High nitrites in tap water

Discussion in 'Aquarium Water' started by Teruterubozu, Jul 30, 2014.

  1. T

    Teruterubozu New Member Member

    So prior to my last water change on Sunday the water parameters in my tanks were all pretty good ammonia 0 nitrites 0, nitrates between 5 and 20. On Monday I tested again and all 12 tanks are showing a nitrite spike of ~2ppm. I tested the tap water and got 5ppm!!! Today ( Wednesday) its down to 1ppm but now long can the fish take these high doses of nitrites? No one is showing any apparent signs of stress at the moment, but if I don't want to drink it they shouldn't be living in it. Called the city water dept and MWRA but no one's bothered to return the call .

    Anyone have a brilliant idea on how to speed up the nitrite decomposition?

    To make matters worse I'm expecting some GBRs and CPDs tomorrow and I'm now afraid to put them in their tanks.

    Thanks for any suggestions

    Also, anyone have a recommendation for a ro di unit? After this I'm giving up on tap water!
  2. TJBender

    TJBender Well Known Member Member

    Hi there, and welcome to FL!

    Speaking as someone who is still recovering from a tap water quality issue, I feel your pain. My first suggestion would be to wait 24 hours before testing tap water. It will settle during this time, and you'll get a more accurate reading.

    Second, Prime and Amquel Plus both offer some detoxification of nitrites. I'm quickly becoming a believer in Amquel Plus, but there's evidence that A+ can affect pH. Prime does not.

    Are your tanks fully cycled? It says you know the cycle, so I'm assuming so, and a fully-cycled tank will process nitrite more efficiently as well. As for a quick fix for the GBRs and CPDs, both are fairly sensitive species. It's not the ideal solution cost-wise, but you may want to consider buying bottled water from the grocery store. For a few months during the water crisis here, I had to buy roughly 40 gallons per week off the shelf, which got pricey, but it was the best I could do to ensure that my fish had clean water going in. If you have a bottled water unit at your local grocery store, which is usually RO, you could do it for much less than I was stuck paying. This might be easier to stomach if you know that you have a RO unit coming soon anyway, and won't be doing it forever...though the cashiers will look at you funny as you buy a cart full of water each week. ;)

    Can't help you on the RO unit, as I don't have one myself. Hope this helps some!
  3. OP

    Teruterubozu New Member Member

    I wish I could find one of those super market units! None in my area seems to have them. Even the bottled di water was sold out when I checked last night. Might make a run to New Hampshire after the fish arrive tomorrow. There's a lfs up there that sells it. My taps always been good until now so I'm kinda freaking out.

    Does the Amquell+ raise or lower the ph? Can you use Prime and Amquel together? Or with purigen?

    Something else I thought of that I don't know if it's a good idea is to take some of the water out of the 2 75g goldfish
    tanks and use that to refill the GBR and CPD tanks. The 75s have already cleared the nitrite spikes. Thank you fluval fx5s!
    But the nitrates in those tanks runs about 40, so in a sense I'll just be switching problems and not really solving anything until I get a new water source.

    Anyone with GBRs or CPDs keep them with higher nitrates?
  4. TJBender

    TJBender Well Known Member Member

    40 is still pretty high. I actually lost a GBR during the nitrate problems here, though I believe his death was brought on by fish TB caused by the nitrate spike. Amquel can raise the pH. I'm working with Amquel and Prime right now to find the "cocktail" that cleans out nitrates while not breaking the bank--it takes a lot of Amquel, 10 drops per gallon, as opposed to Prime's 2-3 drops per gallon. I've never used Purigen.

    I wouldn't recommend using water that already has 40ppm nitrates in it to do water changes. As painful as it is financially, I'd recommend buying water at the store and doing changes with it until your RO unit is installed. If you're using water that comes off the shelf at 0ppm nitrates (and it all should), you could conceivably go more than a week between changes. Think of it this way: if your tank water finishes the week at 20ppm nitrates, why would you ever want to replace that 20ppm water with 40ppm water? Just dose the entire tank with Amquel, which theoretically binds 13ppm of nitrate, and only make the change every other week. It's cheaper, and it avoids replacing low nitrate water with higher concentrations.
  5. OP

    Teruterubozu New Member Member

    That's what I was afraid you were going to say. OK Amquel and RO it is. This would happen right before the sensitive fish show up! Who said fish keeping was a relaxing hobby?

    I'm still waiting to hear back from the water company about the hight nitrites in the water. Really hoping it straightens itself out soon, but in the meantime researching rodi units.
    Thanks for your advice!

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