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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a 30g tank with 2 Marineland 200 filters (200 gph each filter) with ammocarb in the media slot. I have 5 cichlids (2 SA and 3 Africans) my tank has been set up for about 3 months with the same fish the entire time and have had no problems. Two days ago I did a water change and checked my water and my nitrite levels are about 3.0 and my nitrate levels are safe at about .2. My ammonia levels are safe as well. I have been doing daily changes to try and lower the nitrite level and bought some Microbe-Lift Nite-out II. I just checked my levels again today and they are the same. What else can I do to lower the nitrite levels. Up until the levels were high I did weekly changes of about 5% and have never had this problem. I have no live plants and am using gravel as a substrate.
 

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Wow....3 is really high for nitrite. Also 5% water changes are nothing. You should be doing more like 40%-50%. Might not hurt to do 70% right now with levels that high. Use prime (or a product like it) during water changes to help out.

If you know anyone else with an established tank or can go to the LFS and try and buy some media from an established tank it will help your tank finish cycling. If you dont do that then you'll have to do tons of water changes and eventually it should settle out.

Also .2 nitrate??? not sure how you could even measure this low...10-20ppm nitrate is a good target for keeping your tank at.
 

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Did you change the ammocarb cartridges two days ago when you did the water change? That could be the problem. The bacteria that process the waste establish themselves on the ammocarb cartridge. These cartidges probably have a higher concentration of bacteria than anywhere else in the tank because they are in the high flow area of the filter and constantly have water passing through them. When you replace the cartridge you lose a large part of your bacteria colony. The thing I did with the cartridges in my Penguin 350 was too cut open the cartridge at the top and pour out the carbon. Then I stuffed a filter sponge in where the carbon used to be. You could use filter floss or pot scrubbies instead of sponge.
 

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That's odd your nitrites are high. I would expect nitrates, but not nitrites. Means the ammonia is being converted, but not the nitrites. Nite-Out II doesn't detoxify nitrites, it has strains of bio bacteria to help out with your cycle, you shouldn't expect to see immediate results with that. If you want to dose for nitrites, try something like Prime or AmQuel Plus.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for the replies, I did make a mistake my nitrate is 20 not 2.0. The nite-out I bought says specially formulated for rapid ammonia and nitrite reduction, what should I be looking for when I buy a new formula? I put the ammocarb in about a week ago in a filter bag and placed it into the media slot behind the filter. I will try doing another water change today but last night I did almost a 60% change because I was hoping to quickly reduce the problem.
 

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chlh said:
The nite-out I bought says specially formulated for rapid ammonia and nitrite reduction, what should I be looking for when I buy a new formula?
I'm not familiar with the product, just read up on the MFR site about it. Sounded like a bio additive and not a detox, but I could be wrong.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Are water changes bad if I do them too often. Will I be okay to do another one today being I did one yesterday of almost 60%?
 

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You also might want to test the tap water straight out of the faucet and see if you have nitrites there.

Are you using a liquid test or test strips?
 

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Seachem Prime will detoxify ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates, among other impurities. IMO it is hands down the best dechlorinator/impurity remover.
 

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allierw, +1, you also get the most for your money with that product,
 

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WC's can also cause your nitrogen cycle to go haywire, this usually occurs in newly established tanks. Sounds like your tank is doing a mini-cycle. Continue small feedings, 30% WC twice weekly until things are better, then 30% once a week. Checking tap water parameters should'Jr swing too much, never hurts to check.
Mini-cycle... I'm sticking to it.
 

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I would test the kit you are using with bottled water. If all checks out don't even bother testing for nitrates if you have nitrites in the readings. The nitrate test is invalid if nitrites are present. This could save you a bit of money too. Large water changes are ok as long as you can match the water (ph,gh,kh,temp). Good luck.
 

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What else can I do to lower the nitrite levels.
I'd suggest getting the API liquid test kit and double check the readings.

If nitrite is truly elevated:

Drop the feedings to once every 2-3 days. When you resume, only feed once per day. Fish do not need to be fed 2-3 times per day.

Water changes on a 3 month old setup shoouldn't be disruptive to the nitrogen cycle. Do 50% changes daily to bring nitrite down.

Don't worry about nitrate right now. No need to even test it.

Too aggressive of a filter cleaning or media replacement is probably the reason for the nitrite spike, not 5% water changes. An overwhelmed biofilter usually results in ammonia spikes, not nitrite, so I'd rule that out.

Massive water changes on a newly cycled tank can cause brief nitrite spikes that go away in a day or two, but this doesn't apply to you.

Use the Prime to detox until nitrite levels are 0.

HTH

On a side note, just curious what species of fish you have and sizes?
 
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