish but my friend ran into troubles with hers so I didn't really have a choice to wait. Thank you for all the information I will go the the pet store tomorrow to get the master test kit and API test kit. I'm not sure what prime is but no I am not using it.
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Old 04-10-2013, 10:07 PM   #6
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Some folks do a fishin' cycling & others do a Fishless cycling. I did the "Fishless" cycling with ammonia and in under 2month I had my tank cycled and ready for fish.

Running a week, a even a year with just the filter and water etc is not cycling but in your case you were helping a friend out either ways

With the fish now in the aquarium you are cycling cause he is pooping and ammonia is needed to get cycle....well cycling.

The master kit is the API kit. It's only one kit that bring everything you need now to test and make sure you are heading the right direction.

Prime is what many here use to remove chlorine, chlorimine & ammonia & detoxifies nitrite and nitrate...Also says to give a slime coat to fish which is good!!! Everything time you do water change what are you using?

I will still get Prime! I have read it all over & it got stuck in my head & that is what I use now....lol!
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Old 04-10-2013, 11:17 PM   #7
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Okay well I will get that kit tomorrow. I use API stress coat water conditioner but I ran out today while doing the water change so when I go tomorrow I will ask about the prime because I will have no idea what I'm looking for! Lol. I really appreciate all the advice. I will let you know how everything goes tomorrow!!
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Old 04-10-2013, 11:48 PM   #8
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Sounds great!!!!
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Old 04-13-2013, 04:20 AM   #9
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So I went to the store yesterday and got the prime. I didn't get the master kit because I couldn't find it for less than $30 and I really can't bring myself to spend that when I just spent $20 on test strips. Anyway, I went home and did a 20% water change and added prime. I tested the water before I did the water change. Nitrite was present and at about 5ppm and in the "danger" section so I did the 20% water change with prime and tested it afterwards. It doesn't say how long it takes to work but it still came up with the same amount of nitrite in my tank as before the water change. I wondered if there was something wrong with the test strips but then I tested my tap water and read both nitrite a nitrate at 0ppm. So I put a little more prime right into the tank because it said in emergencies it was okay and gave it a few more minutes and tested it again. It still came up with nitrite.

Then I just came home and tested the water again about 5 hours after I did the water change and it's still showing nitrite.

Not having much luck with prime. Let me know what you think :-(
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Old 04-13-2013, 10:10 AM   #10
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From what I understand, Prime will detoxify ammonia and nitrite but not actually remove it (someone please confirm / correct me on this). So it will still be showing up in your tests. The daily PWC are basically to keep your fish healthy since the ammonia level is not known. Any uneaten food show be removed with the PWC; if you have a gravel vacuum then use it, otherwise hold the end of the siphon hose near the gravel surface.
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