Nitrite Spike, Not going down after multiple water changes.

johnnygromis

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The other day one of my fish died overnight in my established 10 gallon. I tested my waters with the api master kit and my nitrites were off the charts purple. My ammonia is zero and my nitrates are about 5 ppm. My kit is not expired and it reads zero nitrites on my tap water and my 29 gallon tank so I don't think its my kit. I did an immediate 50% water change dosed with prime, and added some fritz zyme 7. Tested a few hours later and same result. I started to spread out my feeding to every other day. I continued to do daily water changes of about 30% for 4 days and still the same result. I was doing 25% weekly water changes before this but not actively testing my water. The rest of my fish seem to be doing fine but I'm not sure if that's just because of the prime. Am I lowering my beneficial bacteria by doing all these water changes? Not really sure what to do at this point. Any advice would be much appreciated.

I have a 10 gallon column with topfin 10 filter.
I have 1 dwarf gourami some neon tetras and a few mystery snails.
 

Sgooosh

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The other day one of my fish died overnight in my established 10 gallon. I tested my waters with the api master kit and my nitrites were off the charts purple. My ammonia is zero and my nitrates are about 5 ppm. My kit is not expired and it reads zero nitrites on my tap water and my 29 gallon tank so I don't think its my kit. I did an immediate 50% water change dosed with prime, and added some fritz zyme 7. Tested a few hours later and same result. I started to spread out my feeding to every other day. I continued to do daily water changes of about 30% for 4 days and still the same result. I was doing 25% weekly water changes before this but not actively testing my water. The rest of my fish seem to be doing fine but I'm not sure if that's just because of the prime. Am I lowering my beneficial bacteria by doing all these water changes? Not really sure what to do at this point. Any advice would be much appreciated.

I have a 10 gallon column with topfin 10 filter.
I have 1 dwarf gourami some neon tetras and a few mystery snails.
changing the water does not take away much bacteria because it's all in the hardscape and plants and filter.

is there any dead fish or snails anywhere? rotting plants? how long have you cleaned your filter? there might be a buildup of gunk there.

photo of tank?
 
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johnnygromis

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No dead anything and my plants are fine although I only have two live plants in there. Rinsed my filter when I did my reading but it didn't seem abnormally dirty or gunked up. I'll upload a picture tomorrow!
 

Colin_T

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Small water changes don't do anything. Do a 80-90% water change to drop high levels of ammonia, nitrite or nitrate. Then do a 75% water change every day until the readings are 0ppm.
Make sure any new water is free of chlorine/ chloramine before it's added to the tank.

If you do a 25% water change, you leave behind 75% of the bad stuff in the water.
If you do a 50% water change, you leave behind 50% of the bad stuff in the water.
If you do a 75% water change, you leave behind 25% of the bad stuff in the water.
 
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johnnygromis

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Small water changes don't do anything. Do a 80-90% water change to drop high levels of ammonia, nitrite or nitrate. Then do a 75% water change every day until the readings are 0ppm.
Make sure any new water is free of chlorine/ chloramine before it's added to the tank.

If you do a 25% water change, you leave behind 75% of the bad stuff in the water.
If you do a 50% water change, you leave behind 50% of the bad stuff in the water.
If you do a 75% water change, you leave behind 25% of the bad stuff in the water.
Thank you so much! I was afraid I would hurt the fish if I changed too much of the water out. But that definitely makes more sense that I'm just leaving all the bad stuff in there. I'll try that today and check back.
 

TwoTankAmin

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Also, changing water slows down cycling. With ammonia there is little choice, but with nitrite there is. Bear in min that what you want to happen is for the bacteria that handle nitrite to reproduce. They do this when there is more nitrite available than they need to thrive. So, changing water reduces nitrite which also reduces their need to reproduce rapidly.

Chloride prevent nitrite from getting into the fish. Salt is sodium chloride. The amount of salt needed to block nitrite is very small. Using it will allow the bacteria to double much faster and that is what you need to happen.

There is a section in in this article which explains in plain English step by step directions for using salt to block nitrite: https://www.fishforums.net/threads/rescuing-a-fish-in-cycle-gone-wild-part-il.433778/

One note on all of this. Nitrite results from ammonia being processed. So at some point you must have had ammonia.

Finally, Fritz Zyme 7 is not a product I would neither use nor recommend. It cannot contain the proper nitrite oxiding strains of bacteria as they are protected by a patent. Until 1996 science had it wrong about what actual strains of bacteria are in aquariums. That was 26 years ago yet Fritz claims they have had the right bacteria for over 30 years. The bacteria which process nitrite in tanks were identified in 1998 along with as how to detect and use them were patented soon after. The specific strains of ammonia bacteria in tanks were identified in Dec 2001. The one thing Fritz did get right was that the nitrifying bacteria in tanks do not form spores, they reproduce by dividing. I do use the Fritz ammonium chloride for fishless cycling. I use their dry product since I tend to run a biofarm for cycling and not their Fishless Fuel. For a single tank I have always used Dr. Tim's ammonium chloride.

BTW- years after the Nitrospira which were discovered as doing nitrite processing in tanks it was discoverd that they were also able to process ammonia straight to nitrate as well as being able to convert nitrite itself to nitrate. And before that, it was discovered that another group of microorganism, Archaea, also had the ability to convert ammonia to nitrite. So many of our ranks likely contain some of these as well as bacteria.
 

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