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Old 02-19-2012, 06:36 PM   #1
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Nitrite advice please

Hi all, despite trying to go for a fishless cycle I have found myself in a fish-in cycle. My tank is a 35 litre which which has been running for about 6 weeks and I have had 4 male cobra guppies in the tank for 5 weeks. I started using a bacterial supplement rather than pure ammonia so I know I got that wrong and since and have been water testing and doing pwc every day. I think we are now in the nitrite phase as this is spiking. We've just been away for 5 days and am really pleased to say that all the fish survived and still appear to be ok! However the nitrite was off the scale when I got back and tested it yesterday. I did a pwc then and two 50%s today but the nitrite still seems to be about 1.0-2.0. I can't seem to get the ammonia below 0.25. I am using the Api master test kit. Should I do another change tonight? One of the guppies does seem to be spending a lot of time at the top of the tank. Also there seems to be some brown algae on the rock but I believe this is quite normal, am I correct?

Thanks
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Old 02-19-2012, 06:40 PM   #2
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I think the algae is ok, you can brush it off it you want.

the nitrites I would try and get down. I had a spike in my 5 gallon that I could not drop and what I did was 2 back to back PWCs three times. did a set in the morning, a set in the afternoon and another set in the evening. I finally got it back in control.

good luck!
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Old 02-19-2012, 06:54 PM   #3
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Back to back 50% water changes ASAP. If a fish is gasping its not good. Do as many water changes now as it takes to get it down.
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Old 02-19-2012, 06:58 PM   #4
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Levels of ammonia about .25, NitrItes above .25, and NitrAtes above 20 are potential very harmful to fish, especially as your ph gets higher from 7.0. I would suggest you do a water change when any of the levels are detected.
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Old 02-19-2012, 07:50 PM   #5
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Hi all thanks for the quick response. I've just done a back to back and retested and my readings now are:
Amm 0-0.25
Nitrites 0.5
Nitrates 40
This feels better
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Old 02-19-2012, 07:56 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aspencer View Post
Levels of ammonia about .25, NitrItes above .25, and NitrAtes above 20 are potential very harmful to fish, especially as your ph gets higher from 7.0. I would suggest you do a water change when any of the levels are detected.
Your water is still toxic.
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Old 02-19-2012, 07:58 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aspencer
Your water is still toxic.
Hi yes thanks I'm going to change it again now.
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Old 02-19-2012, 08:12 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daddynev View Post
Hi all thanks for the quick response. I've just done a back to back and retested and my readings now are:
Amm 0-0.25
Nitrites 0.5
Nitrates 40
This feels better
you are on the right track - I would say another set of 2 back to back and you should be safe for the night

good job on getting to those PWCs!
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Old 02-19-2012, 08:51 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HeatherW

you are on the right track - I would say another set of 2 back to back and you should be safe for the night

good job on getting to those PWCs!
Thanks HeatherW, I appreciate the support! Well I think I'm heading in the right direction although I'm not sure why the nitrates aren't really coming down. Current readings are
Amm 0 (not bright yellow but yellow enough)
Nitrites 0
Nitrates still 40ish
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Old 02-19-2012, 08:54 PM   #10
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Have you tested your tap water? If not, run the whole series of tests on your tap water (ammonia, nitrite, nitrate). It seems your tap water may have a good amount of nitrate in it if all of those water changes hasn't reduced it. Good job in getting those other levels down though! What dechlorinator are you using?
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Old 02-19-2012, 09:03 PM   #11
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Thanks Librarygirl, I'll retest my tap water. I'm using a nutrafin aqua plus water conditioner. Maybe a stupid question but while we're n the dechlorinator subject... I'm dosing based on the size of the tank and am putting it in the bucket of fresh water before adding it to the tank. obviously my bucket isn't as big as my tank so if I wanted to replace more than one bucket's worth do I have to add the dechlorinator to both buckets and if so do I have to dose both to the size of the tank or will one lot of dechlorinator do the job, maybe direct to the tank before adding the new water? Thanks
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Old 02-19-2012, 09:08 PM   #12
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Good question. You can do it one of two ways:

1) Drain the water and then add dechlorinator directly to the tank before you refill and add enough for the whole volume of the tank, and then add the new water, OR
2) Dose each bucket with dechlorinator, but enough for that bucket (not sure what it would be for the Nutrafin stuff, dosing should be on the bottle but you may have to do a little math).

You could probably also add enough dechlor for the whole tank to one bucket, add it to the tank, and then just continue to refill with the other bucket. Method probably doesn't matter much as long as the dechlorinator gets in there.

Once you run out of Nutrafin, look into getting some Prime. It's more concentrated so you'll use a lot less and it'll last longer.
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Old 02-19-2012, 09:26 PM   #13
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Thanks that resolves that query! Anyway have tested my tap water. The scores are: Amm 0 (still not as bright yellow as the card), Nitrites 0 (slightly bluer than the tank) , nitrates still about 40.
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Old 02-20-2012, 06:14 AM   #14
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Thanks all again for advice last night. This morning's readings (i.e 8 hours after the last lot) are
Amm 0
Nitrites up slightly towards the 0.25
Nitrates 40
Do I need to do add anything to bring the nitrates down as it seems this is my tap level reading too? I'd like to try to avoid having to add more chemicals if possible
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Old 02-20-2012, 06:41 AM   #15
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The only thing I'd add is a small amount of salt while the tank is spiking nitrites, it'll help keep the fish safe. It only takes a little bit, I don't measure it out exact but I guesstimate around a tablespoon per 5gallons of tank volume.

As far as keeping nitrates down, plants are the best method.
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Old 02-20-2012, 10:01 AM   #16
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Live plants can help like Jeta mentioned, particularly fast growing floating plants like hornwort. You may need quite a bit of live plants to see any difference in nitrate though, you may have to experiment a bit there. Nitrates are far less toxic than ammonia or nitrite so you do want to do water changes when those levels get to .5 or higher but just monitor the nitrates to make sure they don't get crazy high. You could also try a Purigen insert in your filter, it might help remove the nitrate too. As a last resort you could cut your tap water with RO (reverse osmosis) water, but it can get expensive unless you have your own RO unit and you don't want to use 100% RO water as it doesn't contain any minerals either, so 1/2 tap and 1/2 RO should work.
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