Nitrogen Cycle. Don't Know What My Next Steps Should Be

pomfish

Member
Hi!

I'm new to keeping fish but I've already come across the nitrogen cycle a lot. I have a 10 gallon tank currently stocked with one male betta. Currently my problem is lowering nitrite levels. My tank already has a short but, complicated history. I'll try to give a timeline of my tank and what I've done so far:

Saturday (Sep 16)- I went to a LFS and got a 10 gallon tank with all the equipment (heater, lights, filter, gravel, water conditioner and beneficial bacteria). I went home and put eveything together. I added the Top Fin Beneficial bacteria and was told to wait a few days before adding the fish I wanted.

Wednesday (Sep 20)- I went to petsmart to get the fish I wanted but they didnt seem to have them so I got 3 female mollies as the salesperson said they were very easy. I also bought driftwood and 5 live plants for them. When I got home I started researching them to make sure everything was okay because one of them was acting "weird" (turned out she was pregnant and gave birth!) but this is when I started learning about the nitrogen cycle. the next day I went to buy an API kit to test the waters and the water had 0.25 nitrites and 40 nitrates.

*I had bought 3 mollies and like I said one of the mollies gave birth and sadly after she gave birth she passed away. Then one of the two mollies left (both female) was being very aggressive with the ballon molly. They were both active and constantly begged for food so they looked fine but I worried about the ballon molly. Online I read I should add more mollies to the tank for them but I worried about overstocking my 10 gallon tank. With this concern I returned the mollies to petsmart (with regret because I got attached and missed them but figured they would be happier in a bigger tank with more fish and with someone who knew how to deal with their pregnancies *

Monday (Sep 25)- returned mollies

Wednesday (Sep 27)- I decided to get a male betta since they don't need company and won't be pregnant. I brought him home from Petco and cleaned the tank with a gravel vacuum that I just also bought and then added him in... I thought my tank would have been pretty well into the cycle by now but the nitrites were at 2ppm!! I did a 25% water change but that didnt help. The next day I did another water change but nothing. I kept looking online for what to do and found that prime is a great water conditioner and tetra safe start is a better bacteria supplement.

Thursday (Sep 28)- went to petco to get TSS and prime. did a 20% water change and added prime and tss, nothing changed (idk if it works that fast probs not?)

Friday- nitrites around 3ppm. In desperation, I did a 70% water change and nitrites went down to 0.5 ppm. I added more tss, too.

Today: the nitrites are back up at 1-2 ppm and I don't know what my next steps should be! please help

P.S. my betta has looked fine and healthy for now...
 

Katie13

Member
You're in the nitrite stage. Prime will detoxify them for a short while to an extent. Dose a bit of it. The cycle is almost over!
 

el337

Member
Hi,

I understand TSS+ doesn't have the best instructions but you would have needed to wait 24 hours after the use of a water conditioner before adding it. And you would have wanted to add the entire bottle.

You were correct though in having done the large water change to get the nitrites down as allowing it get that high is very toxic for your fish. What are your current levels - pH, ammonia, nitrite, nitrate?

If your ammonia and nitrite are close to 0 and it's been 24 hours since the use of a water conditioner, add the rest of the TSS+. Then do NOTHING for the next 2 weeks except feed very lightly. This includes doing NO water changes as you need the bacteria to adhere to filter media and to the hard surfaces of the tank.

Just want to add that mollies are better suited in at least a 30 gallon due to their bioload.
 
  • Thread Starter

pomfish

Member
Thank you for your quick responses!

Current water parameters:
pH: 7:5
ammonia: 0
nitrite: 1.5
nitrates: 40

Last time I used a water conditioner was yesterday morning
 

el337

Member
The nitrite is still too high. I would do another 2 back to back water changes of 50% each to get those nitrites down as close to 0 as possible, vacuum your substrate and rinse the media in removed tank water. Then 24 hours after the last water change, add the rest of the TSS+. How much do you have left and what size bottle is it?
 
  • Thread Starter

pomfish

Member
Okay, will do then.

I still have 230 ml left (its a 250 ml bottle).

Just to make sure, does media refer to the tank decorations? (plants, driftwood, etc.)?
 

Swampgorilla

Member
Katie13 said:
You're in the nitrite stage. Prime will detoxify them for a short while to an extent. Dose a bit of it. The cycle is almost over!
Yes ... PRIME at 5 times the normal dose every 48 hours should detox the nitrite. I would w/c just enough to get nitrite down to 1ppm or less first though. I don't like trusting PRIME over 1 ppm. It's probably okay to do - but because SeaChem can't really explain how PRIME detoxifies nitrites and nitrates, I just don't trust it.

But I have never had a fish die when dealing with a nitrite spike of 1 ppm or less and using PRIME.

I'll also dose STABILITY just to "boost" the bio-filter.
 

el337

Member
pomfish said:
Okay, will do then.

I still have 230 ml left (its a 250 ml bottle).

Just to make sure, does media refer to the tank decorations? (plants, driftwood, etc.)?
Media would be the sponges, bio media or anything else that goes inside your filter unit.
 
  • Thread Starter

pomfish

Member
HI again

I just want to thank everyone for their responses and advice.
I checked my water levels today and I have 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites and 20 nitrates! Petals (my betta) has been very active, patroling his tank, making bubbles and occasionally laying on leaves lol. And his appetite is definitely fine.

Thank you!!
 

Kroshtan

Member
Congratulations!
Always good to hear succes stories. I tend to get sad when I read threads about water issues and halfway through something horrible happens. Glad to hear your betta is happy!
 
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