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Old 05-19-2022, 02:28 PM   #1
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Exclamation Nitrite spike after adding shrimp

Hi all! New to the forum!

I have a 37 gallon (planted) tank. I did a fishless cycle on it and followed all the stages, waiting until I saw nitrates, waiting until ammonia and nitrite was 0, dosing w ammonia before I added livestock to ensure it went to 0 after 24 hours, everything. The tank was fully cycled. It took I think a month.

I added 10 cherry shrimp and 10 amano shrimp (followed the whole procedure of floating them, slowly adding tank water to their bags over time, etc). Within 24 hours I had already lost a cherry shrimp and have been losing about 1 cherry shrimp a day. I have been testing water parameters and my ammonia is still at 0, but nitrites have spiked to where I can't even determine their exact level. I have low nitrates so the nitrogen cycle is going, just not enough I think. I had 2 filters on my tank initially and unfortunately had to remove the filter that had been in the longest because the shrimp wouldn't stop swimming in it and one died because it got stuck. I think this may have hurt my beneficial bacteria colony.

I have gotten Fritz's complete water detoxifier and have been adding that along with 25% daily water changes. I today also added seachem's stability bacteria to see if maybe adding more bacteria would help. It has been almost a week and I have seen 0 change in nitrite level from all of these actions. Does it just take a long time to go down? I realize now I probably should have added one group of shrimp at a time rather than both at once. Is there anything else I can do so I stop losing shrimp?

Thank you!

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Old 05-19-2022, 04:50 PM   #2
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What ammonia level did you bring the water to during your fishless cycle?

Possibly you werent adding enough ammonia, anf removing a filter will have removed bacteria and it will take some time for the other filter to catch up.

If you are seeing 0 ammonia and more than 0.5ppm nitrite you arent doing sufficient water changes. Do whatever water changes you need to bring nitrite down to no higher than 0.5ppm and then continue with changes to keep it there.

Apart from getting the tank cycled/recycled not much more you can do. That means water changes to get water safe, and time. Cycling a tank typically takes a couple of months, you wont be starting from scratch as you are already seeing zero ammonia, but the nitrite to zero stage usually takes longer than the ammonia to zero stage.

Do you know anyone who keeps fish who could let you have some established filter media or a sponge from an established filter? That would be the best way to speed things up.
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Old 05-19-2022, 08:18 PM   #3
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Thanks for responding! My ammonia got as high as 8 at one point. I actually discovered I had been adding too much ammonia eventually and I suspected it was killing my plants. In the beginning I tried to keep it around 4, didn't realize I was overdosing then when my plants started doing poorly and it got up to 8 I started changing water like crazy and got it down to like 2 and kept it there until eventually it went to 0 from 2 after 24 hours. Then I did a full dose to get it up to 4 and then made sure it went down to 0 in 24 hours.

I have a 5 gallon tank that is already cycled that I got from a friend. It has a very basic top fin filter that just has a small filter cartridge in it. Do I just take that out and stick it in my fancier big tank filter somewhere? The big tank one is I think a Fluval that came with all the different types of filter media in it.

Also I considered doing 50% daily water changes but do you think that would be too stressful on the shrimp? The cherries particularly? Then again the high nitrites is stressful too so there is no easy solution I guess.
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Old 05-20-2022, 03:05 AM   #4
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Water changes shouldnt be stressful if you do them properly and as you say high nitrite is stressful and "will" kill your shrimp.

Lets say your nitrite is at 5ppm, although you say its off the chart so it could be higher. That would take 4 x 50% water changes to get it to a safe level. Do them an hour apart.

Maybe cut down on the feeding too until your cycle is back on track. Less food in, less ammonia and nitrite.
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Old 05-21-2022, 12:36 AM   #5
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Ok awesome, thank you. I will start feeding them every other day instead of every day and will up it to 50% water changes.

I actually managed to get it to 1 today for nitrites so I am steadily getting there. Haven't lost any shrimp in 3 days now. What helped I think was doing a full tank dose of the detoxifier vs just adding it to the fresh water I added.
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