URGENT! I have bad tap water at my new place, will this kill my fish??? Help

Discussion in 'Aquarium Water' started by Emily Caldwell, Jul 25, 2015.

  1. Emily CaldwellValued MemberMember

    I'm moving to a new place this weekend and went to set up the large tank for my Jack Dempsey last night. He's in a smaller tank now and this is an upgrade.

    I tested the tap water and the results were a little scary. 0.25 ppm ammonia (which I know is likely ammonium from the chloramines) I had already been planning on using a bucket with a purigen filter for my betta's water changes since he has a lot of fin rot problems no matter how clean his water is.

    But the REAL concern is 0.5 ppm NITRITE!!! I have been reading up and it appears it's not very common to have nitrites in tap water. The EPA limit for nitrite in drinking water is 1.0 ppm. Gross. I'm planning to buy a RO filter because I have no desire to be drinking water with any kind of nitrite in it, and I will use the RO water (with necessary additives of course) for my fish. But I won't be able to afford the filter for at least a month, so what can I do in the meantime?

    I am already using Prime which is supposed to detoxify ammonia, nitrite and nitrate for 24 hours, at which point the beneficial bacteria in the tank should convert everything to nitrate (the tapwater has 5.0 ppm nitrate which is obviously not ideal but not as big of a concern as the nitrite IMO.)

    The betta tank is 100% cycled but I'm still worried about him since he is already not in the best shape and pretty sensitive to water quality issues.

    The JD is much tougher, but I'm worried the new tank won't be cycled enough to handle the nitrite. I got him with his old 29 gallon tank about 2.5 months ago. It had been set up for so long it was having old tank syndrome symptoms which I fixed with two additional filters and daily 30% water changes. It's obviously still cycled, but after I added a 3rd new filter I threw out the old filter that came with the tank because it was basically falling apart and disgusting. So the old tank is cycled but all 3 of the filters have been on it for less than 3 months. I moved the sponge filter over last night. Tonight I'm going to move the cascade filter, and tomorrow I will move the canister and the fish has to go in the new tank. Do you think it will be enough? I'm freaking out!!!

    Anyone else dealt with nitrite in tap water?? It seems like it's hard to remove. :(
  2. CindiLFishlore LegendMember

    I think he'll be fine! Don't freak out. Double dose Prime when you do a water change etc and you're right it will convert it within 24 hours probably. If not, the double dose should handle it up to two days.

    You could buy some bottled R/O for your betta and just use that for him until you can afford the RO system.
  3. DolfanFishlore VIPMember

    I don't think that a double dose of Prime would last for 2 days. It would just be able to handle more ammonia and nitrite for that same 24 hour period. So I would use a stronger dosage at first, then use standard dosage for 2nd and 3rd day, and by then your tank will have caught up with the increased ammonia and nitrite.

    Another option is using a holding tank, perhaps your old tank you aren't using anymore. Set this tank up and add fresh water from the tap to it. Then add in a ton of nutrient sponge type plants that would suck up the ammonia and nitrite. Plants such as hornwort, frogbit, anacharis, etc. Give the plants a week to work there magic and the water should be good to go. Then you can add it to the fish tank for water change, refill holding tank and it will be ready next week.

    Either way, I suggest getting some plants, as they will help consume the extra stuff naturally.
  4. CindiLFishlore LegendMember

    I said two days because Prime claims to last 48 hours on the standard dose. But I just read my new bottle with the new label and it doesn't say that anymore. hmmmm
  5. Emily CaldwellValued MemberMember

    Well my Jack Dempsey has been in the new tank for 24 hours and so far so good. Although he did have a ROUGH transfer from his old tank to the bucket. He managed to jump and was flopping around on the floor. :( So traumatizing for both of us! I was really worried he would die, and his color was pretty pale when I first moved him, but he seems to be enjoying the new tank and was looking better this morning. Hopefully the water quality issues won't put him over the edge. Luckily he's a pretty tough fish. I haven't moved the betta yet...I'll be doing that sometime this week. I may just buy some RO water for him, but I'm so broke from the move. I don't have the space to set up a separate tank to filter the water for a week :( The new place is less than half the size of the old place. Hopefully we can afford the RO filter soon.