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Old 08-20-2013, 09:29 PM   #1
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Unhappy What would cause nitrIte levels to rise in an established tank?

My ammonia is zero, my nitrite is around 0.5ppm, and my nitrate is around zero. Planted freshwater, low-light.

My tank was doing okay, but I put a much stronger light on, and I got some crazy algae growing on my plants and tank sides and rocks and etc. (the water itself was still fairly clear). So I reduced the light back to my old 2x T5NO 6700K, and cut off some leaves that were heavily populated by the algae, cleaned the sides of the tank where it was very bad, and cleaned off some of the larger, more aggressively algecized rocks, and everything dropped back to normal.

The algae went back to a much more manageable level, the plants are looking much healthier, etc.

However, a few days after I made these changes, I - for the first time in ages - am showing some unprocessed nitrite (0.5).

Huh? Ammonia 0. Nitrate 0. But Nitrite 0.5. So my ammonia->nitrite BB appear healthy. But my nitrite->nitrate BB seem to be lagging? Two days now, same results. I'm thinking I will do a 25% WC, just to bring it down a little (PH is 7.6 ish), which - if I understand correctly - makes the low nitrite level actually fairly harmful.

I just received my CO2 system, but I have to get the CO2 tank filled tomorrow and assemble everything. So it will be this time tomorrow *at the earliest* before I can get that working to bring down the PH.

1. Any thoughts on why the nitrite BB would be ailing?
2. Feedback on WC or other approaches?

My intent was to get the CO2 working, and go back to the stronger lighting.

But I didn't expect this nitrite issue, and am a bit perplexed as to how it could be? Is there something I should be checking for that would cause those BB to be dying off or working poorly?
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Old 08-20-2013, 09:41 PM   #2
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Actually nitrites are less toxic at higher ph and ammonia is less toxic at lower ph. Is there a chance you had an ammonia spike that you missed and your just catching the nitrite reading that would have followed? Or did you check your tap water to see if it has any nitrite in it. Tap water can change at any time and you can find ammonia, nitrite, nitrates, and phosphates along with a ton of other thing in it. Hard to actually pinpoint what caused the nitrite spike.

As for you algae, lights, and CO2. The higher lighting your have in a tank the shorter your photoperiod usually needs to be. I can only run my high lights 6 hours or algae issues start. Once you find the balance between lights, CO2, and ferts you can run a pretty much algae free tank. What ferts are you going to use? Also if you only have lower light plants and add higher lighting and CO2 you need to get some higher light plants that grow faster.
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Old 08-20-2013, 10:07 PM   #3
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Thanks for the feedback, Rivercats.

I use well water, but I don't regularly test it. I do fairly minor WC - like 25% a week, tops.

It's certainly possible that there was an ammonia spike, though I was testing that daily until this last week, and I did test that the last two days (It was part of my spot-checking).

I'm running ammonia and nitrite checks on my tap now. If anything shows, I post it. But I'd certainly be surprised to find that the well has changed (town water I can see having more contaminates, but maybe that's naive?)

Any suggestions for medium/high light plants? I gots me a spanking new CO2, never used one before, and a buildmyled 5000K light... looks like a carnival came to town when I turn it on! lolz!

EDIT: zero nitrite, zero ammonia in the well water (for my samples tonight)
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Old 08-20-2013, 10:25 PM   #4
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Did you get the dimmer attachment with the LED? If not you should, it's really nice to have. I run the lights on 10% in the morning and evening for dawn/dusk and then higher light for 6 hours with the CO2 in the 55.

You could do pretty much any plant but I'd get some color! Limnophila hippuroides, Ludwigia sp Red (Atlantis, Seneglasis, and a ton other red variety's), Cabomba Furcata does good with CO2 and has great color, Rotala Macrandra, Wallichii, and Mini Butterfly all have nice color. Ludwigia sp Cuba is nice green with a touch of top color and Pogostemon Erectus is my favorite green stem plant. You have so many choices!
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Old 08-20-2013, 10:26 PM   #5
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Forgot to tell you to do enough WC's to get that nitrite level down to .25ppm or lower.
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Old 08-20-2013, 11:19 PM   #6
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Another alternative is to add a small amount of salt to inhibit nitrite toxicity. It's a minute amount so its not going to affect the plants. 1/15th tsp per 10g to counteract 1ppm nitrite is mentioned.

Scroll down to "salt and nitrite uptake" http://www.skepticalaquarist.com/salt
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Old 08-21-2013, 10:30 PM   #7
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Quote:
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Did you get the dimmer attachment with the LED? If not you should, it's really nice to have. I run the lights on 10% in the morning and evening for dawn/dusk and then higher light for 6 hours with the CO2 in the 55.
I didn't. Can you point me to what module is compatible with the buildmyled lights?
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Old 08-22-2013, 03:34 PM   #8
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I didn't. Can you point me to what module is compatible with the buildmyled lights?
They sell the one that goes with their lights. Give them a call and have them add it to your order if you want one.
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Old 08-23-2013, 08:29 PM   #9
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Nitrites still around .5 or maybe even .75 ppm. Ammonia is very slightly present (the water isn't perfectly clear, just a hint of yellow).

Still confused as to why that is happening, and why the BB aren't exploding into existence.
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Old 08-23-2013, 08:34 PM   #10
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What is your ph?
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Old 08-23-2013, 08:42 PM   #11
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around 7.1 (was 7.8 before I added the CO2). Remained at 7.1 for about 8hrs now (went up to 7.5 overnight, back down to 7.1 during the day). Will likely remain there indefinitely, since that's the set-point on my CO2 controller.
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Old 08-25-2013, 07:10 PM   #12
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WOOT! Nitrites back to zero.

I have no idea why they went up, but I'm happy they're back down.
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