Nitrite and Nitrate spiked! plz help! - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 36 (permalink) Old 11-21-2011, 07:08 AM Thread Starter
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Nitrite and Nitrate spiked! plz help!

hows it going every one i seem to be having a problem with my water parameters heres a pic:
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my tank as been up and running for at least 4 months perfectly until this happened... then i add a piece of lava rock into my tank and i noticed after wards i had some cloudy water. i figured id wait tell the next day to see if it cleared up before i tried anything. nothing changed the next day so i decided to clean out my filter, that didnt seem to change anything either. i then tried adding a bag of seachem purigen to my HOB filter to try and clear up my water... once again this failed... now after all of this I seem to be have these crazy high nitrite and nitrate lvs that i never had before... all im doing now is 10-20% water changes to try and get read of my cloudy water and lower my water lvs to normal...to day was my second water change. any advice on what i should do? thanks for the help and let me know what u think.
thanks again,
Aldon
Ps: this is a 26 gallon tank with diy paintball co2 and dosing with the pfertz line, lights are on 8hrs a day if this info matters. thanks for the help.

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post #2 of 36 (permalink) Old 11-21-2011, 07:29 AM
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Cloudy water makes me think excess organics (over feeding?) I've induced cloudy water a couple times in a 10 gallon while trying to cause an algae bloom (experimenting). Generally it takes 2-3 weeks of moderate to high overfeeding. The nitrite implies the tank is cycling for some reason, and apparently the ammonia isn't building up (NH4 consuming bacteria multiply faster than NO2 consuming ones). This also happened when I induced the (white, not green) cloudy water in my tank.
Is it possible that there is rotting organic matter in the lava rock?
I would be doing 50-70% water changes at this point, but it all depends on ho hardy the fish you have are. I would also cut feeding in half (same amount, but every other day).
edit: Don't clean the filter unless it clogs or overflows. In that case you can rinse the media in a bucket of aquarium water, but nothing more. If you replace the media you'll lose your beneficial bacteria and trigger a cycle.

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post #3 of 36 (permalink) Old 11-21-2011, 07:34 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by jccaclimber View Post
Cloudy water makes me think excess organics (over feeding?) I've induced cloudy water a couple times in a 10 gallon while trying to cause an algae bloom (experimenting). Generally it takes 2-3 weeks of moderate to high overfeeding. The nitrite implies the tank is cycling for some reason, and apparently the ammonia isn't building up (NH4 consuming bacteria multiply faster than NO2 consuming ones). This also happened when I induced the (white, not green) cloudy water in my tank.
Is it possible that there is rotting organic matter in the lava rock?
I would be doing 50-70% water changes at this point, but it all depends on ho hardy the fish you have are. I would also cut feeding in half (same amount, but every other day).
edit: Don't clean the filter unless it clogs or overflows. In that case you can rinse the media in a bucket of aquarium water, but nothing more. If you replace the media you'll lose your beneficial bacteria and trigger a cycle.
ok sounds good as of right now the fish i have are guppies, dwarf rams, dwarf neon rainbow fish, tetras, ottos, and galaxy rasboras. do u think these fish are hardy enof for these kind of extreme water changes?
Thanks for the help by the way. :]

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post #4 of 36 (permalink) Old 11-21-2011, 09:25 AM Thread Starter
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"Is it possible that there is rotting organic matter in the lava rock?"
i dont belive this is possible i boiled the lava rock before putting them in my tank.
Thanks,
Aldon

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post #5 of 36 (permalink) Old 11-21-2011, 10:41 AM
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No i don't think it's possible, try doing a water change 45-50% and remove the lava rock if suspicious, ottos, guppies, tetras rainbows, and rasboras are pretty hardy i dont know about rams and add more carbon.
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post #6 of 36 (permalink) Old 11-21-2011, 01:39 PM
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I'm not sure about the rams or what specific type of tetra you have, but I suspect they'll take the large water change (match the temperature and dechlor first) better than they take the nitrite. Many of the people on here dosing EI do 50% or larger water changes weekly to no ill effect. Also, just because you boiled it doesn't mean there isn't stuff in the lava rock. If you boil an egg and then throw it in a tank, it's still an egg when even though it'll take a couple days to start rotting.

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post #7 of 36 (permalink) Old 11-21-2011, 02:26 PM
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If you're not already using it... run out and get some Prime, it will neutralize the nitrites. That level of nitrites will do a lot of damage to their gills.
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post #8 of 36 (permalink) Old 11-21-2011, 03:03 PM
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i would also add big clump-fulls of cheap fast growing stem/floating (hornwort, duckweed, etc.) plants to help detoxify nitrites and protect your fish. you can toss it out once your levels stabilize.

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post #9 of 36 (permalink) Old 11-21-2011, 03:08 PM
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Do you have your ammonia and PH kits backwards cause it looks like there is no ammonia? If you Nitrite is that high then you will have ammonia as well. Also is your PH always that low?
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post #10 of 36 (permalink) Old 11-21-2011, 03:14 PM
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Do you have your ammonia and PH kits backwards cause it looks like there is no ammonia? If you Nitrite is that high then you will have ammonia as well. Also is your PH always that low?
Quite possible. The bacteria which consume ammonia multiply faster than the ones which consume nitrite. Also, until the ammonia consuming bacteria are increased and therefore producing more waste there isn't an increase in nitrite to encourage growth of the bacteria consuming it. When I've induced bacterial clouds in my tank there was never an ammonia spike, just a nitrite spike.

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post #11 of 36 (permalink) Old 11-21-2011, 04:04 PM
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Quite possible. The bacteria which consume ammonia multiply faster than the ones which consume nitrite. Also, until the ammonia consuming bacteria are increased and therefore producing more waste there isn't an increase in nitrite to encourage growth of the bacteria consuming it. When I've induced bacterial clouds in my tank there was never an ammonia spike, just a nitrite spike.
Very interesting. I always thought with a Nitrite spike you would also get an ammonia spike. But I just tested my water as well as one of them has gone sour and only the Nitrites are up and ammonia is now gone (haven't tested Nitrates)

I am going to a very reliable LFS and will ask how to fix it and will get back ASAP as I have no clue what causes this.
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post #12 of 36 (permalink) Old 11-21-2011, 04:15 PM
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You get an ammonia spike followed by a nitrite spike. The nitrite spike may start before the ammonia spike ends, in which case you would have both at the same time.
How long has your tank been up?

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post #13 of 36 (permalink) Old 11-21-2011, 04:15 PM
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i experienced the same when my little nano mini-cycled...i basically washed out my filter like a noob and induced an unwanted cycle which was catastrophic to my tetra. apparently nitrite is super toxic in low pH (conversely ammonia is super toxic in high pH).

heavily planted already, i added more circulation to oxygenate the water, some bio-spira, turned up the heat (to foster bacterial growth) and a little salt to buffer the fish from nitrite.

i had levels spike as high as .50 ppm initially ( i was freaking out), but as much as i wanted to, i did not do a water change (as i was doing previously) as to allow the biofilter to catch up. by the 3rd day levels were 0 and my fish were safe.

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post #14 of 36 (permalink) Old 11-21-2011, 04:20 PM
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nothing changed the next day so i decided to clean out my filter, that didnt seem to change anything either.
I think this is the cause of your high nitrite problem right here. You cleaned out your filter killing all your helpful nitrifying bacteria, which caused the spike. I would do daily large water changes and use cycle or prime until things get back to normal. When cleaning your filter, you never want to clean the whole thing at once. Just rinse some sponges in tank water during a water change, and don't do the whole thing, just a couple layers or half the media at a time.

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post #15 of 36 (permalink) Old 11-21-2011, 04:28 PM
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Originally Posted by thefisherman View Post
i experienced the same when my little nano mini-cycled...i basically washed out my filter like a noob and induced an unwanted cycle which was catastrophic to my tetra. apparently nitrite is super toxic in low pH (conversely ammonia is super toxic in high pH).

heavily planted already, i added more circulation to oxygenate the water, some bio-spira, turned up the heat (to foster bacterial growth) and a little salt to buffer the fish from nitrite.

i had levels spike as high as .50 ppm initially ( i was freaking out), but as much as i wanted to, i did not do a water change (as i was doing previously) as to allow the biofilter to catch up. by the 3rd day levels were 0 and my fish were safe.
If you need to do a water change during a cycle, changing just water without agitating the filter media or substrate won't remove many bacteria.

Always curious.
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