Nitrite spike

  1. Sherbear41 Initiate Member

    My tank is a 10 gallon and is 3 months old. It was cycled with 6 fish. In the last few days I have lost 3 fish. The nitrite level is very high. I have done a 50% water change and added stress zyme. I just did a water test and the level hasn't changed. What can I do?
  2. Dragones5150918 Well Known Member Member

    Did you throw away your filter cartridge?

    Have you tested your tap to see if it's coming from there?

  3. Sherbear41 Initiate Member

    Im a little confused by your wquestion. Why would I throw away my filter cartridge? I have tested my tap water and its not from there.
  4. Dragones5150918 Well Known Member Member

    Ruling out the easiest first.

    Is the ammonia in the tap high? Might be causing you a mini cycle.

  5. Sherbear41 Initiate Member

    No the tap water is fine.
  6. Dragones5150918 Well Known Member Member

  7. CindiL Fishlore Legend Member

    Hi, You're having a major cycle bump for some reason. So we can maybe narrow down the issue I have some questions.

    What are you using to test your tank with? Please test ammonia, nitrites, nitrate and ph in both tap and tank today and post back here ok?

    When did you last clean your filter cartridge? Did you remember to rinse it in dechorinated water or old tank water?

    Did you change substrate recently or remove or add new filters? Some filters have the disposable cartridges, have you recently thrown one out and put in a new one?

    How often do you change your tank water? and how much do you change out?

    What is your water conditioner? Did you remember to condition the water before adding it to the tank?

    Did you medicate recently? if so, what type?

    These are the obvious things that come to mind when losing part of an established cycle.

  8. Sherbear41 Initiate Member

    I was using test strips as that's what I had but just ran out of those as well. The last test showed nitrates about 40, nitrites very high, pH about 6.8. I will need to get a test kit before I can test again. I have not changed substrate recently or changed filters. I haven't changed my filter cartridge yet. I was changing my water about 25% once a week. Just did a 50% wc before the last test. I use dechlorinator with each water change as well as adding quick start. Just used stress zyme this morning to see if that would help.
  9. CindiL Fishlore Legend Member

    I'd pick up that test kit asap and test your tap water and tank. I've seen a few people here recently that have ammonia or nitrites in their tap. Maybe the water companies do something around this time of the year or something.

    Stress zyme won't do much to help as its just heterotrophic bacteria meant to break down fish waste, plant waste etc.

    I'd suggest doing an almost 100% water change today but its really important to know whats going on in your tap right now, if anything.
  10. Sherbear41 Initiate Member

    I will do that asap. Thsnks!

  11. Sherbear41 Initiate Member

    CindyL I finally got my test kit. I tested my tap water and it is clean, no ammonia, nitrates or anything. My tanks numbers are PH 6.4, ammonia .25 ppm, nitrates 80 ppm & nitrites 5 ppm. I just did a 75% water change. Any suggestions?
  12. CindiL Fishlore Legend Member

    What is the ph of your tap water? I think this will give us some important information about why you're seeing nitrites now.

    After the 75% water change what are your nitrites reading?
  13. Sherbear41 Initiate Member

    The Ph of my tap water was 6.4 and the nitrite level in the tank is still btw 2 & 5 ppm. I don't understand what disrupted my aquarium all of a sudden.
  14. CindiL Fishlore Legend Member

    They must have been really high then, I would do another 75% water change today, get them down close to 0 if possible and dose your water conditioner. Pick up a bottle of Tetra Safe Start Plus today (for your size tank) and pour the whole thing in there tomorrow.

    So right now both your tap and tank ph are at 6.4? That is awfully low and the problem with it at that ph is the bacteria will barely be able to complete nitrification and multiply.

    I would do a couple of things to remedy this. Today after your water change, I would add 1/2 tsp of baking soda (mixed in with a little tank water first). After a couple of hours test your ph. We want to see it in the upper 6's towards 7.0. If it's still not there after a couple hours, re-dose the same amount. Doing this will help your bacteria be able to multiply faster.

    Also, you can add in 1 tbsp of aquarium salt while you have nitrites showing up, it will help protect your fish against nitrite poisoning aka brown blood disease by preventing their blood from taking in the nitrites and starving them of O2.

    Lastly, do you remember the GH/KH readings on the test strips? Do you have any left to test your tap water with? I would test your tap and tank if you do and post them here. They're not the best but will give us a ball park reading.

    If your KH is too low, your ph won't be stable or high enough and I'd suggest picking up some of one of the following crushed coral, cuttlebone, aragonite, limestone, sea shells etc and putting them in your HOB inside a media bag or scattered in your substrate. They will slowly dissolve and help keep your ph from being so low over time.
  15. Sherbear41 Initiate Member

    Btw, Thank you so much for all your help!
  16. Sherbear41 Initiate Member

    @CindiL I put a message on here last night but it must've gotten deleted. After the water change yesterday my numbers were much better. PH is 7, Ammonia is .25 ppm, nitrites .25 ppm & nitrates 5 ppm. I did not add the baking soda yet and believe I will wait till tomorrow and retest again. Is tetra safe start plus The same thing as Quickstart or stress zyme because I have used both of those before?

    Oh and I do not know what GH/KH is and have never tested for it.
  17. Dragones5150918 Well Known Member Member

    KH is your carbonate hardness, ie calcium carbonate, magnesium carbonate, etc. Normally that white calcium build up you see in dishwashers, washing machines and taps. It helps balance and hold PH. Usually replaced using a calcium source like egg shells, sea shells, crushed coral, cuttlebones, limestone, aragonite, etc. Can be temporally increased by using baking soda.

    GH is General Hardness, all your other minerals in your water. This is the osmosis your fish need to grow and live. With out it fish can't live. Think if it as the vitamins and minerals a body needs. This can be replaced using Seachem Replenish.

    Cindi can give more details if you want, I'm giving a general info.
  18. CindiL Fishlore Legend Member

    Yes, much better numbers. No, TSS+ is not at all the same as Stress Zyme which is bacteria meant to break down organics in your tank for the most part. It is similar to Quick Start but better in that it actually works :) Some people have had success I think with Quick Start but almost anyone who uses TSS+ has success.

    If you still have Quick Start I'd suggest pouring it into your tank. If you don't have any left then I'd pick up the TSS+, it will get you past this very large cycle "bump" by giving you the extra bacteria you need in your filters.

    If you were using the 6-in1 or have any left, the strips have GH/KH parameters also on them which Dragones5150918 explained above. They, KH effect and hold your ph stable. If KH or carbonates are not plentiful enough in your water supply this can lead to your ph dropping.
  19. Sherbear41 Initiate Member

    Another water change today and ph is up to 7.2, ammonia still .25, nitrites 0 and nitrates still 5.
  20. CindiL Fishlore Legend Member

    Are you on a well? You said it comes out at 6.4? and rises to 7.2? This would indicate CO2 in your water which is pretty common in well water, its in mine also.

    What did you decide to do with a bacterial additive?

    Its really important to find out what your tap GH and KH are. If you have no other test strips left you could take a water sample to your local fish store and have them test it? Make sure to write down the actual numbers.