Nitrite Problem?

Mvalencic89
  • #1
Hi! So I am in need of some advice on my freshwater tank. The last couple of weeks I had a thriving aquarium with good water parameters, well come Saturday night, three of my fish were dead and the water parameters were so out of whack! Since Saturday I've done two partial water changes and cleaned the filter and the water levels are still indicating high levels of nitrite and increasing levels of nitrate, even the alkalinity seems off. Please help! I really don't want any more fish to die. Here's a picture of what I'm currently experiencing:
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AquaticJ
  • #2
When did you start the aquarium? How big is it? How many fish were in there at the start? How did you clean the filter?
 
Mvalencic89
  • Thread Starter
  • #3
When did you start the aquarium? How big is it? How many fish were in there at the start? How did you clean the filter?
So I started this aquarium at the end of July, it's a 10 gallon tank, and there were 7 fish to start. I cleaned the tank using a fish tank gravel vac. I cleaned the filter in a separate bowl water from the aquarium and shook it out in the water trying to get the nasty stuff off it.
 
Sydsam
  • #4
Suggest you get API freshwater master test kit instead of strips. Strips are not reliable at all. Test your water parameters with that, and in the mean time, do a water change of at least 50%
 
Mvalencic89
  • Thread Starter
  • #5
I will definitely go get the API freshwater master test kit, however I already did a water change today, would it stress the remaining fish out more if I did another one? I just am not sure what else to do at this point.
 
chris 07
  • #6
From what I can see, your nitrite levels are off the scale dangerous, your nitrate levels are well into the danger zone, the other parameters are unimportant unless you are keeping fussy fish. So - do you know about the nitrogen cycle and is your tank/filter cycled. I ask because the strip results suggest that you do no have the right amount of the right bacteria to break down fish waste to less toxic nitrates, and you seem to have plastic plants. Real plants are more than just deco, they also use the nitrates to grow, thus removing them from the water.
Without knowing what fish you have, what real plants you have and your tap water parameters, I advise daily 20 -50 % water changes with (and this is important) dechlorinated water - let it stand open to the air for 8 hours or add a propriatory tap water addative, until your nitrite is under 1.0 and nitrate is under 25 (on your test strip under 20 is better). Adding real plants will help and I agree with Sydsam, get specific nitrite and nitrate tests, the multI test strips are a bit rubbish.
Good luck, and feel free to say what fish you have, when you added them and if you need the N cycle explaining.
 
Mvalencic89
  • Thread Starter
  • #7
From what I can see, your nitrite levels are off the scale dangerous, your nitrate levels are well into the danger zone, the other parameters are unimportant unless you are keeping fussy fish. So - do you know about the nitrogen cycle and is your tank/filter cycled. I ask because the strip results suggest that you do no have the right amount of the right bacteria to break down fish waste to less toxic nitrates, and you seem to have plastic plants. Real plants are more than just deco, they also use the nitrates to grow, thus removing them from the water.
Without knowing what fish you have, what real plants you have and your tap water parameters, I advise daily 20 -50 % water changes with (and this is important) dechlorinated water - let it stand open to the air for 8 hours or add a propriatory tap water addative, until your nitrite is under 1.0 and nitrate is under 25 (on your test strip under 20 is better). Adding real plants will help and I agree with Sydsam, get specific nitrite and nitrate tests, the multI test strips are a bit rubbish.
Good luck, and feel free to say what fish you have, when you added them and if you need the N cycle explaining.
Hey Chris! I do know about the nitrogen cycle, I'm just unsure how the water could go from safe levels of Nitrate and Nitrite to off the charts dangerous like this! I think I'm more surprised and shocked than anything else. Right now, I have a gold dust molly, a red eye tetra, a white panda platy, a yellow guppy, and a bumble bee platy. The Black balloon molly, Marbled Molly, and the Yellow Molly died Saturday night/Sunday morning. I have a Marimo Moss and a small bacopa plant in the tank currently.

Should I get a new filter cartridge as well?
 
86 ssinit
  • #8
Ok seeing your new here the most obvious thing is the blue plastic plant. Probably shocked them to death!!!(kidding). Being the nitrite is so high the ammonia is probably high to. How often do you clean the filter? What kind of filter? And what kind of fish. As said water changes daily.
 
chris 07
  • #9
So, given that the main reasons for amonia/nitrite/nitrate spikes in a cycled tanks are over feeding, dead plants or dead fish; or rapidly increased stocking levels in your tank. In ideal situations denitrifying bacteria can double in quantity in 36 hours, in normal conditions it is safe to assume 72 hours. Therefore additional stocking should not depass these limits. If none of the above are possible then rarely tap or well water can be contaminated by agriculture or industry in the area. What ever the cause, and assuming your tap water is not contributing to it, small and frequent water changes are advisable until the diagnosis is made. I would do 15% twice a day until nitrite is good, then once a day until nitrate is good.
Or... you haven't cleaned your filter in tap water have you ? this could kill all the beneficial bacteria leaving you with an effectively uncycled tank.
 
Mvalencic89
  • Thread Starter
  • #10
No I have not cleaned the filter in tap water, I cleaned in it a bowl of water that I took from the aquarium itself. The aquarium was overstocked for a little bit, consequently one died, and then another two died. I normally feed them every morning and usually only what they are able to eat in about 2 mins. I'm not sure what I'm doing wrong, the bacopa plant looks like it's still alive, however I don't think I have the right gravel for the plant, also, when and how do I feed the plants? I'm just frustrated, the tank was great this whole last month and now I feel like I can't seem to remove the ammonia. I have even used Easy balance and aquasafe twice within the last two days.
 
AquaticJ
  • #11
What is the current stock? I hate to tell you, but Mollies shouldn’t be in a 10 gallon even when they’re young. They have a high bioload and can grow to 4.5 inches.

I think your problem is too much bioload in not enough water.
 
Mvalencic89
  • Thread Starter
  • #12
Current stock is 5. I didn't know Mollies got so big, the ones I had were pretty small and thought they were doing okay.
 
AquaticJ
  • #13
5 of what though?
 
mattgirl
  • #14
How long was it from your last water change to the loss of your fish? If this tank was cycled and I am assuming that it was then something happened and seems to have happened quickly. Of course that is stating the obvious. Just brainstorming here.

Do you know if by chance your water company has done
any cleaning of the lines or something along those lines recently?

I agree with those that recommend you get an API Master test kit. I believe test strips start degrading quickly after being opened thus giving you false readings. With the liquid test kit you can know exactly what is going on with both tank and tap water.

The main advice I always give when something like this happens is water changes but without knowing the condition of your source water we can't know if it is safe or is causing the problem to begin with.

When you get your test kit I do suggest you also get a bottle of Seachem Prime. AquaSafe is a good water conditioner but Prime does a bit more by neutralizing low amounts of ammonia and nitrites thus adding an extra layer of protection for your fish..
 
Mvalencic89
  • Thread Starter
  • #15
5 of what though?
I have a red eye tetra, a white panda platy, a yellow guppy, and a bumble bee platy. The Black balloon molly, Marbled Molly, and the Yellow Molly died Saturday night/Sunday morning. The gold dust mollie just died before posting this reply. Ugh.
Last water change was this morning, 50% water change.


How long was it from your last water change to the loss of your fish? If this tank was cycled and I am assuming that it was then something happened and seems to have happened quickly. Of course that is stating the obvious. Just brainstorming here.

Do you know if by chance your water company has done
any cleaning of the lines or something along those lines recently?

I agree with those that recommend you get an API Master test kit. I believe test strips start degrading quickly after being opened thus giving you false readings. With the liquid test kit you can know exactly what is going on with both tank and tap water.

The main advice I always give when something like this happens is water changes but without knowing the condition of your source water we can't know if it is safe or is causing the problem to begin with.

When you get your test kit I do suggest you also get a bottle of Seachem Prime. AquaSafe is a good water conditioner but Prime does a bit more by neutralizing low amounts of ammonia and nitrites thus adding an extra layer of protection for your fish..

Thank you! I will have to pick some up then (Seachem Prime and Master test kit) and try that. I am literally running out of ideas at this point.
 
SegiDream
  • #16
Current stock is 5. I didn't know Mollies got so big, the ones I had were pretty small and thought they were doing okay.
Not all mollies get that big. If you have short finned mollies they average at 2.5" for females and 2" for males. They max at 4" however. Sailfins can get up to 6". I bought my shortfin mollies from different places and I raised several of their babies, black molly, Dalmatian molly, creamsicle molly, gold dust molly. The babies went to a friend who let them grow up in her 150. None of them ever got over 2.5". But captive bred mollies have mixed up genetics so a larger than average molly is possible. With that being said they do need a bigger tank than a 10 gallon and the size depends on who you talk to. IMO a 20 gallon is fine for 2-2.5" size. If you're talking 6" then a 60 gallonminimum.
 
mattgirl
  • #17
I have a red eye tetra, a white panda platy, a yellow guppy, and a bumble bee platy. The Black balloon molly, Marbled Molly, and the Yellow Molly died Saturday night/Sunday morning. The gold dust mollie just died before posting this reply. Ugh.
Last water change was this morning, 50% water change.

Thank you! I will have to pick some up then (Seachem Prime and Master test kit) and try that. I am literally running out of ideas at this point.
If you haven't done so you may want to run the tests on your tap water. Sometimes there is a change in the perimeters of the tap water and sadly in cases like that water changes do more harm than good. Be sure to check the PH of both tank and tap water. A big difference in the two can cause problems and smaller water changes need to be done.
 
AquaticJ
  • #18
Nature took its course and redid your stocking plan then. I was going to say rehome the Mollies. Also, Red Eye Tetra are schooling fish and also need more than a 10.
 

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