Low Ammonia - HIGH NITRITES - Happy Fish?
Started a new 20-gal freshwater tank 14 days ago. Went fishless for a few days, trying to jump-start the cycle using Nutrafin Cycle and some fish food in the water. Saw about 0.25ppm of Ammonia consistently for about four days. No measurable Nitrites, but 10-20ppm of nitrAtes. I'm using city water, which tests at about 10ppm nitrAte out of the tap.
On advice of LFS, added five Zebra Danio and one Banana Plant on day-4. Continued use of Cycle according to manufacturer directions. Since then, Ammonia has remained fairly low at 0.25ppm. Went to 0.5 for just one day. The Nitrites, however, spiked four days after adding fish (day-8 since beginning the tank). Lost one Danio that day.
Have continued the use of Cycle and commenced daily partial water changes of 25%. No drop in the Nitrite level immediately following the water change or 24-hours later. I presume that means the level is way off the chart, and I'm not removing enough water to bring it down to 5ppm???
As of day-14, no appreciable drop in Nitrite.
Latest test results:
Test Kit: API Master Kit
pH: 7.4 (steady since day-1)
NH3/NH4: less than 0.25 ppm
NO2: 5.0 ppm (maybe more)
NO3: 20 ppm
The remaining four Danios seem okay... active during the day; chill at night; eating. Added some aeration two days ago, and they didn't object. Also, the Banana Plant is doing okay. It sent a shoot to the surface a few days ago.
I'm inclined to be patient, and let the cycle play out a bit more, but I am wondering if I should take action.
I will continue daily water changes.
I ordered some Prime from Seachem to try and neutralize the Nitrite toxicity. It will arrive in two days.
I also have a small pouch of Nitra-Zorb on-hand. I haven't opened it, but I don't think it will fit in my 100GPH hang-on-back filter. Moreover, I'm not sure if I should be removing the Nitrite (rather than merely neutralizing it). I don't want to stall the cylce.
Next time... fishless for sure. But for now, it is what it is. Please advise.
Grateful... Diver Down
NitrItes in the tanks I started with no plants did in fact peg the api test kit and in one case for over 3 weeks.
what I found you is you stop adding food and the nitrItes drop down. Usually in a couple of days but it can take longer. When they start droping it only takes a couple of days to reach 0.
After they drop down you can start light (more normal) feedings and they stay down.
I also had more minor spikes when adding new fish. So I stopeed feeding for a week even then.
I wouldn't use chemicals just yet. Just let your cycling take it's course.
Did you read the instructions very carefully on the test kit to make sure that you're doing everything right? How many nitrites are in your tap?
How about your fish? Are they gulping for air at the top often? Do their gills move quickly?
Maybe you could have your water tested at your LFS.
Thanks beaslbob. So you're saying don't feed for about a week! Those poor little guys seem ravenous. How long can juvenille zebra danio go without food? Is there a risk that they will weaken and become less tolerant of the nitrIte?
Virtually no nitrItes in the tap water. Even if they are present, I need the nitrifying bacteria to grow and do their work. Is there anything I can do to stimulate the strains that consume nitrIte? I understand that it can take 6 to 8 weeks to complete a cycle, but I thought I was off to a fast start considering that the ammonia eaters seemed to ramp up quickly.
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