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goldwing 07-09-2008 08:55 AM

High Nitrite - partial water change - BAD
My daughters have a 5 gal hex aquarium that has been in operation for about a month now and is stocked with one neon (we have have had alot of dead neons.) one bbaby catfish like bottom cleaner (called mudpie) and one small dwarf puffer. The pH has always been high but all the rest normal. last night I tested the water and the Nitrate and Nitrite levels were high for the first time. We changed about 1/3 of the water and the dwarf puffer was fine for like 5 minutes swimming and happy but then just curled his tail and fell to the bottom of the tank not able to swim. he was like that for about 15-20 minutes before he was finally able to swim. the nitrite levels are still high but not sure what to do. I changed filters and used the stress coat & auqua stuff for the water. even let the water set out for the afternoon matching temp etc.

PLEASE HELP I need to change another 1/3 water or something tonight.


jeaninel 07-09-2008 11:58 AM

Do not change your filter cartridge. Your tank is still cycling and the filter is mainly where the beneficial bacteria will colonize. Do you have the actual readings for ammonia, nitrite and nitrate?

goldwing 07-09-2008 12:10 PM

The nitrAte was in the safe zone but the nitrIte was above the 10 (the chart only goes to ten)

I thought the carbon or what ever is in the filter might help

Was I wrong? I rinse the filter every couple days as they get dirty. especially on the 20 gal goldfish tank.

what should I do? I still have the old filter, I rinsed it and set it by the tank last night.


Kim 07-09-2008 12:18 PM

Your tank hasn't cycled yet. This means that there is not enough benificial bacteria to convert the ammonia produced by the fish into nitrate (which is still harmful to your fish) and then to nitrite. By cleaning the filter as often as you are, all of the bacteria that is in it is being washed away, prolonging the cycle. At this point you will have to do partial water changes as often as necessary to keep your fish alive. This will prolong the cycle, but it will keep your fish alive. Good luck.

Little-Fizz 07-09-2008 12:53 PM

I know a dirty filter is really gross, but its really necessary. Trying rinsing your filter media once a month or every two weeks, rather then every other day. To be honest, I wouldn't even touch the filter until your tanks cycled and ready to go.

And take everyones advice here, Continue with small water changes, not 1/3!!! Change like 15-20% of the water daily until you get no more nitrite readings.

I hope everything goes well! Good luck.

jeaninel 07-09-2008 11:26 PM

Are you rinsing the filter in tap water? If you did the chlorine in the tap water will kill any bacteria there. If your filter is getting clogged and you feel you must rinse it just swish it in the bucket of used tank water when you do a water change. But, like Little-Fizz said, I would try not to touch the filter while the tank is cycling so the bacteria has a chance to colonize.

goldwing 07-10-2008 07:32 AM

thanks for the help.

why did the puffer wig-out like he did?

I'm on well water so no chlorine in the water but I'll stop cleaning the filter nevertheless.

Is reverse osmosis water okay to use? filtered water? (my pH is naturally really high - 8.6+)

Little-Fizz 07-10-2008 11:25 AM

Puffers do that in bad water conditions, I don't really know why, but they do.

yeah reverse osmosis water is ok to use if you think the pH is going to bother your fish, if they are alright with it I wouldn't even bother.

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