Question Losing fish, high nitrite

Sleepyflea

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Guppy died in a matter of 24 hours...
First the male guppy was hanging out at the top of the tank not eating. Then i noticed he had a small patch about the size of his eye that was fuzzy and white on his head only. I isolated him and removed it gently with a Q-Tip and then put him back in the regular tank. Afterwards i noticed all the fish were losing color around their top of the head. So i put some API general cure for parasites in there. Woke up this morning, the rest of the fish are getting their color back, but the one that was acting up is dead. Im lost... what is taking out my fish randomly? I just lost a $10 breeder male guppy. My tank parameters are fine, just tested them yesterday. Ammonia is at 0, and waste is little to nothing. No chlorine, all good setup...

EDIT: Changed 60%of the water twice. Nitrites down to 3ppm. Should i change any more? Comment below!
 

GuppyDazzle

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Sorry to hear about your breeder. White and fuzzy sounds a lot like fungus.

You said the guppy died in 24 hours. 24 hours from what? From when you added him? From when he got sick?

Don't be quick to blow off water parameters as a possible cause, especially if you have several fish that are showing symptoms. Also try to avoid thinking it's "random." Always assume there's a cause you can figure out.

How long has your tank been cycled? What are your test readings for nitrite and nitrate? Waste is next to nothing? I'm not sure what that means.
 
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Sleepyflea

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GuppyDazzle said:
Sorry to hear about your breeder. White and fuzzy sounds a lot like fungus.

You said the guppy died in 24 hours. 24 hours from what? From when you added him? From when he got sick?

Don't be quick to blow off water parameters as a possible cause, especially if you have several fish that are showing symptoms. Also try to avoid thinking it's "random." Always assume there's a cause you can figure out.

How long has your tank been cycled? What are your test readings for nitrite and nitrate? Waste is next to nothing? I'm not sure what that means.
Tanks been cycled for 1 month id say.
Nitrate: 5-10ppm
Nitrite: In the danger section at 5-10ppm? How did this happen so quick? (Im medicating my tank with no carbon filter currently?)
Hardness: Very hard 300ppm
Chlorine: 0ppm
Alkalinity: Low
Ph: 6.5ppm

Any suggestions on how to fix the nitrite spike?
Note: The other fish are doing fine and eating and acting accordingly

Should i change 50-75% of the water? Anyone? HELP!
 

Sorg67

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Water change to get nitrite down. Usually nitrite spikes happen during the cycling process. The most likely explanation is that your tank is not cycled.

Some people advocate as much as 80% water change. I like repeated 50% changes.

Goal is to get nitrite as low as possible.
 
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Sleepyflea

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Sorg67 said:
Water change to get nitrite down. Usually nitrite spikes happen during the cycling process. The most likely explanation is that your tank is not cycled.

Some people advocate as much as 80% water change. I like repeated 50% changes.
Im doing 50% right now and 50% again in 1 or 2 days you think?
 

Sorg67

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I would do 50% water changes every 30 minutes until nitrites are below 1 ppm. That may be a lot of changes. You might want to do 80% changes. But that might be shocking to the fish.

Make sure you temperature match and dechlorinate the new water.

Do you have any SeaChem Prime on hand. That may reduce the toxicity of the Nitrites. I would not count on that though. I would do water changes anyway.

I do not know how fast nitrites kill fish, but I would be on a mission to get the nitrites down fast.
 
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Sleepyflea

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Sorg67 said:
I would do 50% water changes every 30 minutes until nitrites are below 1 ppm. That may be a lot of changes. You might want to do 80% changes. But that might be shocking to the fish.

Make sure you temperature match and dechlorinate the new water.

Do you have any SeaChem Prime on hand. That may reduce the toxicity of the Nitrites. I would not count on that though. I would do water changes anyway.
Doing that now
 

GuppyDazzle

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I agree with everything #Sorg67 said, except one small difference. I also try to avoid doing water changes of more than 50%, but I wouldn't do back-to-back 50% water changes. In my opinion one 80% water change would be better than two 50% water changes. A tiny difference, I think our perspective is very similar.

If you're using Prime, it will detoxify ammonia and nitrites for at least 24 hours. If your levels are high, I'd recommend a 50% water change now, then tomorrow test and do another 50% change if your levels still need to come down. The Prime will buffer the effects of the toxins, and will help protect your fish while buying some time while you get the levels down.

You're on the right track with reacting by doing water changes. That's the only sure fire method of lowering toxins.
 

Mongo75

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One to two days will be a little late. You need to get the nitrites down NOW! A 50% WC will take then from 5 to 2.5. If they're 10, 50% will only bring them down to 5, and that isn't good. You need them as low as possible.

I would siphon out all but about 1 to 2 inches of water, and replace it with temp adjusted and treated water. If the water is treated and the same temp as the tank water, it won't harm the fish.

What filter do you have? Have you replaced the filter media recently? That can cause your cycle to crash, as you're throwing away the BB in the filter.

Sorg67 has given you some great advice, but I agree with GuppyDazzle on doing one larger WC rather than the smaller ones. Hopefully you can salvage a bad situation and the rest of your fish will make it :)
 

flyinGourami

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HOnestly with that high of nitrites, I would just go ahead and do a 90 percent water change. Make sure the temperature is the same, the ph is stable, basically as long as you are not adding hugely differerent water when you are filling it back up, it'll be fine.
 
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Sleepyflea

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After a 60% water change these are my results:
Nitrates: 0-10ppm
Nitrites: 3-5ppm
Hardness: 300ppm
Chlorine: 0ppm
Alkalinity: 40-80ppm(Low)
PH: Same

It took 3 buckets of water out of the 29gal to get no more waste, and about 5-10 to get what i needed.
Doing another 50% change at 10:30

After another 60% water change these are my results:
Nitrates: 0-5ppm
Nitrites: 3ppm
Hardness: 300ppm
Chlorine: 0ppm
Alkalinity: 20ppm(Low)
Ph: 8ppm

Took 2 60% water changes to get Nitrites down to 3 from 10.
Im gonna wait until tomorrow and see how it test.
 
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Sleepyflea

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The test still shows the above reading after 12 hours.
Should i go ahead and change 70-90% of the tank water to get all remaining Nitrites out?
 

Sorg67

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Sleepyflea said:
The test still shows the above reading after 12 hours.
Should i go ahead and change 70-90% of the tank water to get all remaining Nitrites out?
I would do more water changes. I do not know the details of nitrite toxicity. It is my understanding that nitrites are more toxic than ammonia. The advice commonly given on this site is to keep the aggregate of ammonia and nitrite below 1 ppm and detoxify the lower concentration of nitrite with SeaChem Prime. I do not personally know if that works. If it were me, I would seek to get nitrites down closer to 0.25 ppm. I am conservative like that. I would also use Prime.

Effectively what you are doing now is a “fish-in cycle”. You can go to the Nitrogen Cycle part of this website and find sticky threads on fish-in cycles. You can also peruse other threads and see a variety of perspectives on fish-in cycling.

Basically, you are managing the toxicity of the nitrites while your beneficial bacteria grows to be able to process it. So you will need to keep up with testing and water changes until you are getting consistent zero nitrite readings.

There is no definitively correct answer. There are just a variety of opinions. When opinions differ, I err on the side of conservatism. In this case, that means lower nitrite levels and more water changes.

[EDIT]

Sleepyflea

Here is a thread on fish in cycling.

Fish In Nitrogen Cycle Simplified | Aquarium Nitrogen Cycle 414083
 

Mongo75

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Right now, the only two water parameters you need to concern yourself with are Ammonia and Nitrites. Until your combined ammonia and nitrites are less than 1 ppm, you need to do water changes. As I recommended before, I would siphon out all but an inch or two of your water, then I would add temp adjusted and treated water back into your tank. That is to say, do at least 75%, but 80 or 90% will be even better. I would only worry about nitrates, if they are 80 or more ppm, but that's not a big deal now. You need to control the ammonia and nitrites!
 

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Low alkalinity and pH could lead to a stalled cycle.

I would add salt to render the nitrite non-toxic and concentrate on getting the bio filter working again.

I wouldn't do anymore water changes at this point. It's hard to control low levels of ammonia/nitrite via water changes.

I'm assuming you've already cleaned the filter and substrate.
 
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Sleepyflea

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AvalancheDave said:
Low alkalinity and pH could lead to a stalled cycle.

I would add salt to render the nitrite non-toxic and concentrate on getting the bio filter working again.

I wouldn't do anymore water changes at this point. It's hard to control low levels of ammonia/nitrite via water changes.

I'm assuming you've already cleaned the filter and substrate.
All debris was cleared from gravel last night via siphon. Removed the filter media cause i was medicating. No more water changes have been done. I just treated with SeaChem Prime to detoxify the remaining 3ppm for 48 hours until i can get this under control. I also picked up some aquarium salt. Should i put a new filter in and how much salt should i throw in my tank?
 

Sorg67

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AvalancheDave said:
Low alkalinity and pH could lead to a stalled cycle.

I would add salt to render the nitrite non-toxic and concentrate on getting the bio filter working again.

I wouldn't do anymore water changes at this point. It's hard to control low levels of ammonia/nitrite via water changes.

I'm assuming you've already cleaned the filter and substrate.
I am curious about your advice not to reduce nitrite further. The last test was 3 ppm. Is that a non-toxic level?
 
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Sleepyflea

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Sorg67 said:
I am curious about your advice not to reduce nitrite further. The last test was 3 ppm. Is that a non-toxic level?
Its a stress level. Not toxic. Since i have treated my water with SeaChem Prime and 6 tablespoon's of aquarium salt they should be fine. I am going to continue treating with SeaChem prime to detoxify every 2 days until it's under control. Right now i am medicating my tank one last time so in 2 days i will be doing another 60% water change and that will be the final one. After that im sticking a new filter in and letting the tank try to get back to normal.

Note: All fish are eating, playing, and have perky fins!

Anyone that has given me advice up to this point thank you! I got my nitrites down from toxic to stress. So now i need to get them down to near nothing.
 

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