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Nitrites in newish tank


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Hello everyone I'm new to this site, anyway on to my problem. I can't seem to rid my tank of nitrites. They read up to about .25 ppm using an API liquid test kit 2 days after a water change. My tank is a 40 gallon indoor tub set up since January 30th of this year with 3 fancy goldfish each about 1-2 inches in length. I recently had an ich problem and used Kordons rid ich plus, all the fish have been spot and symptom free for 3 days. The medicine claims not to disturb filter bacteria, but I'm unsure about that. I was doing daily water changes before a new dose of meds so it's possible that had caused a mini cycle? I measured some ammonia yesterday about .50 ppm which seems to be on its way down with a reading of less than .25, but not 0. Nitrites never seem to zero out since the initial cycle unless I do a water change then raising up within a few days. I should mention I fishless cycled this tank/tub with pure ammonia and nitrates are about 30-40ppm as last water change was Friday. I want to do another water change to reduce those levels, but on the other hand I want to let the filter bacteria catch up. Any advice?

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  • Regular Member

:hi   welcome to Koko's!

 

As I understand it, Formalin will kill filter bacteria.  It is very possible that it set back your filter.  I think you can do as many water changes as needed to keep the ammonia and nitrite levels down.  I would also use Prime to detoxify any remaining.  The beneficial bacteria are primarily in the filter, not the water column.  In the future, I would recommend using salt at 0.3% to cure Ich as Formalin is a very harsh chemical and a carcinogen.

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Thanks for your reply. I will do water changes and keep an eye on it, the fish do not seem stressed and are eating like pigs. Do you have any experience with aqua safe plus by tetra? I see you mentioned prime, but it's an ammonia binder while the other is not. Thanks again!

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Thanks for your reply. I will do water changes and keep an eye on it, the fish do not seem stressed and are eating like pigs. Do you have any experience with aqua safe plus by tetra? I see you mentioned prime, but it's an ammonia binder while the other is not. Thanks again!

Aqua safe is fine for removing chlorine and chloramines, but it will not help to detoxify ammonia and nitrite.  You can also add aquarium salt at 1 Teaspoon per 10 gallons to offset any Nitrite toxicity.  Predissolve it in water, first.

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So I did a water change yesterday and another today as nitrite levels were creeping up, levels are now ammonia at 0, nitrite less than .25 and nitrites 5-10ppm. I am wondering if I'm over feeding because the nitrates get so high after a few days or maybe I need more filtration? I would love to see this tank cycle, after three months it should be some what stable.

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I change about 18 gallons on a 40 gallon tank. My tap readings are ammonia 0, nitrite 0, and 0-5 nitrate. Yesterday before the WC ammonia was 0, nitrite was .25 and nitrate was 40ppm after the WC ammonia was 0, nitrite grey tinge, but less than .25 and nitrate was 5-10ppm. I am thinking that the beneficial bacteria can't cope with the bioload and I'll keep changing water in the meantime. I did buy some prime to detoxify the water so the fish should be safe, thanks for you reply! ????

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Let's just clarify a few points about your cycle.  

 

The job of your nitrifiers is to convert ammonia first to nitrite (ammonia oxidation) and then to nitrate (nitrite oxidation).  They don't do anything to change  the nitrate.  So it accumulates in your tank water.

 

The presence of nitrate in your tank in amounts larger than what is in your tap water means you have a pretty good population of both the ammonia oxidizing and nitrite oxidizing bacteria.  

 

The fact that you have some nitrite means that the population of nitrite oxidizers is not quite large enough.  They might have been damaged by the medication you used.  They might have been removed by too vigorous cleaning. They will recover with a little time.  Meanwhile either Prime or the salt Jared recommended above will protect your fish.

 

If the nitrate is going up "too fast", it does mean you are overfeeding.   Try cutting back and see if that helps.  Ultimately, nitrate in the water comes from the fish food.  If the nitrate is no more than 20 ppm before a weekly 50% water change, your fish should have no trouble with it.

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Thanks everyone so much!! The filter is a Fluval 206, it has the bio rings in two slots, the bio foam, fine polishing pad at the end as well as the 4 large sponges that catch large debris.i don't know the PH, but last time I had it checked it was high in the 8 range. As of today readings are ammonia 0, nitrite light blue but not zero and nitrates 10-20 ppm (hard to tell). I'm going to cut back on feeding and see if the nitrites drop to zero. The bacteria that converts nitrite is very slow to process. Thanks again..

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