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Inga 07-25-2010 07:13 AM

confusing water readings in cycled tank
Alright so there was a time not too long ago that I was excited to see Nitrite in my tank as it meant the cycle process was moving along. Now however, I am a little confused by seeing Nitrite as the tank is cycled and has quite a few plants in it.

I did a 50% water change yesterday as regular maintenance, added Prime to the water, of course. This morning I decided to check the water as I have not in awhile. I got a 0 reading for Ammonia but I have 5.0 Nitrite and 40-80 Nitate. What is going on? I even changed 1 of the two Bio-wheel filters yesterday to freshen everything up.

So far the fish seem to be doing alright but it is a little concerning since the numbers shouldn't read that way at this stage in the game. Any thoughts on what could be causing this? I am searching high and low thinking maybe there is a dead fish in there that I didn't notice but I think everyone is accounted for. The Barbs are hard to count as they flit around so fast and with the plants they are in and out of them. I think I counted all 8 of them.

As a reminder It is a 60 gallon tank and it is planted so why these numbers? :-?

kitten_penang 07-25-2010 08:10 AM

did you take out debris and fish poop out of the top layer of gravel??? i think those are causing the spikes.

LisaC144 07-25-2010 09:18 AM

This might sound like a silly question, but how many times did you test? If I get a reading that doesn't make sense, I retest. Something as simple as adding one less drop or one additional drop can throw your numbers off.

What kind of filter are you using? I if it is a Hang-On-Back (aka HOB) filter, you're never supposed to change those bio-wheels thats spin. That is what houses all your bacteria. That may have well started a mini-cycle. However, I believe your tank is somewhat heavily planted, correct? Plants should use that nitrite, but if there is not enough plants to nhandle it, you will still get a spike if you removed too much of the bacteria.

Retest first and get back to us.

Ashcan Bill 07-25-2010 11:23 AM

Changing the Bio-Wheel filter is most likely what affected everything. You don't want to change them unless they're damaged, or ever rinse them in tap water.

Your parameters should get back to normal in a few days.

Inga 07-25-2010 11:40 AM

No, No, I am sorry. I changed one of the flat pad filters IN the Bio-wheel filter, not the wheel part. I wasn't clear on that, sorry. there are 2 pads in there and I changed one. I know you can rinse them but it was really gross and after adding the new substrate, it was thick with the Eco-dust. I did just suck up a bunch of the debris in the tank yesterday with a large water change. I don't know if my tank would be considered "heavily" planted but I have quite a few plants. I was actually thinking of getting a few more Camboba today because I love how they look in there and my Blue Gourami seems to be finding peace from Big Bertha hiding in them. Anything to keep my fish happy and safe.

I re-tested and got the same results. Still doing a head count too and I am pretty sure every one is accounted for. I thought maybe a dead fish could be the problem but then, that would probably show Ammonia first, right? I have 0 Ammonia.

Byron 07-25-2010 05:12 PM

Is this an API nitrite test kit? And I assume this is your 55g (or was it 60g?) tank, just so I know who's in there.

A pure nitrite reading of 5 is not possible, your fish would all be dead, that is extreme. Is nitrite in your tap water? Do you use Prime at water changes?

Inga 07-25-2010 05:20 PM


Originally Posted by Byron (Post 431519)
Is this an API nitrite test kit? And I assume this is your 55g (or was it 60g?) tank, just so I know who's in there.

A pure nitrite reading of 5 is not possible, your fish would all be dead, that is extreme. Is nitrite in your tap water? Do you use Prime at water changes?

Yes this is the API Master test kit for Fresh Water. It is the 60 gallon tank and has in it the 2 Leporinus, 1 Rainbow Shark, 8 Tiger Barbs and up until an hour ago had 2 Gourami, now down to 1 and then just the 2 little Oto's. Also, it has 7 Camboba plants, 2 large and 2 small Swords, 8 Anacharis (small) 1 Ludwigia, 1 bunch of Pennywort, some Rogalia, 1 Java Fern and some grassy stuff. So, fairly well planted. Shouldn't that eat the Nitrite? I do use Prime with every single water change too. Yesterday I changed out a good 50% water. I really thought that one of the fish was dead and that might cause a spike but... that wasn't the case.

Is it possible that Big Bertha had everyone so stressed that their was more toxins in the water from their stress? She had Blue on the bottom of the tank, pinned down and was going at him, then 2 minutes later she went after the shark and a couple of Barbs. She had to go.

Byron 07-25-2010 05:33 PM

Prime will detoxify ammonia and nitrite but it still shows in tests, so as long as you use Prime at water changes, nothing major there.

As for the reading in the first place, yes, with those plants and fish in a 60g there should be no nitrite. If this was zero and now higher it came from somewhere. Did you test you tap water alone for nitrite?

Inga 07-25-2010 05:44 PM

I have in the past but think I will again. It certainly is possible that anything can change in my water. It had cycled and there was 0 Nitrite, which is why I was so shocked to all of a sudden have it again and so high to boot.

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