Oy! Nitrites!!!

  • #1
I did a 50% water change two days ago any my nitrites were 10+ tonight! so I did another 50% change and got nitrites down to 5 tonight after dumping stress zyme, stress coat and prime in the water. Now my questions are how often do I need to change the water and how much do I change each time until my cycling is complete? Also, Is it bad to put both stress zyme and prime in the water? My tank is a 55 gal and my test kit is the test strips from Quick dip. What suggestions do you have? I really don't want to lose the fish in my tank.
  • #2
First thing I would suggest is losing the test strips. Preferably by burning them, then vacuming up the ashes, then burning the vacuum bag. Test strips are notoriously inaccurate. You will get much more reliable results with a liquid test kit. Lots of folks on here use API's Freshwater Master Test Kit, which you can get in an lfs for around $30-35, or order online for around $15-20.

Secandly, 5 is grotesquely high for nitrites, let alone 10. I am thinking either your test strips are using a different scale than I am used to (ppm), or are demonstrating their inaccuracy. (A third option would be you are actually meaning nitrAtes, not nitrItes, in which case 5 is fine). If you are using a ppm scale, you need to get the nitrite down below 1. I would do 50% water changes daily for as long as it takes to get them down. Water changes during the cycle will slow the cycling process down, but will protect your fish.
  • #3
I agree burn the test strips they are junk my bro had him for his tank and was so inaccurate liquid test so much better.
  • Thread Starter
  • #4
Thanks, guys. Money's tight and I'd hate to waste the strips, so I'll continue to test and do 50% water changes daily until I run out of strips and can afford the Master Kit.

If I only learn 1 thing from keeping fish, it'll be patience. (I'm not very good at that and haven't been in all my 28 years!)
  • #5
It sounds like your tank is still going through the cycle....As for adding all of the chemicals to the water at the same time- I wouldn't do it....Use the Prime only. That will condition your water and make the harmful chemical build up in the water - the ammonia and nitrites, chlorine and chloramines easier for your fish to tollerate. I would still keep up with the water changes, but I'm not so certain that 50% each time is necessary.

Luniyn would be able to answer better. And as suggested, the API test kit would be worth getting when you are able.
  • #6
If nitrites are truly at 5, 50% is definitely necessary...you could make the argument for more than 50%. Once you are done cycling, you will be able to drop down to smaller changes...this is just a temporary measure to protect the fish until the toxicity comes down.
  • #7
If your nitrites are truly at 10ppm then unfortunately 50% changes daily will be necessary until you can get that under control (which probably won't be until you are pretty much done with the cycle). HOWEVER, (yeah it's a big however) see if one of your local pet stores tests the water with liquid test kits. We had another member that used test strips and was getting readings of 100ppm nitrate. In a panic he started doing large water changes and his nitrates actually went up according to the test strips. He finally broke down and got a liquid test kit and found that he actually only had 10ppm of nitrate in his tank. Now that being said, you still need to do water changes daily at this stage of the game it's just a question of how much. During my nitrite phase I was doing 2 25% changes a day (every 12 hours) and even still my nitrite levels would peak at 2ppm every now and then.

As for the chemical to use, just stick with Prime as Vin suggested. Though Stress Zyme does say that it will help with ammonia and nitrite levels, it also says that it helps because it is adding the good bacteria to your tank to eat those chemicals. Unfortunately, a lot of members have found that anything other then Bio-Spira (which has to be refrigerated until used) doesn't work. It's believed that they are using the wrong type of good bacteria in their products and that they won't live in our tanks long enough to help at all. Prime on the other hand isn't trying to remove the ammonia or nitrite from your tank, it is actually just bind up toxic ammonia and nitrites (and nitrates too) so they they don't harm your fish. Then when the good bacteria grows in your tank it will consume the bound up ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate over time.

Good Luck!

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