Cycled tank with suddenly high nitrite level?
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Cycled tank with suddenly high nitrite level?

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Cycled tank with suddenly high nitrite level?
Old 09-22-2013, 07:19 AM   #1
 
Cycled tank with suddenly high nitrite level?

Hi,

I have a 10 gallon tank with fish that was fully cycled for about 7 days all on its own:
Ammonia 0
Nitrite 0
Nitrate 20

I have been doing every other day tests of the water.

Suddenly on day 7 I see the nitrite level shot through the roof:
Ammonia 0
Nitrite 8

Nothing new was added or removed from the tank during this time except for daily light feeding.

Any idea what would cause the nitrogen to spike without the ammonia going up?

Did my bacteria that change nitrite to nitrate suddenly all die off?
Did I miss an ammonia spike that went away?
Is there something in the tanks that can cause nitrite directly without having to first create ammonia?
(Is there a relationship between how high the ammonia level goes up and how high the nitrite goes up? Like can an ammonia spike of 0.25 that might have been missed, cause a nitrite spike of 8?)

Thanks!
Juggernaut

Last edited by Juggernaut122; 09-22-2013 at 07:21 AM..
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Old 09-22-2013, 09:39 AM   #2
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Juggernaut122 View Post
Hi,

I have a 10 gallon tank with fish that was fully cycled for about 7 days all on its own:
Ammonia 0
Nitrite 0
Nitrate 20

I have been doing every other day tests of the water.

Suddenly on day 7 I see the nitrite level shot through the roof:
Ammonia 0
Nitrite 8

Nothing new was added or removed from the tank during this time except for daily light feeding.

Any idea what would cause the nitrogen to spike without the ammonia going up?

Did my bacteria that change nitrite to nitrate suddenly all die off?
Did I miss an ammonia spike that went away?
Is there something in the tanks that can cause nitrite directly without having to first create ammonia?
(Is there a relationship between how high the ammonia level goes up and how high the nitrite goes up? Like can an ammonia spike of 0.25 that might have been missed, cause a nitrite spike of 8?)

Thanks!
Juggernaut
I don't have specific answers for your questions but I know that sometimes nitrite can spike like that, especially in an newly cycled, unstable tank. It shouldn't last long, just change water if you have fish in. Nitrites spike high and can come from smaller amounts of ammonia.
It happens in mature tanks also but a mature tank will deal with it quicker, hence the need for regular testing.

Last edited by marshallsea; 09-22-2013 at 09:56 AM..
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Old 09-22-2013, 09:50 AM   #3
 
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P.S. Some say once a tank cycles , go to weekly water changes. I think you should go to every 3rd or 4th day changes for 2 weeks or so just for spikes like this as the tank settles in to its cycle. Or do daily water testing for a few weeks, which ever is easier.
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Old 09-22-2013, 10:25 AM   #4
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Juggernaut122 View Post
Hi,

I have a 10 gallon tank with fish that was fully cycled for about 7 days all on its own:
Ammonia 0
Nitrite 0
Nitrate 20

I have been doing every other day tests of the water.

Suddenly on day 7 I see the nitrite level shot through the roof:
Ammonia 0
Nitrite 8

Nothing new was added or removed from the tank during this time except for daily light feeding.

Any idea what would cause the nitrogen to spike without the ammonia going up?

Did my bacteria that change nitrite to nitrate suddenly all die off?
Did I miss an ammonia spike that went away?
Is there something in the tanks that can cause nitrite directly without having to first create ammonia?
(Is there a relationship between how high the ammonia level goes up and how high the nitrite goes up? Like can an ammonia spike of 0.25 that might have been missed, cause a nitrite spike of 8?)

Thanks!
Juggernaut
Hi it sounds like your tank has not cycled yet :( It takes time and it's just one of those things that we have to wait for the bacteria to colonize to where they can control those spikes of ammonia and nitrites. Check out my video below on the nitrogen cycle and see if that helps at all. Best of luck with your tank!

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Old 09-22-2013, 12:15 PM   #5
BWG
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Juggernaut122 View Post
Hi,

I have a 10 gallon tank with fish that was fully cycled for about 7 days all on its own:
Ammonia 0
Nitrite 0
Nitrate 20

I have been doing every other day tests of the water.

Suddenly on day 7 I see the nitrite level shot through the roof:
Ammonia 0
Nitrite 8

Nothing new was added or removed from the tank during this time except for daily light feeding.

Any idea what would cause the nitrogen to spike without the ammonia going up?

Did my bacteria that change nitrite to nitrate suddenly all die off?
Did I miss an ammonia spike that went away?
Is there something in the tanks that can cause nitrite directly without having to first create ammonia?
(Is there a relationship between how high the ammonia level goes up and how high the nitrite goes up? Like can an ammonia spike of 0.25 that might have been missed, cause a nitrite spike of 8?)

Thanks!
Juggernaut
You used bacteria in a bottle to try to speed things up right? Safe Start?
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Old 09-22-2013, 01:20 PM   #6
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aqua Hound View Post
Hi it sounds like your tank has not cycled yet :( It takes time and it's just one of those things that we have to wait for the bacteria to colonize to where they can control those spikes of ammonia and nitrites. Check out my video below on the nitrogen cycle and see if that helps at all. Best of luck with your tank!

The Nitrogen Cycle - YouTube
Going by his testing-Ammonia-0, Nitrites-0, Nitrates-20, unless his source water has 20ppm nitrates, that's the definition of cycled.
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Old 09-22-2013, 04:48 PM   #7
 
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Originally Posted by blackwaterguy View Post
You used bacteria in a bottle to try to speed things up right? Safe Start?
Hi,

Correct - that was about 2 months ago...

The tank was already cycled before putting fish in it (ammonia 0, nitrite 0, nitrates 20), then I had a spike of nitrites a few weeks ago after adding additional fish, which went away (back to ammonia 0, nitrite 0, nitrates 20), and now nitrites spiking again....

Juggernaut
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Old 09-22-2013, 06:25 PM   #8
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Juggernaut122 View Post
Hi,

Correct - that was about 2 months ago...

The tank was already cycled before putting fish in it (ammonia 0, nitrite 0, nitrates 20), then I had a spike of nitrites a few weeks ago after adding additional fish, which went away (back to ammonia 0, nitrite 0, nitrates 20), and now nitrites spiking again....

Juggernaut
Have you added more fish or increased feeding before this last spike? It will pass in a few days, keep testing and changing. Your spike is coming from increases in ammonia. As your tank matures they'll stop. Just increase feed and fish very lightly.

Last edited by marshallsea; 09-22-2013 at 06:29 PM..
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Old 09-22-2013, 06:37 PM   #9
BWG
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Juggernaut122 View Post
Hi,

Correct - that was about 2 months ago...

The tank was already cycled before putting fish in it (ammonia 0, nitrite 0, nitrates 20), then I had a spike of nitrites a few weeks ago after adding additional fish, which went away (back to ammonia 0, nitrite 0, nitrates 20), and now nitrites spiking again....

Juggernaut
I know nothing about that stuff, only asked for someone else that does and in case it is important.

Fill me in on the whole timeline, cause I'm slightly confused.

Are you using strips? Something is off here and I don't know for sure yet what it is. If the nitrites were that high you should be seeing symptoms in the fish as you are really close to lethal levels.
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Old 09-22-2013, 08:11 PM   #10
 
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Originally Posted by blackwaterguy View Post
I know nothing about that stuff, only asked for someone else that does and in case it is important.

Fill me in on the whole timeline, cause I'm slightly confused.

Are you using strips? Something is off here and I don't know for sure yet what it is. If the nitrites were that high you should be seeing symptoms in the fish as you are really close to lethal levels.
oh, no problem. I thought that there might be an issue with the safe-start.

The fish seem fine - they are acting normally. Some people have told me there can be contamination of the vials for the API master kit but everything seemed ok until a few days ago....

time line:
1) 2 months ago, did a fishless cycle - ammonia up to 8 by using food, then added safe-start, then ammonia 0, nitrite 0, nitrates 20.

2) added the 2 mollys (as you know). tank stayed ammonia 0, nitrite 0, nitrates 20

3) added the 3 glofish and ammonia 0.25, nitrite 8

4) water changes and more safe-start added, then back to ammonia 0, nitrite 0, nitrates 20

5) everything stable for like a week (actually, it was 2 weeks) ammonia 0, nitrite 0, nitrates 20, then suddenly current readings of ammonia 0, nitrite 8, nitrates 20. No new fish in the past 2 weeks.

Thanks,
Juggernaut.
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