Nitrite problem - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-07-2017, 01:24 AM Thread Starter
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Nitrite problem

I have a 5 gallon aquarium that is in the nitrite stage of cycling. I am trying to get the nitrite down to around 1-2 ppm but it is at 5 ppm. I have done a 25% water change the other day and a 50% water change today, and the nitrite levels haven't moved even a fraction. I just don't understand. It should reduce the nitrite with a water change. Is my API Master Test Kit not accurate for nitrite? Also the nitrates haven't moved at all either. I am trying to reduce the nitrate to -20 ppm from 180 ppm and even with the water changes it hasn't budged. Any thoughts?
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-07-2017, 01:37 AM
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What's your ammonia reading? sounds like you don't have enough bacteria yet to convert all to nitrates. Are you dosing ammonia for cycling? and if so how much?

Dan
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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-07-2017, 02:02 AM Thread Starter
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Funny story. I actually invested in API test kit mid cycle so at first my other test kit was reading 3 ppm but then I got my API and it read 8ppm so I did a water change and got it down to roughly 4ppm then I let that run for a little and then another water change got it to about 1 ppm then that all took care of itself. I am just wondering why the nitrates and nitrite didn't half when I did a water change like the ammonia did. I took water from all over the aquarium by moving my siphon around frequently when drawing water. I just am very confused and my patience is running out. Right now the ammonia is at0 ppm although I plan on adding a little to feed the bacteria.

Bump: Never using Tetra EasyStrips again!
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-07-2017, 03:29 AM
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My guess... and only a guess is by the time you tested your water after the water change (first one then waited then changed again) enough water has gone through your filter to allow the conversion of ammonia to nitrite and nitrate.

Each step of the nitrogen cycle has a different bacteria that is responsible for the conversion. So the bacteria that convert ammonia to nitrite are different than those that convert nitrite to nitrate. These don't convert on a 1:1 ratio (ammonia to nitrite or nitrite to nitrate) and rather the ratios are about 1ppm ammonia = 4ppm nitrates and that's partially why you see higher numbers from nitrites and nitrates. As each bacteria colony grow they consume more but if there is more food than bacteria to consume it there will be some left. I'm assuming here that if you are showing all 3 then the amount of each of the bacteria is not yet adequate to convert all to nitrates. So if you show ammonia there is not enough bacteria responsible for converting the amount of ammonia to nitrites but that does not mean they are not there, it only shows there is more food than bacteria. Same for nitrite to nitrate.

Not sure if this helps you or not but glad things are coming under control for you.

Dan
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-07-2017, 08:43 AM
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Another thing to consider is filter media. Carbon, for instance, will trap and release stuff depending on the concentration.

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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-07-2017, 01:41 PM Thread Starter
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I don't have carbon but thanks anyways. My tetra easystrips are saying I have 10ppm+ nitrites and 20-40 nitrates. This to me sounds more probable because I had at first around 4-6ppm ammonia so the nitrites would be high and it says the nitrates are low because none of the bacteria has converted it. I think I got a bad bottle of nitrate fluid.

Bump: I don't have carbon but thanks anyways. My tetra easystrips are saying I have 10ppm+ nitrites and 20-40 nitrates. This to me sounds more probable because I had at first around 4-6ppm ammonia so the nitrites would be high and it says the nitrates are low because none of the bacteria has converted it. I think I got a bad bottle of nitrate fluid.

Bump: I don't have carbon but thanks anyways. My tetra easystrips are saying I have 10ppm+ nitrites and 20-40 nitrates. This to me sounds more probable because I had at first around 4-6ppm ammonia so the nitrites would be high and it says the nitrates are low because none of the bacteria has converted it. I think I got a bad bottle of nitrate fluid.
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-07-2017, 01:53 PM
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Originally Posted by landonnap View Post
I don't have carbon but thanks anyways. My tetra easystrips are saying I have 10ppm+ nitrites and 20-40 nitrates. This to me sounds more probable because I had at first around 4-6ppm ammonia so the nitrites would be high and it says the nitrates are low because none of the bacteria has converted it. I think I got a bad bottle of nitrate fluid.

Bump: I don't have carbon but thanks anyways. My tetra easystrips are saying I have 10ppm+ nitrites and 20-40 nitrates. This to me sounds more probable because I had at first around 4-6ppm ammonia so the nitrites would be high and it says the nitrates are low because none of the bacteria has converted it. I think I got a bad bottle of nitrate fluid.

Bump: I don't have carbon but thanks anyways. My tetra easystrips are saying I have 10ppm+ nitrites and 20-40 nitrates. This to me sounds more probable because I had at first around 4-6ppm ammonia so the nitrites would be high and it says the nitrates are low because none of the bacteria has converted it. I think I got a bad bottle of nitrate fluid.
I would recommend re testing your nitrates you may be surprised. With the drop test you can often get a false reading from not shaking the reagent enough. When you test nitrates shake that bottle like its going to explode if you stop for a nano second. I mean shake the living hell out of it for 1 min (I know it says 30 sec but trust me).

Personally I don't trust strips.

Dan
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-07-2017, 05:50 PM Thread Starter
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Ok I will shake the bottle very well. I don't know why my last post tripled like that, sorry!

I tested nitrates and it said that it was between 20-40ppm which is relieving. Now I would like to see them rise. What is the ratio of nitrite conversion to nitrate when the good bacteria transfers it.

Last edited by Darkblade48; 04-08-2017 at 06:44 AM. Reason: Please use the edit function for back to back posts to keep threads cleaner
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-07-2017, 07:51 PM
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I tested nitrates and it said that it was between 20-40ppm which is relieving. Now I would like to see them rise. What is the ratio of nitrite conversion to nitrate when the good bacteria transfers it.
its is roughly 1ppm ammonia = 4ppm nitrate this includes the nitrite to nitrate values. (I don't know the exact values for each off the top of my head but I can get them if you need).

So shaking it was the issue then.

Dan
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-07-2017, 08:04 PM Thread Starter
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I think so. I added about 1 ppm ofammonia to my aquarium. If it is all gone in 24hrs is that sufficient for 6 dwarf shrimp?
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post #11 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-07-2017, 08:13 PM
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I think so. I added about 1 ppm ofammonia to my aquarium. If it is all gone in 24hrs is that sufficient for 6 dwarf shrimp?
Shrimp have a very low bioload so I would say if ammonia and nitrite are both 0 and nitrates are below 20ppm you are good to add them.

Dan
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post #12 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-07-2017, 09:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Dman911 View Post
I would recommend re testing your nitrates you may be surprised. With the drop test you can often get a false reading from not shaking the reagent enough. When you test nitrates shake that bottle like its going to explode if you stop for a nano second. I mean shake the living hell out of it for 1 min (I know it says 30 sec but trust me).

Personally I don't trust strips.

Dan


Yes trust me I can attest to this issue. You literally have to shake so hard you will get tendinitis.


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post #13 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-08-2017, 04:16 PM Thread Starter
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So I just got back and tested my tank water. The nitrites look as though they have gone down. I cannot tell between the 2ppm and 5 ppm readings on my test kit. But the solution didn't turn purple instantly like it normally does so I'm taking that as a sign it went down. My ammonia is 0 after I added a drop or so of 10% ammonia solution so once the nitrites are at 0 I will water change and head to my LFS. Thanks!
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