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Never-ending nitrites help?!

Dan S.

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Ok, the poor axolotl is fungus-free but the stinking nitrites will NOT come down! I’ve been doing daily 20% water changes and adding prime for ... I dunno, three weeks now? and it’s just been sitting at 1ppm almost the whole time. I asked the guy at the pet store, who said very firmly to only test and change weekly unless they appeared stressed?, but tried that for a single day, and nitrites went up even more. Just did a 25% water change and am refilling for another. Last week the water got a bit cloudy for 2-3 days and then nitrites actually went down for a bit - I assumed the tank had *finally* properly cycled and the good bacteria were actually on the job - but then it just went up again. I’ve been adding API Quick Start with every water change but seemingly to no avail. What can I do?

Especially - is there anything I can do that doesn’t involve tubbing them. Things are... very hectic and not so great at the moment and I’m honestly not sure I can manage all that - almost accidentally dumped 4 gallons of untreated tap water into the tank the other day b/c I just lost track of what I was doing. If there’s a very simple but adequate answer, that would probably be best...

Thank you so much.

(20 gal tank, temp has been within ~58-64 degrees F except for today, which was like 72 outside and the tank got up to 66 for a bit - now 65 and dropping).
 

wolfen

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what filtration are you using.
what are all the water parameters ammonia/nitrite/nitrates.
because the nitrites went down when you had bacteria bloom I would say that you need to expand your biological filtration.
 

Dan S.

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what filtration are you using.
what are all the water parameters ammonia/nitrite/nitrates.
because the nitrites went down when you had bacteria bloom I would say that you need to expand your biological filtration
Ammonia seems to be 0, nitrite is 3ppm 😱 - about to do another water change - and nitrates maybe 20 ppm? I have a AquaClear power filter - the one for up to 30gal, I think? - oh, and because of space constraints and such the filter is hanging off the side instead of the back - does that matter?

Thanks!
 

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wolfen

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quite confusing really, the filter unit would be too small but for the fact that you have substrate which should also act as bacteria filtration, plus you have plants which will feed off any nitrogen compounds. the only thing I would say is missing is a air-stone to ensure oxygenation.
I don't think there is enough bacteria in the substrate so because the filter is only big enough for a 10 gallon empty tank or 30 gallon with a large bio-colony in the tanks substrate and ornaments it is unable to cope, as the tank ages more bacteria will build up deep in the substrate, I think the filter is more for an establish tank then a newly cycled tank.
add a sponge filter at the opposite end to the hob (doesn't matter if the hob is at the back, side, or front providing it's filtering) also add a air-stone in the middle of the tank (the reason for the air-stone as well as the sponge is because bubbles coming from the filter are quite large so air isn't absorbed into the water as easily as smaller finer bubbles, the additional oxygenation will benefit your axolotl and the aerobic/nitrifying bacteria).
also see about getting a pre-filter sponge cap for the hob inlet pipe or a steel mesh inlet guard (they do them for shrimp tanks) so there's no risk or danger to your axie.
before adding the bacteria (API Quick Start) to the tank put some in a cup of tank water and put it somewhere warm (like on top of a radiator) for a couple of hours to allow the bacteria time to activate then pour it into the filter (switch it off whilst you do and pour it over the sponge and bio-media, then switch it back on.) do this after every water change. if the water get cloudy leave it, just test (provided the water is oxygenated bacteria bloom is harmless and will help the bacteria get better established).
for now until you get the pump etc you will have to do regular water changes, do a 50% - 75% water change (first one being 75% to fast reduce the nitrites) every two days instead of daily, just make sure water is dechlorinated before adding perhaps let it sit 30 minutes before adding (need to make the water change as harmless to the filter and tank bacteria as possible).
almost forgot don't run the hob whilst doing a water change, wait until it is complete.
 

Dan S.

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quite confusing really, the filter unit would be too small but for the fact that you have substrate which should also act as bacteria filtration, plus you have plants which will feed off any nitrogen compounds. the only thing I would say is missing is a air-stone to ensure oxygenation.
I don't think there is enough bacteria in the substrate so because the filter is only big enough for a 10 gallon empty tank or 30 gallon with a large bio-colony in the tanks substrate and ornaments it is unable to cope, as the tank ages more bacteria will build up deep in the substrate, I think the filter is more for an establish tank then a newly cycled tank.
add a sponge filter at the opposite end to the hob (doesn't matter if the hob is at the back, side, or front providing it's filtering) also add a air-stone in the middle of the tank (the reason for the air-stone as well as the sponge is because bubbles coming from the filter are quite large so air isn't absorbed into the water as easily as smaller finer bubbles, the additional oxygenation will benefit your axolotl and the aerobic/nitrifying bacteria).
also see about getting a pre-filter sponge cap for the hob inlet pipe or a steel mesh inlet guard (they do them for shrimp tanks) so there's no risk or danger to your axie.
before adding the bacteria (API Quick Start) to the tank put some in a cup of tank water and put it somewhere warm (like on top of a radiator) for a couple of hours to allow the bacteria time to activate then pour it into the filter (switch it off whilst you do and pour it over the sponge and bio-media, then switch it back on.) do this after every water change. if the water get cloudy leave it, just test (provided the water is oxygenated bacteria bloom is harmless and will help the bacteria get better established).
for now until you get the pump etc you will have to do regular water changes, do a 50% - 75% water change (first one being 75% to fast reduce the nitrites) every two days instead of daily, just make sure water is dechlorinated before adding perhaps let it sit 30 minutes before adding (need to make the water change as harmless to the filter and tank bacteria as possible).
almost forgot don't run the hob whilst doing a water change, wait until it is complete.
Thank you for all the advice! Question: I had already done a 25% water change last night - should I then do a 50% one today and then wait two days, or...?
 

wolfen

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Thank you for all the advice! Question: I had already done a 25% water change last night - should I then do a 50% one today and then wait two days, or...?
do a 75% then 50% every 2nd day. remember to check water levels 24hr after water change.
 
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