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Discussion Starter #1
Hi, thanks for all the great advice thus far. My 46-gal bowfront tank currently houses 3 mollies, 2 platies, 3 gold barbs, 2 bala sharks, 2 kissing gouramis, 2 mystery snails, and 1 java fern.

My ammonia is about 0.2, and my nitrate is low, but my nitrite seems to be off the little chart, at over 10. Help! How do I get this down? I'm guessing a water change will do it?

My other stats seem decent except my pH, which is about 8.5. I purchased a "pH neutralizer" at the pet store and haven't put it in yet. It's supposed to bring the pH to 7.0. However, I read somewhere else that I shouldn't change the pH drastically, and never more than 0.5 per 24 hours. How do I control this? How should I go about adding this stuff to water? Do I do my partial water change before or after addition?

Also, to compound my issue, one of my mollies appears to have ick (little white spots on his tail, altho' he also has a huge "cyst" on his back which appears to be opening at the top and almost eating thru his top skin), so I am treating the tank with QuickCure and aquarium salt, so I removed the carbon in the filter temporarily. Will this cause the nitrites, etc. to get out of whack?

Thank you to everyone for your helpful advice! This seems a lot to control!

Mary
 

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starcollector said:
My ammonia is about 0.2, and my nitrate is low, but my nitrite seems to be off the little chart, at over 10. Help! How do I get this down? I'm guessing a water change will do it?
You seem to confuse nitrites and nitrates. If nitrites were 10, your fish could have already been killed.:blink: That sounds more like nitrates and there's nothing to worry about it.
Just do more water changes to put down the ammonia and nitrites.

starcollector said:
My other stats seem decent except my pH, which is about 8.5. I purchased a "pH neutralizer" at the pet store and haven't put it in yet. It's supposed to bring the pH to 7.0. However, I read somewhere else that I shouldn't change the pH drastically, and never more than 0.5 per 24 hours. How do I control this? How should I go about adding this stuff to water? Do I do my partial water change before or after addition?
It won't work. They do more harm than good. Basically, you shouldn't worry too much on pH unless the fish you keep thrive in soft, acidic water like tetras.
None of your fish will be harmed by this high pH. They will thrive well.

starcollector said:
Also, to compound my issue, one of my mollies appears to have ick (little white spots on his tail, altho' he also has a huge "cyst" on his back which appears to be opening at the top and almost eating thru his top skin), so I am treating the tank with QuickCure and aquarium salt, so I removed the carbon in the filter temporarily. Will this cause the nitrites, etc. to get out of whack?
No. They'll be ok with that. As you said, your nitrites seems a little higher(not the nitrates which you confused with), in fact, salt will help the fish survived high toxic nitrites.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Nitrites, etc.

Wow, took me several days to log in. Is there a login problem for others here too??!!

I checked the stats above twice, and according to my strips/chart, my nitrites are high. I did a partial water change, which brought it down somewhat, but still too high, I think. I read a bunch on the internet, tho' about nitrates, nitrites, etc. and I agree with you that this sounds wrong. Could my test kit be faulty? I just bought it last week. I'll do another test in a little while and post them here, if I can log back in!

Meanwhile, I had 3 blue platies in the tank. 1 died a few days ago, another one looks like it's about to go, and there's 1 still swimming around. All the rest of the fish are doing fine, except for the ick outbreak on the mollies (and now 1 platy). I am still treating the tank; is QuickCure and aquarium salt going to do the trick? It's only been 3-4 days that I've been treating it, so I know you're supposed to keep treating for a full 2 weeks.

Thanks again everyone for all your help! I'd be lost without ya!
 

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Hi starcollector,

High levels nitrites are going to kill fish, so I would advise a series of large water changes (done on a daily basis) It would be useful if you could test the water parameters again and post later.

Can you tell us what kind of test kit you are using?

I believe some members have been having some difficulty in logging in, but please bear with us; admin is working on this at the moment.

Katherine :)
 

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You can also bring a sample of water to your local petstore, like petsmart or Petco. They should be able to test your water for free.

Regarding the cyst. Could you post a pick? It sounds more like HTH (Hole in the Head), becuase ich does not grow larger, they just multiply.

Make sure you perform frequent water changes, reduce the amount of feedings also.

What type of filter do you have? How long has the tank been running? How long has it been stocked with fish?
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I'll *try* to get a pick of the molly's cyst. He, as well as 2 other mollies, also have little white spots on their tails, but his wound does concern me; he looks different than I've seen ick before. If it was HOH, is he contagious to the other fishies?! I'm not familiar with that disease.

I'll do more water changes; I've done two in the last two days; it doesn't seem to really bring down the nitrite. The other "odd" thing to me is that the bottle says that when nitrite is high, usually ammonia is also. However, my ammonia levels are pretty good - even better after the water changes. Huh. Maybe I'll take it to Petsmart and have them look at it, altho' it might be embarrasing if it's sky high ;-) They will probably recommend products to buy to bring it down - I'm guessing y'all would advise to stay away from them.

The tank has been running for about 5 weeks. I've had fish in for about 3 1/2 of those weeks, adding fish gradually (but maybe not slowly enough?).
 

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Water changes

I plan to do some water changes to the tank - would it be okay to use well water or is it wiser to use bottled water from the store that is treated? I fear there's hard minerals or smoeting in the well water. I don't have tap water here. :( Thanks!
 

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Re: Water changes

starcollector said:
I plan to do some water changes to the tank - would it be okay to use well water or is it wiser to use bottled water from the store that is treated? I fear there's hard minerals or smoeting in the well water. I don't have tap water here. :( Thanks!
There's nothing wrong with using well water. The only thing I would worry is chlorine but as it's well water, I doubt there would ever be chlorine laced in it.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
water changes

I did a water change tonight; I changed 20% of the water. I'm really panicking, tho', 'cos now my fish are acting weird, especially the bala sharks. Seems either the toxicity finally got to them, or something about the water change is hurting them. A partial water change is supposed to be a good thing, right?!

My nitrites are still very very high, I figure it may take awhile for them to go down after water change?? However, I'm still freaking out that it may be too little too late; why would the nitrites be so sky high? I did cycle the tank for over a week and I thought it was done. Ahhh, this is horrible! :( Even if it wasn't completely done cycling, would nitrites get that high normally??? I don't understand why that is the only thing out of whack and why I can't seem to get it under control! I thought the water change would fix the problem, at least temporarily. Can I expect to see it balance out soon??
 

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Re: water changes

starcollector said:
I did a water change tonight; I changed 20% of the water. I'm really panicking, tho', 'cos now my fish are acting weird, especially the bala sharks. Seems either the toxicity finally got to them, or something about the water change is hurting them. A partial water change is supposed to be a good thing, right?!

My nitrites are still very very high, I figure it may take awhile for them to go down after water change?? However, I'm still freaking out that it may be too little too late; why would the nitrites be so sky high? I did cycle the tank for over a week and I thought it was done. Ahhh, this is horrible! :( Even if it wasn't completely done cycling, would nitrites get that high normally??? I don't understand why that is the only thing out of whack and why I can't seem to get it under control! I thought the water change would fix the problem, at least temporarily. Can I expect to see it balance out soon??
Check your tapwater for nitrites.
In the meantime, adding half a teaspoon of salt per 10 gallons should help. Don't be hindered by myths saying table salt is toxic due to addictives and salt intolerance by other fish. Salt is much comfortable than the toxic nitrites itself. Nitrites can kill your fish but not salt.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Thanks guys. You're the best, seriously!

This morning I was sure I was going to wake up to a tank full of dead fish. Not so. They seem to be doing okay. I did add decholorinator with the bottled water that I added; I also added some well water which does not have chlorine in it. Neither has nitrites, nitrates, or ammonia (before adding it to tank). However, the well water does have a high pH and is very hard, according to my test strips. I have added aquarium salt (from the pet store) as well, so maybe that's helped keep the fishies alive. I just hope they're not damaged too badly. I most fear for the sharks and gouramis. So does anyone know what might cause nitrites to be so high? Am I missing the second type of bacteria? I must have the first at least, 'cos my ammonia levels are in check.
 

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I think you did add the fish too quickly...5 weeks for the tank and 3.5 weeks with the fish.

Your filtration may not be sufficient. Reduce the feedings a bit. What model filter are you using?
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I'm sure you're right, too many fish too fast. :-( My nitrites, etc. were okay when I first added them, and I did so in stages, but maybe still too fast. My main question is, what causes the nitrites, and will I see them balance out eventually??!! I'm doing water changes religiously every day but not seeing my nitrites affected. I've now lost 2 more fishies. :0( I feel like a total noob!
 

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Conversion done by bacteria:
Ammonia->nitrites->nitrates.

I may have miss on this question. But have you cycled the tank? If you haven't(now that you have fish), you have to concentrate on making sure ammonia and nitrites are at zero as both are toxic to the fish. Ammonia is more toxic if pH is high.
 

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I think that your tank hadn't finished cycling when you added the fish. the Nitrogen cycle takes 36 days. You probably got to the part where ammmonia is converted to nitrites which will then be converted to nitrates which will then be absorbed by plants. Doing small water changes might help the fish survive or else you could get a starter kit with bacteria. I know they exist but have never used one.
 

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Oceane said:
I think that your tank hadn't finished cycling when you added the fish. the Nitrogen cycle takes 36 days. You probably got to the part where ammmonia is converted to nitrites which will then be converted to nitrates which will then be absorbed by plants. Doing small water changes might help the fish survive or else you could get a starter kit with bacteria. I know they exist but have never used one.
Oceane, cycling doesn't really finish in a specific number of days. It can vary. Some were able to finished cycling in just 10 days. If it were 36, then it appears that cycling may have been stalled several times.:dunno:
 

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Discussion Starter #20
I thought mine was done cycling in about 12 days. I did it without fish, and then I added them slowly, starting with mollies. Things seemed okay up until last week, when I suddenly saw a spike in the nitrites. Despite religious water changes every day, they are STILL very high. Ammonia, nitrates, pH... they are all within range. I am getting so panicky that the nitrites will NOT go lower, even after I change 25% of the water! (Yes, I tested the water I'm putting in - it has 0 nitrites). Can I expect the bacteria to form (apparently it wasn't there to begin with, altho' all my stats were low a few weeks ago)?
 
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