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Adding Oxygen To Bring Nitrites Down?


Guest Juliosmom

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Guest Juliosmom

I'm overstocked. 10 gallon ... 2 small BMs and 1 1.5" red Oranda. I've been working to get my nitrites/nitrates in line. Ammonia and pH are fine and remain steady. A larger tank is not in the cards for me at the moment.

I was speaking to my brother who is a hydrogeologist and a 'water' professional. I was attempting to explain my problems with my tank and he told me to increase the oxygen going into the tank and that would help with my nitrite problem. My nitrites hover between.3 and .8, I haven't been able to get them any lower due to my overstocking issue. My question is ... If I add an airstone and increase the oxygen, will this actually help? I'm running an Aquaclear 30 at the moment.

Thanks for any clarification anyone can offer!

:blink:

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I've not heard of that method before but I'm no expert. In the meantime I'd suggest a very large water change, I was extemely overstocked for awhile and the only thing that helped me was water changes sometimes 4 times a day! It was exausting. And trust me I tried everything! I had aeration on my 39 gallon tank that was meant for a 100 gallon tank and still had very high nitrites for several weeks. Prime will also help detoxify nitrites.

Good Luck! Hang in there nitrites means the end of cycling he** is near!

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Airstones are nearly useless for increasing aeration rates.

Buy a small powerhead and direct the output across the length of the tank.

Add additional media to your filter (bio-media would be best).

Clean or replace the first mechanical filter often.

Do lots of small water changes.

Buy a bigger tank.

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Guest Juliosmom

Good to know about the airstones! Thanks.

I had a very small 'filter' that came with my son's little tropical tank. It was useless as a filter but man, does it move the water. I've added that to the tank and put it across the length as per Yer's suggestion.

Big tank is on my list of wants; unfortunately, hubby and budget don't put it high on this list :cry1

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Very little of the air from an airstone diffuses into the water on its way to the surface (where it escapes to the atmosphere).

The only thing an airstone really does is agitate the water surface. A powerhead does the same thing, but with increased circulation (if set up properly).

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Yer is right, I use this method on all my tanks and I don't have airstones in any of them. My fish are all healthy and active. For me it was the perfect solution, I don't have enough outlets in the house to run air pumps on all the tanks, I would have had to have extension cords and powerstrips all over the place.

I use submersible filters with powerheads at the top, I keep the flow just under the water's surface to create surface agitation. It can be noisy, but if you push the power head down to the surface, it is mostly silent.

My honey will often ask me to "turn down" the filters at night. :D

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Air diffusers (or air stones) work very well for aerating the water. Smaller bubbles means more surface area for O2 exchange between the air bubbles and the air. Many wastewater treatment plants use something similar to airstones. I was able to increase the oxygen concentration in my 29g tank from 2ppm to 7ppm a few hours after installing an airstone. Sometimes water movement is not enough to keep the tanks aerated.

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When I say airstone, I mean the cheapo things that run the end of an airline through some sort of rock or ornament. The bubbles leave the tube (maybe through a small piece of foam) and head straight for the surface. These are nearly useless.

Air diffusers are different. The simple ones are designed just with a longer and thicker piece of foam. But I've seen more complicated designs similar to carbon dioxide diffusers.

Still, the easiest method is to agitate the water surface and circulate the water with a pump. From what I've read, the most common aeration system in wastewater treatment uses high-powered jets to do just this.

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Back to the original question - adding oxygen won't help reduce nitrites unless you have a very low level of dissolved oxygen in your tank (in which case your fish would be in big trouble). If you are achieving 10x filtration throughput, you will be moving enough water around to get good gas exchange.

If your tank is cycled and mature (is it?) and you have persistent nitrites, then I will agree with Yer that you need more bio media to facilitate the growth of a more substantial population of nitrifying bacteria.

Airstones help turn water over and improve circulation. Most of the gas exchange occurs at the surface. Besides, the bubbles look nice rising to the surface!!

You have gotten some good advice in the responses above. Increase biomedia and water changes. Save pennies for a larger tank.

Good luck,

Dennis

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