High Nitrite Spike In Cycled Tank?

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madelyn anne

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Hello!

I have a 36 G tank that has been cycled for a few weeks now, and suddenly today I tested and saw a huge spike in Nitrites. Usually, Nitrite would be at zero, Ammonia would be at zero, and my Nitrates have been hanging between 10-20ppm. I test every 48-72 hours, and my last test 48 hours ago was reading normally. Now, tonight, my reading was;

Ammonia - 0
Nitrite - approxmately 2 ppm
Nitrate - 10 ppm
pH - 7.2-7.4 (a tad higher than usual)

I used Prime and did a 30% water change. I also used the last of my bottle of Quck Start to try to add some nitrifying bacteria in there.

I have not added new fish, in fact, I lost one of my GBRs this week

Nor have I been using any unusual water additives. The only thing in my water is Prime, some left over Neutral Regulator, and Quick Start. Nothing unusual that I haven't been using the entire life of the tank.

What gives? What happened?

xx
 

HPzzy

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You're profile says you have over 20 fish in your 35 gallon and its at 82 degrees? What kind of filtration do you have?
 

HPzzy

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This is a quote from david1978....

If it only rises 10 ppm in a week your under stocked if it rises like 40 ppm in a week your over stocked
 

Nataku

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How long was the gbr dead in the tank before he was removed? A tank that is already running at or near capacity could have an ammonia and then nitrite spike if there is a sudden increase in available waste that the bb colony was not able to handle due to its size.
What is your stocking list?
Have there been any temp fluctuations in the past week?
Did this tank have air (air stone) that was turned off or moved?
 

david1978

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HPzzy said:
This is a quote from david1978....

If it only rises 10 ppm in a week your under stocked if it rises like 40 ppm in a week your over stocked
That would be for nitrates shes having a nitrite spike.
 

HPzzy

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david1978 said:
That would be for nitrates shes having a nitrite spike.
Oh dang...didn't know there was a difference... what is the difference between nitrites and nitrates? Thanks
 

Timmy1027

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HPzzy said:
Oh dang...didn't know there was a difference... what is the difference between nitrites and nitrates? Thanks
Ammonia to nitrite, nitrite to nitrate. Fishes are more tolerant to nitrate than ammnonia and nitrite.
 

Timmy1027

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You still need add nitrifying bacteria on a week or bi-week base in a cycled tank. The bacteria that converts nitrite to nitrate is more sensitive, that means parameter fluctuations can inhibit or kill it, such as low pH/KH and high nitrite level.

Add high dosage of Prime as a emergency solution. I personally add 3x Prime directly to tank to neutralize nitrite w/o fish loss.

Good luck
 

david1978

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Timmy1027 said:
You still need add nitrifying bacteria on a week or bi-week base in a cycled tank. The bacteria that converts nitrite to nitrate is more sensitive, that means parameter fluctuations can inhibit or kill it, such as low pH/KH and high nitrite level.

Add high dosage of Prime as a emergency solution. I personally add 3x Prime directly to tank to neutralize nitrite w/o fish loss.

Good luck
Why would you have to add bacteria to a cycled tank after a water change? As far as fixing high nitrite a water change would be more effective
 

david1978

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HPzzy said:
Oh dang...didn't know there was a difference... what is the difference between nitrites and nitrates? Thanks
At 10-40 ppm nitrite the fish would be dead.
 
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madelyn anne

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Nataku said:
How long was the gbr dead in the tank before he was removed? A tank that is already running at or near capacity could have an ammonia and then nitrite spike if there is a sudden increase in available waste that the bb colony was not able to handle due to its size.
What is your stocking list?
Have there been any temp fluctuations in the past week?
Did this tank have air (air stone) that was turned off or moved?

The dead GBR died in the middle of the night. I checked on her about 4 AM, by the time I woke up around 9 she was dead and I immediately removed her. So a few hours, at most.

I currently have;

One juvenile Angelfish (roughly 1.5" body size, 3.75" tip to tip)
11 mixed size White Skirt Tetras
7 small Sterbai Corys
1 GBR

My temperature fluctuates maaaaybe ~1 degree F in the last week. I keep it pretty steady at 82.

There was an air stone bubble bar that I had put in about 2 weeks ago for a few days but my fish didn't care for it so I took it out. But nothing recently, and as I said in my post, the Nitrite spike happened in the last 48 hours.
 
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madelyn anne

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HPzzy said:
You're profile says you have over 20 fish in your 35 gallon and its at 82 degrees? What kind of filtration do you have?
I have two filters running, an AC 50 and a QuietFlow 75.
 

Rok55

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For your immediate NITRITE problem I would recommend daily dosing with PRIME and 25% WC every other day till your cycle is complete.

HPzzy said:
You're profile says ..... its at 82 degrees? = QUOTE]

Curious why you have the tank temp at 82. Unless it is specifically to prompt breeding it doesn't need to be that high. In-fact, for your listed stock, lower tank temps promote more active, healthier fish and actually promotes longer life.
 
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madelyn anne

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Rok55 said:
For your immediate NITRITE problem I would recommend daily dosing with PRIME and 25% WC every other day till your cycle is complete.
Because I currently have one GBR, and I used to have 3. They require higher temperatures.
 
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madelyn anne

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Update: I re-tested my water today and got a perfect reading;

Nitrate: 10-20 ppm
Nitrite: 0 ppm
Ammonia: 0 ppm
pH - 6.8

So...I don't know what happened, but whatever it was started fast and ended fast. Really strange.
 

Rok55

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madelyn anne said:
Because I currently have one GBR, and I used to have 3. They require higher temperatures.
When I kept GBR in a community 35g I maintained a temp of 76 and everybody was happy. I did some in depth study on temp range for many species in the natural habitat and discovered that many of the so called required temps are not truly representative of the natural environment. Check it out .
 

RSababady

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madelyn anne said:
Update: I re-tested my water today and got a perfect reading;

Nitrate: 10-20 ppm
Nitrite: 0 ppm
Ammonia: 0 ppm
pH - 6.8

So...I don't know what happened, but whatever it was started fast and ended fast. Really strange.
Did that spike happen after a PWC? If so, then you had a pH swing downwards that may caused ammonium to change to ammonia and thus the nitrite spike.
 

AllieSten

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You need to do a larger water change to drop that Nitrite down below 0.5.

Follow this formula until it settles back down. You are having what is called a mini-cycle. Something affected your bacteria. Did you change your filter media at all? What is your pH normally? Have you tested your gH/kH?

Ammonia + Nitrites = less than 1ppm add full tank dose of Prime. Recheck parameters in 24hrs.
Ammonia + Nitrites = 1ppm or more, do a 50% water change and add full tank dose of Prime. Recheck parameters in 24hrs.

The goal for your water change is to drop the ammonia and nitrites to 0.5ppm. So you may need to change more than 50% to achieve that.

Full tank dose of Prime is 0.1ml or 2 drops per gallon. Your dose is 3.6ml. You will add it daily until the Nitrites are gone.
 

AllieSten

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Timmy1027 said:
You still need add nitrifying bacteria on a week or bi-week base in a cycled tank. The bacteria that converts nitrite to nitrate is more sensitive, that means parameter fluctuations can inhibit or kill it, such as low pH/KH and high nitrite level.

Add high dosage of Prime as a emergency solution. I personally add 3x Prime directly to tank to neutralize nitrite w/o fish loss.

Good luck
You do NOT need to add bacteria to a cycled tank. Once you are cycled, you should have enough bacteria in your filter that you don’t need to add more.

If you are having cycle issues, then yes you can add more bacteria, but that is still optional.
 
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madelyn anne

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Thankfully, my parameters are back to reading perfect. That Nitrite spike lasted about 24 hours, and corrected itself. I'm at 0 Ammonia, 0 Nitrite, 10 Nitrate, pH of 6.8.

As far as the adding bacteria thing goes, I personally don't see the benefit to adding more bacteria to a cycled tank. As AllieSten said, you will have enough bacteria in your filter that you don't need to add more. Adding more is not only unnecessary, but really costly too.

And I know that some people choose to keep their GBRs in cooler temperatures, I just don't agree with that myself. I prefer to keep mine between 80-82 F and everybody in my tank seems pretty happy there. I know that GBRs will survive in colder temperatures, but they're not hardy fish and become much more susceptible to disease in the cooler temps. Just because you haven't noticed any adverse effects, doesn't mean it should be advised, IMO. It's the same idea as keeping Bettas in unfiltered, unheated bowls. They'll live. Bettas ARE hardy, unlike GBRs. But they definitely won't thrive and it shouldn't be recommended. I have one of the most knowledgeable, honest, & best LFS in the USA near me and I trust their advice 1000%, and they also agree that the optimal temperature for my tank is 82 F.

Surprisingly, no, this Nitrite spike did NOT happen after a PWC. The last PWC I did before the spike was approximately 6 - 7 days prior.

Thanks for all the help and advice, guys
 
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