Nitrogen Spike

Alissa

I have a 5 gallon aquaponics tank with 1 betta and 1 mystery snail. I do weekly partial water changes and today my nitrogen was spiked way high. Immediately upon testing it became a bright purple. I did a 75% water change but curious what could've caused the spike. Once a week I give my snail a 1/2 of an algae tablet (I give him fresh vegetables every day). I put the tablet in earlier today and curious if that's what caused the spike.
 

andychrissytank

welcome to fishore :]
do you remove the uneaten vegetables everyday too?
 

david1978

You sure about nitrogen. Most people don't test for those only ammonia nitrites and nitrates.
 

Alissa

You sure about nitrogen. Most people don't test for those only ammonia nitrites and nitrates.
Sorry nitrites not nitrogen.

welcome to fishore :]
do you remove the uneaten vegetables everyday too?
Yes, although he does a pretty good job of eating mostly everything
 

david1978

The tablet shouldn't of done that. Could it of been in your source water?
 

Alissa

The tablet shouldn't of done that. Could it of been in your source water?
I'll test my water but I haven't had this issue before
 

bopsalot

Hmmm. How long has this tank been up and running? The bright purple nitrite test is no joke. Nitrites are highly toxic, but bettas are relatively hardy fellows. Something has disrupted your nitrogen cycle, or perhaps it has not established itself completely yet. If your tank is "young", less than 6 months running, then it is "delicate", and prone to disruption. The most likely culprit would be a filter cartridge change. What kind of filter are you running? You can change the filter media, but until your cycle is mature, it may be wise to just rinse the media in old tank water during a water change, and re-use the media. Or use the old media to re-seed the new with beneficial bacteria. Or if you have multiple filter cartridges, only replace half at a time. But I don't know if this is really the issue here, even. Chlorine is another possibility, but far less likely. Still, water companies can "spike" chlorine levels from time to time. I suspect this happened to me, so I use a 150% dose of water conditioner now to be safe. Some medications can slay beneficial bacteria and cause cycle bumps. Not sure if you have added anything lately to his tank? Try to identify the cause, monitor nitrites and ammonia closely, and I'd do large 50% water changes as often as needed to keep nitrites under 0.5 ppm, until the nitrogen cycle catches up. Hope this helps, good luck!
 

Alissa

I started the tank in July and added the betta in August. I wasn't sure if I did the cycle right so added safestart before I put the fish in. 2 weeks later I added the snail. I do overdose the conditioner with every change. I use a 1/2 gallon mason jar to do water changes and dose it with the full 5 gallon amount. Could I be putting too much in? I'll monitor my parameters daily and do more frequent water changes until this is right.

The filter just said it was an integrated filter which came with cartridge (topfin 5 gallon aquaponics system). I haven't changed it yet as I didn't want to lose any of my good bacteria but will try cleaning it tomorrow.

Thanks for your help
 

bopsalot

Sure. That explains it. Your tank is cycling. The nitrite spike phase will take some time to resolve naturally. I'd recommend water changes until then. As many as practical to keep things as safe as you can. I would test daily to determine how quickly the nitrites are rising (probably not too fast with just one betta), but you may need to change some water daily for a week or maybe 2, until the nitrites "disappear" and your nitrogen cycle is underway. Again, it will be delicate for awhile. Take care to preserve it. Your aquatic friends will appreciate it! Have fun.
 

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