ph/nitrite community tank problem! - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 9 Old 05-12-2008, 04:31 AM Thread Starter
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ph/nitrite community tank problem!

1. 16 gallon aquarium

2. Freshwater tank

3. Tank has been set up for 3 1/2 weeks

4. There is one Beta, 5 neon tetras, 3 corycats, and a stupid mystery snail, oh yeah, and 3 ghost shrimp, i forget about them cuz they hide all the time in the log and I barely see them.

5. There are live plants in the aquarium

6. The tank stays between 78-80 at all times, usually at 79. I have a heater in the tank.

7. I am using an Aqua-Tech Power filter model 10/20 (sorry ppl i'm poor lol)

8. I am not using a co2 unit

9. It recieves no direct natural sunlight

10/11. Last water change was a 25% change two days ago, I do weekly 25% changes with gravel vacuuming

12. I feed my fish a lot of things, lol. The basic is twice a day I feed them tetrafin max complete flake food. But my beta will not eat flake food. so he is fed Wardley essentials betta food pellets. He gets 3 pellets twice a day. Then for treats I alternate between Tetra brand freeze dried bloodworms, HBH brand shrimp pellets, and Hikari brand algae wafers. I alternate between the three and give them enough for them to eat in two minutes. the treat foods are given once every three days and are switched out between them. So they only get each one, once every nine days.

13. I am using flourescent lighting, it is on between 12 and 14 hours per day.

14. My problem is that my nitrite is starting to go up, I'm assuming due to cycling, and I was wondering if cycling products are okay to use, or if they might be dangerous. It is currently at 1.5 mg/L. Also, my ph is running at about 8.1, because of how alkaline the city water is here, and I don't know how to safely drop it. Although I am looking at buying the Aquarium Pharmaceuticals Tap Water Filter to help with the ph, would that help the ph become more neutural? If not, what do I need to do, I'm so lost, and scared. The fish are actually not showing signs of distress and I have not had a single casualty yet, not even in the ghost shrimp. The only thing I have noticed is that my beta has black spots on him, and his tail, that I can't remember if they were there before or not. He has become much more healthy and active since I moved him out of the bowl and into the tank though. His tail has become much wavier and he has become more brightly colored. I will add pictures of him tomorrow, or later tonight if I can find my camera after I post this.

15. water parameters pH - 8.1 | ammonia - do not currently have test for | nitrite - 1.5 ppm (mg/L) | nitrate 0 | hardness - shows as hard, at 150 (GH) ppm

16. I am using test strips

17. The last fish I bought were the corydoras, and they seem more active in the tank than at the pet store, but that was a couple weeks ago now. The last creatures I bought were the ghost shrimp. They were clear when I bought them, and still look clear/healthy and eating fine.

If anyone can help me, anyone at all, I don't know what to do, this is my first time having fish, and I love it, I got bit by the bug, and I'm scared about losing some. I also have a 30 gallon with sailfin mollies, but they're good with alkalie water, so I'm okay with them, and their nitrates and nitrites are both 0, so I have no worries. But how much salt can I add before it will start to harm my plants?
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post #2 of 9 Old 05-12-2008, 04:58 AM Thread Starter
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here's a couple pics of the spots on the beta, they've been there as long as I can remember, but if it's a disease of some kind I would love to know what i'm dealing with and how to treat it. thank you so much. Sorry about posting so many problems in here. Oh, and it's not fit rot on the end of his tail, it's just a really light blue. It has been that way since I got him about 6 months ago and the fins have actually gotten longer since.

and one other thing I forgot to mention, I already had my nitrite spike before I added my fish about 2 weeks ago.

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post #3 of 9 Old 05-12-2008, 05:43 AM
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I believe your tank is still cycling. You would be well served to purchase a quality test kit . the test strips are unreliable that could be why you state early in your post that nitrites are rising but at the end of your thread you state they have already spiked. You NEED ammonia test in order to keep fish from dying during the rest of the cycling process. I would suggest yyou get one asap. Cut back on food and perform water changes anytime ammonia levels become lethal. I would not be to concerned with PH and would NOT use anything in my tank other than a good dechlorinator such as PRIME when doing water changes which may be more frequent due to fish that are contributing to the ammonia levels that are no doubt present if you could test for it. Many fish can adapt to different PH levels as long as change is gradual. Any attempt to alter the PH in my view , would create more problems. Am I to understand you also have 30 gal. cycling with fish? as well? There are many sites that explain in detail the cycling process and why fish should be added slowly even after tanks have cycled.

The most important medication in your fish medicine cabinet is.. Clean water.
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post #4 of 9 Old 05-12-2008, 12:12 PM Thread Starter
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yeah, the thirty gallon is empty and cycling. I guess I missunderstood what was happening. I thought that after the nitrite spiked, and a few water changes, it was okay to put fish in. I guess the tutorial I read sucked. How long do I need to wait to put fish into my other tank, it's been cycling for a little over a week now.
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post #5 of 9 Old 05-12-2008, 03:40 PM
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You need to wait until the ammonia and nitrites are zero, and you are getting a nitrate reading. Nitrite spikes mean your cycle is on it's way, but it's not quite done.
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post #6 of 9 Old 05-13-2008, 06:00 AM
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:D I would not add too many fish at once after the cycling process is complete. Perhaps two fish per week. If too many are added at once then biological bed you have waited on to develop can be overwhelmed and will not be able to handle such a large load all at once. Best to build your stock slowly.

The most important medication in your fish medicine cabinet is.. Clean water.
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post #7 of 9 Old 05-13-2008, 07:57 PM
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I agree just to be patient from here. Your current fish should weather the Nitrite cycle just fine, provided you cut back on feeding. I would not do anything to alter pH at this time.

Actually, altering pH during the Nitrite cycle could really cause huge problems. If you decide you want to gradually bring the pH down, wait until after the cycle process.

However, i agree that the pH is best just left alone in this type setup.
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post #8 of 9 Old 05-14-2008, 05:02 AM Thread Starter
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thanks for all the replies. I will make doubly sure not to overfeed and just take the best care of it possible to keep them alive. I did not know anything about taking care of a tank except the guy at the pet store told me to wait until the nitrite spiked and went down before adding fish. He said it would be fine after that.

I'm just glad I know what I'm doing now. thank you everyone, you've been a great help! Oh, just since people are still probably reading this. Are bubble stones helpful, is it a good idea to get one for each tank?
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post #9 of 9 Old 05-14-2008, 05:20 AM
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If you have adequate filtration and fish are not observed gasping at the surface then you probably don't need extra aeration. Others feel it could benefit fish during cycling process by providing extra oxygen to fish who may be under considerable stress. I personally take the latter view.

The most important medication in your fish medicine cabinet is.. Clean water.
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