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Discussion Starter #1
hello everyone,
i was hoping someone could give me some advice on how i can quickly and permanently lower my nitrites...For a while my nitrites were at 0 ppm and then one day they just blew up to almost 5ppm. its been almost a week and nothing i do seems to work..i've added 3 bags of nitra-zorb with no effect, i've done a ton of water changes with little effect and i've constantly had to de-toxify with prime. today i added some biozyme hoping that the extra bacteria will help. a little background on my tank: setup about 4 or 5 months ago..first 2 or 3 months i had nothing in it except ecocomplete and driftwood. then i added plants and endlers and so on until i got to around 30 fish which include, endlers, taiwan bitterlings, cardinals white clouds a bushy nose and galaxy rasboras. i have about 15 rcs and amano shrimp left and about 20 fish because the nitrites are killing off everything. my tank is 75 gallons with one marine land c-360 canister filter and a uv sterilizer which is currently off due to the fact that i added the biozyme, testing states that my ammonia is at 0ppm, ph is between 6.8 and 7.2, KH is between 50 and 100, nitrates are hovering around 20 ppm..any help would be greatly appreciated.
 

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Throw away your broken test kit?
How is throwing away his test kit going to lower his nitrites and solve the problem of his fish dying?

Geckoman6 what kind of kit are you using to test your nitrite levels? Could you be overfeeding your fish? How well planted is your tank, and with what plants?
 

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How is throwing away his test kit going to lower his nitrites and solve the problem of his fish dying?

Geckoman6 what kind of kit are you using to test your nitrite levels? Could you be overfeeding your fish? How well planted is your tank, and with what plants?
Uh, b/c test kits go bad and give false readings. The tank probably doesn't have any nitrites if it's been established this long.
 

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You mentioned nitrate around 20ppm. That's just fine. Fish should not have any problem with that. But what is your nitrite reading? Just want to be sure that you have figured the right cause. The symptoms do not suggest nitrite issue at all to me.

There are 2 types of bacteria. Nitrosomonus converts ammonia to nitrite. Since your ammonia level is 0, looks like these guys have settled in just fine. Nitrobacter converts nitrites to nitrates. Since you have an established tank with a nitrate reading of 20, I would safely assume that these bacteria have colonized as well unless you have been disturbing the substrate and filter, adding different types of additives.

In fact if your nitrites are above 0.5-0.75 ppm, ALL your fish should be constantly gasping for air at the top and won't survive more than a couple of days. If that's not the case then you probably have a different issue. The best way to be sure though is to get the nitrite tested using a test kit (if you have one) or take it to your LFS to get it tested.

If you can describe how your fish have been dying (one at a time? how often? how do they behave before dying....hide, eratically swim, gasp for air etc.), that would help to understand the cause better.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I don't think my test kit is broken..it's brand new. It's the Aquarium Pharmaceuticals freshwater master test kit. when i do the nitrite test, its a very deep purple and according to the test card, that's 5 ppm. i add a ton of prime and the test turns light blue and according to the test card, that's 0 ppm. when i first noticed something was wrong, i actually thought it was an overdose of co2 because every fish, snail and shrimp in my tank was at the surface, the snails and some shrimp had even crawled completely out of the water. my shrimp are constantly hiding and i can clearly see the fishes gills moving a mile a minute. when the fish died it was 4 total on the first day with 3 shrimp, and then two or three a day ever since. they only stop gasping and things return to normal after the lights have been on for a while and the plants start pearling. I'm assuming because they are dissolving a lot of oxygen into the water, also after i add prime. it seems like the problem gets worse during the night, i don't know if its just a coincidence or what, but every day when i turn the lights on, there's a few dead animals and the rest are on the brink until i detoxify the tank with prime. thanks for your help
 

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Discussion Starter #7
How is throwing away his test kit going to lower his nitrites and solve the problem of his fish dying?

Geckoman6 what kind of kit are you using to test your nitrite levels? Could you be overfeeding your fish? How well planted is your tank, and with what plants?
i only feed once a day and the food is all eaten within a 2-3 minute time span. my tank couldn't possibly hold anymore plants, i have all kinds of different types, from mosses to rapidly growing stems. see attached pictures taken today.
 

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How carefully are you reading the directions on the nitrite test kit? And no guarantee the kit didn't sit on the LFS' shelf for a year before you bought it.

I assume that drop checker of yours is staying green, not yellow? It could also be a low O2 issue you're having, instead of too much CO2. Do you have some surface agitation?

i read the directions step by step every time i test, just so i don't do it wrong. I ordered the kit from Drs. Foster and Smith, I guess it could have sat where ever they store their product.

I have actually reduced my co2, but before the problem, the indicator solution was the same color as the reference solution..nice bright green...not its dark, almost blue. I don't not have any surface agitation, simply because I did not want to lose co2 because of it.
 

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Is it possible your drop checker might need a cleaning, or the fluid changed? Can you try raising your outflow pipe to cause surface agitation at night, after the lights have gone out, to see if that prevents the deaths? If so, then it sounds like not enough oxygen or too much CO2 in the water.
 

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Surface agitation is essential for keeping a good oxygen level in the water. It does cost you a little CO2, but CO2 is very cheap, so you just raise the bubble rate a little. You need to have noticeable surface ripple over much of the top surface, but not splashing of the water there. I try to keep a powerhead or filter output pointed up a bit to maintain that kind of ripple - http://www.barrreport.com/general-plant-topics/5085-how-much-surface-ripple.html
 

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Discussion Starter #14
i really appreciate this guys, i did move my filter output closer to the surface, and now it has a nice rippling effect on the water. also, because it was bad again this morning, i added an air pump to my powerhead to help raise the o2 levels..its like night and day difference. fish are bright and colorful and everything is looking good. i guess low o2 levels would explain why things slowly got better after the plants started pearling..i'm still puzzled over those last few nitrite tests though.. could be a bad kit like yall said, but either way, im still nervous..i guess only time will tell. thanks so much for helping me out, i will keep you informed.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
sounds like you have a good point as well, amp. I was beating my head against the wall trying to figure out what to do, and it all seems connected to low o2 levels.
 
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