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Results 1 to 6 of 6
  1. #1

    Join Date
    Jun 2012

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    Default Help with nitrites please

    0 Not allowed!
    I have had my 16 gal tank running for probably close to 2 months now. I didn't really know anything about anything when it was given to me and was so excited to get it going the I didnt do the proper research. So I completely overstocked it before it was cycled, and some fish died withing the first 1-3 weeks. The rest seem to be doing well, active and eating and pooping.
    Anyway, I've been testing and doing water changes at least 2 times a week. About 1.5-2 weeks ago my ammonias were between 0-.5 , now they have dropped to 0. Now my nitrites have been 10 ppm for at least a week. I have been doing about 20% water changes every other day, but the levels don't really seem to change. Is this normal cycling? I was reading the cycling with fish article and in the beginning of it it says don't do any cleaning because it slows or stops the cycle, but later on it says do your water changes.
    So I'm alittle confused. Should I be doing water changes until I get my nitrites to a safe level , or just wait for the cycle to finish and hope my fish survive?

    Btw, it's a 16 gallon tank with a penguin filter and 1 dwarf gourami, 1 pepper Cory, 1 upside down catfish, 3 platties, 1 Molly, 2 guppies, and pleco.

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Saskatchewan, Canada

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    0 Not allowed!
    You need to do your water changes based on you test results, and not a rule of thumb linke 20% every other day. Just don't clean your filter. For example, if your nitrite were at 1ppm and you would like to lower them to 0.25ppm, you would need to do a 75% waterchange. Your nitrite and ammonia should not get above 0.5ppm (0.25ppm is better).

    I would suggest testing daily and completing water changes based on your test results

    We have areally good thread here that also explains how to cycle a tank with find in it. There is a link to it below in my sig. I'm not too sure if that was the one you were talking about or not
    If you take your time to do the research FIRST, you can successfully set-up and keep ANY type of aquarium with ease.
    "Not using a quarantine tank is like playing Russian roulette. Nobody wins the game, some people just get to play longer than others." - Anthony Calfo
    Fishless Cycle Cycling with Fish Marine Aquarium Info [URL=""]

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Norwich, UK

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    Thanks for advice on my Betta! - lahlumdi   


    0 Not allowed!
    Big Gulp, check your tap water ammonia after dechlorinating and tap water nitrite, which could be part of your problem.

    Regarding what you read about not touching the tank, as Cliff says, is not true. I recommend that you keep your ammonia and nitrite as close to 0 ppm as possible and never let either reach 0.25 ppm. In other words, do water changes before it is 0.25 ppm because even undetectable amounts are enough to cycle the filter. True, this will take longer, but if you let ammonia rise, then the fish will be harmed in the long term and this will cause problems later on for you. Nitrite converts haemoglobin to methaemoglobin which cannot carry oxygen, so at higher nitrite concentrations, the fish (in effect) cannot breath.

    So the short answer is "yes", do water changes.

    In the long term, do research your existing fish. I hope that you will decide that peppered Corys are too large for your tank and will chose to go for a nice school of dwarf Corys. You should also find that the molly, the upside down cat and possibly the pleco will also grow too large for your tank.. or maybe you will just chose to upgrade to a bigger tank ;)
    stock list | main display tank | 60 litre Asian bio-tope (ex- guide for beginners) | Flickr

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Cadillac, MI

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    0 Not allowed!
    Once nitrites spike, it can take a couple weeks for it to drop to 0 but you job is to keep the tank safe until then for your livestock. Definately do those water changes and larger one.

    With a small tank you most likely have a small filter and you have overstocked that small tank. Those small filters have a very small space for growing bacteria and you may continue to have ammonia spikes if you don't lighten up your stock list.

    Bacteria is not in the water but in the filter. You can change as much water and as often as you wish.

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Dec 2010

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    Welcome back! - Slaphppy7   


    0 Not allowed!
    Now that your ammonia is 0, You should change as much water as necessary to get your nitrites to 0 - with an overstocked tank, we're talking at least 50% at a time.

    The pleco alone will produce lots of waste and you will need to vacuum your substrate regularly (like once a week) to get poop out of there. It's also helpful to feed the fish just enough so there are no leftovers because leftover food will rot and produce ammonia - a small filter, like Lady Hobbs mentioned won't be able to handle the excess ammonia.

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Jan 2012

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    0 Not allowed!
    I would definitely recommend getting rid of a few of your fish to lighten the load. You will thank yourself for doing it because it will keep the nitrites down in your tank and mean you can do smaller water changes instead of having to do 50-75% every day.

    Just hang in there and keep doing water changes. It will all pay off when your tank is fully cycled.

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