pH and Nitrites

FishGuy86

Hey all. So my tank has been cycling for a couple weeks now. It has been up for a couple weeks as I said...but I just added live rock about two days ago. Everything (nitrates, nitrites, alkalinity) was good...but pH was a little low (about 7.8). Now I've added live rock. I did a water test today and nitrites were high...and my pH was very low...lower than 7.8. I added pH stuff for saltwater that brings it to 8.2 (is that a good pH?) and another chemical to lower my nitrites. Also, the guy at my LFS said that my tank will go from perfect water conditions to really bad water conditions and then it will stable out. Any comments on this? Is what I did right?
 

Wolfgang8810

well if you don't have any fish right now I would jsut say don't add any chemicals or anything just let it ride out the cycle time. here is a link that explains everything https://www.fishlore.com/NitrogenCycle.htm read it and most of your questions should be answered. if there is anyhting else jsut post again
 

bhcaaron

Wolfgang is right. Read the article first. I've noticed that this is suggested on many thread and the person that asked the original question will come back to ask a second question on the same thread that would have been answered if they read the article first. Do read it first, it helps A LOT! Then come back, as Wolfgang said, with additional questions.

As for what the LFS guy said, well, generally speaking yes, but, there is more. Read the article! (Think I've said it enough times?)
 

FishGuy86

Ok...so I read the article...and understand things much better. Thank you wolfgang8810 for that. Another question...when I bought my life rock..I got a tiny slug...someone told me that those are bad and I should take them out...true/false?
 

Wolfgang8810

I really don't know about saltwater too much. but I think that I would, you should probally wait for someone with more experience to answer that question
 

bhcaaron

A pic might also help.
 

FishGuy86

I would send a picture...but now I can't find the darn thing lol.
 

bhcaaron

I would send a picture...but now I can't find the darn thing lol.

Hahahaha, anything that can... will... right?
 

FishGuy86

Yeah lol...oh well. So I'm thinking I'm going to lose my fish. I only have 3 damsels...but ever since I added the live rock...they have been hovering near the bottom and breathing heavily. I guess that's part of my tank cycling.
 

bhcaaron

Unfortunately its probably the ammonia building up. That's why its not suggested that you cycle the tank with fish in there. It is better to cycle the tank FIRST, then add fish cautiously.

You'll want to get help from those who have used chemicals to help the fish out in these circumstances.
 

FishGuy86

Any ideas on who would know best about that?
 

bhcaaron

Nope, sorry. I've read so much they all just jumble together. Try adding another post with a header that will atract those who would know.
 

FishGuy86

Good idea. Thanks for all your input!! It's greatly appreciated.
 

bhcaaron

I feel helpful today!
 

sgould

How much live rock did you add? Do you know if it was already cured when you bought it? You mention your nitrite readings, but not ammonia...what is your ammonia level now? Live rock goes through a "die off" process after being harvested where some of the organisms living on it die due to stress from transport, differences in water quality, etc. The organisms that die cause an ammonia spike as they begin to decay. Once everything that is going to die has done so and the bacteria have processed the corresponding ammonia/nitrite, then the rock is said to be "cured" and ready for use in your tank. BUT...it is not unheard of for live rock that has already been through the curing process to experience another, smaller, round of "die off" after being transported from a dealer tank to yours. Therefore, you never want to add live rock directly to a tank that already has fish in it. Instead, you should put it in a separate container of fully prepared saltwater and test the water regularly for ammonia and nitrites. Once you are sure any spikes are over with, then and only then should you put the rock in the display tank with your fish.

Now, your situation. If I am understanding correctly from your post, your tank was not yet finished cycling from your damsels, when the rock went in. So now you are dealing with ammonia being produced by the fish, as well as ammonia potentially being produced by the rock's "die-off". Here is what I would do:

1) At a minimum, do a 50% water change. Read your salt mix's instructions carefully before you do this! Many mixes need to sit for a day or so after preparation to fully "mix" and are caustic if used too soon. You are in a tough spot in that your fish need help right away, but if you just dump a bunch of only partially mixed salt water in with them you will not be helping.

2) If at all possible, remove the live rock into a separate tub of saltwater and test it regularly until you are sure that it is not contributing to your ammonia.

3) Get your hands on some Prime or Amquel+. I use Prime. Both are water conditioners, which you should be using with every water change anyway, so you will be able to use the stuff even after you are past this crisis. Both products will chemically neutralize a portion of the ammonia and nitrite in the tank with your fish, which will help them past their immediate danger. It will also slow the cycle down a bit, but at this point you are trying to save your fish, and adding a few days onto your cycling time is a small price. They also remove chlorine/chloramine from your tap water, which is why you should be using them for your water changes.

That's all I have right now...I still consider myself a beginner too, so I am hoping some of the others can drop in and offer some advise as well!
 

FishGuy86

30 gallon tank, and I added 10 lbs. The guy at my LFS said that that would be plenty because I planned on adding coral in the future. Plus the rocks were quite large. He also said that the rocks were partially cured. So if I understand right...my live rock is still curing and organisms are dying off...which is causing my ammonia to rise, and ammonia then turns in to nitrites. I added Amquel+ last night, but I haven't really seen any changes yet. Later on today my fish were actually swimming up in the tank instead of just staying in one spot on the bottom. I don't have a way to take the live rock out because I have nothing to put it in. I am thinking of doing a water change, but I wasn't sure to do it now...or wait until after the cycle has completed. My water conditions are good now...with the exception of my nitrites. My pH went really low as well, but I added something to bring it to 8.2. So since I can't remove my live rock, the only thing I can do is to keep adding Amquel+ and hope?
 

agsansoo

Best thing is to wait until the cycle is through. If you don't you will cause a mini-cycle and have to start over again. After the cycle is through then do a water change.
 

FishGuy86

Ok...that's what I was thinking was best...but I wanted to make sure before I did anything. They (the fish) seem to be doing better today. It's also dorm water...it's really hard. I've had issues with it in my freshwater tank. My fish are at least eating. I just hope they can make it through this mini-crisis.

By the way...what's a good rule of thumb to go by to know when your live rock is totally cured and everything that should have died has done so?
 

bhcaaron

By the way...what's a good rule of thumb to go by to know when your live rock is totally cured and everything that should have died has done so?

When things aren't falling off anymore? Lol

One thing I did actually read is when there is a fresh ocean smell to the rock and no longer a foul odor.
 

Gozer_1

When things aren't falling off anymore? Lol

One thing I did actually read is when there is a fresh ocean smell to the rock and no longer a foul odor.

Yeah, Stinky Rocks are Bad M'Kay.

You'll see some stuff pop out (ie. your slug) and some of it will die. Even cured rock will have some die off from the shock of moving. You will know when the rocks are cured and ready when the water they are in tests clean.

On a side note I'd HIGHLY suggest using bottled drinking water (ie. Walmart Green Label) or other purified water. (RO or RO/DI) I had my share of issues with tap water. If it has caused problems with your Fresh then I'd imagine it worse for your Salt.
 

FishGuy86

I'm guessing you've used bottled drinking water before then? My issue is that I live in a dorm (I'm supposed to call it residence hall, but whatever lol), and the water here is so hard!! I got the idea to put bottled water in...but I wasn't sure which one to get...so I just bought distilled. I wasn't sure if maybe the way they treated drinking water to make it safe for humans would be harmful to fish. I'm going to do a water change soon (probably this weekend), and I have some pure sea water to do it with so I won't have to mess around with tap water this time.

As far as my live rock goes...it's been sitting in my tank for 7 days now and I've thrown out 4 slugs and have seen my fish and water parameters get really bad...but things are fine now. I think once I get the water change done I will see even better water conditions. I haven't seen any slugs in a few days now, and I can see little plant looking things growing (not really plant...but tiny things lol)...so I'm thinking I'm getting close.
 

Gozer_1

Yes I use Bottled water now and again. I use the green label walmart drinking water. Its better than the distilled water. Look for carbon and micron filtration. The green label is Ozinated as well. Some may be Dionized which is also. I mostly use water I purify myself but it's slow so I buy some water now and again.
 

FishGuy86

Awesome!! I'll have to remember that the next time I'm there. It seems like I'm there at least once a week haha. What would you say about using the Beta Water that they sell at your local pet store?
 

Gozer_1

I'm not sure about Betta water. Either way I'm sure the Green Label is MUCH cheaper. I think I pay $0.26 a gallon or something... No more than $0.50 anyway.
 

FishGuy86

I think I will definitely do that. I mean, I would only be doing about 5-7 gallons every 2 weeks. Even at $.50 a gallon...that would only be like $3 lol...and with the water that I have...I'm sure it's much much much better for the fish. After all...we are doing this for them lol
 

bhcaaron

Jar,

You said there are little plant looking thingies growing on the rock? Do you have pics to post? Can you describe them better? Color, texture, size, anything else you can add. I'm wondering if its algae that's blooming.
 

FishGuy86

They are very small...you have to get up close to the glass to see them. They have a tiny trunk with a circular top with little fingers going around the circle. That's the best I got lol. I don't think it's algae...there aren't too many of them...like the rock isn't covered.
 

bhcaaron

Like this?

removed

But less grown?
 

FishGuy86

No...nothing like that. I really don't think it's algae. What did you have in mind though?
 

bhcaaron

At the moment? That I need a second drink!
 

FishGuy86

lol...off topic...but I could go for a Dr. Pepper lol
 

bhcaaron

Ooop!s I don't know how old you are so I won't explain lol ;D
 

FishGuy86

It's all good....I'm 21...well I will be in 15 days...but please...I'm in college lol.
 

bhcaaron

Yeah, dorm... I forgot. Now I feel like doing a Homer... DOH!
 

Gozer_1

They are very small...you have to get up close to the glass to see them. They have a tiny trunk with a circular top with little fingers going around the circle. That's the best I got lol. I don't think it's algae...there aren't too many of them...like the rock isn't covered.

Without pictures I'd say feathreduster worms but I'd look into aiptasia anemones just to be sure. How small are we talking? How many "fingers"? Do they suck their fingers in when startled. I have some weird white tubes with a small disk on top. No idea what they are. They don't move or do anything but they grow in every hidden nook of my system, including the filters.
 

bhcaaron

I think aliens are spawning everywhere. Yeah, that's it! see --> :;z
 

FishGuy86

They are very very small. They are kinda like the white tubes you described with a disc on top..but there are little fingers coming from the discs. I don't think they are anything horrible. I'm not too worried about them.
 

Gozer_1

The white tube things I have look like tiny (1\16in - 1in) hollow tubes with a ring of finger like things that make a disk shpe when viewed from the top. I haven't been able to find them anywhere on line. Probably the same thing. I siphon them out if they get too thick any where but otherwise I don't worry about 'em. They grow inside my cannister filter also. I just scrape them off when I clean my filters. I'll try to get a picture up for you to compare to.
 

FishGuy86

No...not like that...well kinda like the one on the right...but very very small...and no color. What is a canister filter?
 

Gozer_1

A canister filter pumps water out of the tank, through trays of filter media and back into the tank.

As for the white things I'm gonna take a couple pictures right now. So I'll post them in a minute.
 

bhcaaron

OOH! Now you've asked for it! lol

Canister Filters are considered an upgraded type of media filtration. They are basically a big tub (about the size of a five gallon bucket) which contain three or four baskets where you place media filters in. Usually you can pick and choose what type of media to place in it. They are completely sealed so and connected to the aquarium by means of a hose and water pump.

I, myself, asked this some time ago, see:


Also, about the tube worms, I am trying to find another thread in which, I think either Angansoon or SGould, placed a pic of these nuisance tubes and I think those will be the ones you're talking about. I'll post the link when I find ti.
 

Gozer_1

Canisters come in all sizes. I have one that is 4 gallons, 2 that are about 1.5 and one that is about 3. I have seen themm much smaller and much bigger. But ye they are a sealed external filter.

So, do those things look anything like these?
 

FishGuy86

Oh...I understand now. Well thanks for that article...I think I will go check it out and see if some of my questions can get answered before I ask anymore haha. I think my first upgrade will be my lighting system. I really want to add some coral. Maybe later on in the future I'll get an upgraded filter.
 

Gozer_1

If you look closely at that photo I posted earlier you'll see some little white tube things. Do they look like what you are seeing in you tank?
 

FishGuy86

Yes a little bit actually. Is that ok?
 

Gozer_1

I don't really know. I had one show up on a peice of live rock. Eventually they spread through the whole system. They seem to prefer dark inaccessable areas and are easy to clean off so they only really grow there. If they start growing in an area I can get to with the siphon then they get vacuumed out. Like I said they are all over in my filter too. I'd say no worries unless you don't like the look of 'em. I'm pretty certain they are harmless, but only because the ones I have, have not caused me any trouble aside from already routine cleaning.
 

FishGuy86

Ok sounds great. Thanks!
 

bhcaaron

Does anyone know what they actually are and how to get rid of them permanently? I would hate to get stuck with such a plague.
 

Gozer_1

Does anyone know what they actually are and how to get rid of them permanently? I would hate to get stuck with such a plague.

No, and No. Can't ID them anywhere. Not a plague though. They just hang out in the hard to reach areas. They don't multiply out of control. They're just there. Like I said if I see any in reach they get siphoned out but it's not like I have to go in every day or week for that matter. It's that freakin red slime that gets me. You want a plague let the slime get out of hand. Stupid red slime.
 

bhcaaron

LoL, I wonder if I can prevent some headaches if I do that whole cover up during the ENTIRE time the tank is cycling? I wonder if that would harm anything? I read that some encrusting algae (Coraline algae) actually grow faster in low light.
 

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