Disaster in my tanks...help!!!!!

Salt blocks nitrite from getting into the blood of fish. For larger size tanks there is a formula for how much salt it takes to counteract any given concentration (ppm) if nitrite in any given size tank. But your tanks are very small, so I would suggest just a pinch of salt should be enough and should not bother any of the inhabitants.

Just for your own education about this, I suggest you read the section on SOME FACTS ABOUT NITRITE in the cycling section here in the paper in the link below. You do not need to figure all the stuff in out because all you need in such small tanks and for such low nitrite readings is a very small amount of salt. https://www.fishforums.net/threads/rescuing-a-fish-in-cycle-gone-wild-part-il.433778/

I know you are not cycling with fish- but nitrite is nitrite no matter how or when it appears. And salt will stop it from harming fish until you get the bacteria working to handle nitrite.

A pinch means a very small amount of salt whicch you can hold between your thumb and a finger - sort of like how you would pinch something. Take a bit of water out of the container with the fish and put it into a clean small glass container and stir it. Then pour that liquid back into the contrainer with the fish. Do not pour it all into one spot. Spread it around the surface as you pour it.

Salt does not evaporate. So the way to remove it from the water is via water changes. They dilute the salt until it is gone.
Thank you. Before I could read this I did a 75% WC on the bowl and one gallon tank with bottled spring water, waited a few hours and tested. They read just below .25 ppm. My 5 gallon is the same though I didn't do a WC, but added Tetra SafeStart and the nitrite has gone down significantly.

I have aquarium salt and kosher salt, which should I use? I also have a snails, neo and ghost shrimp in the 5 gallon, and I know shrimp can be very sensitive to salt, will the salt affect them?

You say a pinch of salt for my tanks, is that for the 1 gallon, the 1.7 gallon bowl, and the 5 gallon? Or should I add one pinch to the bowl and 1g and 2 or 3 pinches to the 5g?

This is helping me a lot!!!
 
I have aquarium salt and kosher salt, which should I use? I also have a snails, neo and ghost shrimp in the 5 gallon, and I know shrimp can be very sensitive to salt, will the salt affect them?
Either salt can be used, they are both the same.

Freshwater shrimp and snails are fine with up to 2 heaped tablespoons of salt per 20 litres (5 gallons) of water. You don't need this much for nitrite poisoning, you use a lot less.
 
I just tested the water, my 5 gallon was at 0 nitrite (yay!!), The 1 gallon at .25, and the bowl at .50-.75. I did a WC on the bowl and added a pinch of salt to both tanks. I didn't add it to the 5 gallon but if you think I should I will.
 
I though I was in the clear, but apparently not. A few days ago the nitrite was at .25-.40 in the 1g and bowl, then the next day at .25, so I though it was going down to 0. Now today, the bowl is at around 1ppm and the 1g at 2ppm. Did a large water change on both and ordered Tetra SafeStart and a sponge filter for the bowl, but I can't do that for the 1 gallon. There was a melting Vallisneria in the 1 gallon, but that's it. Why is there nitrite?? I'm not doing anything wrong that I know of and I'm really starting to get stressed about this.
I put pics of both tanks, and both fish are eating and exploring their tank, not always at the top. It's only those two tanks, too. What are some possible reasons for it??

The reading for the bowl...it's kind of a weird color, but I thought the closet color to match was 1ppm.
 

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There is nitrite because the containers are not cycled. They are too small to establish and maintain a cycle and need very frequent water changes to remove the waste products (ammonia and nitrite) that the fish and shrimp are producing.
The filtered 5 gallon could be ok if lightly stocked, but the other bowls and containers are too small.

You can either:
1) resolve the issue with your tap water and do very frequent water changes to maintain the water quality, or
2) replace the containers with filtered tanks that are 5 or 10 gallons or more.

You can read up about very frequent water changes for uncycled containers in this betta care sheet.
 
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Are you still testing the tap water Nitrite just as a baseline? There is also Seachem Prime if it hasn't been mentioned as an emergency nitrite detox, but check with others first.

@Colin_T I know she is Florida, USA but over here in Nitrite UK, the legal limit for Nitrite in tap water is 0.50 ppm :confused:
 
There is nitrite because the containers are not cycled. They are too small to establish and maintain a cycle and need very frequent water changes to remove the waste products (ammonia and nitrite) that the fish and shrimp are producing.
The filtered 5 gallon could be ok if lightly stocked, but the other bowls and containers are too small.

You can either:
1) resolve the issue with your tap water and do very frequent water changes to maintain the water quality, or
2) replace the containers with filtered tanks that are 5 or 10 gallons or more.

You can read up about very frequent water changes for uncycled containers in this betta care sheet.
Thank you for the info!! I have been doing 80% water changes everyday to try and bring the nitrite down, and my small tanks are usually always at 0 nitrite.

I just got a small sponge filter and Tetra SafeStart, and that will be for the bowl, so hopefully with the filter and BB the nitrite will finally go down.

I think this is correct, but if I add Tetra SafeStart to a tank with no filter, that beneficial bacteria would just die off, right?
Are you still testing the tap water Nitrite just as a baseline? There is also Seachem Prime if it hasn't been mentioned as an emergency nitrite detox, but check with others first.

@Colin_T I know she is Florida, USA but over here in Nitrite UK, the legal limit for Nitrite in tap water is 0.50 ppm :confused:
2 days ago it was a little below .25. I looked on the 2022 water report and it said the nitrite level is 0.04ppm. But that was for 2022, I will check again today.
 
If the problem is nitrite and you are adding salt, it doesn't change the nitrite level. What it does is to block the nitrite from getting into the blood of the fish. If you read the piece I suggested about nitrite, it explains this. So do not do water changes for nitrite if you are using salt to block it. The water change will do more harm than good.

Nitrite enters a fish and gets into its blood. Once there it occupies the part of the blood which normally holds oxygen. Where the oxygen would be there is nitrite instead. The result is fish are suffocating from a lack of oxygen inside them even while there is plenty of oxygen in the water.

The thing about nitrite in a fish is that once inside the fish, it takes between 24 and 72 hours to work its way out naturally. But this requires that there not still be nitrite in the water. Trying not to get overly technical, here is how it works. Salt is sodium chloride. It is the chloride in the salt that blocks the nitrite from getting into the blood of the fish no matter how much nitrite is in the water. The more nitrite there is, the more salt one adds. Bear in mind that this same problem can happen in any size tank. But in a bigger tanks it takes way more than a pinch of salt.

So when you add the salt and it blocks the nitrite from getting into the fish, there is no need to do a water change. In fact, the water changes we might do to lower nitrite actually work to slow down the cycle. This means it will take longer to reach to point where there is 0 nitrite. It also means that the nitrite can continue to harm fish until it is gone. When it comes to having the nitrite inside a fish to work its way out, this requires that there no longer be nitrite in the water. If there is, and there is no chloride (from salt), then the nitrite will continue to enter the fish and stay there doing its harm.

Ammonia is a different issue. We cannot block it from doing harm to fish etc. So, we have only two choices. The first is to get the tank cycled so the bacteria deal with it- this is what is meant by having a fully cycled tank. And it is always best to do this without having any fish (or inverts) in the tank. The second way to deal with ammonia on a short term basis is to use a dechlor which detoxifies ammonia. But this slows the cycle some.

The best way to protect fish from ammonia or nitrite is to have a fully cycled tank which handles these two things. Even better is to have some live plants in a tank because they use ammonia. They do so better than bacteria. When you have both live plants and bacteria at work, tanks tend to be at their best. However, not all tanks have live plants which is why they need to rely completely on the bacteria to make the tank safe. I have 11 tanks from 20 to 125 gallons with no live plants and they do just fine.

One last comment here. The volume of water in a tank or bowl has nothing to do with if it can be cycled or not. My 5.5 gal. tank is as cycled and my 150 gal. tank. The process is the same.
 
Thank you. I am setting up a sponge filter and getting Tetra SafeStart for the bowl so hopefully it will cycle. I won't do as many water changes as I have been now.
 
I think this is correct, but if I add Tetra SafeStart to a tank with no filter, that beneficial bacteria would just die off, right?
Not necessarily, as you will no doubt be aware, the beneficial bacteria can live on any hard surfaces so on the glass, substrate or plants as well as in the filter. The problem with small containers is that there is a small volume of water which doesn't go very far when diluting fish waste so the beneficial bacteria needs to work really hard to combat this. The filter should provide a lot of surface area to concentrate the beneficial bacteria colonies, it will definitely help support a cycle but is not essential to cycling. The biggest hinderance to cycling the small containers is the difficulty of maintaining the cycle with so little water volume. Any small mishap - overstocking, overfeeding, going too long between water changes, not cleaning the substrate effectively - will be amplified and overwhelm the beneficial bacteria causing ammonia or nitrite spikes. It seems counter intuitive but bigger tanks are really much easier as the biological systems remain stable. And of course the fish and shrimp enjoy the extra room too!
 

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