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Help...cycle Is Ruined!


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I have to leave for San Diego for work in a half an hour. And I just thought I would test my water for the heck of it. My nitrites are at .08ppm. It was actually showing red which it hasn't before. My Seacheam is still showing 00ppm Ammonia and my nitrates are at 10 to 15ppm. I'm about to do a water change and add Prime and hopefully everything will be okay. What could have happened?

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I have ben feeding extra lately, but I'm also wondering if I am keeping things too clean. I vacumm the gravel very thoroughly each week. And I've been cleaning the plastic plants with a toothbrush every two weeks. I also last week accidentally had the airstone under the filter and it wasn't letting the filter suck up so the bio wheel wasn't working that week. I had to remove the extra filter cartridge to get the wheel moving again. So two filters with media were left and one was removed. I am changin 70% of the water now without vacumming before we go.

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It may be the combo of both then. Every time you change one little thing (even trying new foods I find) theres a chance you may upset the balance somewhere. Overcleaning is also a big possibility with nitrite tweaks as the nitrobacter are less hardy and more sensitive to any changes at all than the first group. I have had a nitrite tweak when the temp plunged in a tank once.

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I tested Saturday when I did a 70% water change and it was at .03ppm so I worried and did a more agressive cleaning. Probably a bad thing. What should I do now? It sucks this happened right before I left.

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The care and low stress environment you have given your fish so far protects them to a certain extent in coping with a slight bump like this. Especially with the added help of the low salt. Make sure your H feeds only every other day and does not overfeed while you are gone. If you do this when you come back you will probably find the cycle has completely righted itself -so dont worry.

Leave instructions to monitor nitrites and ammonia and make sure H knows how to do an emergency w/c in case. But this is a tweak not a major problem, I think its going to be okay.

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I was trying to figure out who my H was and then I realized my husband :rolleyes: He actually came with me, so they didn't get fed at all. Of course, I fed them one brine shrimp cube on Tuesday after I did the 70% waterchange and then I got home today at about 4:30pm and water tested again. Here is what I have if anyone can tell me if this seems like a good sign. PH is holding at 8.0 (the tap was reading 7.5), the nitrite is 0ppm out of the tap and is now reading at .25ppm, my nitrates are 10 ppm (they are 5 out of the tap). So things do seem to be clearing up a bit. The weird thing is that there is a ton of algae on the tank that wasn't there and my plants are showing a lot of new growth. I kind of wonder if my timer stopped working and if it was on the whole time. I will find out tonight.

On Saturday I am due for my big (100%) change. I have to fly for Reno and won't be back until late Sunday night. Imo, would you suggest holding out on the big chage for a week or two until everything seems better? Is there something I should do to change my cleaning habits. I essentially vacumm everything and every other week I either do the filters or scrub down the plastic plants and other ornaments. I also flip my river rocks.

Thanks!

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What's the timer you have on there Amy? The algae may be a good thing to cultivate if you do frequent trips away. The only prob with algae is if it crashes due to sudden lack of DO but you seem to have plenty DO and a stable higher pH which bodes well...what's your kH do you know? Everything is connected.

The slight nitrite tweak I imagine was due to the balance shift somewhere affecting the nitrobacters production. Large water changes often change the temperature for example and even a dip of 2 points temporarily can knock back the reproduction rate of those microorganisms. It's not a high reading, just a warning. By all means do a 100% before you leave for Reno if you can get the new water exactly matched with temp and pH. If not, do what I do when there's trouble brewing, morning and evening 40% changes This protects the temperature/pH sensitive fish and bacteria if its difficult to match those exactly with a full change and allows some hours in between for the nitrobacs to recharge themselves. You can leave the filter rinses till you get back. Try to stagger cleaning ornaments and filter media over several days too if you are having bb issues.

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Thanks! And my timer is working, I just realized that I changed the time to a bit longer (almost twelve hours)...so that explains the happy algae growth. The fish sure seem to enjoy it. And I have lots of little bubbles all over the tank (and two airstones) so I think I have plenty of DO. I'm guessing it was due to my filter situation.

So tommorrow morning I have a vet appointment before my flight and I think I will check and do my 50% change and then do my 100% next week. Ugh! And I will keep an eye on the temp and PH and will surely be posting if this doesn't get back on track.

Thanks!

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