Sayyad Sayyad
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  • Posted on: 23/12/2013 0:25
high nitrate/nitrite #1
Hello to all from the State of Qatar. I will try to keep it brief as much as possible:
I have a 350 Liters fresh water tank, with internal filter and heater, then added an external filter I cant recall the size now. Had 14 assorted african cichlids about 2-3 inches in size and 4 tiny cleaning fish (i am not sure what is the name).
Quite a novice to this, I made a terrible mistake when couldnt control the Nitrate/ Nitrite, not considering the over stocking, I went and washed everything up, substrait, rocks(artificial), sunken ship, plastick plants and the filters, Left Nothing.
Obviously, now I know that I had killed all good bacterias, learnt it the hard way after loosing 6 fishes :(.
I have been trying to cycle my tank for the past 3 weeks with no change to the high lvl of nitrite. The colour on the testing sticks is Max.
local pets store advised not to make any water change till the bacteria builds up again, however, I went ahead and made a 25% water change and kept adding that stabilizer as recommended, PH is low, and Nitrite is still high.
Tonight, one of the cichlids had a popping eyes. I isolated it into a smaller tank which has been installed with extra air bubblers. Not much of midicine available here nor I have much experience in this.
Any advise to lower the Nitrite and/ or fix the issue, I have another 125 Liter tank with 5 electric yellow african cichlids which are doing well and water parameters are rather good, and two smaller tanks 50 liters each, not fully cycled , one has 2 cichlids, and the second has the sick fish I mentioned above.
I do opologize if the english is not so well, hoping that I made my point clear to those experts who can guide me thru properly.
Regards.
Fishlady Fishlady
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  • Posted on: 23/12/2013 12:48
Re: high nitrate/nitrite #2
Hi

Any ammonia or nitrite in the tank is toxic and potentially fatal for the fish. I'm afraid you've been badly advised by the shop, so please read this guide to dealing with ammonia/nitrite spikes.

The secondary issue is that you mention the pH is low. African Rift Lake Cichlids need hard alkaline water and softer more acidic conditions are dangerous for them. What is the pH of your tap water and how hard is it? If the water you have available is naturally soft and acidic you will need to add minerals and buffers at every water change to rectify this.
Sayyad Sayyad
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  • Posted on: 23/12/2013 13:26
Re: high nitrate/nitrite #3
Hello again and thank u for the reply. i did a 30% water change this morning, added the stabilizer and about two hours later these are the readings:
Cl= 0
PH= 6.8
Kh= 6هd. - I dont know what that is!
GH= ok
NO2= 5 mg/l - in the Red, but lower than before
NO3= 100 mg/l. - in the Red but also lower than before

I added stabilizing fluid as per directions, I think to enhance good bacteria counts, also I added Prime as recommended per water change to remove Ammonia and Chlorine. Temp is about 26 Deg. Cent., and water is crystal clear.

Dont have an ammonia tester, but I recognize that Ammonia is high since Nitrate and Nitrite are high.

Seems that the Nitrogen Cycle is moving but slowly, Not sure!

Regards,
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  • Posted on: 23/12/2013 17:34
Re: high nitrate/nitrite #4
Hi

You need to change more water - enough to get that nitrite reading down to 0.25ppm or less. 5ppm is highly toxic and will do the fish serious harm, or kill them. Even though you are adding a bacteria product, the nitrite level must be reduced by water changes as the fish cannot tolerate it for long. These products don't necessarily do much at all, and when used are intended for tanks that are new and have only a couple of fish. For an overstocked and uncycled tank the product will not be much use - water changes to maintain low levels of toxins are the key.

The reading for gH where you say it's "OK" - what is the actual figure as there is no such thing as OK. The gH needed varies depending on what fish you are keeping and what is OK for Malawis would be very bad for Discus for instance.

It looks like you are using test strips - see if you can get a good liquid based test kit as soon as possible as test strips are not very accurate.
Sayyad Sayyad
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  • Posted on: 23/12/2013 18:22
Re: high nitrate/nitrite #5
Thank you for the help so far, what I meant with OK for the GH, that is within the green range on the testing strips {i.e. between 4d and 14d as shown on the box cover, sorry I don't know what does that mean however the reading falls towards the 14d).
). However, I shall get me a liquid testing kit asap pending on availability.
As mentioned earlier, I did a water change of 30%, and will continue to do so more frequently till the Nitrites are within the acceptable limits. Was told by the shop that changing the water kills the good bacteria, however, I read that bacteria lives in the filters and surfaces and not in the water!.
Appreciate all the guidance.
Violet Violet
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  • Posted on: 23/12/2013 18:41
Re: high nitrate/nitrite #6
The API Freshwater Master Test Kit is used by many here and very good. Costs about ?30 here in the UK online (bit dearer in the shops) but you get over 800 tests and it should last for up to 5 years so well worth the initial outlay.

KH is 'carbonate hardness'. This buffers pH keeping it steady. I'm in a very soft water area for example, with low KH so my tank pH falls to around 6, if I don't buffer. More acidic water is generally softer. Higher pH tanks generally have harder water, but not always so - there is some weird water out there LOL!

Not all fish like the same type of water of course.

GH is 'general hardness' and will generally dictate suitable stock for the tank. Most fish have a GH range but keeping them at the outer levels for long periods of time can cause illness.

?Hardness? article courtesy and copy right of The Tropical Tank website - http://www.thetropicaltank.co.uk/hardness.htm

This site explains it very well. GH and KH is usually read in degrees.

Water Hardness (GH) : Terms and Conversion

mg/l CaC03 / oDegrees of Hardness / Described as:

0 - 50 / 0 - 3 / soft
50 - 100 / 3 - 6 / fairly soft
100 ? 200 / 6 - 12 / slightly hard
200 - 300 / 12 - 18 / moderately hard
300 - 540 / 18 - 30 / hard
540 plus / 30 plus / very hard

API also do a great liquid GH and KH testing kit.

Example here: http:

//www.ebay.co.uk/sch/i.html?_trksid=p2050601.m570.l1313.TR0.TRC0.Xapi+gh+kh&_nkw=api+gh+kh&_sacat=0&_from=R40

You may find that daily changes or twice daily changes are required for a few weeks whilst the bacteria regrow in the filter. Tricky I know and often keepers will lose fish during this time period so 'fins' crossed for you all.

Fire back with any questions though
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Violet Violet
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  • Posted on: 23/12/2013 18:54
Re: high nitrate/nitrite #7
P.s. Water changes are good, not bad in a fish in cycle. They reduce toxins. Most toxins are completely clear so water clarity is no gauge.

Only a very tiny amount of bacteria are in the actual water (if any) a bit more on substrate and d?cor but the vast majority are in the filter media, itself.

These you must nurture but typically they take 4-6 weeks to grow to enough levels to sustain life safely. I think you may be getting very friendly with buckets/water holding crates for a while
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Sayyad Sayyad
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  • Posted on: 23/12/2013 19:32
Re: high nitrate/nitrite #8
Ha Ha Ha...

Like your comments particularly with respect to the dear buckets! luckily the tank is situated out of way somehow or my other half would had me locked up.

I will proceed with the water changing and observe the nitrite levels. When I will reach 0 level, I will spread the frequency of water change and keep you posted.

Thx