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Old 02-17-2020, 10:42 PM   #1
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Nitrite HELP

Hello all! New tank owners here! We just set up our very first 19 gallon tank. We started as a fishless cycle and got to the point of easily covering ammonia to zero in 24 hours. We thought the end was near and we were getting tons of algae so we got 2 mystery snails, 4 nerite snails and 4 otocinclus (i have now learned after the fact that this was probably not the best choice in starter fish). Everyone is still alive and well, however, our nitrites are still insanely high with no signs of improving. Yesterday we did a 75% water change and our level was still off the chart using API master test kit. I've been dosing Seachem Prime at 5x dosing every 24 hours just to try and protect everyone. We are desperate to help move the cycle along and get these nitrites processing. Please give us any tips you may have! How frequent should water changes be and what percent of a change? I have been dosing with stability daily and just added an air stone. Please help and send lots of nitrite lowering vibes our way!
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Old 02-17-2020, 10:52 PM   #2
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Nitrites that are too high will stall the cycle I’ve read large ranges for the exact number so I’m not sure but personally I’d probably get it down to like 2ppm and continue to make sure you’re using enough prime to protect inhabitants.

Your bioload doesn’t seem that high, do you have something rotting in the filter or something, flakes left over from cycling? Rotting plant material?

Test your dechlorinated tap water for ammonia and nitrite too so you know what you’re putting in when you water changes. Usually it’s trace ammonia from chloramines and 0 nitrite but good to check and be sure.
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Old 02-17-2020, 11:06 PM   #3
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I did check our tap water and it tested zero for both ammonia and nitrite. We do have a planted tank, but take care to remove any leaves that don't look good daily. We really haven't used much fish food. We started our cycle with dosing with pure ammonia and got it to go down to zero in about a week and a half. We continued to dose it back up to 2ppm until we got the fish and now I no longer feel comfortable adding ammonia. Any tips for getting nitrite down to 2ppm? We did about a 50% water change 4 days ago and then 75% yesterday and still no luck getting it down. After yesterday's test I even tried doping a test with half tank water and half tap water and the level was only barely lighter purple than the full tank water. Trying my best to keep everyone alive while the tank finishes cycling. I've tried adding a few different brands of bacteria at this point and seemingly no luck. I've tried daily, fluval cycle and yesterday tetra safe start plus. Nitrates are currently at 40-80 (a little hard to tell which as the colors on the chart are so close).
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Old 02-17-2020, 11:19 PM   #4
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Obviously no need to add ammonia now that you have fish. They’re adding the ammonia now.

Sequential water changes. Seriously the only thing that is going to help is to get fresh water in there. Check the filter for any decaying material (plant leaves / food etc) give it a gentle swish in tank or dechlorinated water if it looks dirty. The only answer is more water changes. Seriously just change as much as you can until they start to come down. If it’s still off the charts with 50% fresh you’re going to need to be doing more % and or sequential large water changes.

It will come down eventually as long as there aren’t nitrites in your tap.

Focus on changing as much water as you can as often as you can at least daily (being careful to temp match new water and fill slowly so as not to stress fish too much)

You could add some floating plants to help a bit. Water lettuce or something to suck up some nutrients.
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Old 02-18-2020, 07:31 AM   #5
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What kind of nutrients will the floating plants suck up? Is it any different than my submerged plants?

I will definitely pick up the pace on the water changes. Should I aim for 75% daily until the levels are down? Just don't want to stress the fish TOO much!
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Old 02-18-2020, 12:10 PM   #6
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Same nutrients as your submerged plants nitrogenous compounds (which is what you want to get rid of) phosphates etc. floating plants just tend to do it much much faster because they grow faster, are closer to the light and can use atmospheric carbon.

I think as long as the water is temp matched and there is not a huge ph difference between tank and tap the off the scale nitrites are way more of a stress than the water changes would be.

When I do large water changes I’m just a little extra careful about matching temperature and I slow the flow of returning water a bit more than usual so they have time to adjust.
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