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Old 09-29-2022, 11:29 PM   #1
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Nitrite Spike, Not going down after multiple water changes.

The other day one of my fish died overnight in my established 10 gallon. I tested my waters with the api master kit and my nitrites were off the charts purple. My ammonia is zero and my nitrates are about 5 ppm. Not sure why my ammonia didn't spike. My kit is not expired and it reads zero nitrites on my tap water and my 29 gallon tank so I don't think its my kit. I did an immediate 50% water change dosed with prime, and added some fritz zyme 7. Tested a few hours later and same result. I started to spread out my feeding to every other day. I continued to do daily water changes of about 30% for 4 days and still the same result. I was doing 25% weekly water changes before this but not actively testing my water. The rest of my fish seem to be doing fine but I'm not sure if that's just because of the prime. Am I lowering my beneficial bacteria by doing all these water changes? Not really sure what to do at this point. Any advice would be much appreciated.

I have a 10 gallon column with topfin 10 filter.
I have 1 dwarf gourami some neon tetras and a few mystery snails.

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Old 09-30-2022, 02:22 AM   #2
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Water changes won't harm the beneficial bacteria too much. They mostly live in filters and substrate.

As for the nitrites-- keep doing the water changes. I'm not sure why it isn't coming down after so many unless you stirred up substrate or another fish has died. Or it could just be your tank rebalanceing after a spike.

When my nitrites are out of control, I add about 5 pothos cuttings (or one of my established pothos plants i have in a 2 gallon snail tank) in the filter and tank. If you have access to pothos, it might be worth a try. Plants rooted in water love all the nitrogen from an aquarium! Definitely keep doing water changes too. Good luck to you!
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Old 09-30-2022, 04:42 AM   #3
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Nitrite Spike, Not going down after multiple water changes.

You canít assume that ammonia didnít spike because you didnít capture on a test. Nitrite spikes are the net result of ammonia spikes.

There is also a possibility something is off or interfering with the nitrite test.

Either way. Keep your eye on the fish and snails and keep changing the water.
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Old 09-30-2022, 08:47 AM   #4
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Thanks for the reply! And I did stir up my substrate with my siphon a bit. Didn’t know that would effect my levels. Oops!

When this hurricane passes I’ll visit my lfs for some pothos and a second opinion on my water test if the levels are maybe off.

Will continue to water change and monitor thanks!
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Old 09-30-2022, 04:38 PM   #5
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Nutrients store in the substrate and stay there for the most part. But ya, stirring will release it. You could try vacuuming the gravel really well too!

And you can find pithos anywhere-- grocery stores might be the cheapest place. I worry a LFS wouldn't carry them. Definitely ask advice on water quality though �� good luck, and stay safe!
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Old 10-02-2022, 05:19 AM   #6
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How long has the tank been set up for?
The filter might still be cycling.

How often and how do you clean the filter?
Do you replace the filter media/ pads every month like the company asks you to do?

Filter pads / cartridges should not be replaced unless they start to fall apart. You can buy sponges for different brands of filters and use a pair of scissors to cut the sponge to fit in your filter. Then add the sponge and leave it for a couple of months before removing the old filter pad. Sponges will last for years and only need replacing when they start to fall apart.

You clean sponges by squeezing them out in a bucket of tank water and re-using the sponge. The bucket of dirty water can be poured on the lawn/ garden outside.


------------------

Small water changes don't do anything to dilute stuff in the water. You are better off doing big (75%) water changes and gravel cleaning the substrate every day until the nitrite level is back on 0ppm.
Make sure any new water is free of chlorine/ chloramine before it's added to the tank.

If you do a 25% water change, you leave behind 75% of the bad stuff in the water.
If you do a 50% water change, you leave behind 50% of the bad stuff in the water.
If you do a 75% water change, you leave behind 25% of the bad stuff in the water.
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Old 10-02-2022, 07:28 PM   #7
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Absolutely, disturbing the substrate in an established tank can cause ammonia spikes. There are a lot of microbes in the substrate carrying out many different processes. If you want ultra tank stability then the substrate must be left to mature.
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