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Help! Nitrite and nitrate spike! What to do?

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75 gal tank w/fx4 filter

I setup a shrimp tank 4 weeks ago.

It was cycled using seachem stability for 1 week.
After the 2nd week, I tested the water and nitrite/nitrates were all at 0 so I added 50 cherry shrimps.

Week 3 I added a ton of plants into the tank and added seachem flourish (based on 50 gal dose. trace, N,P,K (based on 25gal dose) and root tabs.

Week 4 all the jungle val melted/died/roots started to break apart so I pulled it out and some of the root tabs were disturbed from the sand. I moved some plants around and setup a gla co2 system at 1 bubble sec with ceramic difuser.

3 days later I saw 2 dead shrimp and did a water test, ammonia at 0 but nitrite and nitrate sky high

Is it the fertilizer? Or is it the seachem stability that didn't work. Or is it the dead 20 stems or so of jungle val or something else?

I currently just dosed with seachem prime 2 cap full (2x dose roughly based on 50gal) and will do a 30% water change in a few hours since I'm treating the water with prime

What can I do at this point.


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I used seachem stability per the instructions

View attachment 1046546
View attachment 1046547
So, Seachem Stability is a source of bacteria. What did you feed the bacteria with? They (the two bacteria types) eat ammonia and nitrite. What was your source of that?

Based on your answer, I’m assuming the tank is just now starting to go through its cycle. This will likely take a couple of weeks. The only thing you can do now is regular water changes.


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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
So, Seachem Stability is a source of bacteria. What did you feed the bacteria with? They (the two bacteria types) eat ammonia and nitrite. What was your source of that?

Based on your answer, I’m assuming the tank is just now starting to go through its cycle. This will likely take a couple of weeks. The only thing you can do now is regular water changes.


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Damn. I wish the label on the bottle and the LFS were more specific.

I was just told oh use this for a week or 2 and then come back to purchase your livestock

Does dosing nitrogen affect the nitrite nitrate?

I just did a 20% water change using prime. I'll have my RO setup next Tuesday and I'll use that in the future
 

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So, sounds like you need to read up on the nitrogen cycle in general.

Simplified, your fauna produce ammonia when they digest food and expel waste. Excess food is also broken down by bacteria and the end product is ammonia. When plants die, same.

Ammonia is broken down by one family of bacteria. For every unit of ammonia, they’ll produce 2.7 units of nitrite.

Another family of bacteria breaks down nitrite onto nitrate; this bacteria takes much longer to grow into a viable colony. 1ppm ammonia => 2.7ppm nitrite => 3.6ppm nitrate.

When I cycle a new filter, I will take a piece of filter media from another, established filter and place it in the media tray of the new filter. I’ll then dose ammonium chloride until my ammonia test reads 3ppm. The bacteria will digest it, multiply, and spread. When the ammonia test reads 0, I’ll dose 3ppm more. Eventually the nitrite consuming bacteria catch up and you’ll start getting nitrate.

I do this until I can dose 4ppm ammonia and there’s no sign of ammonia or nitrite 24hrs later.


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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
So, sounds like you need to read up on the nitrogen cycle in general.

Simplified, your fauna produce ammonia when they digest food and expel waste. Excess food is also broken down by bacteria and the end product is ammonia. When plants die, same.

Ammonia is broken down by one family of bacteria. For every unit of ammonia, they’ll produce 2.7 units of nitrite.

Another family of bacteria breaks down nitrite onto nitrate; this bacteria takes much longer to grow into a viable colony. 1ppm ammonia => 2.7ppm nitrite => 3.6ppm nitrate.

When I cycle a new filter, I will take a piece of filter media from another, established filter and place it in the media tray of the new filter. I’ll then dose ammonium chloride until my ammonia test reads 3ppm. The bacteria will digest it, multiply, and spread. When the ammonia test reads 0, I’ll dose 3ppm more. Eventually the nitrite consuming bacteria catch up and you’ll start getting nitrate.

I do this until I can dose 4ppm ammonia and there’s no sign of ammonia or nitrite 24hrs later.


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I have been out off the hobby for 5 years and thought there was a shortcut lol. This only running tank left.

Does this mean that the ammonia has been broken down into nitrite since its showing 0 since tanks been running for 2 weeks with shrimps plants feeding etc...

At this point what do you suggest I do besides dosing prime/stability and water changes.
 

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It was cycled using seachem stability for 1 week.
That, unfortunately, did not cycle your tank.

Read this about the fishless cycle. That's how to cycle a tank. It'll be helpful for you to keep the link handy. You'll need to feed your tank an ammonia source on a daily basis for about a month on average before livestock like shrimp can be moved in.

After the 2nd week, I tested the water and nitrite/nitrates were all at 0 so I added 50 cherry shrimps.
Adding all of those shrimp (plural) to an uncycled tank means they're all going to die unless they're removed, unfortunately. It's going to take several weeks for your tank to be ready for them at minimum.

Is it the fertilizer? Or is it the seachem stability that didn't work. Or is it the dead 20 stems or so of jungle val or something else?
It's that the tank is just now beginning to cycle.

I’m assuming the tank is just now starting to go through its cycle.
Yep. This is what's occurring.

At this point what do you suggest I do besides dosing prime/stability and water changes.
Remove all of your shrimp and keep them in a separate container. They can't survive ammonia, nitrite and the like. Keep them in a bucket or something, dose it with Prime daily and do daily water changes until your tank is ready for them. Leaving them in the tank means certain death.

But you can do it. It won't be a daunting task. Just take it step by step.
 

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I just remembered something.

I brought/installed ammonia and nitrite filtering pads for the fx4 last week. Is that beneficial or bad?
Not helpful in this case because your tank doesn't have much in terms of the nitrogen cycle going on yet.

Read this. For real. It'll be supremely helpful. It's the link I shared earlier with a quick bit that easily explains the fishless cycle.

Move all of your livestock from the tank. The shrimp are going to die if you don't. No amount of filter media will change that and unfortunately, water changes and Prime alone won't save all the shrimp. You're going to need to get all the shrimp into a separate container until the tank is safe for them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Not helpful in this case because your tank doesn't have much in terms of the nitrogen cycle going on yet.

Read this. For real. It'll be supremely helpful. It's the link I shared earlier with a quick bit that easily explains the fishless cycle.

Move all of your livestock from the tank. The shrimp are going to die if you don't. No amount of filter media will change that and unfortunately, water changes and Prime alone won't save all the shrimp. You're going to need to get all the shrimp into a separate container until the tank is safe for them.
Ok thanks. I'll read up on your link
 
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