High Nitrites-please help! Killifish

kiwigolden

Fish: 1 Golden Wonder Killifish

Tank: 5 gallon with charcoal filter system

Tank ran for 2 or 3 days before he was added on Oct 10th. Have had no issues up until now.

A few days ago he was acting very hyper, darting back and forth in his tank. Whenever I would feed him he was very eager, as if he was starving. So I bought him some freeze dried shrimp (he currently only eats freeze dried blood worms) and broke one up and put it in. He wanted nothing to do with it and it eventually sunk to the bottom. He usually won’t eat anything once its at the bottom so I promptly remove it. This being my 3rd unsuccessful attempt at feeding him a different food, I figured I would leave it in the tank to see if he would eventually go for it. The next day when I went to remove it I noticed he wasn’t as hyper, but he wasn’t his usual self either. The following day (yesterday) he was the same way so I took a sample of his water in to get tested:

Ammonia: 0
Nitrite: 10
Nitrate: 20
pH: 7.8
Alkalinity: 180
Hardness: 300 (my town has very hard tap water)
Chlorine & Chloramine: 0

I was told to do a 25% water change and retest. When I got home his condition has drastically deteriorated; he was almost vertical, hardly moving and his colouring was very dark. I had been researching Nitrite poisoning on my way home so I realized he was suffocating. The only thing I could think to do was grab an empty pitcher, fill it, condition it, and match the temp to his tank as best as I could. Then I grabbed him and put him in the pitcher with a bubbler. Within 30 mins his colour was improving and he was moving around a lot more. So I did a 30 % water change to his tank and I added Tetra Aqua Safe and Nutrafin Cycle. This morning I took a new sample to be tested, but he said he could only test for ammonia which was still at 0. So I bought what they had for strips and tested the water myself:

N03: 40
N02: 5
Ph:7
KH: 120
GH: 180

Another water change (about 40%) and some gravel vacuuming (found bits of shrimp I missed), more Tetra Aqua Safe and Nutrafin Cycle. Went to a different store and got strips that also test for ammonia. Results:

Ammonia: 0
Nitrite: 5.0
Nitrate: 20
pH: 8.4
Alkalinity: 120
Hardness: 300
Chlorine: 0

He is currently still in the pitcher and although he seems okay, I am worried about keeping him in there much longer, but I don’t know what else to do. I am going now to do another water change and I will add more Tetra Aqua Safe and Nutrafin Cycle. What should I do next? How long will it take to bring the Nitrites down and will he be okay in his makeshift tank? It will soon be 24 hrs. Any advice is greatly appreciated!!!
 

StarGirl

Welcome to Fishlore! :)

I would change water and get the nitrite and ammonia as close to zero as possible. Then keep it there with water changes when needed. The nitrites will just be zero one day and be gone. There is no time line unfortunately. I would think on bigger water changes every week after you get cycled.

When you are at the fish store grab a bottle of Seachem Prime for your dechlorinator. It seems pricey but is super concentrated so it goes a long way. It will help protect your fish when you have small amounts of nitrites and ammonia. Then add him back in.

The strips are not the most accurate. The API Freshwater master test kit will be a little more accurate for you. Most members use this test and know the results a little better.
 

kiwigolden

Welcome to Fishlore! :)

I would change water and get the nitrite and ammonia as close to zero as possible. Then keep it there with water changes when needed. The nitrites will just be zero one day and be gone. There is no time line unfortunately. I would think on bigger water changes every week after you get cycled.

When you are at the fish store grab a bottle of Seachem Prime for your dechlorinator. It seems pricey but is super concentrated so it goes a long way. It will help protect your fish when you have small amounts of nitrites and ammonia. Then add him back in.

The strips are not the most accurate. The API Freshwater master test kit will be a little more accurate for you. Most members use this test and know the results a little better.
Thank you! Happy to be here, but wish it was under better circumstances. I will go and get the API master kit and a bottle of Seachem now. To get the Nitrite down so I can add him back, how often should I do water changes? Every couple of hours?
 

StarGirl

Just do changes when you test and the levels are rising. It shouldnt rise in a couple hours. Try to keep the ammonia and nitrite under .50 ppm with water changes. The Prime will help with those levels for up to 48 hours.
 

kiwigolden

UPDATE/ADVICE NEEDED:

With frequent large water changes and 100ml of Tetra Safe Start Plus, I have managed to get his (currently fishless) tank parameters to:

Ammonia: 0
Nitrite: 0.25+ (a bit darker then 0.25 but definitely not 0.50)
Nitrate: 20
pH: 8.2
(tested with API Master Test Kit)

The ammonia levels in his temporary pitcher home started creeping up yesterday evening to 1.0ppm, no trates and no trites, ph 7.4. I did a 50% water change and used Seachem Prime to condition. Approx 12 hours later and his current levels are:

Ammonia: 0.25
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: 0
pH: 7.8

Where do I go from here?
Which tank is he safer in? Should I leave him in the temp pitcher? or return him to his tank and continue to monitor? I am worried that if I return him to his tank the levels will spike but I wont be able to do a water change because of the Tetra Safe Start Plus.

He has been in the pitcher and hasn't had anything to eat since Nov 11th. I have tried to feed him but I don't think he is able to see it. I leave it in his tank for about 5 mins and then I remove it. He doesn't seem lethargic or distressed but I am worried.

I have done hours of research over the last few days and I am very overwhelmed by the amount, and often contradictory information :(

Any help is so greatly appreciated! I love my little guy and don't want to lose him

Fish: 1 Golden Wonder Killifish

Tank: 5 gallon with charcoal filter system

Tank ran for 2 or 3 days before he was added on Oct 10th. Have had no issues up until now.

A few days ago he was acting very hyper, darting back and forth in his tank. Whenever I would feed him he was very eager, as if he was starving. So I bought him some freeze dried shrimp (he currently only eats freeze dried blood worms) and broke one up and put it in. He wanted nothing to do with it and it eventually sunk to the bottom. He usually won’t eat anything once its at the bottom so I promptly remove it. This being my 3rd unsuccessful attempt at feeding him a different food, I figured I would leave it in the tank to see if he would eventually go for it. The next day when I went to remove it I noticed he wasn’t as hyper, but he wasn’t his usual self either. The following day (yesterday) he was the same way so I took a sample of his water in to get tested:

Ammonia: 0
Nitrite: 10
Nitrate: 20
pH: 7.8
Alkalinity: 180
Hardness: 300 (my town has very hard tap water)
Chlorine & Chloramine: 0

I was told to do a 25% water change and retest. When I got home his condition has drastically deteriorated; he was almost vertical, hardly moving and his colouring was very dark. I had been researching Nitrite poisoning on my way home so I realized he was suffocating. The only thing I could think to do was grab an empty pitcher, fill it, condition it, and match the temp to his tank as best as I could. Then I grabbed him and put him in the pitcher with a bubbler. Within 30 mins his colour was improving and he was moving around a lot more. So I did a 30 % water change to his tank and I added Tetra Aqua Safe and Nutrafin Cycle. This morning I took a new sample to be tested, but he said he could only test for ammonia which was still at 0. So I bought what they had for strips and tested the water myself:

N03: 40
N02: 5
Ph:7
KH: 120
GH: 180

Another water change (about 40%) and some gravel vacuuming (found bits of shrimp I missed), more Tetra Aqua Safe and Nutrafin Cycle. Went to a different store and got strips that also test for ammonia. Results:

Ammonia: 0
Nitrite: 5.0
Nitrate: 20
pH: 8.4
Alkalinity: 120
Hardness: 300
Chlorine: 0

He is currently still in the pitcher and although he seems okay, I am worried about keeping him in there much longer, but I don’t know what else to do. I am going now to do another water change and I will add more Tetra Aqua Safe and Nutrafin Cycle. What should I do next? How long will it take to bring the Nitrites down and will he be okay in his makeshift tank? It will soon be 24 hrs. Any advice is greatly appreciated!!!
Just do changes when you test and the levels are rising. It shouldnt rise in a couple hours. Try to keep the ammonia and nitrite under .50 ppm with water changes. The Prime will help with those levels for up to 48 hours.
Thank you StarGirl!! If you would be willing to take a look at my update post I would greatly appreciate it.
 

kiwigolden

Fish: 1 Golden Wonder Killifish

Tank: 5 gallon with charcoal filter system

Tank ran for 2 or 3 days before he was added on Oct 10th. Have had no issues up until now.

A few days ago he was acting very hyper, darting back and forth in his tank. Whenever I would feed him he was very eager, as if he was starving. So I bought him some freeze dried shrimp (he currently only eats freeze dried blood worms) and broke one up and put it in. He wanted nothing to do with it and it eventually sunk to the bottom. He usually won’t eat anything once its at the bottom so I promptly remove it. This being my 3rd unsuccessful attempt at feeding him a different food, I figured I would leave it in the tank to see if he would eventually go for it. The next day when I went to remove it I noticed he wasn’t as hyper, but he wasn’t his usual self either. The following day (yesterday) he was the same way so I took a sample of his water in to get tested:

Ammonia: 0
Nitrite: 10
Nitrate: 20
pH: 7.8
Alkalinity: 180
Hardness: 300 (my town has very hard tap water)
Chlorine & Chloramine: 0

I was told to do a 25% water change and retest. When I got home his condition has drastically deteriorated; he was almost vertical, hardly moving and his colouring was very dark. I had been researching Nitrite poisoning on my way home so I realized he was suffocating. The only thing I could think to do was grab an empty pitcher, fill it, condition it, and match the temp to his tank as best as I could. Then I grabbed him and put him in the pitcher with a bubbler. Within 30 mins his colour was improving and he was moving around a lot more. So I did a 30 % water change to his tank and I added Tetra Aqua Safe and Nutrafin Cycle. This morning I took a new sample to be tested, but he said he could only test for ammonia which was still at 0. So I bought what they had for strips and tested the water myself:

N03: 40
N02: 5
Ph:7
KH: 120
GH: 180

Another water change (about 40%) and some gravel vacuuming (found bits of shrimp I missed), more Tetra Aqua Safe and Nutrafin Cycle. Went to a different store and got strips that also test for ammonia. Results:

Ammonia: 0
Nitrite: 5.0
Nitrate: 20
pH: 8.4
Alkalinity: 120
Hardness: 300
Chlorine: 0

He is currently still in the pitcher and although he seems okay, I am worried about keeping him in there much longer, but I don’t know what else to do. I am going now to do another water change and I will add more Tetra Aqua Safe and Nutrafin Cycle. What should I do next? How long will it take to bring the Nitrites down and will he be okay in his makeshift tank? It will soon be 24 hrs. Any advice is greatly appreciated!!!
I'm not sure if this is the correct way to post an update, so please let me know and I will fix it
NOV 19TH UPDATE
Hello again all, I just wanted to take a second to thank you all for taking the time to reply to my posts, and for helping me through these past couple of days. I have learned SO much from countless hours of reading through this forum and others, and I will not be making the same mistakes again. I also want to thank you guys for not being rude and nasty with me because I now realize how incredibly frustrating it must be for experienced fish keepers to see well intended newbies making these mistakes. Most importantly, I want to thank you for helping me save my little guy!! :D (current picture attached!!) I am monitoring him and his tank VERY closely, and he seems to be back to his usual, ferocious, goofy self :D I’ve been keeping a log to keep track of everything, and I was hoping someone would be kind enough to review it to make sure I am on the right track. I will post a screen shot of it with this post. I also have a few questions- if anyone has a moment to answer them, I would be very grateful

Am I testing his water and doing water changes frequently enough?

I read that increased aeration and increased water temp is important in helping fish recover from stress and nitrite poisoning, as well as helping BB grow. So I have reduced the water level so that the filtered water has more of a drop, and I’ve added 2 bubblers. I have also increased tank temp to 24-25C. Now my question is, is this overkill? In the wild Killifish live in water with very little movement, so in the past I only had the filter with the water level high enough that it didn’t really have any affect on surface water. It doesn’t seem to be bothering him but obviously I want him to be as comfortable as possible. Also, with the increased temp I have noticed his tank starting to have a smell, I can’t really explain what it smells like, its not foul and its not exactly fishy….

Yesterday the Nitrites started climbing again (0.25). I am using Seachem Prime with water changes. I know that the Prime only blocks the harmful effects of Nitrite for 24-48 hrs. Is there something I can add to help remove the Nitrite? I was looking at API NITRA-ZORB filter media- any opinions? I have a spare HOB filter that I could use it with. His tank has a built-in filter and uses carbon cartridges, but I don’t think it has enough room for the NITRA-ZORB and the filter.

***I just tested his tank and Nitrites are back up to 0.25ppm and its not quite 24hrs yet.

When should I change the filter in my tank? I have attached a picture of it currently. I have been trying to find replacements online but I am having very little luck. Should I switch to a foam filter?

I also read about adding filter media from an established tank to help assist with the cycle. I will be visiting someone with a 20 gallon tomorrow and they said I can help myself. I know their tank has a HOB filter with carbon cartridges. My question is, how do I go about taking the media? And how do I introduce the media to my tank?

Food- the issue that started this mess lol. I should start off by saying he will not eat anything that sinks below the surface. When I adopted Kiwi I was told he ate flake food, but when I did some research I realized he needed a more meaty diet-which probably explains why he ate 4 or more fish in his original owner’s tank lol. The guy at my LFS told me I need to feed him Hikari 100% Pure Freeze Dried Blood Worms and I did for 3 months or so before I started to think he was missing something from his diet (he just never seemed satisfied) and another guy at the same LFS recently told me that I should only be feeding him the freeze dried blood worms as a treat. So I did more research and have since tried: Flukers Gourmet Canned River Shrimp-not interested. Tetra Freeze Dried River Shrimp-spit it right back out. TetraMin Tropical Flakes- spits it out. Aqueon Tropical Flakes-spits it out. Fluval Bug Bites Tropical Fish Formula-will eat them but only if they float. And finally, Omega One Frozen Super Carnivore- only eats the blood worms and spits out everything else. Any suggestions??

If you see something I am missing/should be doing please do not hesitate to tell me!! And again, thank you so much!
 

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