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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So out of the blue(no pun intended) my water completely my nitrate/nitrites spike, amonia is obviously low/unreadable. I have a 150 gallon tank with a marineland 400 and, 2 550gph powerheads and maybe 20 fish in there, I've already lost two, and since then changed about about a total of about 50 gallons of water and my levels are still on the far right.

Any advice?
 

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Ammonia=0 is good. Nitrate spiking can easily be fixed by water changes...I'd do at least 50% at a time and sometimes I do 90%. Be sure to match parameters exactly.

The nitrite is really the critical problem. What is the reading? 0.5? 1.0?

You can cut it in half with a 50% water change. Do you have any other established tanks? If yes you could add filter media from an established tank to restart your bacteria colony.
 

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Any advice?
Sopunds like you have a nitrite spike? Hard to understand your post. If so, then continue the heavy water changes, then evaluate filtration, filtration maintenace, feeding and stocking level. One HOB probably isn't going to do at all for biofiltration on a tank that size. I'd look into adding a canister packed with biomedia of some type, and soon. Take a piece of the filter pad from the HOB and load it into the mechanical filter media area of the canister to seed it.

What types of fish and what sizes?

What do you feed, how much, how often?

Your pH may have crashed or may crash soon. I'd suggest testing both tap and tank for pH and KH. You may not be able to match parameters before doing the water changes. But, you have to ask what's more dangerous to the fish right now, a change in pH or the nitrite. If they handled the 50 gallon change, do another, and keep doing them until you get levels down.

What is nitrite reading?

Have the fish been gasping at the surface?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Sorry I was 1/2 asleep when I posted that happened to wake up in the middle of the night and walk by the tank and noticed dead fish so I did a water test and posted.

right on the spot I did a 30% water change, in the process of doing about a 60-70% water change woke up to 4 more dead fish.

I feed new life spectrum cichlid formula

I have and not positive about the #'s anymore

5 acei
5 yellow labs
7 demonsi
2 socolofi(they've been biting it hard since this started)
5 Metriaclima
and 4 chinese algae eaters.

I've seen 2-3 hanging around within 2~3 inchs of the surface, but no gulping air.

Was in middle of stocking the tank due to my lfs not having what I want I've had to pick and peice from shows/local breeders/online.

Thanks again guys!
 

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What are you using to test nitrite? Is that truly 50ppm? If it is, and fish are dying off, then a couple of 80-90% water changes are in order for today.

Did you do any filter maintenance in the days before the spike?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
ya I had done it yesterday morning I had added some crushed coral into a filter box on each side, my guess is that is the cause and it has since been removed
 

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niktam said:
ya I had done it yesterday morning I had added some crushed coral into a filter box on each side, my guess is that is the cause and it has since been removed
Did you remove other media to make room for it? If so, then that's definitely it. The crushed coral itself wouldn't cause the spike, but removing other media might.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
No it has two "slots" for right now I did over the last 24 hours prolly a 100%+ water change, and I have vacced out the tank twice. and cut back on how much food I put in the tank, the nitrite's are WAY down to about 20ppm, and nitrates are down to about 4.5ppm so Hopefully the crisis has been averted and I can now take steps to prevent it from happening, in the meantime I've dialed up the waterheads to help with overall watermovement.

So in essence there is no reason why I cannot put the coral back into the filter?

Thanks for the help guys
 

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So in essence there is no reason why I cannot put the coral back into the filter?
No, no reason, but something disrupted your biofiltration if your test readings are accurate. Be careful not to disrupt anything when adding the crushed coral. I probably would leave it alone until you get the nitrite under control, meaning 0. And I still think you'll eventually need to add another filter. Maybe add the crushed coral to that. As the fish grow, the tendency to continue to see spikes grows. Is your ph/KH low, is that why you're adding the crushed coral?

I have to question the nitrite reading. 20ppm is still sky high, even though it may be way down. What test kit are you using?
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Quick Dip, I live a far ways away from any pet stores, So I need to schedule a trip to get new actual liquid test set.
 

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I also question the validity of the nitrite reading. I didn't even think aquarium tests measured that high. On the API liquid drop nitrite test, the highest reading is 5ppm. It doesn't even take that much to start killing fish.
 

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I think maybe the readings are backwards?
nitrite's are WAY down to about 20ppm, and nitrates are down to about 4.5ppm
Should it be nitrite are 4.5 and nitrates are 20?

Even 0.5ppm of nitrite has my fish gasping. Good that it is going down though. :thumb:
 

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Nitrites of 4.5ppm are still a pretty big crisis for your fish. I would do or continue to do those couple of 80% to 90% water changes prov mentioned.

Once your nitrites are under 0.5ppm I'd say the crisis was averted...and then I would test daily to make sure they continue to go down until they stay at zero.

Nitrites can cause permanent damage to your fish. I had a spike once and it took a week after nitrites were back to zero for the fish to act normally. But down the road if you have unexplained illnesses this spike might be part of the reason.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Still doing liberal water changes and levels are slowing going down, spoke with my uncle whose been keeping fish for over 30 years, and he is puzzled over the entire thing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Update: still nitrate/nitrite levels reading way higher than they should be, I've been doing very regular water changes to the point where I am starting to get worried about a ph crash. I threw some amquel in the tank to try prevent A total tank crash. Fish are back to acting normal.

As a side note I've also read the readings on the tap water and they are ideal in the realm of nitrate And nitrites.

So my plan is to keep up 20-30% water changes daily until the readings drop to an acceptable limit. I've noted a slight dip but still way HIGHER than I think it should be, still puzzling how this happened I definitely don't understand how this happened, I had maybe 40 incus of fish in there and between the two sponges and HOB shouldn't have been overdone .

Anyways will keep you all Informed, till then wish me luck!
 

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Does your test kit have a separate reading for nitrite? Because nitrate fish can tolerate, but nitrite they really can't. And if you remove 50% of your water, the nitrite should decrease by 50%.

Also since nitrite is so dangerous, why not do a 90% change and get rid of it all? You can treat the replacement water so it matches the original water exactly for pH, etc.
 
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