02-29-2012, 08:07 AM
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1077 has offered some good advice.
I would just like to add that Prime detoxifies, but does not remove ammonia or nitrite. Thus, your water test kits will still show the presence of those substances ... because they are still there, just not in a toxic form.
This detoxification is only temporary, and with a cycling tank it is necessary to continue using it to keep it detoxified. While detoxified, it is still useable by the bacteria and thus will not affect your cycle in any way.
5 ppm Nitrite is massively excessive, and will actually hinder the development of the beneficial bacteria. As 1077 mentions I would be doing daily 50% changes to get that under control. I must say I have never heard of water changes causing any disease, however as said sudden changes in water parameters can, by inducing stress and thus weakening the immune system. If you keep your tap water as close as possible to your tanks temperature, there will be no issue. Do not do more than one water change a day.
One thing that has not been mentioned is, have you tested your tap water? Tap water can contain any of the three that we test for (Ammonia, Nitrite, and/or Nitrate). If it does, that can be the source of your problem, but using a water conditioner that detoxifies it is how you get around it, the beneficial bacteria will then take care of it before the water conditioner wears off (in a normally cycled aquarium).
The cycle takes 4-8 weeks to complete.