High Nitrites And Snails

Tim_A

New Member
Joined
Oct 18, 2013
Messages
4
Reaction score
0
Location
GB
Hi all, first post here, looks like a great forum :)
 
I'm in the middle of my first ever aquarium fishless cycle and just had a quick question...
 
At the moment, i'm 16 days in, and after 10 days I experienced the ammonia spike, and it has dropped to 0 which is good.
 
Nitrites have risen to 5 and have been there for the past 6 days
 
Now the question...
 
I setup the tank with a few plants which came with the obligatory snail eggs and we've watched a dozen or so snails growing as the tank is cycling. Now we're rather fond of them, i'm worried that such consistent high nitrites will kill them off. They've already shown some signs of climbing to the surface.
 
Should I do my first partial water change to reduce the nitrite level for the benefit of the snails?
 
Current readings as of today are PH 7.6 - Ammonia 0 - Nitrites 5PPM - Nitrates 20PPM
 
Thanks for any help/advice
 
Tim
 
 
 

TwoTankAmin

Fish Aficionado
Joined
Dec 31, 2004
Messages
4,457
Reaction score
77
Location
On Another Site
Changing water will slow the cycle. Snails should not be there except is was an accident. They are likely pest snail which will over run your tank down the road. The odds are your nitrites are not 5, they are above. You are looking to be over 1/2 way through your cycle and should be coming up on the small snack ammonia dose. If you can get the snails out, that would help- you can keep them in anything that holds dechlored water and has a way to agitate the surface. Just change some of the water every day, siphon out poop and don't worry about feeding them.
 
OP
T

Tim_A

New Member
Joined
Oct 18, 2013
Messages
4
Reaction score
0
Location
GB
Thanks for the advice :)
 
I'm actually using the fish-food method to cycle, and had a local dealer provide me with a section of his filter-sponge which contained all sorts of useful gunk!
 
I've replanted a few of the plants and noticed the gravel at the bottom is very dirty, kicking up a cloud when disturbed and you can see noticeable waste on the bottom... should i give it a clean for that reason, or is the idea to wait until it's fully cycled before giving it a clean then introducing a fish or two?
 
Thanks again
 
Tim
 

daizeUK

Fish Botherer
Joined
Dec 8, 2012
Messages
2,686
Reaction score
6
Location
GB
I would give it a gravel vac to remove solid waste.  Did you put the section of filter sponge inside your filter?
How large was your ammonia spike?
 
OP
T

Tim_A

New Member
Joined
Oct 18, 2013
Messages
4
Reaction score
0
Location
GB
Hi there,
 
The ammonia spike went up to 4 for around 4 days then has been settled at 0 for the past 6 days.
 
Regarding the sponge filter, I placed it directly into the tank, left it for a few days then gave it a good squeeze before removing it (no room to put it in the filter area).
 
Cheers
 
Tim
 

daizeUK

Fish Botherer
Joined
Dec 8, 2012
Messages
2,686
Reaction score
6
Location
GB
Squeezing the filter sponge is likely to add muck to your tank but not many bacteria, unfortunately.  They cling on to surfaces and don't get dislodged easily.  If you still have the old sponge then you can cut some off and replace some of the sponge in your filter with it.  For best results it really needed to be in the filter not the tank.
 
OP
T

Tim_A

New Member
Joined
Oct 18, 2013
Messages
4
Reaction score
0
Location
GB
Ah, unfortunately I don't have access to the sponge any more, it certainly seemed to kick-start the process though.
 
I've just checked the water again tonight and no change: PH 7.6, Ammonia 0, Nitrite 5+, Nirate 20
 
That's 10 days straight with the Nitrite at 5+ and no noticeable rise in Nitrates.
 
I've read somewhere that too high a Nitrite level can stall the Nitrate production? As i'm now 19 days in I know it might still be too early to expect the nitrite level to drop?
 
Cheers
 
Tim
 

daizeUK

Fish Botherer
Joined
Dec 8, 2012
Messages
2,686
Reaction score
6
Location
GB
It's harder to control your levels using fish food but you said that your ammonia peaked at 4ppm which should be within safe limits.  The chances are that you still have rotting fish food in the tank which is continuing to produce ammonia which might drive your nitrite levels a little higher than normal.
 
If your nitrite level gets too high then yes it can stall the process, but that level is higher than your test kit can read!  One thing you can do is take a 1ml sample of tank water and dilute it with 9ml of deionised water, then test that for nitrite.  Your true nitrite reading will be 10x that result.
 
I would not worry too much at this stage, it can take a while for the N-bacs to start working their magic so wait a bit longer.
 
You should be considering a maintenance dose of ammonia at this point, but since you're using fish food it's impossible to tell how much ammonia is still being produced from food left in the tank.  I wouldn't recommend adding more fish food.
 

Chrenobeno

New Member
Joined
Sep 22, 2021
Messages
24
Reaction score
9
Location
Horsham
As far as I know from light research the high nitrates can cause a ph crash. Mine has done this and has dropped my ph from 6.6 to 6. My tap water is extremely hard at 7.2-7.6 but the soil I use brings ph down. A partial water change will slow the cycle but will raise the ph (if your tap water is hard) and hopefully kick start the cycle. Maybe vacuum some of the unsightly gunk and wait for 48hrs and re test. I have snails from plants and they are growing and loving the algae in the tank. Much to some peoples opinions algae in the tank is a good sign as it means the tank is live. If the plants are growing then all is good. Keep up the good work and don’t add any fish to the tank until your sure it’s safe. At least this way you’ll have a mature tank and not just a technically sterile cycled tank.
 

Bruce Leyland-Jones

Fish Aficionado
Joined
Jul 1, 2021
Messages
3,554
Reaction score
3,005
Location
Cleator Moor, Cumbria
As far as I know from light research the high nitrates can cause a ph crash. Mine has done this and has dropped my ph from 6.6 to 6. My tap water is extremely hard at 7.2-7.6 but the soil I use brings ph down. A partial water change will slow the cycle but will raise the ph (if your tap water is hard) and hopefully kick start the cycle. Maybe vacuum some of the unsightly gunk and wait for 48hrs and re test. I have snails from plants and they are growing and loving the algae in the tank. Much to some peoples opinions algae in the tank is a good sign as it means the tank is live. If the plants are growing then all is good. Keep up the good work and don’t add any fish to the tank until your sure it’s safe. At least this way you’ll have a mature tank and not just a technically sterile cycled tank.
You've managed to resurrect a thread from 2013. ;)
 

Chrenobeno

New Member
Joined
Sep 22, 2021
Messages
24
Reaction score
9
Location
Horsham
Oh no (again) to quote you BLJ! Why do they keep
Popping up on my Home Screen list? I’m not sure how I managed to find this 🤪. I was so eager to post a reply as I had just had a similar issue.
 

Most reactions

Top