My nitrites in my tank are too high....what do i do? - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 7 Old 04-14-2009, 03:42 PM Thread Starter
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My nitrites in my tank are too high....what do i do?

my nitrites in my tank are between 1-3 and i have done two 25% water changes in the last two days and they are still high. what do i do? all my over readings are right where they are suppose to be but not the nitrite. what gives? my tank is about 4-5 weeks old. what should i do?
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post #2 of 7 Old 04-14-2009, 05:00 PM
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I had the same thing with my tank. I did a big water change almost 50% . I checked it the next day and it was normal. I think that it was due to feeding my baby fry to much food. I would feed your fish less or do not feed them for a day or every other day. If your tank is overstocked with fish if it is a new tank you might have problems. You are to add fish slowly over the next few months.

Nitrite is produced in the aquarium by the biological filter. Beneficial bacteria in the biological filter convert toxic ammonia into nitrite (also toxic). The biological filter then coverts nitrite into nitrate. Testing for the presence of toxic nitrite is essential, so that once detected, steps can be taken to remove it.

What the test results mean:

In new aquariums the nitrite level will gradually climb to 5 ppm (mg/L) or more. As the biological filter becames established (in 4 to 6 weeks), nitrite levels will drop to 0 ppm (mg/L). In an established aquarium, the nitrite level should always remain at 0 ppm (mg/L); any level above 0 can begin to harm fish. The pressence of nitrite indicates possible over-feeding, too many fish, or inadequate biological filtration. The nitite level is not an indication of the ammonia level; ammonia is another toxic waste material which must be tested separately.

Reducing Nitrite in the Aquarium

Use API Nitra-Zorb to remove nitrite from freshwater aquariums. Nitra-Zorb is a rechargeable filteration material that removes nitrite from freshwater. Making partial water changes can also help reduce nitite levels, especially if the initial nitrite level is very high. I did the water changes as I did not have Nitra-Zorb. You can use API Stress Zyme to help speed the development of the biological filter. Adding aquarium salt will reduce nitite toxicity to fish while the biological filter is removing nitrite. I check my water with API dropper test kit every week and put Cycle in the tanks once a week to maintain the water. You can also use this stuff called Easy Balance by Tetra keeps aquarium water biologically balanced for up to 6 months. Its 1 teaspoon for every 5 gallons weekly.

I hope this helped. My 55 gal. tank in understocked for this reason. If you do not have to many fish in your tank then I would expect the cause of the water nitrite being high is over-feeding like I did. If you have to many fish you might want to rehome some so the water quality stays at a safe reading.
Good Luck!
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post #3 of 7 Old 04-14-2009, 06:44 PM
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Provided you have the right size biological filter for the fish load, keep doing the water changes until the nitrite-eating bacteria have had a chance to multiply. It may take a few weeks.
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post #4 of 7 Old 04-14-2009, 06:57 PM
I would add some/ more bacterial starter product like cycle or superbac, if you used any to cycle your tank. Perhaps colonization was inadequate. Wisteria and water sprite are good plants for controling nitrites.You probably recently cleaned your tnak, maybe too well or your filter media. Most tanks do have a honeymoon period like this.If i sound presumptuous, i'm just trying to figure it out.Actually adding fish does this too , the first couple of months are critical. be careful to not over clean your substrate or filter.
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post #5 of 7 Old 04-14-2009, 08:20 PM
I had to deal with some nitrite spikes last week that killed of a bunch of my fish. I was basically doing 100% water changes, draining the tank till only a few inches were left. The first day I had to do two 100% water changes basically back to back. In your case I would suggest doing much larger water changes it take care of nitrite.

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post #6 of 7 Old 04-14-2009, 08:27 PM Thread Starter
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so i should do a 50% water change or greater to get rid of the nitrites till the bacteria has a chance to grow?
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post #7 of 7 Old 04-14-2009, 08:37 PM
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Folks, take this with a grain of salt because it sounds absolutely ridiculous. I am aware of this.

Your nitrobacter are not multiplying quickly. A very small dose of molybendium usually does the trick. It is very common with the Penguin biowheel filters.

You can generally find molybendium for sale in the saltwater section of your LFS. They probably have an open bottle and would likely give you a teaspoon for free. Just take a zip lock along with you. Trust me on this also... you don't want to tell them why you need it. LOL Just add it directly to your aquarium.
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