Can't seem to bring Nitrite levels down
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Can't seem to bring Nitrite levels down

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Can't seem to bring Nitrite levels down
Old 10-31-2011, 06:24 AM   #1
 
Can't seem to bring Nitrite levels down

Hi all,
I am just finishing up with a bout of ick in my tank, and the melachite green has probably destroyed all of my good bacteria. I've never tried cycling a tank fully stocked, so this is new to me. I have been doing a 20% water change nearly every day for the past week and with every change I include aquarium salt, nutrium cycle, and nutrafin water conditioner (just switched to Prime over the last 2 days from a member's recommendation). The ammonia has gone down to ~ .75ppm which is considered somewhat safe. I can't seem to get the nitrite levels down below 3.0ppm though (stress). I guess I am most baffled by the fact the nitrite levels don't seem to budge even after a water change. I check an hour after, 5 hours etc, and it just seems to stick around 3.0. I don't think the bacteria is doing its job, as the nitrate levels are still around 5ppm. What should I do at this point? And how the heck are my water changes not dropping the nitrite levels? Are the fish really putting out that much load? I only feed my fish once or twice a day.
Thanks in advance.

Tank info:
20 gallon
4 guppies, 6 black-skirts, 1 small rainbow shark (upgrading tank soon)
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Old 10-31-2011, 08:11 AM   #2
 
Tell me about Nitrite problems, just finished cycling my 30 gallon tank, it's taken 5 weeks to get the nitrites down.

Cheers

Richard

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Old 10-31-2011, 08:48 AM   #3
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xadzax View Post
Hi all,
I am just finishing up with a bout of ick in my tank, and the melachite green has probably destroyed all of my good bacteria. I've never tried cycling a tank fully stocked, so this is new to me. I have been doing a 20% water change nearly every day for the past week and with every change I include aquarium salt, nutrium cycle, and nutrafin water conditioner (just switched to Prime over the last 2 days from a member's recommendation). The ammonia has gone down to ~ .75ppm which is considered somewhat safe. I can't seem to get the nitrite levels down below 3.0ppm though (stress). I guess I am most baffled by the fact the nitrite levels don't seem to budge even after a water change. I check an hour after, 5 hours etc, and it just seems to stick around 3.0. I don't think the bacteria is doing its job, as the nitrate levels are still around 5ppm. What should I do at this point? And how the heck are my water changes not dropping the nitrite levels? Are the fish really putting out that much load? I only feed my fish once or twice a day.
Thanks in advance.

Tank info:
20 gallon
4 guppies, 6 black-skirts, 1 small rainbow shark (upgrading tank soon)
That is a drag! I've only cycled 2 tanks, but as soon as I got nitrate readings, my nitrites were gone. You've got to stop feeding your fish as often. For now, I'd only feed a small amount every other day. Get some live plants if you can, and some floating ones would be good too. You have more waste than the bacteria can handle, so you don't have enough nullifying or good bacteria at this point, as your tank is so new. Cut back feeding big time, and get plants if you can. That's my advise. Good luck. You'll get there - be patient, but keep those water changes going, or you will lose fish!

Gwen
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Old 10-31-2011, 10:39 AM   #4
 
Thanks!
I guess I thought about it more on a mathematical level, a 20 percent water change would only bring a 3.0 ppm down to 2.3 ppm which would be pretty hard to detect on a stick. So if I seem to stay stable at 20% water changes perday, I would probably need to increase the changes to 30-40% to see the net effect over time.
I'll keep plugging away!
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Old 10-31-2011, 10:46 AM   #5
 
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Originally Posted by xadzax View Post
Thanks!
I guess I thought about it more on a mathematical level, a 20 percent water change would only bring a 3.0 ppm down to 2.3 ppm which would be pretty hard to detect on a stick. So if I seem to stay stable at 20% water changes perday, I would probably need to increase the changes to 30-40% to see the net effect over time.
I'll keep plugging away!

Just FYI, from what most say here, stick tests are considered unreliable. Nitrites are really toxic to fish, and you don't want any readable level.


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xadzax (10-31-2011)
Old 11-13-2011, 12:16 PM   #6
 
It's been a few weeks since I last posted about this concern, so I wanted to give an update so that it might help others. I'm over the 'hump' so to speak as I am seeing the nitrite levels drop to barely registering on the test stick. I took everyone's advice and did some more reading. Also, this was already after the ammonia levels had been near 0, so I was in the nitrite spike. This worked for me:


1. Not feeding the fish so much by feeding every other or every two days.
2. Adding SeaChem's Stabilize every day directly to the tank. I added 1 capful everyday..I didnt care about wasting it as nitrite reduction was my main concern,
3. Doing 30-50% water changes every day or every other day.

This worked really well, and I thank everyone for their advice. For more specifics, I came across a really interesting article on the ideal conditions for nitrifying bacteria. Nitrifying Bacteria Facts
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Old 11-13-2011, 01:16 PM   #7
 
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Glad you had success. Great you shared that info! Water changes are important during nitrite spikes, to keep the fish alive.

Gwen
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