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 Nitrite level spiking! How do i minimise it quickly and effectively?

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Dominic
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PostSubject: Nitrite level spiking! How do i minimise it quickly and effectively?   Thu Oct 14, 2010 3:00 pm

Hello all Smile

Unfortunately, i have high nitrite levels in my tank according to the water test done at the local aquarium (i don't have the proper testing equipment yet Sad ).

He recommended more frequent water changes, and considering my tank has been running for only 3 weeks now he thinks that the 'good' bacteria has yet to establish itself. I'm also not familiar with the concept of the 'water cycle' in a tank. Could anyone help with this because he mentioned something about the cycling progress being prolonged due to over feeding or over crowding of the tank.

I have a 3ft tank with the following fish:
- 2x Juvenile Albino L/F BN
- 2x Juvenile Common L/F BN
- 2x Juvenile Common BN
- 1x Juvenile Albino BN
- 1x Juvenile King Tiger Pleco
- 2x Rummy Nose Tetras
- 4x Whitecloud minnows
- Colony of Red Cherry Shrimps
- Colony of Trumpet Snails (20+)

I purchased the trumpet snails and shrimps because i was told they're effective in cleaning up any uneaten food which hopefully in turn, would slowly bring the nitrite levels down. I've also reduced the amount of times i feed the fish from once a day to once every 2 days. I also purchased a gravel cleaner, which i use with the frequent water changes. I've been doing two 20% water changes a week,although i only started with the water changes this week. I have a few water plants which I bought when i was first setting up the tank and added a few more this week for the shrimps. Problem with the gravel cleaner is that i don't want to upset the roots if they've established themselves so i can only clean about 50% of the gravel. Is this still enough? I've also been adding prime with every water change.

If there is anything else i can do to reduce the nitrite levels FASTER can you please let me now?

Many thanks and kind regards,

Dom
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PostSubject: ohhh my you really do need help...   Thu Oct 14, 2010 7:22 pm

more frequent wanter changes is a must right now, as your tank appears over stocked far too soon
before it was fully cycled.

your main species while they are cleaning the tank will produce vast amounts of waste too....

I am short of time right now, though you may wish to type in cycle in search above,
also you may wish to read through the tank, and filter part of the forum as alot of good information is there....

will try to help you more shortly when I get back to the pc...

in the meantime I am sure - Moo, Doug, Curby or one of the other regulars acan help....

good luck....

LJ
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Doug
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PostSubject: Re: Nitrite level spiking! How do i minimise it quickly and effectively?   Thu Oct 14, 2010 11:40 pm

You bought trumpet snails Shocked

The person who sold you them should be hung drawn and quartered!! Evil or Very Mad

If I was you I would be getting them out of the tank ASAP!! The woes that those damn things have caused me are too great to mention! Still have a constant battle against them in several of my tanks...I nuked one with bleach the other week cos I couldnt take it any more!

Anyway, back onto the topic. Your tank was stocked too early. After three weeks i would be considering starting to stock the tank. I would have had maybe one or two fish in there after about a week, and then waited for 3-4 weeks for the tank to cycle. then started stocking it.

Don't worry tho, you are not alone. Fish shops do this all the time. The way it works is that they sell you the fish straight away. the fish die because the tank wasnt properly cycled, the dead fish seriously speed up the cycle, you go back and buy new fish. Double fish sales...its criminal IMO Evil or Very Mad

The fact that you have not lost any fish is a testimony to your dedication and skills as a fish keeper Smile

In terms of what to do...

1) loose the snails! they only add to the bio load in the tank and will become a major hastle in time to come.

2) Grab something to help the cycle along. There are lots of products for this, essentially its good bacteria in a bottle or powder. this will help the cycle complete.

3) If there is no ammonia in the water then i would do some more frequesnt water changes, not larger ones as this will slow the cycling process. maybe 20% every other day for a week. then settle back to a normal weekly change. If there is ammonia then this become more tricky, but i think still keeping with the water changes is good thing at the moment.

4) how large is the tank? Because there are a fair few bristlenose in there and the nitrate level will be hard to keep down if the tank is over crowded.

5) get you own test kits. firstly, i dont trust some fish shops as they lie about the results. and secondly, you can keep track of the levels easier.

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PostSubject: Re: Nitrite level spiking! How do i minimise it quickly and effectively?   Fri Oct 15, 2010 3:16 am

I agree with Doug, specially about those snails, any others are acceptable but not those ones,
If you can get them out ,OMG... get them out NOW..That lfs man was doing well telling you all the right things untill he sold you those...
as for the rest of Doug's answer , right on Doug....
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Dominic
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PostSubject: Re: Nitrite level spiking! How do i minimise it quickly and effectively?   Fri Oct 15, 2010 5:13 am

Thank you all very much for your help!

Haha i never thought the trumpet snails would be such a nuisance Sad And all the information other than the fact that trumpet snails are good for the tank was supplied by my LFS. The trumpet snails were purchased from a private breeder who i bought my L/F's from. Anyhow, i'm frantically turning the gravel around looking for them! They've been granted the favourable characteristics of camouflaging within darker coloured gravel :P lol

I'm still hanging in there, throwing in half a cap of prime with a full cap of stability to try get those helpful bacteria up!! My common S/F BN are becoming slightly discoloured and patchy. Is this related to the nitrite poisoning? They've been in the tank the longest so far, along with the whiteclouds and tetras.

The tank is 3ft long 45cm high and 36cm deep. But once i can determine the sex of the BN i will start a second tank to get the male to female ratio right. Does the sound good? (as long as i make it through this nitrite spike with the first tank!!)

Doug, I will purchase the testing kit tomorrow as i was short about $10 today (they're a bit dear lol)

Many thanks Mooo, Doug and LJ Very Happy

Lets hope there are no fatalities Sad I will be extremely upset!

Kind reagrds
Dom
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Doug
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PostSubject: Re: Nitrite level spiking! How do i minimise it quickly and effectively?   Fri Oct 15, 2010 6:38 am

Sounds like you have it all in hand mate!

Good job cheers

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PostSubject: Re: Nitrite level spiking! How do i minimise it quickly and effectively?   Fri Oct 15, 2010 11:43 pm

its so so tempting to throw loads of fish in before the tanks ready am sure we have all been guilty of this at some time
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Dominic
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PostSubject: Re: Nitrite level spiking! How do i minimise it quickly and effectively?   Sat Oct 16, 2010 5:33 am

It is VERY tempting!! I had no idea that fish were suppose to gradually be put in the tank when it's first set up. It's funny though, the LFS guy implies that it's not good but they never stopped me from adding fish to the bag lol!

Anyway, good news, i bought my testing kit and my nitrite level is slowly coming down! After Prime and Stability being added to the tank, the nitrite levels are about 1 bar off normal after an hour of it's application Smile

I'm still on top of it all and my common BN have lost their patches and regained there normal colour! Smile
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PostSubject: Re: Nitrite level spiking! How do i minimise it quickly and effectively?   Sat Oct 16, 2010 11:45 am

Sadly good LFS that enquire about how long your tank has been set up and stocking levels are few and far between.
Even the best can sometimes overlook this at busy times.
Glad to hear your getting on top of it now Good Job and hopefully won't suffer the fate of many new fishkeepers who give up when all the fish die.
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PostSubject: Re: Nitrite level spiking! How do i minimise it quickly and effectively?   Mon Oct 18, 2010 4:24 pm

If you still have the snail (problem) I know that clown loaches love to munch a snail.. although as other have said you tank looks pretty full, and they also can grow to a fair size.
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PostSubject: Re: Nitrite level spiking! How do i minimise it quickly and effectively?   Mon Oct 18, 2010 6:14 pm

There's a notice in my LFS - a well known one - that says a tank must be set up for a week before adding fish affraid
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PostSubject: wow at last part sense..lol   Mon Oct 18, 2010 6:38 pm

now at least they have week right....

though would say 2-3 myself depending on set up etc, but I always do edge on the side of caution when setting tanks up...

about time a LFS was heading in the right direction Smile

by the way... \I was never guilty of adding fish too soon....
was introduced to fosh the right way thru help from my dad Smile who was an experience cold water fish keeper and koi breeder Smile

regards

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PostSubject: Re: Nitrite level spiking! How do i minimise it quickly and effectively?   Tue Oct 19, 2010 1:38 am

Its the difference between a good fish shop and a bad fish shop.

The good ones will sell the tank and then go through the cycling procedure, bad ones will sell fish straight away. I have actually been in shops, overheard sales people talking to customers and butted in saying they are wrong.

Oh, and clown loaches are useless against trumpet snails Sad thats why they are the worst snail ever, there is no biological control, you have to go chemical Sad

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PostSubject: Re: Nitrite level spiking! How do i minimise it quickly and effectively?   Tue Oct 19, 2010 12:17 pm

There are many other threads discussing how to rid a tank on snails. I was advised to get some clown loaches to help me with my snail problem but they didnt really help. Only one of my loaches actively searched for the snails but even he got lazy. I would certainly take Dougs advice and loose then snails. Why not try to sell them back to the place you get them, if they were happy to sell you them they should at least give you store credit. If they use the "they arent worth much" defence, you can ask them why they see them fit to sell in the fist place.
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PostSubject: Re: Nitrite level spiking! How do i minimise it quickly and effectively?   Tue Oct 19, 2010 3:15 pm

thanks again for all the helpful posts Smile

Unfortunately i have lost one of my tetras and whitecloud. Funny thing is, they didn't die from the nitrite level Sad i found the tetra stuck behind the filter, where one of my baby bn normally hides, and the whitecloud has vanished from the tank with absolutely no sign of it's existence! I still can not find it in the tank! Could the shrimps or other fish have gotten to it overnight if it did suffer a fatality?
For the snail problem, it appears that i may have 2 types of snails, unless they change their shells? One of their shells looks like a trumpet, and the other is more of a cone shape.
I wish i could refund them but i bought them from a private dealer and i don't think he would be willing to do so Sad
Nitrite level at the moment is pretty stable (finally).

Many thanks,
Dom Smile

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PostSubject: time to pick snails out then ;-)   Tue Oct 19, 2010 6:58 pm

snails is open for debate like most things...

I used to hate assassin snails and trumpet snails in my tanks.

I prefer mystery snails, they are alot easier to keep and isolate I find.

I have a couple of mystery snails in my tanks and they have been breeding recently...
just keep watching for eggs and shells and remove them before they become out of hand if need be Smile
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PostSubject: Re: Nitrite level spiking! How do i minimise it quickly and effectively?   Wed Oct 27, 2010 2:47 pm

Just wanted to quickly add that I bought a Kuhli Loach today and put it in my tank.

As soon as it got comfy I don't think I've ever seen a fish prey on snails like a Kuhli Loach. I know there were a few posts on loaches having a poor biological affect on trumpet snails but this little guy was like a kid in a candy shop! I hope it stays motivated to keep snacking on the snails!
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PostSubject: Re: Nitrite level spiking! How do i minimise it quickly and effectively?   Wed Oct 27, 2010 11:35 pm

Hey Dominic,

Are you refering to these snails?



and the Khuli loaches are eating them?

PLEASE SAY YES!!!!

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PostSubject: Re: Nitrite level spiking! How do i minimise it quickly and effectively?   Thu Oct 28, 2010 5:04 pm

hey doug Smile

The snails i have in my tank are predominantely trumpet snails but i have seen a few of those cone shaped snails which i suspect smuggled themselves in with the anubias log i bought!

To be honest, i've only seen the khuli (sorry for the incorrect spelling before) loach eat the trumpet snails BUT i have watched the way it eats the snails and it basically rips them out of their shell. In saying that, i found 3 empty cone shaped shells this morning when i was feeding my fish. If they swap shells then that may be a possibility, i'm not sure but that was the first time i had seen it empty. It may be in correlation with the introduction of the loach or it may just be a coincidence, and i haven't noticed it before.

Sorry i couldn't be more specific but if i witness the loach dining on a cone shaped snail i will post you asap!

Kind regards,
Dom


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PostSubject: Re: Nitrite level spiking! How do i minimise it quickly and effectively?   Fri Oct 29, 2010 2:43 am

the snails in the pic are trumpet snails

Keep an eye on it as if you notice a reduction in snail numbers i'm so getting so khulis Smile

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PostSubject: Re: Nitrite level spiking! How do i minimise it quickly and effectively?   Thu Nov 11, 2010 12:28 am

Been watching this thread , and making loads of oooing n arhhing and sighing noises...Hubby asks what was wrong lol
Answer ..another lfs telling lies...Drives me wild...
You do seem to be on top of it now, The missing fish would have been eaten...
You won't get better advice than Doug...soon you will be a Doug addict too... Smile
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PostSubject: khuli loach eating snail's ......   Thu Nov 11, 2010 1:29 am

khuli loaches are ace for eating snails I have found in the past.

though Yoyo loaches can be good too, just be careful as they can sometimes eat the shell by mistake and when they do it can cause their stomach to explode.....

long live the snail eating loach on trumpets an ram horn's Smile
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PostSubject: Re: Nitrite level spiking! How do i minimise it quickly and effectively?   Thu Nov 11, 2010 2:26 am

You dont mention which filter or filters you have running this tank maybe they are underperforming ???
I always have 2 filters running my tanks both capable of running the tank on there own one for back up
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PostSubject: filters two by two just like me .. :)   Thu Nov 11, 2010 2:55 am

graham26 wrote:
You dont mention which filter or filters you have running this tank maybe they are underperforming ???
I always have 2 filters running my tanks both capable of running the tank on there own one for back up

good advice their Graham....

I always try to keep two in my Bristlenose aquariums. that way always a spare if one goes down, and always another to cycle up a new tank more quickly too Smile
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