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Old 08-19-2015, 02:55 PM   #1
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Cycle questions - falling nitrate and nitrite?

Hey guys,

So I'm almost 2 weeks into my cycle, I've got a 28 gallon tank with 2 filters (tetra whisper ex45 and fluval u2) and 10 golden white cloud mountain minnows.

I've been making water changes every 2 or 3 days, about 5 gallons every time. I've been using tetra strips, which I know are inferior and might be the cause of my question, but I'll buy the api master kit when I'm closer to running out of the strips.

I don't have a heater in there right now, so the water is about room temperature.

Here are my test results from this morning:
Ammonia: 0ppm
Nitrate: ~10ppm
Nitrite: ~2.0ppm
Gh: 75ppm
Chlorine: 0
Kh: 0ppm
PH: 7

A few days ago, my nitrites were about 3.0 and my nitrates were about 20, and my test results were the same yesterday as they were today. Should i be concerned?

I know my tap water is very soft, but I also seem to have zero alkalinity? Any cause for concern there too?

Thanks!
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Old 08-19-2015, 03:55 PM   #2
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Id be worried most about the alkalinity. Its low enough to allow for major ph swings.

Other than that i wouldnt worry a whole lot. I would try to get the nitrites down a little more.
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Old 08-19-2015, 03:55 PM   #3
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Your ph is neutral, which is fine. I agree with Mebbid though, you need to keep an eye on it. If it drops you need to up your water changes.
I think your fish would definitely be showing signs of distress with those nitrite results. If I were you I'd toss the strips and get the liquid test kit. You're risking the life of those fish by relying on the strips.
Your water change amount is directly related to test results. If your nitrites are at 2ppm, then you need to do a much larger water change than 5 gallons. I'd do at least 60% if not more.
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Old 08-19-2015, 04:38 PM   #4
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I don't think I have any alkalinity in my tap water, as it's never registered on the test strips and I've been testing the water for about a week now. What can I do about that?

As for the larger water changes, how much water should I be changing? About 10 gallons? That would bring the nitrites down right? Judging from my ammonia levels, I'm in the second stage of the cycle, correct? My nitrates used to be higher, but they've lowered :s

I also have been using prime as a water conditioner, should I just up the dose with the next water change to help detoxify the nitrite?

I have one sort of sickly fish who's been that way since the first day or two, I assume he's just a little weaker. He has no external signs of illness that I can detect, and all 9 other fish seem healthy to me. The weak one hasn't gotten any worse or any better in 2 weeks, so he just might be the "weakest link".
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Old 08-21-2015, 01:02 PM   #5
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For alkalinity just add some baking soda to buffer the system. Personally I use potassium bicarbonate to buffer so I'm not sure what your dose should be but with that pH you can probably add a decent amount.

Nitrates only go down because of plants or water changes in a freshwater system, between10-20 is plenty good.

Your nitrites are high and will kill fish if your not dosing some kind of detoxify agent or start doing more frequent water changes to keep levels down. When dosing prime just dose the whole volume of the tank.

How often are you feeding your fish? You can reduce the need for water changes by reducing the amount your feeding. You should be doing 40-50% water changes. At least enough to get nitrite down. So if your have 2ppm of nitrite then you need to remove 14 gallons of water just to get it down to 1 ppm.

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Old 08-21-2015, 02:51 PM   #6
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Thanks for the response!

I did a big water change yesterday, maybe about 13 or 14 gallons, and my test results are the same after the water change and this morning:
Ammonia 0ppm
Nitrate ~10ppm
Nitrite 1.0ppm

So thankfully my nitrites did go down! I'll keep up my water changes every other day or so and make sure to keep up a bigger volume!

I only feed twice a day, and I have a few different food types but I try to be sparing. At least in the early stages of the tank, I feel it's better to underfeed than overfeed. I usually feed them sometime around 10am and then around 6pm.

Are baking soda or baking powder okay to use? I'll have to look up more about that, thanks!
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