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Old 02-24-2013, 03:57 PM   #1 
LoriKeet
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Exclamation Nitrite Problem

Context:I have a brand new 5 gallon tank I began cycling on February 15th. I decided to cycle it with my Betta in, keeping up with two water changes per week (Wednesdays and Sundays).

Situation: Today I decided to test the water before Luna's water change. Last time (Monday) all stats were perfect save for a high ammonia level of 1 ppm. Today his PH was the same as usual, but his ammonia level (for not changing his tank in 3 days) was nearly non-existant. His Nitrite level on the other hand was 5.0 ppm!

I changed the water immediately, opting for swapping out 3 gallons instead of 2-2.5. I ran another test, now his Nitrite level is hovering between .50 ppm and 1 ppm.

Question: How do I keep his Nitrite levels under control?

Please and thank you!!!
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Old 02-24-2013, 06:31 PM   #2 
Oldfishlady
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What kind of testing products are you using, what kind of additives used, type of filter and filter media care. Any live plants, type of substrate and how deep. Water temp, any food left uneaten-type of food and how much.

What are the base-line prams on the source water-one with and one without additives you normally use for: ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, pH and what is the source water. Do you have a water softening unit on the house.

Also, all number on the tank-Ammonia, nitrite, nitrate and pH

How are you cleaning the test tubes and whatever used to collect the tank water for the test before and between test.

A 5ppm nitrite would have been fatal-(How was the Betta acting with the high nitrite) and so my thought is-a skewed result or interaction of some type. Additives like dechlorinator, plant food/ferts, fish food, improper cleaning between test or user error- among other things can cause this
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Old 02-24-2013, 11:20 PM   #3 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oldfishlady View Post
What kind of testing products are you using, what kind of additives used, type of filter and filter media care. Any live plants, type of substrate and how deep. Water temp, any food left uneaten-type of food and how much.

I use the API Freshwater Master Kit, I use Seachem Prime water conditioner and (as of today) Seachem Stability, I have an Eclipse 3-stage filtration system with BIO-wheel, one plant, and a gravel substrate about 2 inches deep. The water temp is kept between 78-79, seldom is food left uneaten as I feed him individual pellets as per needed.

What are the base-line prams on the source water-one with and one without additives you normally use for: ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, pH and what is the source water. Do you have a water softening unit on the house.

I don't know the prams without the Prime. The first time I ran a test was a day after a water change (PH - 8, Ammonia - 1, Nitrite - 0, Nitrate - 0). The water source is home water tap. There is no water softening unit, the water is very hard.

Also, all number on the tank-Ammonia, nitrite, nitrate and pH

Most Recent: PH - 8, Ammonia - 0, Nitrite - 5, Nitrate 2)

How are you cleaning the test tubes and whatever used to collect the tank water for the test before and between test.

I run them under hot water for about a minute and then let them air dry.


A 5ppm nitrite would have been fatal-(How was the Betta acting with the high nitrite) and so my thought is-a skewed result or interaction of some type. Additives like dechlorinator, plant food/ferts, fish food, improper cleaning between test or user error- among other things can cause this.

I may not be cleaning the tubes right; I didn't see any directions regarding the cleaning and I didn't use soap in fear of residue messing with the test. My Betta's been acting terrific, I wouldn't have known anything was wrong if it hadn't have been for the test. He's interacting, eating well, swimming great, spreading his fins, building bubble nests...
Thanks for responding, I answered everything in red.
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Old 02-24-2013, 11:23 PM   #4 
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One more thing! I used a clean Tupperware container to collect the water from the tank.
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Old 02-25-2013, 01:46 AM   #5 
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However you clean the tubes won't change test results - at most they might cause small amounts of oxidation in your ammonia test which results in slightly "off" color results (and sometimes you can see more of a tan or brown layer at the bottom of the tube - but you'd still be able to read the results, since you're looking at the darkness with that one, not the exact hue.. yellow is still negative, anything green means ammonia is there even if it's more of an olive tone than spring green), but you shouldn't get inaccurate results from any other cross contamination... I've never seen anything weird happen with the other tests. Chloramines and Ammonium will also cause off-color ammonia results when prime is used to treat water.

I use a small brush to clean mine out when I rinse them, but I'm not truly convinced they get any cleaner that way than not doing it - I just happened to have a brush that fits so I use it, but I didn't, I wouldn't worry much.
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Old 02-25-2013, 09:47 AM   #6 
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Did you shake the bottles really really well before adding the chemicals?
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Old 02-25-2013, 10:02 AM   #7 
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The way I clean my test tubes and caps-is under running tepid water-then air dry. IME-I have had skewed results due to residue or not rinsing the cap between test.

Make sure you are not mixing the nitrite and nitrate reagent bottles and be sure and follow the directions to the "T" especially on shaking between drops and reading results.

To understand-you have 1ppm ammonia in your tap water/source water correct.

The stability-when was this added in regards to the test results with the high nitrite-this would cause both positive results on nitrite and nitrate.

Good that you didn't have any behavior changes in the Betta-sometimes the Betta/fish can be the best water tester along with the power of observation
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Old 02-25-2013, 09:14 PM   #8 
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You did the right thing to do more than a 2 or 2 and half gallon water change. Anytime you get a level to high its alright to do a bigger water change to bring the level down. Or you can do back to back water changes which mean do a 2 gallon water change and after a few hours test again and if its still to high do another gallon or more water change. Water changes are the best way to keep high levels under control and also using Prime which will detox them for at least 48 hours. You can use it between water changes and its fine to even double the dose if you are getting high nitrite readings, I read that on their website I believe. Its 2 drops per gallon so just double that.

Looked up about the Prime and how much you add for high nitrite levels just to be sure and here is their website and look at the bottom under directions. And its 5 time the amount for emergency high level of nitrite.

http://www.seachem.com/Products/prod...ges/Prime.html

Last edited by Perseusmom; 02-25-2013 at 09:21 PM.
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Old 02-25-2013, 10:14 PM   #9 
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Update

Yesterday I did a 60% water change after discovering that the water was at a 5ppm nitrite level. I also began adding a daily regiment of Seachem Stability to try and kick the biofilter into over drive.

Today I tested the water and AGAIN it's at 5 ppm. I used a clean, glass bowl to get the water sample and I tested the water from the tap as a control variable. As you can see from the picture below, the tap is a light blue which indicates no Nitrites whereas the water in Luna's tank is a plum purple indicating a high level of Nitrites.



I'm going to do another gallon change with an extra hit of Seachem Prime. I can't think of anything else to do, it's very stressful. I've only had the tank for ten days, should I change the filter media already? Luna is the only fish living in the tank along with a little plant. I'm super worried about my boy. :(
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Old 02-25-2013, 10:16 PM   #10 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Perseusmom View Post
You did the right thing to do more than a 2 or 2 and half gallon water change. Anytime you get a level to high its alright to do a bigger water change to bring the level down. Or you can do back to back water changes which mean do a 2 gallon water change and after a few hours test again and if its still to high do another gallon or more water change. Water changes are the best way to keep high levels under control and also using Prime which will detox them for at least 48 hours. You can use it between water changes and its fine to even double the dose if you are getting high nitrite readings, I read that on their website I believe. Its 2 drops per gallon so just double that.

Looked up about the Prime and how much you add for high nitrite levels just to be sure and here is their website and look at the bottom under directions. And its 5 time the amount for emergency high level of nitrite.

http://www.seachem.com/Products/prod...ges/Prime.html
Thanks for the link and advice Sheila, I'll look into it right away.
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