I'm Having A Nitrite Problem

  1. Supreme Sawk Member Member

    So I've been gone a while. Well, today I need some help. For the last month or so, I've had nitrite. Ammonia is 0PPM, nitrate is 5PPM, but the bloody nitrite won't leave. I constantly have around 0.05PPM nitrite, and for a few days it looks like it is slowly going down, then it'll shoot straight back up to 0.05, then over the next couple of days it will start to move nearer to 0.1PPM, then it'll start going down again, rinse and repeat. I've tried putting in more TSS, but that did nothing to solve the problem. I've ruled out the possibility of the fry constantly growing putting stress on the biological filter and it can't keep up, as my ammonia levels have consistently been spot on throughout this. I'm not overfeeding, I'm very conscious of how much I feed my fish, so that also can't be the cause.

    I know that 0.05 to 0.1PPM isn't lethal by any means, but I am aware that any nitrite present will stress the fish and make them more susceptible to diseases, and it can irritate the gills and trigger an inflammatory response. This is already happening. My neotenous female (yes, that actually happens, I have a neotenous guppy) has been coping well (she has been in the tank since the start, so she has been exposed to nitrite for a while now), but the long-term exposure to nitrite is clearly catching up to her, because her gills are very red-pinkish and look quite inflamed. I'll be happy if she lives to be a year old.
    My other fish aren't doing very well either. My yellow micariff male seems to be developing toxin-related swimbladder disorder, my snakeskin's (who is actually a sunset micariff who has started expressing snakeskin patterns for whatever reason) fin-rotted tail has for the most part stopped healing (which is a sign of prolonged stress) and one of my red tuxedo females is just constantly sitting at the bottom, and when she isn't she is either coming to the top because she thinks she is being fed, or she is sitting in a corner doing nothing, which if I'm not mistaken is a sign of severe prolonged stress AKA depression. I don't think it is a disease because she has no other symptoms whatsoever.

    I am really not sure what to do. It's clearly affecting my fish and sooner or later some serious disease will take hold which I am powerless to treat because iirc you can't treat tanks with fry in them because they don't have the scales (or haven't fully developed them yet) that protect them from skin damage from the medication. I hope I'm wrong in saying that but it's probably true.

    The only thing I can think of at this point is taking a few of the adults out to release some stress from the biological filter which may let it settle into a cycle, because clearly for some reason the bacteria that converts nitrite into nitrate has an unstable population, and something is killing them or is depleting them of nutrients. My dad suggested it could be an over-abundance of some sort of metal or alloy in the water, since my water is pretty hard as is and for whatever reason I keep the mineral supplements in the filter, and I don't have carbon in the filter so nothing is breaking it down. I thought my dad's idea had some plausibility to it, so I put the carbon back in the filter to see what happens. Nothing will probably change but it's worth a try I guess.

    If anybody has any more ideas of what could be fvcking up the biological filter so badly then please tell me, I'm running out of ideas.
  2. Aquaphobia Fishlore Legend Member

    Have you tested your source water?
  3. Supreme Sawk Member Member

    No, and I don't think that is the problem because it spikes in the middle of the week usually, and I do water changes at the weekend. I'll test it later anyway, I did think about doing that last night.
  4. Aquaphobia Fishlore Legend Member

    What kind of filter do you have and what kind of media?
  5. Supreme Sawk Member Member

    Err, lets see, a Fluval U2 rated for 30 gallons. The media is the media that came with the filter.
  6. Aquaphobia Fishlore Legend Member

    That could be your problem right there. The U2 has a gph of only 105gph. That's only a little over 3x the volume of your tank. Ideally you want to aim for 8-10x. I would get a bigger filter.
  7. Nart Well Known Member Member

    Just going to ask the first question, your bio-media is cycled yes? if so, for how long?

    You might not have enough bio-media for the bio-load of your tank. To fix, add more bio-media.
    Dose Seachem Prime every other day according to the recommended dosage, this will help with the toxic levels of ammonia/nitrite and neutralize it for the time-being.

    Also, the GPH on the filter might be a little low.
  8. Supreme Sawk Member Member

    I'll talk to my dad about maybe getting a bigger filter, for the time being though I can't do anything about that, as the next time I can go to the LFS is Saturday. Also, are you sure you are looking at the right model? My one is the one rated for 30 gallons, you could be looking at the one that is rated for 15 or 20 gallons. 105GPH would sound more likely for a 15-20 gallon filter.

    Yes, before this I had successfully achieved a full cycle a week prior to problems. To be fair it was after I introduced 5 new adults that the nitrite problems began, although initially I had nitrite levels as high as 0.5PPM. I'm surprised none of my fish died. I assumed it would solve itself because the nitrite level was going down pretty rapidly (0.08-0.1PPM per day) and I assumed it would continue to go down until it hit zero. As we all know it stalled at 0.05 and refused to stay at or near zero. I bought an entire bottle of TSS and bunged it all in (it was a little over a full dose anyway) but that was about two weeks ago and by now I would think that the problem would have been solved if the TSS worked.

    Would some extra sponge from an old 15 gallon filter be enough? Iirc I kept the sponge from my old filters. I have a non-working 30 gallon filter but it's quite long and I don't think the sponge would fit.

    I don't have Prime. I don't want to appear to be going SJW but why does everybody assume that everybody has Prime? Not everybody lives in the US where it is readily available.

    I don't know whether you are just saying this in a general sense, so please correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't have an ammonia problem, I have a nitrite problem. I state this in the OP. I don't know if you've just skimmed over the OP very briefly and decided it was a classical uneducated noob story.

    Anyway, I had to euthanize my yellow male who had an untreatable internal parasitic infection and my neotenous female who seems to be just withering away in general, most likely TB, although she could have the internal parasite as well, since her poop is quite clear and she appears to be losing weight. From what I've heard TB is nothing to worry about once the fish who has it is gone, because it's not infectious. I removed her regardless because she will die eventually anyway and I don't want her to continuously suffer. There's also two other females that I suspect have the internal parasite, because they seem to be becoming inactive and one has very thin, completely transparent poop while the other has some sort of hybrid poop between the two. I know you folks don't like having the fish put down but in this case there is nothing I can do since I can't separate the ill fish to medicate them, and I can't medicate with fry since I don't know if the dose will be harmful to them. Giving them garlic is also a complete waste of time, because it only helps their immune system a bit, and I'd assume their adaptive immune systems are almost extinct by this point because of the nitrite problem and the lack of nutrition, plus it stinks badly, so no, I'm not feeding them garlic. I think at this point about half of my adult fish show abnormal behaviour. I don't want to euthanize that many fish but I may have no choice. For now I've euthanized two of the sickest ones, the two females will probably be euthanised by Monday at worst.
  9. Nart Well Known Member Member

    @Supreme Sawk

    Actually. Let me take back my advice.
    Have a great day! :D
  10. Discusluv Well Known Member Member

    Stating that you have a "nitrite problem," but not an ammonia problem is, indeed, a "classical noob" understanding of how the nitrifying cycle works. I would suggest your read further on the nitrogen cycle as, even though you feel you are educated on the particulars, your still not quite understanding the process:
    Aquarium Nitrogen Cycle
    You are having difficulties with nitrites for a very simple reason- your tank is not cycled. So, the fitting question to ask with an issue such as this is: "Why is my tank still not cycled?"
    Answer: There are some really knowledgeable answers above.
  11. Supreme Sawk Member Member

    Are you sure you yourself understand the nitrogen cycle? You do realise that there are two different kinds of bacteria involved in the cycle right? The bacteria that converts ammonia into nitrite is working perfectly, it's the bacteria that convert nitrite into nitrate that is experiencing problems. Before telling me that I don't know what I'm talking about, make sure that you know yourself, okay?

    If you're just going to back out and not take any scepticism of or feedback on your advice seriously then I'd advise asking yourself if you're genuinely here to help people or if you here to just make yourself feel superior because you're giving people advice on how to look after a pet. It's not like I dismissed your advice out of hand, in fact on the bio-media issue I asked for further details. Please wake up and again question yourself if you're actually here to help people or not.
  12. Discusluv Well Known Member Member

    Like, I said, get reading on that link that was provided, what you are saying is completely idiotic and you just haven't realized it yet. I would also get help on that anger issue, it will not serve you well in life.
  13. OnTheFly Well Known Member Member

    Try to be less condescending with your responses. That is why most of your threads end just like this. People take the time to respond, many of them with considerable experience. Just be polite and say thanks if you don't like the advice offered.
  14. Discusluv Well Known Member Member

    I remember you now, how can I forget... this is your MO. Come on here, ask questions, and attack those that attempt to help you.
  15. grantm91 Well Known Member Member

    @Discusluv Banish him to the shadow realm ! By order of the mods, feed him to the kraken.
  16. Supreme Sawk Member Member

    But the problem is, I wasn't rejecting the advice. I was questioning it, and in fact on one of the points I asked for further information. The clown then decided to start being sarcastic about it, which is when I asked them why they were actually on this site. I believe that half of the people here actually have no interest in helping people, and are interested in making themselves feel better. Of course, this is just my opinion/observation/experience, feel free to disagree. Also, I became condescending because I was baffled at the fact that this individual was suggesting that a nitrite problem also means an ammonia problem, and then dared to call me the idiot.

    Er no, if you took a look at it you'd actually see it supports what I'm saying. You can have a nitrite problem while having perfect ammonia levels, and that's a fact. You're talking garbage, I'd suggest knowing the facts yourself first before calling me idiotic. Also, nice projection with the anger issue rubbish, what I said is not filled with even an ounce of anger, this is quite amusing actually.

    What are you even talking about? I've attacked nobody in this thread or anywhere else, it's always someone else who gets aggressive/sarcastic/offended with me when I've done nothing to provoke them. I suggest not provoking responses with people who are more knowledgeable than you, you're a complete moron with no clue. I don't know how one can claim that a nitrite problem means the entire cycle is broken when it clearly isn't. I've got 0PPM ammonia, and have done for the last month and a half. It's my nitrite that is playing up.
  17. Supreme Sawk Member Member

    Well, in that case, I'll be going. This site clearly isn't for me.
  18. Discusluv Well Known Member Member

    Bye bye...
  19. Aquaphobia Fishlore Legend Member

    Actually yes, I am looking at the right model. 30 gallons is the upper limit for that model. There's a chart here: Aquarium Filters: Fluval U-Series Underwater Filters from Hagen at fosterandsmithaquatics.com
  20. Nart Well Known Member Member

    @Supreme Sawk
    peace love and happiness
    May you find peace in your present and future.