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zero ammonia but high nitrites???? why?

Discussion in 'Advance Water Quality' started by asclark1, Jul 12, 2015.

  1. asclark1

    asclark1 Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2015
    Location:
    lima, ohio
    i just finished a fishless cycle and im getting a reading of 2ppm of nitrites and 20ppm of nitrates but zero ammonia in just one day and only have 2 fish in a 55 gallon tank with an aqua clear 70 please help!!!!
     
  2. *Ci*

    *Ci* Goldie Guru

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2009
    Location:
    BC, Canada
    In a fishless cycle you would wait for the ammonia to drop to zero then the nitrites to drop to zero and then show only nitrate for a few days to a week, as you add ammonia every day. This process generally takes anywhere from a month to 9-10 weeks, sometimes more.
    Please describe how you did a fishless cycle, and at what point did you add your fish?
     
  3. asclark1

    asclark1 Active Member

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    Location:
    lima, ohio
    i added them when the ammonia read zero and read a like 1.5 ppm and nitrates read like 80 ppm i let it cycle for a month
     
    RanchuDude likes this.
  4. asclark1

    asclark1 Active Member

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    Jun 10, 2015
    Location:
    lima, ohio
    will my fish be ok???
     
  5. *Ci*

    *Ci* Goldie Guru

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2009
    Location:
    BC, Canada
    Do you mean to say the NITRITES were reading 1.5? If so, your cycle was not complete. Nitrites need to come down over time as well, so that only Nitrate is showing. You then do a very large water change to bring them down and only then add fish. At that point you do water changes as neccesary to keep nitrates low.
    For now, do a large water change (say, 80 to 100%) and add salt at 1 tsp. per gal. which will protect the fish from nitrite poisoning. Every time you do a water change add the appropriate amount of salt (1tsp for each gallon replaced) untill you see zero nitrites.

    edit - let me double check the salt amount ... be right back
     
  6. *Ci*

    *Ci* Goldie Guru

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2009
    Location:
    BC, Canada
    Ok, people use anywhere between 1 tsp to 1 tbls. per gallon. One tablespoon is about two and a half tsp.

    I would start with one tsp. How are the fish acting? If they are lethargic and don't perk up in a day or two after the salt then add another tsp. per gallon.
     
  7. asclark1

    asclark1 Active Member

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    lima, ohio
    ok thanks a lot i will do that and they are acting normal swimming around a lot and eating just fine but thanks a lot for the info!!!!
     
  8. asclark1

    asclark1 Active Member

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    lima, ohio
    also after the water change and the salt i put in what level of nitrites should i start to worry and change the water again, or should i just do a water change everyday till nitrites are at zero?
     
  9. danarea

    danarea goldiefanatic

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    Aug 21, 2013
    Location:
    Washington state
    Use Prime by Seachem as your water dechlorinator and this will help protect your fish, as well. Prime will bind ammonia, nitrite and nitrate for 48 hours. Read up on the nitrogen cycle a bit more... 80 ppm for nitrates is way too high to add fish to the water...follow Ci's instructions regarding water changes...
     
  10. asclark1

    asclark1 Active Member

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    Location:
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    i
    i use prime when i do water changes and i changed over 50% yesterday and my nitrites were at zero and by today they were back up to 2ppm, and the nitrates were only at 80ppm when i was done cycling the tank then did a 90% water change now they read about 20ppm in just one day
     
  11. *Ci*

    *Ci* Goldie Guru

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2009
    Location:
    BC, Canada
    It's ok to have nitrites, as long as there is salt to protect the fish. Your cycle needs to complete which means that the type of bacteria that consume nitrite (and turn it into nitrate) need to grow stonger and form a larger colony. If you do too many water changes now, they won't have the "food" to grow.
    My advice would be to test every day to keep on top of what is happening with your water. If nitrite climbs, see if you can do water changes to keep it between 1 and 2 ppm. Are you using an API test? I know it's hard to see the color differences, but do the best you can. If in doubt, do a change.
    Increase the salt if the fish look distressed, as I mentioned.

    There are two other options. One is instead of cycling your filters, just do 100% changes every few days or once a week, all the time. Many members here do not rely on filters to keep thier ammonia levels down, they simply change the water, so you may get some advice along those lines. I am a believer in strong filtration, along with regular smaller changes, but both ways work.
    The second option would be to move the fish into a temporary, 20g or so, while your main tank finishes cycling (add your ammonia to that tank to keep feeding the bacteria). In the tub, have a simple air stone or sponge filter for circulation and change the water every few days while adding Prime to dechlor and bind the ammonia. This will protect the fish. Opinions differ, but when I quarantine, I do a 100% change once a week and add Prime every 48 hrs. and never have a problem.
     
  12. *Ci*

    *Ci* Goldie Guru

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    Location:
    BC, Canada
    Cross posted with both you guys : )

    How much are you feeding? Also can you test your tap water for Ammonia, Nitrite and Nitrate, please? There may be something there.
    If your nitrate is going up that fast, it means that the good bacteria are building! Maybe it won't take too long...

    I know Prime is supposed to bind nitrite, but to be safe, add the salt anyway. It won't hurt.
     
  13. asclark1

    asclark1 Active Member

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    yes i have an API tester and ill just add salt and test and keep it between 1 and 2 ppm, and my tap water test good other than the PH is pretty high but it levels out in a day or so.
     
  14. asclark1

    asclark1 Active Member

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    well i just added the table salt to the tank to find out that i was suppose to use aquarium salt so i did a 90% water change to get rid of the salt so i will go buy aquarium salt tommorrow
     
  15. Fishheadz

    Fishheadz Well-Known Member

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    Location:
    Moffat, CO.
    If you put table salt in your aquarium, I would highly suggest that you remove the fish A.S.A.P, thoroughly rinse the tank (as in take it outside stand it on end, and spray it out with a hose), if you have any substrate like sand or gravel, it will also need to be rinsed, set it back up, and refill with fresh tap water, add Prime, add AQUARIUM salt or PURE SEA SALT.
    Doing a 90% water change, did not remove all of the Iodized Table Salt.
    Also when adding salt, never just dump the salt directly into the tank. Draw out a bit of tank water in a pitcher, add salt to the pitcher of tank water, allow it to completely dissolve(stirring speeds up dissolving), then add to tank.
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2015
  16. asclark1

    asclark1 Active Member

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    is iodized salt really that bad
     
  17. asclark1

    asclark1 Active Member

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    i
    only put in 20 tsp
     
  18. Fishheadz

    Fishheadz Well-Known Member

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    Location:
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    Yes, its that bad. What I suggested, is exactly what I would do if I had made the same mistake.
    I might even go a step further, and rinse my filter pads and media, as well.
    Table salt contains Iodine (very bad for fish) and anti-caking chemicals,(worse than Iodine).
    The important thing is that you learn from your mistakes, so that in the future you can prevent those same mistakes. It'd be a good idea to do some research/reading about proper goldfish maintenance and care.
    Some things to consider studying; Nitrogen Cycle(Ammonia,NitrIte, NitrAte), Nutrition (food), Proper Water Changes (you'll need to do more than 25% a month, and "top offs". I usually change 90% a week, no "top offs")
    Substrate (sand, gravel, barebottom), Proper filtration, UV light filtration, Tank size, Air flow, pH, Temperature, Parasites, Bacteria, Fungus (related to Goldfish), Identifying & treatment options for all three ailments.
    You have the Internet at your fingertips, use it to your advantage, the information is out there.

    *I would not hesitate a minute to remove that fish and clean that entire system, if you want that fish to survive.
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2015
  19. asclark1

    asclark1 Active Member

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    lima, ohio
    ok thanks i will clean the tank
     
  20. *Ci*

    *Ci* Goldie Guru

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2009
    Location:
    BC, Canada
    Ok, you are absolutely wrong in saying that table salt is dangerous to fish. That is an old myth. The iodine in salt is a trace element that can actually be beneficial and the anti caking agents are too miniscule to count plus boxed "aquarium" salt contains them as well. Many advanced aquarists use table salt, including myself.
    You can google it, but you'll get just as many hits perpetrating the myth, as there are disclaimers.

    Asclark, do not go to all the trouble to change it out at this point! If you clean your media to rigorously you'll set the cycle back even more.
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2015
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