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Nitrites


Guest Mfish

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Guest Mfish

My nitrites are at 2ppm and I've had my tank up almost three weeks. I do 20% water changes every other day. Is this too much, too little, or just right?

Thanks.

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  • Regular Member

I'd add salt at 1 teaspoon per gallon of water. predissolve in tank water and make sure it disperses well when you add it. You can use table salt as long as it doesn't contain yellow prussiate of soda. Rock salt is cheap and works well. NitrIte is toxic. It enters thru the gills and binds up the red blood cells keeping them from being able to carry oxygen. Salt helps protect against nitrIte poisoning because it competes with nitrIte for uptake thru the gills. After you get it salted, when you do partial water changes just add 1 tsp of salt per gallon changed till nitrItes come down to 0, then you can skip adding any more salt. Your partial water changes will then remove it over time.

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You can do larger partial water changes if you want. Does your source water contain ammonia or nitrIte?

If you salt the tank to .1%, I don't think you have to worry about nitrIte that much. because the salt competes with the nitrIte for uptake thru the gills and protects against nitrIte poisoning. Back when I was cycling, I did water changes, sometimes twice daily to try and keep nitrIte under 1ppm. but I didn't know about salt back then. These days I'm leaning toward not needing to do lots of partial water changes keep nitrIte down if the tank is salted.

Symptoms on nitrIte poisoning would be brownish gills, and signs that they're not getting enough oxygen... e.g. piping at the top of the tank (e.g. gulping air), breathing fast, lethargy.

I'm going to go start a convo on that with some really geeky people I know and see if I can get consensus on whether water changes are necessary if the tank is salted.

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for salt the molecular weight of sodium is 23 and the chloride is 35.5. salt is 60.7% chloride.

.1% salt (1,000 ppm) would have 607ppm chloride

Check this one out:

http://www.agctr.lsu.edu/en/crops_livestoc...od+Nitrates.htm

For channel cats (who actively pull in chloride via the gills) these guys say that a ratio of 16 parts chloride to 1 part nitrIte completely protects channel cats from brown blood disease.

so .1% salt would protect against up to 38 ppm nitrIte using the 16 to 1 ratio for channel cats. or up to 101 ppm nitrIte using the 6:1 from Saint-Erne's book on koi.

so .1% salt is more than enough to protect against nitrIte poisoning for goldies and koi.

I'm still looking on the question of whether you still need to do partial water changes when using salt during cycling. The catfish ref above is the only one I've found so far that talks about chloride/salt being completely protective against brown blood disease.

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Guest Phreno

It's good to know that you're researching that, betty. If you don't need to do water changes to lower nitrites, then cycling will be that much easier! You're pretty much home free once the ammonia is 0, lol. :D

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Well, I got some response. Not from the guy I was hoping would post (a really fish-geeky chemist). One of the mods on koivet regularly recommends just using ammonia binders and salt during cycling rather than doing lots of partial water changes. He feels that water changes are stressful in themselves. not sure I totally agree with him on that tho.

I did some reading and .1% salt should protect against up to 61ppm nitrIte from causing brown blood disease. So that's plenty of salt to protect against the levels we'd see during cycling.

As with other things, there are mixed opinions. I found some things that indicate that nitrIte is an irritant to skin and gills but nothing on what levels it takes for that. Here's another older thread where I was trying to come up with a table for nitrIte like I'd made for ammonia. Sounds like from what I found in that one, that the nitrIte in our tanks is mostly nitric acid which very well could be an irritant.

So what I think now, is that the .1% salt should protect against brown blood disease. and given nitrIte may be an irritant, if they start acting irritated, then do an extra partial water change... otherwise weekly partial water changes should be fine.

I really can't believe I'm saying that. I was doing partial water changes morning and nite at times back when I was cycling.

Hope this helps.

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Guest waheeda

Hi everyone,

Just wanted to let you know that I have just finished cycling my 20 gallon and I controlled nitrite problems by

a) adding 2.5 teaspoons of salt per gallon (I used aquarium salt)

B) AND I did small water changes everyday (10-12.5%) I found that this was better for the fish. When I did larger ones every 2-3 day (I did this once) he seemed to get stressed by the levels getting to high. I never went over

0.3 mg/liter.

Small water changes are fine, salt is good because it reduces the toxicity of nitrite. Now I have zero nitrite and ammonia and I am watching the nitrate levels.

I found this web site helpful as well:

http://honors.montana.edu/~weif/firsttank/cycle.phtml

He's got a good chart as well that my tank has followed very closely in results.

Also watch out for red streaks or spots in the fish, this is due to nitrites being high.

Take care

Happy Cycling!

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I am also experiencing nitrite issues. 14 day old 10 gallon tank. I realize I'm going through the cycle, so hopefully it will go down. I did add salt this morning to the tank. My question is: how soon will I see a reduction in the nitrites? Will I see a reduction at all? Or is the salt just helping the fish cope w/the high nitrite level?

And since I've added the salt this morning, should I now start to do small water changes daily, and with each change add the salt back in? And (one more question I promise!) should I use the gravel vacuum to perform these small water changes or just pull out a gallon of water w/cups?

Hopefully I can get this sorted out!!

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no, the salt won't lower your nitrIte. it just keeps it from being able to get into the fish's bloodstream thru the gills.

You can do small partial water changes daily if you want. I'm thinking tho, that if you keep .1% salt, you don't need to unless they act irritated. While nitrIte's showing, when you do partial water changes, add 1 tsp of salt for every gallon changed. You can use the gravel vac, just skim the surface of the gravel to remove any debris. no deep gravel vacuuming till your biobugs have had time to get established. They live on films on surfaces, which are touchy at first.

Does your tap water have ammonia in it after it's dechlorinated?

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