High nitrite level in a thought to be cycled125g tank

Discussion in 'Aquarium Water' started by amberl, Dec 18, 2012.

  1. amberlValued MemberMember

    I have been doing a fishless cycle with AMM for 3 weeks on wed my levels where AMM 0 nitrite 2-5 and fri my AMM was 0 my nitrite was 0 - 0.25 so add 20 tsp of AMM the dose I had been using. On sat my AMM was 0 my nitrite stared out dark purple and faded to clear I took this to be 0 and thought the tank was cycled. Did a 90% water change and added 6 silver dallers 2 adf small and 1 snail from my 10 gallon quarantine tank. And bought two angles med a bgk small, ell small and a pleco x small for the quarantine tank and today after the fish have been in the 125 for 3 days my levels are AMM 0 nitrites 2-5 and nitrates 10-20 what should I do now
  2. anzValued MemberMember

    Your tank is not cycled until you have 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites and some (< 10) nitrates. Since you still have nitrites, your tank is not cycled. It's close, but not there.
  3. amberlValued MemberMember

    I know that but I read the nitrite being clear as 0 even double tested on sat then did a 90% water change and add fish now I have nitrites should I leave the 6 silver dallers 2 frogs a snail in the tank or but them in the quarantine tank with got water levels but is a 10 g with 2 angles bgk and an eel I know neither is good but which is best
  4. jdhefModeratorModerator Member

    I generally takes about 3 weeks of elevated nitrite levels before you get thru the nitrite phase of the cycle. If you are using the API liquid nitrite test kit, it seems like something went wrong if the test tube immeadiatly turned dark purple then became clear. The colors always go from light to darker over the course of the 5 minutes (assuming there are nitrites). If there are no nitrites the vile should be that light blue color...never clear.

    I recommend you do daily partial water changes with Prime until the tank finishes cycling.

    Also, check to make sure your test kit has not expired, since something seemed very wrong with that test.

    Good luck!
  5. chenay83New MemberMember

    I think you changed a little too much water, well actually way too much water. Then you added to many fish at one time. Each time you put one fish into your tank its going to affect your water.
  6. jdhefModeratorModerator Member

    At the end of a fishless cycle, you are supposed to do a very large water change in order to get the nitrates down. I think the problem the OP had is that he got a bad nitrite test result and thought the tank was thru the nitrite phase, when in fact it was only just beginning. He then added fish and as the ammonia got converted to nitrite, there was no bacteria to convert the nitrite into nitrate, hence the rise in nitrites.

    I will agree that it seems as though (even if the tank were indeed cycled) that too many fish may have been added at once. But apparently, there was enough ammonia converting bacteria to handle the bioload of all those fish, since there has not been an ammonia spike.
  7. amberlValued MemberMember

    That's exactly what happened would you now recommend leaving the fish in the 125 I would only be able to do water changes on it every three days or so or would you put all the fish in the 10g and do 50% water changes daily or every other day
  8. jdhefModeratorModerator Member

    If you remove the fish from the 125, you would have to go back to adding ammonia to keep the cycle progressing. But to be honest with you, I think putting all those fish in a 10 gallon tank would be a disaster.

    If it were me I would leave the fish in the 125 and do a large water change to get the nitrite as close to zero as possible, wait 24 hours and dump in enough bottles of Tetra SafeStart to treat 125 gallons. If you are not familiar with how to use Tetra SafeStart...just ask.
  9. amberlValued MemberMember

    I have never used it

    How do you use it
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 19, 2012
  10. jdhefModeratorModerator Member

    Tetra SafeStart is a bottle of the bacteria that converts ammonia into nitrite and the bacteria that converts nitrite into nitrate.

    When using SafeStart you fill a tank with dechlorinated water, let the filter run for 24 hours then add an entire, well shaken, appropritely sized bottle of SafeStart to the tank, along with some fish. Then you do nothing but feed your fish for the next 14 days (i.e. no chemicals, water changes etc., it is even best not to test your water since the results can scare you into doing something that will cause the SafeStart to fail). On day 14 test your water and you should be cycled.

    So your case is a little bit different since the tank ois partially cycled and fish have been in it for a while already. So in your case, do a water change (or even several back to back water changes) to get as close to 0ppm ammonia and 0ppm nitrite as possible. Wait 24 hours (using SafeStart less that 24 hours after adding a water conditioner can cause it to fail) then add enough entire well shaken bottles of SafeStart to treat 125 gallons minimum. Note that you cannot overdose with SafeStart so don't worry about adding more than enough to treat 125 gallons, but it is important to add entire bottles.