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Old 11-07-2009, 11:09 AM   #1
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Nitrite off the Chart

My aquarium has been set up for a month and I feel like Im fighting a losing battle. The ammonia level is zero but the nitrite level is between 2.0 and 5.0. I have done 50% water changes the last few days, I have poured refrigerated beneficial bacteria into the water, I have put bio balls from my local fish stores tank in my tank and I continue to lose fish on an almost daily basis. Why is the nitrite level still so high after this much time and so many interventions to lower it? I'm running an Aqua Clear HOB filter and a Fluval internal filter on the 29 gallon tank with a air stone wand across the back as well.
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Old 11-07-2009, 11:23 AM   #2
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Bacteria in a bottle is always a hit or miss . That is why most ppl, myself included, think of it as a waste of money and a way for pet stores to make money.

You are right on track for cycling your tank. To reduce the nitrITE toxicity to your fish, add 1 tablespoon of salt per 5 gallons of water. Table salt will suffice, dissolve it before putting it in the tank, add it slowly.

You may already know this..but i'll post it anyways. When you cycle a tank, your ammonia will spike first. After the bacteria that consumes ammonia starts to develop you will see a spike in nitrITES. When the bacteria colony that consumes the ammonia is fully developed you will get a 0 reading for ammonia, however your colony of bacteria that consumes nitrITES is still growing to consume the by product of the consumption of ammonia. Right now you should be testing positive for some nitrATES. After the bacteria that consume your nitrITES is completely developed, you will be left with 0 ammonia, 0 nitrITES, and some nitrATES, your cycle will be complete.

My reccomendation is to have patience, take care to keep your water parameters (ammonia and trites) at .25 or below the best that you can, and let nature take it's course. Stop adding the bacteria in a bottle that promises to instantly cycle your tank, and if you can get some more bacteria from your lfs, go for it. Remember, you already have the bacteria in your tank, in other words you have seeded it, you now have to wait for the bacteria colony to grow to full size to accomadate the bio load
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Old 11-07-2009, 12:47 PM   #3
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prime will help with that as well.. i think you can dose up to 5x dosage if you have a nitrite spike
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Old 11-08-2009, 01:17 AM   #4
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I had issues with my nitrate and nitrite levels at one point. I found that water changes & aquarium salt helped immensely! I would also add a little bit of Prime to the tank as well.

Aside from Stress Coat and Prime though, I typically stay away from most chemicals as they can do more harm than good. Water Changes are honestly the best thing in my opinion. (Aquarium salt and live plants are also great because they help to neutralize high levels of nitrites & nitrates in the water!) You may want to clean your substrate a bit too (but only clean small parts of your substrate at a time so you don't destroy all of the beneficial bacteria that's there from cycling your tank)

Also, are you using a test strip to check your water with or a test kit? I've found the test kits to be more accurate. (just a side note)
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Old 11-08-2009, 12:47 PM   #5
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My tank FINALLY cycled! This morning the ammonia and nitrites were zero! Yippie. Is there anything that could happen to cause the cycle to break?
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Old 11-08-2009, 01:46 PM   #6
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yep, time... nitrites will drop off real quick once a tank is finally cycled... now it appears the hard part is over and the fun can begin... just make sure you dont get too excited and start adding a bunch more fish... stick with what you have right now then in a week or so if you decide to get more fish, slowly start adding a couple more
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Old 11-08-2009, 11:35 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Curious1 View Post
My tank FINALLY cycled! This morning the ammonia and nitrites were zero! Yippie. Is there anything that could happen to cause the cycle to break?
To many things to mention. Congratz on the cycle.
Monitor the tank for the next few days just to be sure.
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