Nitrite High - How To Lower?

Discussion in 'Aquarium Water' started by Tysnow, Jun 26, 2018.

  1. TysnowNew MemberMember

    My aquarium for two guppies has high nitrite level. I’ve been doing a 25-30% water change every other day. All other levels in tank are good. Any advice on how to get the nitrite level down? I’m also using Quick Start to try and bring level down. TIA

  2. AquaticJFishlore VIPMember

    How long has the tank been set up? What is the nitrite level?

  3. TeslaValued MemberMember

    Nitrites high means your cycle is established yet or you lost the BB. Kindly change water regularly 30-50% to keep nitrites below 1ppm and add prime to neutralize the nitrites.
    At this point, you are in fish-in cycle. Change water daily /every other day to keep nitrites below 1ppm and keep adding prime with every change. Once you see the nitrites and ammonia zero consistently then you back cycled.
    Add media to your filter for more BB area and get a used filter pad from LFS / friend (from a healthy tank) to help speed up the cycle process.

  4. TysnowNew MemberMember

    About 6 weeks I attached the photo of test strip. Thx

    Attached Files:

  5. AquaticJFishlore VIPMember

    Do you have an ammonia test strip? Have you been replacing your filter media or washing it in tap water?
  6. TysnowNew MemberMember

    I haven’t done anything to the filter.

    I haven’t done anything to the filter.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 26, 2018
  7. jdhefModeratorModerator Member

    Welcome to FishLore!

    Your Aquarium Info says that you are not aware of the nitrogen cycle

    Basically the nitrogen cycle(in a cycled tank) goes like this:
    1) Fish constantly release ammonia into the water
    2) There is a bacteria that lives in your filter media that consumes the ammonia in the water as it passes thru the filter media
    3) This bacteria that consumes ammonia, then releases nitrites in the water
    4) There is a second bacteria that lives in your filter media. This bacteria consumes the nitrites in the water as it passes thru the filter media
    5) This bacteria that consumes the nitrites, then releases nitrates into the water.
    6) There is no bacteria to consume nitrates, so they just build up in the water. You keep these nitrates at safe levels by doing weekly partial water changes.

    But in an uncycled tank, the fish relese ammonia into the water and since there is no bacteria to convert the ammonia into nitrites, the ammonia level just keeps building. Ammonia (even at low levels is highly toxic to fish). But what will happen is in time, with ammonia present in the water, a colony of that ammonia converting bacteria will grow in your filter media and start converting the ammonia into nitrites. (And once that colony is large enough, all ammonia will be converted into nitrites).

    But since in an uncycled tank you do not have the bacteria that will convert the nitrites into nitrates, your nitrite levels keep rising. In time, with nitrites in the water, a colony of that second bacteria will grow in your filter media and start converting nitrites into nitrates. Nitrites also are highly toxic to fish, even at low levels. Once that bacteria colony is large enough, all your nitrites will be converted into nitrates. So at that point you will have 0ppm ammonia, 0ppm nitrites and some're cycled.

    So what you need to do is keep your fish safe from elevated ammonia and elevated nitrites until the tank cycles. There are several ways to cycle. One way is the way you are attempting to do it (did you realize you were attempting to cycle the tank?) by using a bacteria additive. I haven't seen too many (if any) members claim success using QuickStart. But it seems that the QuickStart bacteria has been converting some ammonia into nitrites.

    I don't know what the instructions for using QuickStart are, and I'm not sure if this will contradict it's use, but I recommend you perform regular partial water changes with SeaChem Prime. Prime is a water conditioner that also detoxes up to 1ppm of ammonia/nitrite for 24 hours. So you should test your water every 24 hours. If you ammonia+nitrite level is less than 1ppm, just add enough Prime to the tank to treat the entire volume. If ammonia+nitrite is 1ppm or greater, perform a 50% water change using enough Prime to treat the entire tank volume. Keep this up until your tank cycles (0ppm ammonia, 0ppm nitrites and some nitrates)

    lastly I want to recommend you invest in an API Master Test Kit for Freshwater. Test strips are notorious for being inaccurate, and if you cant trust your results...why bother testing. The API kit is very accurate and will last a very long time.

    Best of luck!
  8. TysnowNew MemberMember

    Thank you so much for taking time to explain the cycle to me. I have been using the Prime with every water change. I just started using the Quick Start as well since it specifically said it was to help with nitrite levels. I will definitely look into a more reliable test kit. I think the last test showed a little less nitrite than yesterday’s test. So I will continue to do water changes and Prime. I’ve been learning so much! This all started when my 7 year old wanted to adopt a guppy from school they were studying. :) Thanks again!
  9. jdhefModeratorModerator Member

    You are Welcome. And don't forget...feel free to ask any additional questions you may have.
  10. dmilesNew MemberMember

    i dont want to be the one to say this, but i would try to see if you can get someone to take those guppies from you for a period of time and let your tank cycle naturally. i have never had a successful freshwater tank when the cycle was rushed with chemicals. eventually it has always crashed on me when using chemicals in place of natural cycles.

    in my opinion, if you could get someone to take those guppies, i would just leave the water as is, until the nitrites are at 0 and the ammonia is as at 0 also, and the nitrates are at a minimum of 20 (i prefer 30 before doing the water change)
    if you could get someone to take those fish for a bit, you would still "feed the tank" as if there were fish in it to keep the ammonia producing up.

    when you water change to cut the nitrites, you are only delaying the conversion/creation of nitrates. unfortunately the nitrites can/will kill the fish. ultimately when you add fish in, you are adding to the bioload and will re-cycle again (much smaller though) depending on the stability of the tank.

    alternatively, if you know anyone with an established tank, ask for a bucket of their water and ask for their filter media, and use it in your tank. that will give you the bacteria needed and is the fastest, most successful way of quickly cycling a tank.
  11. TysnowNew MemberMember

    Thanks for the advice. :) I will see what I can do.
  12. TysnowNew MemberMember

    Hello! I think the cycle is complete. All levels are safe. I was on vacation and did a 50% water change yesterday. This morning the water is a little cloudy and I’m also noticing little brown spots forming on aquarium and rocks. Any suggestions? Thx
  13. dmilesNew MemberMember

    Purigen is good for clean water. However, typically clouding is caused by a bacterial bloom. The brown algea is probably a diatom bloom. Usually snails will clean it but it might go away once the tank is fully cycled.

    I had an issue with brown algea caused by my tap water. I switched to distilled water and it helped it. What ever was in my tap water was feeding it

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice