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mswatd 07-06-2014 01:28 PM

My Dilemna
So I am in week 8 of my tank being up. Here's what I did:
- Purchased 55 gallon set up from 35 year old local fish store (very reputable and knowledgable)
- Cleaned tank and accessories, filled it, and let it cycle for 8 days adding Prime and Stability
- Began adding fish at a rate of 3 per week starting in week 2. I currently have 16 (13 tetras and 3 Barbs)
- Weekly water test starting at week 3 are as follows:
.25 amm / 0 nitrite / .5 nitrate / 7.9 ph
0 amm / 0 nitrite / .5 nitrate / 7.9 ph
0 amm / 0 nitrite / 0 nitrate / 7.9 ph
1 amm / 0 nitrite / 0 nitrate / 7.9 ph
0 amm / 5 nitrite / 40 nitrate / 8.2 ph (checked yesterday)
NOW FOR THE DILEMNA! I was told NOT to change any water in my tank as the high nitrite is the final spike before the tanks natural biological filter is set. My fish all seem just as normal as they were with the low levels earlier on. I want to lower the nitrite obviously but consider myself a trusting person, meaning that I want to do as I was told because the LFS person is very knowledgeable and professional. BUT....the forums I've read suggest at least a 30-50% water change often to lower the nitrite level. Any suggestions or recommendations would be GREATLY appreciated!!! I'm a total Newbie but want it done right! Thanks!

philipraposo198 07-06-2014 06:42 PM

If you in fact have 5 nitrites and not .5 then your in trouble and you NEED to do huge water change now.

That's is leathal for fish at that amount. And 40ppm nitrates are pushing a level that will not be fun for fish.

With that said I feel like at this point you have bb that is somewhat established. This means that doing a water change now is not going to remove the bb as it has already began to latch itself all over the tank. You want your nitrites to be as low as possible. Aim for .25-.5 and get nitrates down to 5-10.

Good luck.

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mswatd 07-06-2014 06:49 PM

How much should I change? 50%?

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Britty 07-06-2014 06:51 PM

There is no dilemma. You must lower your nitrites. WC's with Prime. There is very little floating bacteria in the water column, so water changes aren't going to set you back in the cycle.

Your LFS guys information is ok if you are doing a fishless cycle. Not ok if you have a tank filled with fish and off the chart nitrites.

mswatd 07-06-2014 06:58 PM

Thanks! I do have 16 fish so I'm going to do a 25% change daily until levels drop and treat with Prime.

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treemanone2003 07-06-2014 08:18 PM

To break down a little more here's a good example. If your bad #'s, (anything but pH) is 5 and you only change 25%, you won't remove (or cut) enough bad stuff. You'll still be at 3.75. If you change 50% of that bad water (5), you'll be at 2.5. Much safer than 3.75. If you wait 2-3 hours and change another 50% (from the original 50%) you'll be down to 1.25. Much much more safer. So basically, the more you change the better off you are. Hope that helps.

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mswatd 07-06-2014 08:24 PM

At 25% WC, the nitrite level went from 5.0 to 2.0. I will do another 25% in the morning. PH is and always has been in the 7.6 range. Ammonia is at 0, nitrate is at 10 (down from 40). I'll re-test before doing anything in the morning. I'm also skipping their feeding today. Thanks for all the help!

philipraposo198 07-06-2014 08:50 PM

Continue the wcs often, nitrites can kill your fish before you know it.

I would recommend the range I already stated and wouldn't wait too long in between wc's as time is critical. I would also suggest skipping a few days of feeding 3-4 till this comes down.

You fish will thank you for this I promise you. Fish can go weeks without food they are opportunist eaters, this means if you give em food they will eat it but unlike us in the wild they are use to going a bit in between meals. The biggest benefit here is not creating any more bio waste, this can keep you fish healthy and happy. once your levels are in check feed lightly till the end of your cycle. 1 min feeding period is nice, not allowing any food to hit the substrate.

dandries 07-07-2014 04:49 AM

I would also add aquarium salt to the water, if you haven't already.

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philipraposo198 07-07-2014 05:11 AM

Don't add salt. This just stresses the fish out further. .

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