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Author Topic: nitrite and nitrate levels  (Read 1569 times)
anne
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nitrite and nitrate levels
« on: March 31, 2010, 12:59:10 PM »

i have a 10 gallon tank that is cycling at the minute with a danio and a guppy in it ,,they 2 r getting rehomed to my mums when it has finished cycling,,i have an orando and 2 other small goldfish in 2 small tanks which i intend put into my 10 gallon tank,,i have lost a few fish because i didnt know about cycling(ignorant i know) anyway i tested the tank today ,it has been about 6 weeks since set up,,can someone explain these results to me                             NITRATE  10,,,,NITRITE  1,,,, Huh Huh Huh
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Mindemae
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Re: nitrite and nitrate levels
« Reply #1 on: March 31, 2010, 01:23:29 PM »

Well, when nitrates appear and nitrites are low then your tank is almost finished cycling.
Here is a bit of information on nitrites and nitrates:

Nitrites: (NO2) Nitrite in the water interferes with fish respiration and high levels can quickly lead to fish death.  Even a trace of nitrites can cause fish stress by suppressing the immune system.  This increases the chance of disease and death. In newly established aquariums nirites can spike up high and then will drop down to zero when cycling is complete. (4-6 weeks or longer)  In established aquariums the nitrite should be at 0 ppm.  The presense of nitrites in a cycled aquarium would indicate possible over feeding, overcrowding, or inadequate biological filtration.

Nitrates: (NO3)  The biological filter constantly produces nitrate in an aquarium.  A high nitrate level indicates a buildup of fish waste and organic compound, causing poor water quality which may cause disease of the fish.  Excessive nitrates can also cause an algae bloom (green water) to appear.  Maintaining a low nirate level will produce healthier fish.  A nitrate level of 40 ppm or less is recommended.

Partial water changes can help reduce nitrite levels.  API stresszyme (beneficial bacteria) can help reduce the nitrite levels by speeding up the cycling process.  Also aquarium salt will help reduce nitrite toxicity while the aquarium is cycling.

« Last Edit: March 31, 2010, 01:27:35 PM by Mindemae » Logged
annie
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Re: nitrite and nitrate levels
« Reply #2 on: March 31, 2010, 01:54:12 PM »

im glad to hear the cycling is almost done,,should i be doing small water changes everyday and how much and often should i use the aquarium salt,,im sorry for asking so much but i really do want to learn,,as i want to be able to give my finny friends the best i can,, and cant wait to get them out the small tanks and into my bigger one,,my orando loves space and she doesn't have  it in the small tank,,thanks so much for advising me on all of this,,i never thought caring for fish had all this to go with it,,but id really like to learn
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Nossie
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Re: nitrite and nitrate levels
« Reply #3 on: April 01, 2010, 02:52:55 AM »

I think now when your tank is almost cycled you could just start changing water about every second day or so, and very small amounts not to disturb the beneficial bacteria you have there (:
And aquarium salt should only be used when the nitrite is spiking, as this will help the fish get through safely as it lightens the osmotic pressure on the fish. But on a side-note, this is a quite paradoxal treatment as the salt slows down the working process of the bacteria that break down the nitrites.
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Mindemae
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Re: nitrite and nitrate levels
« Reply #4 on: April 01, 2010, 10:14:48 AM »

Anne,
Your tank is almost finished cycling so as not to disturb the bacteria and because both the nitrites and nitrates are so low , I wouldn't do any water changes at all but let it finish cycling.  If in the next week you see the nitrites are higher then go ahead and do a 10% change.
I add aquarium salt to my water at every water change.  Just remember that salt doesn't evaporate so you only want to add the amount that is appropriate to the amount of water you are adding after the water change.
To keep nitrites and nitrates at good levels make sure you don't just change the water but actually vacuum the gravel where most of the wastes will accumilate.
« Last Edit: April 01, 2010, 10:19:02 AM by Mindemae » Logged
Hanna
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Re: nitrite and nitrate levels
« Reply #5 on: April 13, 2010, 05:55:10 AM »

I did the regular waterchange yesterday, added water agar, algae control and salt, tested pH it was about 7,4. Cleaned the gravel and rinsed the plants in "old" water
This was in the morning. In the evening I noticed that Hepsibas belly which is normal a whitish colour was pinkish , so the root of her white tail fin and one vein visible in the tail.  Sad
I tested for ammonia ( 0-0.25ppm) Nitrate 0ppm and Nitrite about 20ppm ( tested with API Master Test Kit )
So nothing wrong with the water quality. Undecided
Humphrey may have only a tiny vein visible, it is hard to tell as his tail is orange. Undecided
Both fish behave very normal, eat, beg, dig the gravel, etc.
Today I might noticed -I am not sure- that Hepsibas belly may be a little bit rounder... Is she carrying eggs? Does this cause the pinkish colour where she normaally is white?

I gave melafix, just in case it is early stage of some sort of sickness.

What else should I do? Huh

I am grateful for every suggestion THANKS
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biffop
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Re: nitrite and nitrate levels
« Reply #6 on: April 13, 2010, 07:26:37 AM »

hi Hanna,

Your water seems ok from those readings. Red vein can be caused by high ammonia or nitrite, but it doesn't seem to be the case here. Usually whenever you see red veins or pinkish skin or reddish color showing up suddenly , you have to keep an eye out for some sort of bacterial infection. Septicemia is an internal bacterial infection and often causes those symtoms you described. Have a closer look at their gills also and see if gills are a reddish color or look different than normal. Melafix is good for an infection that is just beginning and hasn't taken hold yet, so it's not a bad idea to try and treat them just in case.  If the symptoms get worse or the fish stopped eating, you can try a stronger medicine like Maracyn-Two, but i would hold off on that medication for now and stick with Melafix. It's a good sign that they are still eating and behaving normally.

As far as carrying eggs, i think your goldfish are still a little too young to breed yet.
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Katarine
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Re: nitrite and nitrate levels
« Reply #7 on: April 13, 2010, 01:26:56 PM »

keep an eye on her, Hanna. Usually I hear "visible red vein" I think septicemia haha I dunno why. Maybe it's because that's one thing I can actually help with. If it gets any worse, let us know. though I think you're right in treating right away.

All the best! Smiley keep us updated
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Hanna
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Re: nitrite and nitrate levels
« Reply #8 on: April 14, 2010, 04:26:03 AM »

Thanks, Kat, thanks biffop
yes I am concerned about her Undecided, even if her behavoiur is very, very normal.
I rang Mooloolaba Aquarium today and they said, even if the water is so far ok, Ammonia between 0-0,25 ppm I should make 20% waterchanges every 2nd day, test, and treating with Melafix is a great thing. They also advised me to feed 1/2 the ammount I used to.
Normally I gave then food 2x per day as much as they can eat in 2min.
I mentioned that the water was pretty stirred up when I vacuumed it, it was yucky. This is a possibility that Hepsiba reacted like this, and as I already said I may have seen it in Humphrey too, but as he is orange it is hard to tell... you know they do not stand still for inspection Wink
I prepared the water tonight, will change tomorrow before I go to work ( I'll be on the late shift from 12:30 to 21:00 )

Should I use Pimafix too? Or give Stresszyme?

Will keep you updated

Thanks again guys for your support
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Nossie
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Re: nitrite and nitrate levels
« Reply #9 on: April 14, 2010, 12:23:51 PM »

A pink belly is not a good sign. It's probably some internal infection, so look out carefully if it turns red!
If you ask me, your nitrite levels seem to be quite high at 20 ppm and you should definitely change some water when this happens, because nitrite is very poisonous for fish and goes straight at the gills and immune system! (In severe cases it can even cause the fish to lose the ability to carry oxygen in its blood, the condition is called met-hemoglobinemia, and is recognized by brown gills.)
But then again, I am not completely certain of how you measure this in America...
Is your tank cycled yet? Just asking since there's both ammonia and nitrite in your water.

Finally, like biffop said, I encourage you to treat your fish with some melafix and just keep an eye on her if she gets better or worse. Like I said, pink belly is probably a sign of internal infection, so it might be good to separate her and start feeding her some medicated food...
Hope your fishie will get better soon! (:
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biffop
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Re: nitrite and nitrate levels
« Reply #10 on: April 14, 2010, 01:10:49 PM »

You're right Nossie. I think i misread Hanna's water test readings. Usually nitrate reading is listed last (ammonia, nitrite, nitrate).

Hanna, i hope that was a misprint on your water reading and you meant to list nitrite as 0ppm and nitrate at 20ppm . If your nitrite is really at 20 ppm , that is off the chart and would result in dead fish. If your nitrite is really at 20ppm i would do a complete water change asap in order to to lower the nitrite.
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Hanna
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Re: nitrite and nitrate levels
« Reply #11 on: April 14, 2010, 04:19:18 PM »

Hi guys, IT WAS A MISPRINT, I read the booklet again and it was Ammonia 0-0.25ppm, Nitrite 0ppm and Nitrate about 25ppm. Nitrate was the last test in this row where we need to add 2 kind of drops.
Tank should be cycled with those readings. pH is roughly 7.2
But before going to work I will go to Mooloolaba Aquarium and buy some medicated food and Pimafix... recalling Heps whitish poo last week (which was back to normal)

Lol, Nossie Wink not America, but Australia  Wink we read in ppm = mg/L
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Hanna
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Re: nitrite and nitrate levels
« Reply #12 on: April 14, 2010, 05:39:30 PM »

I just did the partial waterchange.
Water parameters are:   Ammonia 0ppm
                                        Nitrite  0ppm
                                        Nitrate 5ppm
                                        pH 7.4

When I filled the test tubes with water both fishies came up to my fingers and wanted to eat, and they inspected the jug when I took the water out for the change.

So I am pleased that they do NOT show any discomfort.
Heps belly still pinkish. I'll get ready now to go and buy medicated food and Pimafix, will feed when I'll be back and before going to work...( today I'm the one who does the late shift, Thursday late night trading.. plenty of patients booked in )
We'll get an undergravel filter too, will investigate today.
« Last Edit: April 14, 2010, 08:41:33 PM by Hanna » Logged
Hanna
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Re: nitrite and nitrate levels
« Reply #13 on: April 14, 2010, 08:45:11 PM »

Just came back from the aquarium, they do not sell medicated food, they think it is not available in pet stores here in Australia.
So we got Pimafix, another type of flakes ( colour enhancing ones, with algae ) and we bouoght an undergravel filter ( AU$ 25 )

The lady there meant the tiny red streaks and pinkish colour could be stress, no infection as long as they behave normal.

Now, where can stress come from???
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Katarine
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Re: nitrite and nitrate levels
« Reply #14 on: April 14, 2010, 09:11:54 PM »

stress can come from numerous things.. High ph and all that jazz, but as you've already stated thats pretty normal. Too many water changes, sudden movements, dipping yuor hands in the water and moving really fast, umm... using fragrances while the top of your aquarium in open (chemicals get in there and freak the fish out)..That's all I know.
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Nossie
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Re: nitrite and nitrate levels
« Reply #15 on: April 15, 2010, 02:34:09 AM »

Well, here we measure in ppm/mg/l as well, but I just thought that since you said that the nitrite levels were so high (off my chart too) I thought that maybe you measure it differently after all somehow. Your fish were alive in water that would've been lethal to any other fish after all :'D

For your info, stress is also lowering the immune system. They might mean that she got infected because of stress (But I don't trust people in pet stores much anymore. Except for one dude.) . So be very observant! If that pink on her belly won't go away, I'd really try separating her and treating her with some anitbiotics. And if this happens to be an internal infection, you're in a bit of a trouble, because you can't treat an internal infection externally. As in, if you can't find medicated food, you'd have to inject her with a small 25 gauge needle and a 1 cc syringe. But don't worry about injections until she starts showing any more serious symptoms! (Like lethargy, redder belly, clamped fins, swollen abdomen..) Is there a way to try finding some medicated food over internet? Try googling for some online pet shop!

Finally, I think she'll be fine as long as you take good care of the water quality and look closely at your fishes' behavior (: It's probably nothing serious after all! (:
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Hanna
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Re: nitrite and nitrate levels
« Reply #16 on: April 17, 2010, 05:42:47 AM »

Thanks Nossie
lol, yes, gee whiz, I put it the wrong way round Cheesy

I watch my babies every single day, how they behave, how they poo, how they eat Grin
And I agree... I do not trust everybody... tomorrow we go to the pet shop we got Hump and Hep from and will talk to them.

Hep still a bit pinkish, Hump is "dancing" around her and she is carrying on with him too, they would be a good pair ice skating  Cheesy I just imagine them having skates on their tail fins..."holding hands" with their pectoral fins...

At least they behave so very normal, I am pleased with that, BUT still observing!

I will google, too THANKS
« Last Edit: April 17, 2010, 05:44:59 AM by Hanna » Logged
Nossie
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Re: nitrite and nitrate levels
« Reply #17 on: April 17, 2010, 11:21:50 AM »

Good (: It might not be anything serious since no symptoms have shown for a pretty long time already.
I'm so glad that you care so much for them (: *sparkle*
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Hanna
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Re: nitrite and nitrate levels
« Reply #18 on: April 17, 2010, 03:05:16 PM »

Of course we do care, my hubby and I wanted them,so we bought them, gave them a nice home.
They are living little beauties and they are hungry and feel happiness or discomfort, they feel pain or they feel good like us humans. And we love them. Cheesy

... and beside this, I believe that animals are more honest to each other than some humans, and much more intelligent...
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Hanna
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Re: nitrite and nitrate levels
« Reply #19 on: April 18, 2010, 03:01:37 AM »

To keep you updated:
We've been to the pet shop today, the guy who is the "Fish Specialist" wasn't there, he's there only on Tuesdays, so I'll give him a tingle and will go there next week when I got one week off from work ( need to catch up with my studies too  Tongue  Wink ) But they meant it too, it can't be serious, otherwise Hump and Hep wouldn't behave so normal. I'll keep changing the water and perform regular tests.

We also bought that undergravel filter, we'll install it next week.
This means to empty the whole tank !!!  Roll Eyes So we'll need to put our babies in that big plastic container I normaly prepare the water with. I plan to  mix the prepared fresh water with the rest of the tank water, scoop Hump and Hep out and let them swim in that container for the time the tank is ready to be filled again.

ANY MORE SUGGESTIONS HOW TO DO THIS ?  Smiley
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Nossie
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Re: nitrite and nitrate levels
« Reply #20 on: April 18, 2010, 03:09:20 AM »

I use to keep at least 10 liters of the original tank water, and clean the gravel and all the equipment in another bucket of it. So that the bacteria will stay intact (:
But the tank itself can be cleaned in normal (or dechlorinated) tap water. I don't know if it's very rich of chlorine there in Australia, but here it's rather clean, so it's safe (:
It could be nice for your fish to have the air stone in the container for their comfort, and don't forget to cover it with a glass or some plastic, leaving some holes for the oxygen to get in. We don't want any fish on the floor :C (Happened at home when I was younger *sob*)

Other than that... well, guess you'll keep the tank standing over night (or even better, 24 hours) before adding your fish there so that the temperature can stabilize (:
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Hanna
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Re: nitrite and nitrate levels
« Reply #21 on: April 18, 2010, 03:17:16 AM »

Yes, to put the airstone in is not a problem, also the plants.

And I plan to stock up  the freshwater with the tankwater ( as if I do the 20% waterchange ) and put it back when the landscape is done.
The water here is pretty good too and soft, I also add water agar to neutralize any chemicals.

..... I seen a beautiful plant attached to a "broken" terracotta vase, not too big, just the ideal size to put in the tank but leave one rock out. The fishies could swimm through the hole without getting stuck.... costs $ 40 .....  Roll Eyes Also need a new Elodea, as this one  starts to get more and more transparent
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Nossie
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Re: nitrite and nitrate levels
« Reply #22 on: April 18, 2010, 06:31:10 AM »

Oh, one more thing! You could put some old tank water into the container too! (: It will make it less stressful for the fish that way, in case you didn't think of it yet Wink

But I don't think it would be very advisable to get anything with a hole in it... because your fish will still grow, and so they would probably get stuck in it at some point later... :'D It sounds really beautiful though, so you could always keep it there for a while (:
By the way, how big are these fishies of yours by now? (:

If your elodea is about to kick the bucket already it might be better to get some other kind of plant, because I don't think it will be as much of a pleasure to keep these plants as a waste of money having to buy new ones after a couple of weeks. Try asking in the pet shop for something suitable for goldfish that they won't eat! Cheesy And a more hardy plant is always nice to have (:
Did I tell you about that little anubias I have? Well, the other day when I was removing some gravel from the tank a few stones landed on those leaves and they didn't even bend o_o So maybe this one would be something for you? It doesn't grow higher than about 6-7cm but it spreads to the sides instead (: (And the leaves are small and cute)
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Nossie
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Re: nitrite and nitrate levels
« Reply #23 on: April 18, 2010, 11:54:33 AM »

Hanna! I just read one more thing! It's about undergravel filters.
I noticed that plants won't like it as it draws water through the substrate and through their roots. I haven't seen this mentioned before, but I thought it might be good to keep an eye on things (:
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Hanna
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Re: nitrite and nitrate levels
« Reply #24 on: April 18, 2010, 04:31:00 PM »

Thanks Nossie, this are really good views.

And this is what I planned to do, to mix old tankwater in that container.
And as I always prepare the fresh water one day before the waterchange i think it should be fine according to the temp  Wink

Hump and Hep are about 8 cm long and no more than 2 cm in height arround the belly region. Huphreys tail grew really nice and long, Heps tail is beautiful too but not as long and not such a pronounced V like Humps.

And yes you mentioned that anubias of yours, sounds really attractive can you post a pic of that one, please.

If this is the same I am thinking about, it could be the plant on that teracotta vase I've seen yesterday, and the hole is about 10 cm wide, lol  Wink
I will have a look what kinda plants they have got in their tanks at the pet shop and they use those undergravel filters too. I suppose that the draw can be adjusted?
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Nossie
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Re: nitrite and nitrate levels
« Reply #25 on: April 19, 2010, 02:22:20 AM »

Ah, you saw the plant on my tank pictures already I noticed (: And 10 cm sounds... like they'll fit through perfectly for a long time still Grin Maybe they would even enjoy it all their lives (:

I guess the strength of the filter can be adjusted, yes... depending on the air pump you buy. but you know that the idea with an undergravel filter is to suck the debris into the gravel so it will be removed during water changes as you clean the gravel.
But you could ask! Simply, that's usually the best way to get to know things (:
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Hanna
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Re: nitrite and nitrate levels
« Reply #26 on: April 19, 2010, 02:57:57 AM »

yes Nossie, it is gorgeous
and I can't wait to give that tank a new set up  Cheesy ...sometimes it is hard to be patient...  Grin
Hump and Hep will like it, I am sure
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