Nitrite level won't decrease! - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 4 Old 04-03-2014, 03:14 PM Thread Starter
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Unhappy Nitrite level won't decrease!

I've had a 20 gallon tank since January, and I've been struggling to get it cycled and ready to go, so any help here would be appreciated.

I will start this off by saying, I know that there is a problem with my tap water. By testing my tap water directly (using two different brand test kits), I have found it to have a tiny bit of ammonia, but also around 4 ppm nitrIte. There is also a small amount of nitrate, but obviously the high level of nitrite is alarming. The water company has no interest in helping me, or looking into this.

When I initially started cycling my tank, I thought this would be a good thing because it would get the cycle going quicker. What I have been doing is:

1) Dose the tank up to about 4ppm ammonia
2) Wait about a week until the ammonia drops to about 1ppm
3) Dose the tank back up to 4ppm ammonia
4) Wait about a week until the ammonia drops to about 1ppm
5) At this point, the nitrite and nitrate levels are very high (off the charts), so do a 50% pwc with prime treated tap water
6) Dose back up to 4ppm ammonia
7) Repeat

I have been doing this for a while, but it doesn't appear to be getting anywhere. The ammonia is obviously being converted to nitrites (the 4ppm ammonia is gone after about 3-4 days), but no matter what I do, there is always about 4ppm nitrites. I was hoping it would naturally be converted into nitrate, but that isn't happening.

Do I need to use different water at this point? I have a filter built in to my refrigerator, but was advised not to use that because it would filter out things that the fish would need.

Again, any help would be greatly appreciated.
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post #2 of 4 Old 04-03-2014, 06:58 PM
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Normally I'd suggest prime for this, but you're already using it.

Try some live plants, like stem plants or floating plants, they may even it out after a time. Keep changing water and treating it too. It should eventually even out. Are you letting the prime treated tap water get...well, primed before adding it in?

Change out water daily and treat it with prime. I'm not sure how much to recommend, but big changes are usually good to help control it if your prime removes the ammonia before you add it. Try testing the tap water before you add it to be sure it's getting it out.

Also, try adding in some bottled beneficial bacteria, like Stress Zyme+, it may or may not help convert it, you may be adding in more ammonia with your tap than your current bacteria colonies can handle.

Turning on the Aquarium lamp in the morning is MY cup of coffee.
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post #3 of 4 Old 04-03-2014, 07:56 PM
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I agree with Sylverclaws. You're already behind the 8-ball since you have tap water that already has nitrItes. My thought is your bacteria colonies just aren't established yet. From what I the process of adding your ammonia it is taking 3-4 days for it to be converted and have a 0 reading? This really should take about 8 hours (to the best of my knowledge). The cycle usually takes 8 weeks and could be a little longer. Just stick it out. I would recommend live plants if you have the right lighting. They are the best. I don't regret making the decision to put them in my tank.
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post #4 of 4 Old 04-08-2014, 06:26 PM
My tank refused to cycle and my ammonia would go down after 3 weeks only because it evaporated. I am using Dr tims one and only and it is working really well for me. If you could get it from their site or on amazon I highly recommend it to anyone who is having problems cycling.
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