High Nitrite Water Change--vac Gravel?

Discussion in 'Aquarium Nitrogen Cycle' started by newbettagus, Aug 21, 2019.

  1. newbettagus

    newbettagusValued MemberMember

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    I have a 5.5 gallon tank with a betta in it (I was told at the pet store that they didn't need a tank prepared in advance).

    Augustus seems to be doing well. Since the nitrite level has been quite high I've been doing daily one-gallon water changes. (Ammonia is very low and there's a little bit of nitrate.) Edit: more details later in the thread.

    I've been vacuuming the gravel each time, but could this actually be slowing down the growth of the beneficial bacteria?
     
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2019
  2. nikm128

    nikm128Fishlore VIPMember

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    The majority of this bacteria will be in the filter, vaccing the gravel shouldn't do anything in the first place really as strong, healthy bacteria can hold on to the rocks.
     
  3. mattgirl

    mattgirlFishlore VIPMember

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    How high is high? High to some is anything over zero. If I were you I would be changing out more than 1 gallon each time. I would be doing no less than 50%. The more you can dilute the nitrites the better it will be for your little guy.
     
  4. Momgoose56

    Momgoose56Fishlore VIPMember

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    Welcome to Fishlore! I hope the information you get here is helpful!
    Vacuuming and big water changes are good. The beneficial bacteria (bb) don't float around in the water, they are attached to your filter media, decorations and gravel. I suggest doing bigger water changes though (50% or more). Nitrites are toxic at any level and at any pH. Is also suggest treating your whole tank volume every 48 hours as well as any replacement water with Seachem Prime while you're tank is cycling. It will take several weeks for your tank to grow enough of the bb to handle the ammonia and nitrites your fishes waste is producing. Here's some necessary reading so you understand what 'cycling' is and what your tank and fish are going through during the process:
    Aquarium Nitrogen Cycle
    In the mean time, keep testing, doing big enough, frequent enough water changes to keep your combined ammonia+nitrite level to less than 1 ppm and keep monitoring your fishes health during the process.
     
  5. OP
    OP
    newbettagus

    newbettagusValued MemberMember

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    Thanks!

    More details (esp. in case some of the nice folks from the betta forum read this, also to keep people from going to a lot of trouble explaining stuff I've already encountered--sorry I wasn't more specific).

    I actually acquired this fishie 3 weeks ago and had him in a smaller tank until a few days ago. When the nitrite level in that tank got sky-high I moved him to a bigger tank, along with a lot of the gravel, and squeezed his old filter into the new water. The nitrites in the new tank still went way up. Today, to my great relief, I got a reading of about .75ppm--lavendar instead of magenta! (API test kit). I'm still going to do a water change and probably continue until the level is much lower, but I think we're almost out of the woods.

    I have my answer--I can keep cleaning the gravel. Thank you.
     
  6. Momgoose56

    Momgoose56Fishlore VIPMember

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    You're getting closer!
    The nitrate oxidizing bacteria growth (NOB) part of the cycle takes about twice as long as the ammonia oxidizing bacteria growth (AOB) part. So if you know the amount of time between when you first saw ammonia in your first tank and when ammonia levels dropped to zero, multiply that number of days (weeks) by 2. Then if you know when you first saw nitrites show up in the tank, add that doubled number to that day and that's roughly when you should see your nitrites drop to 0 and your cycling will be complete. I'm guessing you have 2 or 3 more weeks to go.
     








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