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Nitrite Problems - Shrimp in Goldfish Tank

Discussion in 'All Questions from Newbies' started by TeaBoy101, Jan 16, 2016.

  1. TeaBoy101

    TeaBoy101 Member

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2016
    Location:
    Canada
    Hello, I'm pretty new to goldfish care, and I'm having a bit of difficulty figuring some things out. I have two small goldfish, one celestial eye (Noodles), and one comet (Ketchup). I know I shouldn't have mixed them since one is a fancy and one is a comet, but they have been living together for a few weeks and are doing very well. They both eat well (not too much) and they don't seem to pick on each other at all. I also a a snail, who sadly keeps falling over and is unable to right himself.

    My main concern is the levels of nitrite in my tank. I am doing a 30% water change every 2-4 days, and testing the water every day. My ammonia is zero, but every time I test for nitrite it's above 2 ppm (mg/L), even close to five sometimes. I'm doing everything I can think of to lower the nitrite content, but nothing seems to be working. I've been thinking of getting a shrimp, hoping that it would help with the waste clean-up, but I don't want it to produce more than it helps.

    My two goldfish are about an inch long each, maybe the comet is 1.5 inches, and they are in an aerated, 20 gallon tank with a filter rated for up to a 30 gallon tank. They have a bit of gravel in the bottom, but you can see through it to the glass everywhere so there's not much problem cleaning it. I have a few fake plants and a hollow log structure (also plastic) for them to play in, but also a lot of open water. The tank is unheated, but generally about 70 degrees, and I have a scallop shell in their tank that I put food in so that it doesn't fall through the rocks so easily. I feed them frozen brine shrimp occasionally, but generally sinking pellets.

    I did a lot of research before getting them, and even though I ignored some advice that I know I should have taken I really love my fish, and want to do what's best for them. If anyone has any suggestions as to how to lower the nitrite content, whether it be with live plants, shrimp, or anything else, I would really appreciate it.

    Thanks for your help!
     
  2. Scifisarah

    Scifisarah Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2016
    Location:
    Michigan
    I don't really think a shrimp will help with any waste. It will probably just end up being an expensive snack for the goldfish. When I had a tank of cherry shrimp, I would cull out the duller colored ones and put them in with my betta who would eat them. I know my goldfishes mouths are huge compared to my betta. Pretty much anything you get to clean up waste will just poop out whatever it takes in, so it really won't help with cleaning.

    What is your nitrate ppm? Maybe someone who is more familiar with the stages an aquarium goes through when cycling can help out here. I haven't seen someone have no ammonia, but have nitrite before.
     
    TeaBoy101 likes this.
  3. TeaBoy101

    TeaBoy101 Member

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2016
    Location:
    Canada
    I'm sorry, I don't have a nitrate test kit, I'll go out and buy one tomorrow. However, here are the results from the nitrite and ammonia tests, just so you can see them for yourself:

    IMG_0090.JPG

    Okay, so a shrimp is out, but is there any plant that you would recommend?
     
  4. shakaho

    shakaho Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2010
    Location:
    Orlando FL
    So you don't yet have a large enough population of nitrite oxidizing bacteria (NOBs). This will grow, but while you wait you have to protect your fish from toxic nitrite. You need to change much more water -- like 30% daily.

    You can protect your fish from nitrite poisoning by adding a teaspoon of salt to the tank.

    Until the nitrite goes away, you should reduce the amount you feed -- a lot. Nitrite comes from ammonia which comes from the protein in fish food.
     
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  5. TeaBoy101

    TeaBoy101 Member

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2016
    Location:
    Canada
    Okay, thank you so much! I'll get right on it, thank you both for your help!
     
  6. ThatGuy

    ThatGuy Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2016
    Location:
    NJ
    Another thing you can do to help speed up the cycle is get a bottle of starter bacteria. That or if you have another cycled tank just squeeze the sponge out and add that to your current tank.
     
  7. mjfromga

    mjfromga Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2015
    Location:
    At Home
    With a comet and a fancy, you'll need a 40 gallon tank at least. You're fine for now, but just letting you know. Upgrading the size of the tank ASAP can help with this problem. I don't think adding the Tetra Safestart will help much now. Its ideally used for fishless cycling. I suppose it may help, but from what I gather, adding it to a toxic tank doesn't do much good.

    Large and frequent water changes are a must, nitrite levels that high are very toxic. Also, there is too much water in your ammonia tube and its made for saltwater tanks. Its very important to get the levels JUST RIGHT and to use only freshwater kits for accurate readings. Test your tap water too, as it may be part of the problem. I've heard of people having to add distilled water until their beneficial bacteria got high enough to protect their fish.

    Feeding greens and low protein food might help hungry fish without adding high levels of protein to their poop and sitting in the tank. Hopefully your guys are okay and your tank finishes it's cycle soon! Welcome to fishkeeping, I'm a newbie too! This is a very useful site.
     
  8. CaliGold

    CaliGold Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2015
    Location:
    South Carolina
    @mjfromga, I'd politely disagree with a few of your points. Tetra SafeStart is meant to be added right before you add fish, but you can still use it to speed up cycling once fish are in the tank, according to their website and instructions. Whether it will work given the extremely high nitrite levels is questionable though, you are right. Also, distilled water would not be a good choice for fish as it has removed all the beneficial minerals, etc., but people do use reverse-osmosis water or filtered water. That's all. :)

    @TeaBoy101, I hope your tank cycles soon!
     
  9. ThatGuy

    ThatGuy Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2016
    Location:
    NJ
    You also have to watch the pH in distilled and ro water as it tends to be around 6.0 because all the minerals that soften the water are absent as well. Just add a buffer (I use baking soda) and you should be good to go if that is the route you take.
     
  10. mjfromga

    mjfromga Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2015
    Location:
    At Home
    Distilled water is fine as long as the PH isn't too low as the other user mentioned. All the filtered water types, fish wise are about the same from what I gathered. I mean fish can often do fine in low PH water, but it isn't ideal. There's no real harm in using said water over tap water if your tap water is fish toxic. You can say tap water is safer, but then you need dechlorinaters for it so there it goes. As for the SafeStart, like I said, I highly doubt it will be useful in water that toxic and IDEALLY its used for fishless cycling, but of course he can try it. I doubt there's any potential harm in it. I stand by my statement.
     

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