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Old 03-07-2021, 05:07 PM   #1
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Nitrites won't go down

I have a new 15 gallon saltwater tank and I had previously had issues with my nitrites peaking at around 10ppm during the cycle. I was recommended to get bottled bacteria and that seemed to work because within a few days my nitrites went down to .5ppm. Now the issue I'm having is my nitrites haven't moved from that spot since and it's been maybe one or two weeks. Maybe I'm just being impatient but I'm worried because it's at a complete standstill and not showing even slight signs of going down and if anything they're going up. I was recommended to put in some cleanup crew by both of my local fish stores to help finish the cycle so I put in a turbo snail and an emerald crab. After a few days I got my water tested at one of those stores and it showed my tank was finished cycling so I went ahead and got a cleaner shrimp and 3 dwarf blue leg hermit crabs. My tests still show I have nitrites but I figured my kit wasn't working right so I got my water tested at the other lfs and they were out of nitrite testing solution so I took it in to PetSmart and they tested with the strips and showed I have 1ppm of nitrite. I'm worried my inverts are gonna die if left in my tank so I can bring them in to one of those stores to be babysat but then I still have to figure out how to bring my nitrites down. My ammonia and nitrates are looking totally normal I just need to do a water change to bring those down. My salinity is a bit low (I think) and I'm bringing that up to around 1.025 and my ph is also on the low end around 7.8 and I'm not sure the best way to bring that up I'm considering buying some nitrite absorbing media but I wanted to try getting some advice before anything.
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Old 03-07-2021, 05:29 PM   #2
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Nitrites won't go down

What kit are you using? Honestly nitrites arenít toxic in sw so your inverts should be fine. You have 0 ammonia right? What are your nitrates?
I wouldnít add any chemicals to the tank. Thatís a way to go down a rabbit hole of bad. Your ph at 7.8 is fine as well.
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Old 03-08-2021, 06:39 PM   #3
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Hey sorry for the late reply I can be a bit busy. I just got my water tested again at the lfs that showed I have 0 nitrites. I have .25ppm of ammonia (I'm literally doing a 25% water change in the next 30 minutes) and between 20-40ppm nitrates in not sure where it is exactly. She suggested it might be because I'm not shaking my nitrite test solution before using it so I'm gonna try testing it with shaking it up well first.
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Old 03-08-2021, 07:10 PM   #4
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Okay I just tested my water with my friend's test kit. We all have the api master fresh water test kit. I was told there was no difference in the solutions used between salt and fresh water testing kits so I got the fresh water kit. The test showed again that I have 1ppm of nitrites. They've been rising and I have no clue what's going on. It's definitely the lfs showing 0ppm nitrites that's wrong but I don't know why we're getting different results
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Old 03-08-2021, 07:58 PM   #5
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Sounds like the the system wasn't cycled properly. Many will think that they are when the ammonia and nitrite levels are gone, but without presenting more ammonia enough beneficial bacteria isn't built up for when fish are added. Keep doing water changes so that your ammonia and nitrites are undetectable, you're just doing a fish in cycle now.
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Old 03-08-2021, 08:09 PM   #6
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I'm thinking I'm just gonna do a factory reset on my tank. I'm gonna do a 100% water change and I'll take this opportunity to change the substrate I'm using and move around my rock scape. Just as another general question though should I change out my filter media and sponge and everything? How would I do this because I'm worried running it under tap water and using soap isn't a good idea. Should I just replace it completely? I have carbon, ceramic filter rings, and a black almost steel wool-like sponge that came with my aio tank.
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Old 03-08-2021, 08:11 PM   #7
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I started my cycle previously by adding in one raw shrimp but I'm just gonna use bacteria in a bottle now because now I know how devastating it can be to try an uncontrolled method just to cheap out some money
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Old 03-09-2021, 07:15 PM   #8
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Well, the ceramic rings are more of a freshwater thing. The live rock in your tank is your primary filter media and it is accomplishing the same thing.
How long did your tank cycle with the shrimp method? It really is the best cycling method IMO. Bacteria in a bottle can expire...among other things...that don't make it worth the investment. It isn't about the product, it is about the shipping, shelf life,... so on. So before we throw money at the situation lets break down what all happened.
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Old 03-09-2021, 07:24 PM   #9
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I'm sure that when the raw shrimp is added, its cycle restarts, since after decomposing it will generate ammonia, how long ago did you add the shrimp? That could have something to do with your high nitrites.
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Old 03-09-2021, 07:58 PM   #10
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I started my cycle by adding raw shrimp and I took it out when my ammonia peaked at 2-3ppm
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Old 03-09-2021, 08:03 PM   #11
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I have these in my nano and they seem to be doing a decent job acting as a home for bacteria

https://www.algaebarn.com/shop/aquar...c-media-cubes/
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Old 03-09-2021, 08:24 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sbiped View Post
I started my cycle by adding raw shrimp and I took it out when my ammonia peaked at 2-3ppm
That's why. You keep the shrimp in there to decomp. You started the cycle, it just didn't finish. You want the shrimp to stay in the system and decomp. When you test the system and have 0 ammonia and nitrite in the system while mr shrimp still sits inside, you are cycled.

Being able to process a little bit of ammonia is just that, you only produced a little bit of bacteria.
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Old 03-09-2021, 09:05 PM   #13
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After I put the shrimp in and then the ammonia spiked I took the shrimp out and let the nitrites spike and nitrates spike. I went through the whole cycle process after taking the shrimp out the issue I was having was that I was getting different readings for my nitrites despite everyone using the same test kit
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Old 03-10-2021, 07:51 PM   #14
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Ok, so the shrimp was in the tank and you were getting readings of 0 ammonia and nitrite? It's the nitrates we want to go down then?
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Old 03-10-2021, 10:55 PM   #15
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No I'm sorry I'm really bad at explaining. The nitrites were the issues but different nitrite tests were giving me different readings. One was saying I had 0 nitrites and the rest were showing I had some. They were the same testing solutions so I have no idea why I was getting different readings
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Old 03-12-2021, 08:04 PM   #16
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Oh. Well not all test kits are built the same. Some are cheaper and it shows...but are just fine for cycling when the answer can be 'close enough'.
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Old 03-12-2021, 08:52 PM   #17
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I mean we were using the exact same test kits though. It's not a big deal anymore though I just thought it was super weird that we were getting different results using the same test kits. Like I said though I did a hard reset on my tank and so far so good. I was able to redo my rock scape while keeping in mind what corals I'm gonna have which was nice and I could change the substrate I was using which was also nice
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