Nitrite and ammonia in tank

Discussion in 'Aquarium Nitrogen Cycle' started by kerryf88, Aug 7, 2015.

  1. kerryf88New MemberMember

    Hi everyone! I have a 130 litre tank which now currently holds one blood parrot fish and a driftwood. I had one goldfish for a year but it sadly passed away when I move houses, probably due to stress and change of water conditions etc. the tank was empty for a few months before i finally have the time to have fish again.

    Two weeks ago I went to a fish store and saw this beautiful blood parrot, I've had them before (for 3-4 years) when I was living in another country, but gave them away when I move to Australia. So I place deposit on the fish while I go home and cycle my tank once again as the tank was empty for a while without water. I cleaned up the whole tank, and follow the fish store staff's suggestion in putting Seachem Stability as a quick start everyday for the first week, Seachem Prime, and Neutral Regulator to keep pH to 7. He told me one week of cycling is enough, but I let it cycle to two weeks instead.

    Before I went to the shop I test the water, ammonia and nitrite were zero, so I thought I'm all ready (but I didn't test for nitrate: mistake!). When I took the fish back, it seems alright. But on the second day I realize that it's color has gotten lighter overnight from red to a light pink. I test the water and found there are 0.5ppm of nitrite and 0.25ppm ammonia. Nitrate is around 5ppm. I'm now beginning to think that my tank isn't fully cycled when I put the fish in. I immediately did a partial water change, put back in Stability and Prime, and I've been doing this for the past 4 days. I've also added in Nitra-Zorb to help to remove the nitrite and nitrate but it doesn't seem to be working. Now that I've read online that Nitra-Zorb can slow down the tank cycling. I'm not sure if I should continue using it.

    The fish seems fine, eating fine and acting fine besides the lighter color, but I want the tank to cycle ASAP as I don't want to lose this fish which I love a lot (and it's very very hard to find parrot fish here in Australia). Anyone have any suggestion besides daily water change? Anything to help make the fish less stressed due to the nitrite and nitrate? Should I keep using nitra-zorb?

    Sorry for the long story, but please help!
  2. TexasDomerFishlore LegendMember

    Sounds like your tank wasn't cycled, but it also sounds like it's on its way!

    I would stop using the Nitra-Zorb, and continuing the water changes with Prime and Stability when the ammonia and nitrite get too high. When in doubt, follow the directions on Stability and Prime! I think they have to be used at different times though (was it 30 minutes after Prime you can add Stability? Dom90)

    What are the dimensions of your tank? Blood parrot cichlids can reach up to 8 inches, and that's a bit too big for your tank :( A larger tank would also help buffer you from ammonia and nitrite issues (larger tank, usually more stable parameters!)

  3. Dom90Fishlore VIPMember

    Yea correct, give Prime some time to do its work and then wait 30-60 minutes before using the Stability.

  4. ClearEyesWell Known MemberMember

    I would stop both the Nitra-Zorb and Neutral Regulator. Your pH doesn't have to be at exactly 7, your fish will adapt to whatever your tap pH is, unless it's just way off the charts for some reason. If you keep forcing it down to 7 with Neutral Regulator, you're subjecting your fish to pH swings that will ultimately stress it out.
  5. CindiLFishlore LegendMember

    Hello, welcome to Fishlore :;hi1

    Unless you had an ammonia source for those two weeks then putting in prime and stability would not have done anything for you other than waste your money :(

    You are cycling now so I would suggest keeping ammonia and nitrites below 1.0 with your parrot in there. Do a 50% water change every time it creeps over 1.0 and you can double dose Prime every 24 hours to keep your fish safe.
  6. kerryf88New MemberMember

    Thanks everyone for the reply! I didn't know you had to wait 30 minutes after Prime to add Stability, no one ever told me that so I had been adding them both at the same time all these times! The water in my area is quite hard because even with Neutral Regulator, the pH is still about 7.6. And they say parrot fish require a neutral pH. The blood parrot is still small, so the tank is fine at the moment. I am planning to get a bigger tank soon for my other room, and I'll transfer the parrot there when it's done and "fully cycled".

    I know a fish-less cycle need at least around 4-6 weeks, but the staff at the store told with Stability (which I've never used it before), one week is enough.

    Last night few hours after the water change, I test the water again, nitrite has drop to 0.25ppm, ammonia still the same. Do I only do water change when readings gone over 1ppm? Or should I do it everyday till the tank is cycled?

    P.s another question, I heard Prime can last for 48 hours, or is it 24 hours? I'm currently double dosing everytime I do water change.
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2015
  7. CindiLFishlore LegendMember

    Dose Prime daily and then do water changes when the readings of ammonia plus nitrite combined get close to 1.0 A single dose of prime daily should be enough to detoxify up to 1.0. I think it would be better to dose once a day then double dose every 48 hours because you don't know how long exactly it will be before the detoxifying effects wear off.
  8. crystalm04Valued MemberMember

    Hello. Im in a very similar situation. My personal advice to you is to continue with your daily water changes and using prime and then waiting at least the 30 minutes and following up with double doses of stability. I've been at it myself for a little over two weeks but that's because I was mislead by petsmart in the beginning and using API quickstart that didn't work. I then had proceeded to stock my tank. Reason I say to continue with your daily water changes is that at fist all my readings of ammonia and nitrites were around 1ppm and then it spiked. Im currently at 0 ammonia but nitrites are off the charts and nitrates are around 40ppm. So far I have not lost any fish and I believe that's due to the prime that has been helping me out in between water changes as well as the daily water changes. I think i'm getting close....... and as far as how long prime works, I believe its 24 hours. Best of luck to you.
  9. Dom90Fishlore VIPMember

    Fishless cycle with Stability usually takes 2-3 weeks. Most fish will adapt to the pH of your tank, as long as you acclimate them correctly when you first get them.

    Sent from my iPhone using Fish Lore Aquarium Fish Forum
  10. JsigmoWell Known MemberMember

    That's what I was going to say. :)

    Without a food source (ammonia) for the bacteria, it would all starve to death.

    I always think it's a good idea to figure the approximate amount of ammonia that the fish you intend to add will produce every day. There are aquaculture websites that give estimates based on pounds of fish. The problem is knowing the mass of your fish!!! :)

    Then, as you are building up your bacteria colonies, dosing with ammonia, make sure that your aquarium gets to the point where it can process at least the amount of ammonia your fish will produce every day. Then the tank is ready.

    If you dose the ammonia every day, you can test the ammonia and nitrite just before dosing with the ammonia each day. Once the tank is eating it all as fast as you're adding it, you should be good to go.

    You need the bacteria colony to be large enough to handle the ammonia load the fish will produce before you add the fish.

    I don't think this point is made clear in a lot of discussion of "cycling" (I don't like that term) an aquarium.

    The term "cycled aquarium" leads people to believe that it's all or nothing, and has nothing to do with the fish. In reality, just because you are getting zero readings for ammonia and nitrite, that means nothing unless you also know how much ammonia is being processed.

    That's where keeping careful track of how much ammonia you are adding is an all-important part of the equation.
  11. kerryf88New MemberMember

    Good news! I tested the water again today, ammonia is the same but nitrite has dropped to below 0.25ppm! Guess I'm getting there !

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