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Nitrites spike twice a day


ToothlessTheGuppy
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Hello. Recently, my guppies got swim bladder disease, and unfortunately, one of them passed away... The other one was moved to a 3-gallon quarantine tank since I couldn't figure out if it's bacterial, parasitic, or physical damage. After about a week of treatment with trypaflavine and aquarium salt, it got way better. But one day, I woke up and saw him swimming with his head down or leaning to his side. He's also very lethargic... 

I've tested water parameters and found out nitrites were very high - at least 1.5 mg/l (the test I got only allows measuring nitrites up to 1.5 mg/l).

I proceeded with a 50% water change, and it dropped to 0.3 mg/l. The next day, nitrites increased again. I performed 2 water changes, the second at 12 am, and it was 0.1 mg/l. When I woke up after 7 hours, it was 1.5 mg/l again... And then after 6 hours nitrites spike again - I had to change it again... I'm also testing ammonia, but the test doesn't detect them.

I feed my fish once a day with a small amount of green pea, spirulina, blood worms, or sometimes flakes soaked in vitamins.

There is salt in the aquarium, so I thought it should detoxify the nitrite, but it doesn't happen...

My quarantine tank parameters: 
pH 7,8 
Nitrates 0
Hardness 15
Nitrite 1,5 mg/l
Ammonia 0
KH/Buffer 10
Water Temperature 27
Cl 0

My pH might be too high, but it's because of using tap water (with seachem prime).

Thank you for your answers in advance. 

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This reminds me of what happens when you first set up a tank and it’s still in that not quite stable fluctuations phase. Typically in that same situation I’ve tried introducing beneficial bacteria from an established tank to speed up the process but being that it is a quarantine tank you most likely are trying to limit the things going in for easy monitoring I would assume. With this being said, it sounds like one of two things to me. 1. Either there is something going in or already in the tank that is causing those drastic fluctuations, or 2. it’s just not quite established and is struggling to keep up. To elaborate on the first: this could be a range of things ranging from organics like uneaten food, bio load, substrates, even potentially chemicals in your actual tap water which wouldn’t be as likely in my opinion. To elaborate on the 2nd: there isn’t enough beneficial bacteria to process the nitrites from the food/ waste/ organics properly, or a lack of maintenance could potentially cause this as well. In this case I would continue to to try to water change my way through it. You could add store bought beneficial bacteria to perhaps assist in the detoxification/ processing of the nitrite, or live plants perhaps as well. I’m guessing since it’s such a small tank it’s struggling to cycle properly. Also sometimes meds can kill beneficial bacteria and crash your already cycled tank as well, not saying that’s the case just another possibility. 

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@CJs Aquatics thanks for the answer! I clean my fish's poops regularly. I'm also using Seachem Prime, so it should detoxify the chemicals. And I'm adding bacterias with every water change. I'm even using filter with media from my main, cycled tank. Also there are live plants😞 I'm affraid he won't get better with this ammount of nitrites, as it affects his condition (swim bladder disease)... Today at 6 am nitrites were very high again, although I've changed water (about 40-50%) at midnight. I'm affraid of moving him back in the main tank, cause if SBD was bacterial/parasitic then he could spread it on the other fish...
He's sitting in the quarantine tank for almost 2 weeks now. 

Edited by ToothlessTheGuppy
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On 7/19/2023 at 8:34 AM, ToothlessTheGuppy said:

The other one was moved to a 3-gallon quarantine tank since I couldn't figure out if it's bacterial, parasitic, or physical damage. After about a week of treatment with trypaflavine and aquarium salt, it got way better. But one day, I woke up and saw him swimming with his head down or leaning to his side. He's also very lethargic... 

I've tested water parameters and found out nitrites were very high - at least 1.5 mg/l (the test I got only allows measuring nitrites up to 1.5 mg/l).

I'd recommend making a separate thread for the disease on this fish.  It may or may not be related to the nitrite issue.  For now, it's all one thread, so that's absolutely fine and I'll chime in here regarding the fish side of things.

3G is pretty small for a fish, so I don't know if there was any sort of added stress by being in that size of tank.  Some nano tanks can be quite tall, which would put more pressure on the swim bladder of a fish.  Internal issues (commonly labelled "swim bladder disease" are often a result of something like poor maintenance or poor water quality.  This would directly link those nitrite issues with something like internal organ issues, excess fluid, or immune system stress.  The fish is basically having to recover from illness while under high stress, leading to more stress.  It's a very tough situation. 

My focus and best advice would be water changes, daily, 50% water changes.  I would not do more/less than that because it will be too much stress.  The daily (no more than once per 24 hours) use of prime will help detoxify things and let the filtration handle the nitrite, processing it into nitrate.  Fixing the biological filtration, technique, or tank setup to adequately work for the fish is the key to fixing everything.

On 7/19/2023 at 8:34 AM, ToothlessTheGuppy said:

I proceeded with a 50% water change, and it dropped to 0.3 mg/l. The next day, nitrites increased again. I performed 2 water changes, the second at 12 am, and it was 0.1 mg/l. When I woke up after 7 hours, it was 1.5 mg/l again... And then after 6 hours nitrites spike again - I had to change it again... I'm also testing ammonia, but the test doesn't detect them.

I need more detail here as to what is *really* going on. 

What size is the tank and what is your stocking?
What is the filtration? (and please share full details and photos regarding it's setup)
What is your normal maintenance routine?
How long has the tank been setup and established for and were there any recent changes?
 

On 7/19/2023 at 8:34 AM, ToothlessTheGuppy said:

There is salt in the aquarium, so I thought it should detoxify the nitrite, but it doesn't happen...

It won't detoxify anything.  It helps to reduce or alleviate symptoms from nitrite and ammonia burn on the fish.

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On 7/20/2023 at 4:33 AM, nabokovfan87 said:

My focus and best advice would be water changes, daily, 50% water changes.  I would not do more/less than that because it will be too much stress.  The daily (no more than once per 24 hours) use of prime will help detoxify things and let the filtration handle the nitrite, processing it into nitrate.  Fixing the biological filtration, technique, or tank setup to adequately work for the fish is the key to fixing everything.

@nabokovfan87 this is so well said 

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On 7/20/2023 at 10:33 AM, nabokovfan87 said:

3G is pretty small for a fish, so I don't know if there was any sort of added stress by being in that size of tank.  Some nano tanks can be quite tall, which would put more pressure on the swim bladder of a fish.  Internal issues (commonly labelled "swim bladder disease" are often a result of something like poor maintenance or poor water quality.  (...)
What size is the tank and what is your stocking?
What is the filtration? (and please share full details and photos regarding it's setup)
What is your normal maintenance routine?
How long has the tank been setup and established for and were there any recent changes?

@CJs Aquatics @nabokovfan87 Thank you for your response. I thought it's enough for 1,2 inch guppy. 😞 I've set it up pretty fast...
So my quarantine tank is 3 gallon, with only that one fish. I'm using Sunsun HJ-411B filter. I haven't bought him a heater, but he has a thermometer and the temperature doesn't change at all. It's 80 F all the time. It's completely new tank with bacterias added to it. I've wanted to seperate him from other fish. I've put lot of plants but it died due to trypaflavine I think... So now it's only few of them, but I've bought new plants today and I'm gonna add them.  
 

Quote

I'd recommend making a separate thread for the disease on this fish.

I've already did it, it's here:

2 days ago I've decided to try something different. I've stopped changing his water, because the nitrites was hitting 1,0-1,5 mg/l every 4 hours... I took some of my main tank's media and put it in the quarantine tank's filter. I also took some gravel and put it in QT. Lastly - I've put a lot of bottled bacterias directly on filter's sponge. It worked out. The next day nitrite was about 0,3. And after few hours 0,2. Now it's 0,025. But he doesn't look better yet.

About the disease... Today I've heard from a guy in an aquaristic shop that it could be parasites, since the fish that passed away had white, long and thin poops and it looked like he lost his sight in one eye. Cause it turned light gray and was black before. And praziquantel was reccomended to me. Also they told me to put it in the main tank and after 5 hours change 80% of water, but I'm a little scared to do it in the main tank, as it could completely destroy the cycle. But the other fish can be infected too... Also, my fish were from import. There is only one shop in my city that doesn't import guppies (I was there today, and the guy told me about parasites). Most of them are from Asia and I live in Europe so they are not used to european bacterias...

image.jpeg

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On 7/22/2023 at 6:23 AM, ToothlessTheGuppy said:

So my quarantine tank is 3 gallon, with only that one fish. I'm using Sunsun HJ-411B filter.

I think you're much better off running an air filter or a small corner filter for the QT setup. The one you listed is basically just a device to move water and does not support much (if any,) bacteria. Some nano pumps come with a little block of foam on the intake. This is basically that same thing but with a spraybar output. I would opt for something like this....

Screenshot_20230722-063222.png.774c9b3ddeca00541ca74bf713d6bfcc.pngScreenshot_20230722-063243.png.187db592c4661d63d2b4eeb6fbad2fd9.png

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On 7/22/2023 at 6:41 AM, ToothlessTheGuppy said:

@nabokovfan87 Yes, that's a very plain fitler, yet there was some free space in there so I've put 4 ceramic rings there. I know it ain't much, but for now it seem to work, cause the nitrites are going down

Add a handful of them to the base of the tub. Keep the filter with foam.

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