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Old 03-21-2012, 10:29 PM   #1
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29 Gallon Questions

I have a fairly new aquarium...it's been up an running with fish in it for a little more than 6 weeks.

When I test my water, my ammonia is 0, my nitrates are 5....but my nitrites read 10!!! I did a 20% water change and added Prime last Friday.

When I added fish in the beginning, I added two mollies and two platys. One of the platys died a few days later of dropsy, not a tank problem. A few weeks later, I added two more platys, one died the night it came home, the other is still alive. Since then I added one more molly and three black neons. All the fish seem to be doing great.....no plans to add anything until I get this fixed.

SO WHY is my nitrite reading still so darn high? Does the Prime detoxify the nitrate/nitrtites but the water test will still show a reading?
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Old 03-21-2012, 11:05 PM   #2
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What are you using to test your water? Strips are fairly inaccurate & not worth the extra expense over a test kit in the long run. Prime only works for ammonia & nitrite levels up to 2ppm & only for a period of @24-48hrs. Even though your fish may not 'appear' sick, they are likely suffering from nitrite poisoning. You need to start doing water changes daily to keep your fish healthy until your tank is fully cycled (0 ammonia, 0 nitrite). Please read this link & ask any questions you may have.

I just learned about cycling but I already have fish. What now?!
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Old 03-21-2012, 11:17 PM   #3
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I am using strips, but I took water to the local aquarium store, and they came up with the same readings. They told me to STOP the water changes, and that's where I get confused. The Friday that I did the partial water change and added Prime, my fish were at the surface GULPING for air. I thought I was going to kill all of them.....are water changes the only way to rid the tank of the nitrites?
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Old 03-21-2012, 11:30 PM   #4
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Until you tank is fully cycled, water changes are really the only way to reduce nitrite levels & keep your fish healthy. Prime will help bind nitrites are lower levels (under 2ppm) but its only a temporary band-aid. Just make sure you are using temperature-matched, properly conditioned water for your changes and you shouldnt have any problems.
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Old 03-21-2012, 11:37 PM   #5
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Thanks for your help. I really thought I was cycling the tank the right way....I've done it before but not after I moved. We live in a rural area and have very hard water, and I am wondering if that is why this tank is giving me so much trouble. I did find a friend with a tank, so I am going to get a sock full of dirty gravel to seed the tank with and her dirty filter....along with a water change I hope this will stabilize things and hopefully get me to fully cycled a little faster.
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Old 03-21-2012, 11:53 PM   #6
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Yes, some dirty gravel & filter should help speed things up! Dont worry about your hard water- its perfectly fine for most fish.
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Old 03-22-2012, 11:18 AM   #7
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When I fed the fish this morning I have two baby platies! Will water changes or adding prime affect the little buggers?
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Old 03-22-2012, 11:23 AM   #8
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Congrats! No, water changes wont harm anybody. The babies are more sensitive to water toxins than the adults so its important to keep their water healthy.
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