High Nitrite level.

  • MeanMrGene
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MeanMrGene created the topic: High Nitrite level.

Hey guys. Here's my story and I will try to be as brief as possible....

A couple of weeks ago I had a posting about a suddenly aggressive Oscar, and it was recommended that I re-home the aggressive one, which I did to a local pet shop - as I have no room for a bigger tank. My tank is a 70 US Gal. and I have 1 6"-8" 2 year old Oscar and a 8" Pleco. (* If you look at my photo album you can see the set-up as it is today) I am also using a AquaClear 110 for my filter.

After re-homing my aggressive Oscar, I vacuumed the gravel and did a 50% water change a week ago - along with changing the carbon in the filter. I added the tap water conditioner, some stress-zyme (to help with the damaged slime coat on the remaining Oscar) and a day later, some bacteria booster to help speed up the cycle.

Now today - one week later - I had a water test done at our local store, and everything came back perfect -- except for the Nitrates which were bright pink, and was told that was very high. They suggested that I stop feeding the Oscar, and I told them that since I removed the other Oscar, the remaining one, won't eat any more, and the 1/2 dozen feeder goldfish that I bought a week ago, are still there.

They then suggested that I do another 50% water change, add some aquarium salt, wait another week and then have the water re-tested to see if the Nitrate levels have settled down.

My question to you is -- is there anything else I should be doing to bring the Nitrate levels back down to normal, and could this be the reason why my remaining Oscar hasn't eaten since I removed the other one?
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  • MeanMrGene
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MeanMrGene replied the topic: High Nitrite level.

OK - now after looking around the other posts.... I see that there are Nitrites & Nitrates.... so now I really confused. All I can say is that the pet store owner did a test with two different strips. One had only one testing area, which turned a pale green -- and it was normal. The second strip he used had 4 or 5 testing areas, and they all came back normal (light blues, yellows and greens) - except for the one at the top that came out bright pink.

So I hope that helps distinguish which problem I have - either high Nitrites or Nitrates.

He also thought my problem could have been caused by over feeding if that helps too.

Sorry for being such a newbie.
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Big-Ken replied the topic: Re:Re: High Nitrite level.

Ok you have a few issues that are present we will start with the most pressing

1. Test strips are very inaccurate and with so many diffrent types there is no way to read your test without the color key, a proper liquid test kit such as api master freshwater kit is a MUST if you want to keep fish. Nitrates are harmful in large quanties ovet a long period Nitrites on the other hand are very dangerous at low levels and anything more than 0ppm is unacceptable. I reccomend you do a 75% wc ASAP and then head down to your LFS and get a liquid test kit and do every test and post the results.

2. Feeder fish are not good and should never be used. For one they are breed born and raised in highly overstocked tanks with little care they are typically parasite riddled and on the verge of death, they are also a very poor source of nutrition. The best thing you can do for your fish is to get them eating a high quality pellet such as hikari or NLS

3. Your tank is underfiltered, you should be turning over a minimum of 5x the total volume if your running a canister and 10x for hang on back filter (HOB) like yours. I would reccomend getting another ac110 or an emperor 400, I would also recommend rehoming the pleco as well. I know how it sounds stupid us telling you to get rid of all your fish with such a big tank but oscars are extremely messy fish and honestly anything under 90g is just the starting point for large CA/SA cichlids, if you insists on keeping the pleco you need to be doing no less than 2 75% water changes per week or you run the risk of your oscar developing hith.

In case you are unaware of what HITH is ill post a pic, its primary cause is long term exposure to high nitrates associated with overstocked tanks with insufficient water change frequency
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MetalHead88 replied the topic: Re:Re: High Nitrite level.

that is the reason that he hasnt eaten.

get a liquid test of your own - strips are not accurate.

did you clean your filter???! if so you may have actually destroyed the beneficial bacteria.

was water quality ever good???

also - also as ken had said, you may be under filtered.... mainly because of the pleco. they constantly eat and constantly poop.
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Firestorm8215 replied the topic: Re:Re: High Nitrite level.

One more thing , and I can't stress this enough...please , please , please , stop listening to the people at that pet store.

We can help you get this all under control.
A whole lot cheaper and with less damage to your tank and fish.

CLEAN WATER can fix so many problems.
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MetalHead88 replied the topic: Re:Re: High Nitrite level.

Firestorm8215 wrote: One more thing , and I can't stress this enough...please , please , please , stop listening to the people at that pet store.

We can help you get this all under control.
A whole lot cheaper and with less damage to your tank and fish.

CLEAN WATER can fix so many problems.


THIS. you MAY get good info from a locally owned fish store. theres one by me that is know for that. but 95% petco and other big name pet stores are just college and highschool kids trying to make some money... and really know nothing about fish keeping, ESPECIALLY water chemistry.

with my last visit to petsmart, the lady told me i couldnt add the rams and corys i was purchasing together..... when i asked her how many tanks she had, she said none. wtf?
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Firestorm8215 replied the topic: Re:Re: High Nitrite level.

I agree Metal. And if I felt the advice he got at the pet store he seems to use , was good advice I would have not suggested not listening to them.
But given that he has an under filtered tank and still not cycled and was told to do a 50% WC and then not perform another one for 7 days , I felt he was better off with our advice and ignoring them.

By all means...if you can locate a good LFS do take their advice.
But from having been here for a while and personal experience I learned the hard way that most are either not trained well enough or just want to make money by selling people stuff they dont need , or just waiting for their fish to die so they will come back and buy more fish. :(
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  • MeanMrGene
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MeanMrGene replied the topic: Re:Re: High Nitrite level.

Hey guys. Thanks for the advice. Even though I got my advice through our local store, the person I talked to is someone I know personally, and is a owner/breader of all kinds of fish himself - and was the one who turned me onto this site. In fact, he was doing this when I first met him on our job at GM. When he retired, he got a job at working at the pet shop to keep himself busy, and to look after their fish stock.

I see too that you said you don't like feeders for them. I have only been feeding them live comets once a week for the past 4 months or so. Other than that, they have been eating the large Cichlid Pellets from TOPFIN. My friend also recommended the frozen food, or meal worms... What are your thoughts on that?

I will be doing a water change / vacuuming tomorrow and was just curious too as to which chemicals/additives to add & in what order?

I usually add the tap water conditioner first, then wait about an hour for that to circulate before adding the "Cycle" additive and the waste control.

Thanks again, you guys have really opened my eyes to things I either wasn't told, or was told wrong information about.

:cheer:
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jmunroe replied the topic: Re:High Nitrite level.

No more feeder fish, they are bad. The worms and frozen stuff is ok. Don't add any other chemicals to the tank besides the water conditioner for water changes. Do minimum 50% water change at least once a week, add the conditioner (for entire tank volume) first then refill the tank from the tap making sure to have the temp as close to the same temp as the current tank. I use my hand to tell and never see a drop or increase in the tank. No need to use a thermometer trying to get it exact. Throw the cycle crap and the waste control crap in the garbage and never buy that useless waste of money junk again. I'm sure LFS will try to sell you that junk and more, but don't buy it. Do yourself a favour and get API freshwater master test kit. Test kit, water conditioner (if required), and fresh water are all you need.

Go do a water change - the solution to pollution is dilution.
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Suprd71 replied the topic: Re:High Nitrite level.

All good advice so far, if you follow thru, things should greatly improve. I would however suggest that while doing a water change and good vac, dont stop at 50%. Take the tank down till you basically reach the fish's back. Unplug filters and heater when they become high and dry, restart when your water level comes back up. I would do this twice a week, and not just while you are having issues, but forever. Then you shouldnt have any future issues!


I may not be the Boss, but I'm ALWAYS right!
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