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FAQs on Freshwater Quality involving Nitrites: Chemical Filtrants, Treatments   

Related Articles: Nitrites in Freshwater Aquariums, Nitrates in Freshwater Aquariums, Biological Filtration, Establishing Cycling, Freshwater Filtration, Know Your Filter Media, A Concise Guide to Your Options by Neale Monks, Setting up a Freshwater Aquarium, Tips for BeginnersWater Quality and Freshwater Aquariums

Related FAQs: Importance, Science, Measure, Sources, Control, Troubleshooting/Fixing, & Ammonia, FW Nitrates, Freshwater Nutrient Cycling, Establishing Cycling 1,

No such thing as an "all over cleaner" or a nitrite remover.  The only way to remove nitrates is with huge water changes or by adding Bio-Spira, to cycle the tank.  Do not let someone sell you any different product, claiming it will do the same thing

Be careful NOT to use water conditioners in the tank during establishing of cycling, as these will starve microbes

High Nitrites in FW Tank--Good Time to Add More Fish?  12/7/06 Okay Crew, I need some serious help! <Hi Ashley, I'll do my best!> I have a 55g tank, 14 "feeder" goldfish and now two small keyhole cichlids. <You were full-up with the goldfish.  In addition, GF require much cooler temps than the cichlids & carry many diseases tropical fish can't handle.> Before we put the cichlids in, the nitrites were already on their way up <Ummm... so you bought MORE fish?> and so we got some all over "cleaner" to get rid of it, since we can't seem to find just a nitrite remover. <No such thing as an "all over cleaner" or a nitrite remover.  The only way to remove nitrates is with huge water changes or by adding Bio-Spira, to cycle the tank.  Do not let someone sell you any different product, claiming it will do the same thing.> We've barely had the tank over a week and we're going to do a 50% water swap (I'd do more but I don't want to cause more stress on my poor fishies).   <Water changes done regularly, no matter how large (I do 80% weekly on all my FW tanks), will not stress your fish, as long as you use dechlorinator (I suggest Prime) & fill with the same temperature water.> Today was also the day we didn't feed the fish to allow for digestion as suggested and we're also considering giving some of the fish a "new bowl" to swim in as much as it breaks our hearts. <You can only keep either the GF or cichlids.  Not both together.> We don't want them all to die though. <Me either!> How often should the tank be cleaned?    <Most serious GF keepers, do 90% weekly water changes on their tanks, because they are messy, high-ammonia/waste producers.  Eventually, your GF will require 30g each, as they grow to around a foot.  They can also live 25+ years, if kept properly. What can we do! Can you get just nitrite remover? <Repeat after me, "The solution, to pollution is dilution!"   Please read this: http://www.thepufferforum.com/forum/library.php?p=9 Please help, the test strip says the nitrite's are at high stress - low danger, so please, please please, save my fish. <You are getting sleepy... you only hear the sound of my voice... you must do water changes... water changes... water changes... water changes... (I feel like a broken record.)  Please do yourself & your fish a favor & read all the articles in the Aqua Science & Water Filtration sections of that Library.  Great info there!  ~PP> Thanks so much, Ashley

High Nitrites  5/25/06 Hey guys, <Hi Matt, Pufferpunk here> My eel is doing well with the new finer gravel but problems are always somewhere.  My nitrites are high.   <Although nitrites are toxic at anything over 0, it is always nice to know exactly how high, when posting.> I have been using Nitra-Zorb (says it lowers ammonia, nitrite and nitrate) and I have put Cycle in my filter.   <Both total JUNK!  The only way to remove nitrites form your water at this point is with water changes and/or by adding Bio-Spira.  Cycle is like adding fish waste (dead bacteria) to your tank & will only make things worse!> I have also done frequent water changes over the last weekish (19 gallons of distilled water into a 29 gallon tank total). I'm doing a 4 gallon change tonight also but this just isn't working.  My nitrites haven't even slightly changed since I started these treatments; however my ammonia and nitrates are now good and holding at good.  I also know that it isn't my test kit because PetSmart confirmed it and I bought a new kit.  It doesn't make sense, shouldn't the bacteria be lowering the nitrite already even without Cycle (my tank has been running for about a month)?  How large would you say is the largest water change that I could do?   <If you have already been doing large water changes, you can do as much as 90% daily, if you wish (discus breeders do 100% daily).  You've got to get those nitrites down.  Are you cleaning the gravel, under & between decor?  How many fish are in there?  How big is the eel?  Your best bet is doing a huge water change & adding Bio-Spira to your filter, to fully cycle your tank & throw all that other junk out.  ~PP> Any help would be great. Thanks again, Matt

High Nitrites  5/26/06 Thanks for responding so quickly.  You guys are great!   My eel is a Striped Peacock about 7 inches long (I read they do fine in tanks as small as 10 gallons).   <Don't believe everything you read or hear from a LFS.  Peacocks generally stay small, around 5", so you may have one of the larger species.> I think I will do 50% - 75% change today and tomorrow or Sunday and again Monday or Tuesday, what do you think?  I have in the tank so far.... 2- Black Skirt Tetras 1- Common Plecostomus <Grow to 18"> 1- Rubber Lip Plecostomus 1- Upside down Cat (small, brown colored species) 1- Black Kuhli Loach 1- Powder Blue Dwarf Gourami 1- Fire Red Dwarf Gourami 2- Red Wag Platies 1- Dalmatian Mollie (getting rid of, too aggressive) 1-Pink Kissing Gourami (getting rid of, too aggressive) 1- Striped Peacock Eel. Oh, and yes I clean under all the decorations.  Also can you tell me if you think PetSmart or Petco would have Bio-Spira or am I going to need to order it. <I'm not sure.  More shops are stocking it now but you must be sure to buy from someone that can guarantee it has been kept refrigerated since it was made or the bacteria won't be viable.  I find these guys to be good: http://fishstoretn.com/bio_spira.html  ~PP> Thanks again, Matt

Getting Rid Of Nitrites  - 2/21/2006 Ok, sorry to bother you again, but my nitrites are still going nutty. I increased the gravel. I added a penguin filter with a bio wheel to attempt to increase bacterial growth. I didn't remove the old filter to keep any bacteria on it still in the tank. I've done no water changes. I've cut back on feeding to the point of almost starvation. Today I checked my levels and I'm at: 0ppm ammonia 2.0ppm nitrites I'm truly afraid to do a water change because I retested my tap water with the aquarium pharmaceuticals kit (instead of the Mardel strips) and found 1.0ppm ammonia in my tap water. < Probably testing the ammonia on the chloramines.> So, if I do a water change, I'm only adding ammonia back to the tank. Adding water with ammonia to a tank with fish that provide their own high levels of ammonia, I think I've overloaded my nitrifying bacteria which is why the tank won't cycle past the nitrite spike. Does that sound right? < If you have coarse gravel then there is not much surface area for the bacteria to live on. The Bio-wheel will help.> The  Out of desperation, I added Marineland White Diamond to the penguin filter at 4 tbls per 10gal (as directions said). I figured at this point, with my levels so high, it couldn't hurt. I have 5 gallons of tap water in another container being filtered with Marineland White Diamond and activated carbon (not Marineland) so I can hopefully remove all the ammonia from it and use that to do a water change. I've been running it about 24 hrs so far and it's only down to 0.5pm ammonia, so it's not ready to use for a water change yet. I have previously treated my tank water with Amquel+ to remove nitrites, but am not sure if I should do this again. If I do, it would be the third (or maybe fourth) treatment and I don't want to poison my fish. I also looked into a tap water filter from DrsFosterSmith.com ( http://www.drsfostersmith.com/Product/Prod_Display.cfm?pcatid=4484&N=2004+11 3775 ), which is supposed to make water safe for aquarium use. However, even if I do order this, it would take at least a few days to arrive, and at the rate I'm going, I could lose my fish by then. Is there anything I can do in the mean time to help this situation? And, have you had any experience with this tap water filter? I'm not sure if it would solve my problem or not. I've emailed DrsFosterSmith.com for their opinion on it, but they haven't gotten back to me yet. Also, my water is still ridiculously cloudy. I assume that's from the nitrites? Thanks so much! Amanda < Go to Marineland.com and check out Dr. Tim's Library. There you will find interesting and informative articles by a guy who got his PH.D. by studying this stuff. I think the Amquel Plus is tying up the nitrites and making them unavailable for the bacteria to break down, but they still read on the test kit. I would remove all the rocks and ornaments in the aquarium and then vacuum the gravel. Clean the filters and do a 50% water change. Add Bio-Spira from Marineland. It contains the bacteria that converts ammonia to nitrite and nitrite to nitrate. It will live fine on the Bio-wheel and take care of all of your problems. The filter you asked about removes everything from the water and is quickly exhausted. You do not need this.-Chuck>

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