Nitrate Normal, Nitrite Off The Charts

Gianess

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Hello everyone, I'm sure my issue was already addressed at some point but I couldn't find a similar post so here it goes.

I have a 3 week old 10 gallon fresh water tank. It's a new hobby I picked up thanks to my daughter and I am hooked. I made a huge mistake when first setting up the tank by not knowing how the filter worked so my original fish I put in the tank went 2 days without the filter not properly doing its thing.

Original set up was a 10 gallon fresh water tank. Water was conditioned for 24 hours with the ornaments and stuff all placed before the fish was put in. Like I mentioned the filter was basically not running for first 2 days after I put in the fish.

Fish I started with are
2x cremecicle molly
1x silver molly
1x black molly
1x dalmatian molly
1x peppered cory
1x black skirt tetra.

All 5 of my original molly has died within 10 days. First one died during the first water change. It was about 25% water change. Soon after I started losing 1 molly a day until they were all gone. Consulted Petsmart which is where I got my tank and fishes from and they told me my nitrate and nitrite are off the scale. They recommended me a conditioner that helps with nitrate and nitrite levels and a bacterial additive. I did 1 more water change, about 20~25% and my nitrate level went down to acceptable levels but my nitrite is still off the scale. My theory is that the 2~3 inch mollies poop for the first 2 days the filter wasn't running made the water too toxic. But since then I made 2 water changes and used additives that should have helped. mollies are gone and I currently have the original black skirt tetra and the original peppered cory. For some reason those 2 survived the ordeal. Since I added 5 neon tetras and 2 pink tetra. Nitrite is still off the scale and nitrate is reasonable levels. Petsmart recommends a weekly water changes for a month. They also recommended that I add some live plants to the tank. At this point I'm very skeptical of their advice. Every time I go I find myself buying this and that and never a definitive answer to my core issue. I am a total newb at this and would appreciate some advice.
 

matthewb01

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Okay so first of all a tank needs a few weeks to a month to cycle second a 10 gallon tank is way too small for all of those fish. Mollies need a minimum 20 gallon tank and are a brackish water fish. They can survive but won't thrive in freshwater. I would not add anything else to your tank until it is finished cycling. The nitrite will eventually go to zero and you will be left with high nitrates which you can remove from water changes/plants Your lfs sucks at giving advice
 

Ravenahra

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Your lfs gave you tons of bad advice.

With your nitrites so high, I'm wondering what your ammonia is. The ammonia eating bacteria is the first to grow and if you ammonia is too high, it can kill the ammonia that is supposed to eat it and of your pH is too low your bacteria will go dormant.

So, if you are using test strips, which I think you are since you dont mention your ammonia, replace them with a liquid test, preferably api freshwater test because it will test ammonia nitrates nitrites and pH.

If you want to cycle faster, you can use tetra safestart plus. It is the live bacteria you are trying to grow and can cycle a crashed tank in 1 to 2 weeks. But you have to have 2 things or it will fail:

Your ammonia has to he under 3 ppm when you add it.

It has to be 24 hours since the last time you added any water conditioner or ammo lock or anything that detoxifies ammonia.

Best description of how to use it is here:
Q & A With Tetra about Tetra SafeStart

I know I'm throwing out more things to buy but your ammonia level is as important to know as nitrite and nitrate. Also, I have a molly tank and I did things wrong and had a crashed tank with over 6 ppm ammonia and used the tetra safestart to cycle it. I had to do 2 days of almost continuous water changes to get the ammonia low enough not to kill the bacteria but it worked so I share info on it to anyone fighting to cycle a tank with fish already in it.

Been there
 
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Gianess

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Your lfs gave you tons of bad advice.

With your nitrites so high, I'm wondering what your ammonia is. The ammonia eating bacteria is the first to grow and if you ammonia is too high, it can kill the ammonia that is supposed to eat it and of your pH is too low your bacteria will go dormant.

So, if you are using test strips, which I think you are since you dont mention your ammonia, replace them with a liquid test, preferably api freshwater test because it will test ammonia nitrates nitrites and pH.

If you want to cycle faster, you can use tetra safestart plus. It is the live bacteria you are trying to grow and can cycle a crashed tank in 1 to 2 weeks. But you have to have 2 things or it will fail:

Your ammonia has to he under 3 ppm when you add it.

It has to be 24 hours since the last time you added any water conditioner or ammo lock or anything that detoxifies ammonia.

Best description of how to use it is here:
Q & A With Tetra about Tetra SafeStart

I know I'm throwing out more things to buy but your ammonia level is as important to know as nitrite and nitrate. Also, I have a molly tank and I did things wrong and had a crashed tank with over 6 ppm ammonia and used the tetra safestart to cycle it. I had to do 2 days of almost continuous water changes to get the ammonia low enough not to kill the bacteria but it worked so I share info on it to anyone fighting to cycle a tank with fish already in it.

Been there
Ammonia level was good. "ideal" as she put it. Nitrate was in reasonable range bu it was nitrite that was too high.
 

techfool

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It can take weeks for nitrites to drop, much longer than for ammonia. Have you tried tetra safe start? That's got my over a couple of bumps. For me, it can work overnight for nitrite spikes. When I say spike I mean 0.25ppm to 0.5ppm. My tanks are planted so I tend not to get into too much trouble as plants preferentially take up ammonia.
It's misleading to think that it's poop that produces ammonia. It does, but fish are excreting it all the time through their gills as a byproduct of metabolism. That's why your tank can look pristine but be a death trap.
No more fish until your nitrites are down to zero. In that time you can think about your stocking. No cory should be kept alone! I understand the desire to pick n mix fish but lots of fish prefer to be kept in numbers. But not six mollies in a 10 gallon. If you like mollies, platies are kinda similar and more temp compatible with cories.
Time, you need time. No good thing happens fast.
 
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Gianess

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It can take weeks for nitrites to drop, much longer than for ammonia. Have you tried tetra safe start? That's got my over a couple of bumps. For me, it can work overnight for nitrite spikes. When I say spike I mean 0.25ppm to 0.5ppm. My tanks are planted so I tend not to get into too much trouble as plants preferentially take up ammonia.
It's misleading to think that it's poop that produces ammonia. It does, but fish are excreting it all the time through their gills as a byproduct of metabolism. That's why your tank can look pristine but be a death trap.
No more fish until your nitrites are down to zero. In that time you can think about your stocking. No cory should be kept alone! I understand the desire to pick n mix fish but lots of fish prefer to be kept in numbers. But not six mollies in a 10 gallon. If you like mollies, platies are kinda similar and more temp compatible with cories.
Time, you need time. No good thing happens fast.
cory does seem lonely. a bit of a loner. and a survivor. should i add more cory? one i have is peppered cory, i did like the albio cory too.
how many in a school of cories?
 

techfool

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cory does seem lonely. a bit of a loner. and a survivor. should i add more cory? one i have is peppered cory, i did like the albio cory too.
how many in a school of cories?
You need the same type of cory. Ordinarily I would say six but as your tank is so small, go for three. I think the albino cory is a colour morph of the bronze cory and will get too big.
 
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