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Thread: Nitrites in QT

  1. #1
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    Nitrites in QT

    I got my first two fish last Saturday: 2 juvenile locally bred occelaris. About 2 weeks prior to getting them, I had started setting up a 10G QT. I placed a couple of sponge filters in my main tank (about 5 weeks old at the time). The day before getting the fish, I filled the QT with 50% water from the main tank and 50% new. I have an airstone, a small power filter with carbon, an ammonia alert badge and some PVC tubing. I thought that this was the recommended method for a QT.

    The fish seem fine - always hungry and active in the tank. The ammonia is '0' but my nitrites have gone way up (1.0) and nitrates are also up (30). I did a couple of large water changes and the nitrites are down to 0.1.

    My question is obvious:

    Is there anything else I can do to keep the nitrites under control?

    And, why didn't the set-up work in the first place?
    Nick

  2. #2
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    Did the sponge filters or sponges from the filters from the main tank go into the QT tanks filter along with some bacteria from the main tank?
    Rob

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    I put a brand new filter into the main tank and then transfered the whole thing into the QT. Not sure how to tell if bacteria got transfered but I would have thought they should have been in the filter pads.
    Nick

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    Yes if you moved the whole filter into your QT there should be some bacteria there as well but perhaps not a full complement of all needed types for the complete breakdown process. There may also simply not be enough of the right types because bacteria numbers expand and contract to meet the load they need to manage. Just because there is a place for them to grow dose not mean that they will automatically expand their numbers. If there was not enough waste in your main tank to cause them to increase their numbers they wouldn't and that filter may not have as much bacterial in it as you might have hoped for. Keep an eye on your QT water and do you water changes as needed until the bacteria are in balance with that QT tanks load. You could add some media from the main tanks main filter to speed things up but if you do this watch the water closely as there may be a SUDDEN nitrite spike that goes as high as when you cycled the main tank.
    Rob

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    I'm not keen on getting into additives, etc. unless needed. However, gIven the nitrite problems in my QT (which may mean my biofilter is not fully functional), I was wondering if the 'CYCLE' product mightbe a useful stop-gap. Comments/experience appreciated.
    Nick

  6. #6
    Senior Member Conan's Avatar
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    I don't know about the Cycle product, but I can tell you (witch I'm shure you know by now) that 2 weeks was not enough of a wait for a cycled tank. But we are talking about nitrites, wich are dangerous to corals and such, but a substance that clownfish can easily cope with (given a not permanent situation...). The tank will cycle and the fish will be fine. If you had corals, I'd tell you otherwise.... just let it play out and all will be fine in the end.
    Do or do not. There is no "try" - Jedi Master Yoda

  7. #7
    Senior Member tiffany's Avatar
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    "Cycle" is a good product. I use it when I change the filter media in the bio-wheel, it adds beneficial bacteria to the filter/water. I wouldn't say that it would be an efficient 'stop gap' there are better products on the market for that that are specifically tailored for marine only. 'Cycle' is for both fresh and salt. I still like to use it.
    I'd keep up the water changes, in both tanks, or if it's ok, put the fish in the main, away from the nitrites.
    Also sounds like your main is only 5 weeks old, (correct me if I'm wrong) but the cycle of the tank may not have finished yet, and thus still have Nitrites i it. What are the levels in the main? If they're ok, then I'd transfer and get them out of the QT.
    I also noticed that you didn't put only L/R in the QT, is there a reason for that? L/R helps break down the Nitrites.
    Most fish can handle very high nitrate's so don't worry about that.
    As for NitrItes i have to dispute Conan here a little, I don't think any fish can really cope with high nitrItes for any period of time without undue stress, leading to potential disease.
    "The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them."
    - Albert Einstein (1879-1955)

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    Just to clarify: I started the main tank on Nov 21, 2003 and added cured LR on Nov 28 (the LR had been cured by the LFS for 6 weeks and got into my tank within 1 hour). It went through a cycle (no ammonia but the nitrite/nitrate spikes). I've had a couple of mini cycles since then when i added some extra LR. That tanks has some snails, a shrimp and some small corals (no fish yet).

    The QT was set-up after trying to seed filters in the main tank. The 2 weeks relates to the length of time for the seeding, not the age of the main tank. Myunderstanding is that seeding means that the QT doesn't need a full cycle time.

    I have no LR in the QT becuase of the potential need to medicate with copper, and to faciliate cleening. From what I've read, this seemed to be the main way people went with QT's.

    As for Cycle, am I correct that it's not going to be a risk to the fish, whatever impact it will have oin the nitrites?
    Nick

  9. #9
    Senior Member Conan's Avatar
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    well, yes tiffany, they will stress, but given it is not prolonged, it *should* be ok for those Clowns. When I wrote this I knew I'd get some opposition, but that's what this site is for, right? I'm comparing here to ammonia, and I have 2 of those clowns myself (the ones from Chelsea, right?) and been through similar situations. These Clowns are pretty hardy fish and can handle nitrites while the tank cycles. Of course this is cruel to the animals so if you can avoid it, you should....
    Do or do not. There is no "try" - Jedi Master Yoda

  10. #10
    Senior Member Conan's Avatar
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    yes, that I know for a fact: it certainly not be harmfull to the fish. I've used it alot to cycle Fresh water tanks, but never Salt water as I preferred a more... "natural" approach.
    Do or do not. There is no "try" - Jedi Master Yoda

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