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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a 60 gallon tank, running for about a year now. Last month or so the fish have been flicking against the sand. *** ran water tests and their is about 0.3mg/l of nitrites present in the water (I changed one of the foam filter pads a few days ago). I am pretty sure its not ich as none of the fish have any specks or slime on them etc. I've raised temp a degree to 27C just to help a little. *** been reading that salt added can help with flicking and general health as well as bringing the water hardness up...is this true? Also if it is what kind of salt is best? Marine salt? API salt? Simple table salt? Thanks

Ps fish include yellow labs and moori etc.
 

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NaCl can be irritating to the fish's skin so if they are already irritated by nitrite I would not also add salt. Better just to get rid of the nitrite.

It can be used to treat ich. The ich treatment is a combination of heat and salt with the heat being primary and it works by speeding up the life cycle of the ich organism.

There is a great deal of debate about the value and/or harm of using NaCl in your aquarium all the time...I'll just say I don't do it. :lol:

If you want a salt to raise hardness, look into epsom salts.
 

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I'd say what you're seeing is symptomatic of nitrite poisoning. The nitrite spike was probably from the filter changes.

I've been reading that salt added can help with crazy and general health
Old aquarium keeper myth. I wouldn't dump salt in as a preventative or to help with erratic swimming behavior.

Nitrite spikes shouldn't happen on a year old setup, but we'd need a lot more info/history on the tank to determine why it happened now, like tank size, filters, water changes, feeding, and any maintenance routines done recently other than the filter media change.

To detox the nitrite look into water conditioners like Prime. I'm not sure what's available to you. And do water changes to keep the ntirite levels in check.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Well, the tank is about 60 gallon, about 50"long. Its had a fluval u3 filter in since I first started the tank, and I've just installed a new fluval 3plus filter 2 days ago as I'm planning on adding some more cichlids to it soon. However, I've been using API proper ph 8.2 since saturday as my water hardness has dropped down to about 3 degree dH. I also did a water change on thursday, and usually do 15-20% every 2 weeks. I havent been feeding them anything differently- flakes and pellets. Would it be ok to do another water change now to get the nitrite levels down, having only done a water change a few days ago, and having just replaced some filter media? Also, im not too keen on using chemicals like API ph8.2 in my tank- whats best for keeping water hardness up? Crushed coral? If so do you know where I could buy some online as my lfs doesnt have any. *** added some ocean rock, but only a kg or so, and hardness only seems to be rising when Proper PH is added.
 

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Nice spambot above, or google translate user.
Crushed coral works well (sometimes referred to as Aragonite).
Go ahead with your water change.
 

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+1 on water change
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Ok I carried out about a 15% water change, tested water a few hours later and not much change to nitrite levels (not sure if the change should happen instantly after w/c or longer?) I should be washing a foam filter pad today (done weekly usually) but dont fancy losing any bacteria at all at the moment so will leave this for another week or so. Should I leave the tank for a week, see how it goes, or would you recommend more water changes? Also, does the water actually contain any beneficial bacteria? Or is it only found on surfaces (eg filter media etc)?- ie does changing the water effect bacteria levels or anything else (apart from the obvious things such as ph, temp, hardness), and assuming tap water parameters match tank water parameters could I carry out water changes daily without harming my fish? Thanks again... I really appreciate everyones time and help!!
 

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A 15% water change will immediately reduce your nitrites by 15%. This means you now have 0.2 something nitrites per litre - still a lot. Get on those water changes, do several more 15% changes untill you've changed 2/3rds of the water at least. Give it an hour or so between changes, so you don't shock the fish.

Remember your good quality dechlorinator! :thumb:
 

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What are your nitrite and nitrate levels now?
Unless I'm mistaken, 0.3mg/l is three tenths of one ppm which would barely register.
 

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I'm pretty sure Stryda means ppm - check your test kit's information thingy?
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Nope its a Laborett Tetratest kit- it definitely says mg/l. It also says "Aquaria with an effective filtration system have nitrite contents of 0.3mg/l or lower. In the long term the nitrite content should not exceed 0.8mg/l because it can be dangerous to fish". Going by this, my 0.3mg/l reading doesnt sound too bad...and if thats the case...would that mean the cause of my fish flicking is not from high nitrites?
 

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I am stumped because the US test kits are expressed in terms of parts per million or ppm. I did see one website saying that 1ppm is roughly equivalent to 1mg/l.

And our test kits show a zero reading.

Sounds like your test kit cannot possibly show zero.

All I can tell you is that my fish act crazy when the nitrite is as low as 0.05ppm. So if your reading is 0.03ppm then I would still want to get rid of it.

If you have no other causes to investigate, I'd probably try another test kit. I use API but I don't know what is available in the UK.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
thanks for the advice, also...if i was to put salt into my cichlid tank what kind is most often used/recommended?
Table salt? SeaChem? Instant ocean?
 

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Depends on why you are putting it in. For example to treat ich you would use NaCl. For a laxative, you would use epsom salts. For hardness and pH you would use baking soda or cichlid salts.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Excellent. Ideally I could do with some to help with them flicking, assuming the cause isnt high nitrite levels, but my KH is at about 4 so I could do with some cichlid salt then for that too.
 
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If you want to adjust your hardness up, use baking soda. I use it for my Tropheus.

Do you use a dechlorinator when you go water changes? If not, I recommend Prime. You never know what is in your water unless you call the water company.

Make sure you mix up your sand once in a while to release any gases that are trapped beneath.

Also, I would recommend going out and get some of the other tests....nitrate, ammonia, PH. Always good to have them handy.

Good Luck
 

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1 mg/l is equivelant to 1 ppm....so 0.3mg/l would measure somewhere between .25 and .5 ppm on my API color chart card and I would be flipping out. 15% water change every two weeks is NOT sufficient. That is roughly 4 1/2 gallons a week in a 60 gallon tank. Hardly a dent, I loose more water due to evaporation. Up your water changes to 40/50% weekly or at a minimum every two weeks and you will be fine. Clean water + proper diet = healthy fish. The simple formula to fish keeping.
 
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