65 Gallon Tank Nitrites still reading high after water change

mjmurf

Member
Hi I only have the tank up and running for about a month. Progressively added fish every couple of days for the last two weeks. Regularly tested the water and everything was fine until last Thursday when I added 4 albino cories and 5 Molly’s. Later that day I noticed some of my Molly’s were staying at the top of the tank and looked like they were trying to get some air after a while all the fish seemed to spending more time at the top of the tank. My water was still testing ok.
On Friday I went to the local aquarium store and told them what was going on and he suggested an air stone. So I got one and it definitely livened up the tank and the fish seemed to like it but on Saturday one of the cories died (my first loss) and the water started testing bad for NO2 NO3 and Cl2. I had to wait til yesterday to do a water change. Today Water seems to be testing a little high still for NO2 (I think this is Nitrites). And the fish seem to be in the top half of the tank a lot. Do I need to do another water change? Can I do one again today? Is it normal for fish to swim at the top of the tank a lot? Sorry for the long winded story just thought I’d give a bit of detail. I attached a couple photos kinda shows what I’m talking about with the fish
Any advice will be greatly appreciated. Cheers guys
 

fallfever

Member
Yes, that is nitrites, and no that's not good. If the fish appear to be gasping for air that could indeed indicate high levels of nitrites as it will literally suffocate them. My hunch is either the tank was not completely cycled yet, or, maybe more likely, your bioload couldn't handle the number of fish you added. Having media from a cycled tank would be great, if possible. If not, water changes and prime. Prime will temporarily neutralize the nitrite while you get your parameters under control. You can also add something like SafeStart or Seacham Stability to help boost your beneficial bacteria. Salt can also have a positive impact on your fish when dealing with nitrites. Whatever you do, don't add more fish yet. And keep doing water changes until the nitrites are gone.
 
  • Thread Starter

mjmurf

Member
fallfever said:
Yes, that is nitrites, and no that's not good. If the fish appear to be gasping for air that could indeed indicate high levels of nitrites as it will literally suffocate them. My hunch is either the tank was not completely cycled yet, or, maybe more likely, your bioload couldn't handle the number of fish you added. Having media from a cycled tank would be great, if possible. If not, water changes and prime. Prime will temporarily neutralize the nitrite while you get your parameters under control. You can also add something like SafeStart or Seacham Stability to help boost your beneficial bacteria. Salt can also have a positive impact on your fish when dealing with nitrites. Whatever you do, don't add more fish yet. And keep doing water changes until the nitrites are gone.
Great stuff thanks. This my first aquarium so I wouldn’t be able to get my hands on cycled media. I’m not sure what prime is but I have API stress zyme and API stress coat. I’ve already added stress coat but now that I am looking at the bottle of stress zyme I realise my mistake. I haven’t been added any of this stress zyme since I first started the aquarium. Thanks for your help.
 

fallfever

Member
API stress coat with remove chlorine/chloramine and heavy metals but is not helpful with nitrites. Stress zyme adds beneficial bacteria. Can't hurt. Seachem prime (or called Safe in powder form) is another dechlorinator that has the added benefit of neutralizing nitrites, which you need. If you can get a bottle I'd highly recommend it for your fish. You can always go back to API if you prefer when you get things under control. They have it at any fish store and not very expensive. It's all a bit of a learning curve but you'll get it. Good luck.
 
  • Thread Starter

mjmurf

Member
fallfever said:
API stress coat with remove chlorine/chloramine and heavy metals but is not helpful with nitrites. Stress zyme adds beneficial bacteria. Can't hurt. Seachem prime (or called Safe in powder form) is another dechlorinator that has the added benefit of neutralizing nitrites, which you need. If you can get a bottle I'd highly recommend it for your fish. You can always go back to API if you prefer when you get things under control. They have it at any fish store and not very expensive. It's all a bit of a learning curve but you'll get it. Good luck.
Thanks. Hopefully I haven’t done too much harm. Should I still do a water change now? I’ll have to wait until the store opens tomorrow to get the prime.
 

fallfever

Member
If your water parameters still read nitrites I'd do another water change. The reality is you will have to replace the water with nitrites until they are gone. Good news is you will eventually get there, just may take some time. The prime will instantly neutralize the nitrites and keep the fish stable for at least 24 hours, which buys you time to check your water.
 
  • Thread Starter

mjmurf

Member
fallfever said:
If your water parameters still read nitrites I'd do another water change. The reality is you will have to replace the water with nitrites until they are gone. Good news is you will eventually get there, just may take some time. The prime will instantly neutralize the nitrites and keep the fish stable for at least 24 hours, which buys you time to check your water.
Thanks a million. I appreciate the help.
 
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