Nitrite Spike Won't Go Down After Water Change And 5x Dose Of Prime!?

Discussion in 'Freshwater Beginners' started by Sg822, Aug 5, 2017.

  1. Sg822New MemberMember

    My male veil tail Betta had torn one pectoral fin and lost one of his ventral fins from getting stuck to the filter intake so I did a water change, upped the temp to 79F (he was usually used to 77.8-78F) and added API stress coat and Vita-chem to his tank to help regenerate fin growth. I decided to check his water parameters and saw that his nitrite level was reading 3.0ppm! I was using Tetra Easy Strips and read on these forums that they could be inaccurate so I went to Petco and bought the API freshwater master test kit. Sure enough, nitrites were reading somewhere between 2-5ppm (those 2 colors are pretty close so I'm not exactly sure but either way I figured has to be too high!) I tested my tap water and nitrites were not present at all. I made a small bowl of tap water does with Seachem Prime to keep him in while I did a water change. Did an almost 100% water change but did not rinse the sponge filter or bio media to keep whatever beneficial bacteria in them. Dosed the tank with Prime and got a reading of no nitrites. I did not return the fish to the tank then because the water temp was only at 74F and I thought that would stress him out so I waited till this morning when the temp had rose to 79F. Just for the heck of it, I tested the nitrites at 9am (12 hours after they were at 0ppm) and this morning they're reading at least 2ppm again! The primed tap water in the small bow with the fish in it is reading 0ppm! I filled the cap of Prime and added it to the tank and tested again and no change. That was 5x the dose recommended which the bottle says will lower nitrites in an emergency but I don't see any improvement. I then added API Stress Coat and Stress Zyme and tested again but I still get a 2ppm reading. What can I do to lower the nitrites? If Prime did not have any lowering effect what the heck is going on?! Thank you for your help
  2. Fish-whisperValued MemberMember

    Prime will detoxify nitrite it will not remove it. If you did 100 % water change and you don't have ammonia after test but you have high nitrite after 24 hrs. You have something in the tank causing ammonia that the filter takes care of but doesn't convert the nitrite, your tank isn't fully cycled. Clean the filters without throwing away the media. If you have gravel vacuum it.

    This is quite simple, pollution causes ammonia, fully cycled tank takes care of both ammonia and nitrite. You do water changes to remove nitrate and replenish minerals and buffers that break down in the aquarium.

    edit= You will need water changes to keep the nitrite down from high levels or it will stall or even kill your cycle. The fact that you have no ammonia but high nitrite is half way good, if that makes sense ? Keep the nitrite down from dangerous levels and your cycle will catch up, it will finish fast.
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2017
  3. Sg822New MemberMember

    Thanks. I know the tank isn't really cycled because unfortunately I kind of got thrown into this fish keeping hobby without having time to research and set up a tank with a fish-less cycle. In May I received a Betta fish as a sample from a company called AquaBlock that sells these glass blocks to keep a Betta fish in. The problem is that they aren't able to be filtered or heated so with that much information I upgraded the fish to a 5 gallon Fluval Spec V and added a heater. We had some live plants in with him to start out and I guess that kept the nitrites lower but the algae was getting to be too much so we took out all but 2 Amazon swords and some Marimo moss balls. He hasn't had any crazy water parameter readings until yesterday and I thought it may have had something to do with the vita-chem or stress coat that were new to his tank.

    So if prime is detoxifying nitrites is it safe to add the fish back into the tank even with the reading of 2ppm? I'm only asking because I did vacuum the gravel last night when I did the water change so should I just rinse the sponge and filter media or do another 100% water change and gravel vacuum anyway?

    Thanks for your quick reply!
  4. Fish-whisperValued MemberMember

    If the filter and sponge are real dirty rinse them and make sure gravel is clean, do another water change. Only add enough Prime for dechlorinating the water. You will need some nitrite so the bacteria that deals with it can stay alive and colonize, these bacteria take longer to develop than the ones that deal with ammonia. IMO with a tank your size it would be best doing water changes to keep nitrite down at safe levels instead of using Prime for that purpose. That way you can add the betta back in and not worry that nitrite will rise past the level Prime can/will detoxify. When you see your filters keep nitrite at 0 then you can cut back on the water changes until you get nitrate.

    You can add some bottled bacteria if you want, don't go overboard and over dose. TopFin bacteria is good and cost much less than the others, make sure expired date is a year or two away.
  5. Sg822New MemberMember

    Thanks for your help. I will do a full water change, gravel vac, filter sponge/media rinse and regular dose of prime. I'll let the temp come back up to 79F before adding the fish back in and I will go look for the TopFin. I have API stress Zyme which says it has bacteria. In the meantime should I add that to the tank after I change the water?
  6. Fish-whisperValued MemberMember

    I never used the API product so can't say, I know the TopFin works every bit as fast as TSS+ and works with Prime where as TSS+ there is controversy with Primes use ? I don't think the API is what you need, it's more for breaking down (enzymes) waste and that could be bad in tank not cycled. Keep an eye on things.

    Good luck :cool:
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2017
  7. Sg822New MemberMember

    Ok I'll hold off on the API then. Thanks so much for all the info!

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