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FAQs on Marine Water Quality involving Nitrites, Sources 

Related Articles: Nitrite, Ammonia, Nitrates, Establishing Cycling, BioFiltrationPhosphate, Silicates, Phosphate

Related FAQs: Nitrites 1Nitrites 2Nitrites 3, & FAQs on Nitrite: Importance, Science, Measure, Control, Chemical Filtrants, Troubleshooting/Fixing & Nitrates, Ammonia, Phosphate, SilicatesChemical Filtrants

Mmm, incomplete or stopped nitrogenous cycling... Any source of protein, ammonia (foods, LR/LS, dead organisms...) ... NOT readily converting to nitrate...

Part two: Transient NO2; SW; tied in with gravel vacuuming    7/9/14
In the past I have written to you about a small nitrite reading in my mature fish only system. The tank had been running for ten years or so, and I seemed to get a .5 reading.
<Strange... and you've checked the test kit>

I did as you suggested, water change, not feed until reading came down , but surely the next time I checked there would be nitrite.
This has been going on for 6 months or so. I finally stumbled on what may be my issue, could be a coincidence as well. I perform all water checks and tests a few hours following a water change. This is when I would see nitrite. 20 percent change, or 50 percent water change to remove nitrate., it didn't matter I would test positive for nitrite. I then started testing water in between changes. As I do them every 7 to 10 days. So let's say I would test after 3 days post water change.
I would test zero.
My guess is, by siphoning my sugar fine sand, and moving it around through vacuuming, I was disturbing bacteria, and creating a nitrite spike. Is this possible?
<Oh yes>

I always thought it was good to vacuum fine sand, even when it looked not needed.
Is this typical?
<Not greatly unusual>
And if so, should I halt the siphoning, and just rely on power heads to keep debris and detritus off the bottom? Thanks bob,
<My usual suggestion to only do "one side" vacuuming per period... the other half next time>


Nitrite spike... Allelopathy twixt Cnid.s   4/25/08 Hi, <Ho!> I have a 54 Gallon corner reef aquarium with sump filtration, aqua c remora skimmer, 2 Koralia # 2's, 50 lbs LR, 25 Lbs LS, 130 Watts of PC lighting. Livestock includes 2 false Percs, 1 royal Gramma, 1 Firefish, and 1 banner cardinal. Small clean up crew 4 Nassarius snails, 4 blue leg hermits, 4 red leg hermits, and 3 emerald crabs. I have 2 discoma colonies that came on LR, and recently purchased a small hairy mushroom colony and a toadstool leather. <... get... very large> The levels were Ammonia-0, Nitrite-0, Nitrate-2ppm, phosphate-.03, Sp. G. 1.0253, Ph. 8.06, Calcium 420, dKH 3.15 mg/l. For about 10 days the toadstool was looking fine as was everything else. Yesterday, it began to slump over and retract its polyps (picture included). <Yes... I see it being burned by the Corallimorph in the foreground...> I couldn't determine if this is normal leather behavior or if something was wrong. <Mmm, in too small a world, too close to a better-established Cnidarian...> However, today the leather looked worse. I performed a water change and performed water testing. To my surprise my Nitrites were up to .25. <Yes... reaction from the life t/here> I haven't ever had nitrites in the tank. Could the leather's problems be contributing to nitrite spike? <Yes> Or is it doing poorly because of nitrites. I haven't really changed anything else in the system and can't figure out what would cause increased nitrites. Any thoughts/links, etc. would be helpful. Thanks, Mike <Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/cnidcompppt.htm for background, then onto the Compatibility FAQs files for both groups of Cnidarians... Your options will be obvious. Bob Fenner>

Cupramine and Nitrites - 7/4/07 Quick question/observation... Currently quarantining 3 fish: Tuskfish, 2 x Bannerfish in a 20gallon glass bottom tank with a Fluval 104 Filtre. The foam pads were left in but the ceramic stones were removed as they seemed to absorb the Seachem Cupramine product that I was using to treat my fish. <Not them, but the "biofilm" on them...> I was conducting 30% water changes every second day. I have been using ONLY water from my Reef Tank which maintains pristine water conditions (no signs of ammonia, nitrate, nitrite, pH 8.2). <Good that you have this available> I have been using Cupramine as directed thus maintaining the copper level at .5PPM in my tank. The fish seem to be doing fine. I have done 2 different water tests on my reef tank to ensure my quarantine tank is getting optimal water conditions but have only been doing Ammonia, pH, and Copper testing on my quarantine tank. pH is fine, no traces of Ammonia, and the appropriate Copper level of .5PPM. Last night (after two weeks) decided to do a thorough water test on the quarantine as I am going away this upcoming weekend. Every thing checks out except Nitrites are off the charts. I retested my Reef Tank and everything checked out... so I did a water change in my quarantine tank... lowering the water to a level to just the point that my fish could still swim (i.e. about 80%) and then syphoned reef tank water back into the quarantine tank to fill it back up. Note: Salinity and temperature are identical matches. I then topped off the appropriate Cupramine dose to get me back up to approximately .5PPM of copper. 2hrs later, I did another test... nitrites are still off the charts. <Yes... the "secondary" microbes that convert the nitrite to nitrate are being inhibited by copper exposure and a lack of substrate> Seachem Cupramine's FAQ's say to basically ignore Ammonia readings that are unreal... something to do with the majority of Ammonia test kits pick up something in the Cupramine. Basically SeaChem's stance, is to do frequent water changes and not worry about unreal ammonia readings. However, my ammonia readings are in check... no signs of ammonia. Are you familiar with this issue? If I did an 80% water change, I'd expect to see no signs of Nitrite or at least a severely diluted reading. Are you thinking the test kit is reacting with the Cupramine product to give me a false reading? <Mmm, no, I don't think so. But I encourage you to contact SeaChem's technical customer support... They're excellent... and ask directly if this test kit can/does yield such false positives...> As I mentioned before, fish in quarantine are acting normal and feeding eagerly. Not only have I been doing the water changes as per above... but after every feeding I am syphoning out any leftovers so that no visible solids remain in the tank. I even opened up the Fluval canister filtre to see if there was solid food waste caught in the foam cartridges... nothing. Do you figure I am ok? Tried to get hold of Seachem today... but 4th of July and no one's picking up the phones... David Brynlund <I do think you're okay here... Do just keep up with the measuring for Copper, doing the water changes... Bob Fenner>
Re: Cupramine and Nitrites - 7/4/07
Thanks for the super urgent response Bob... You're the greatest! <Welcome> You said that you think I am ok here. Do you mean, relax and keep vacuuming up solid waste and my 30% water changes every two days? Or should I be actively trying to get those nitrites down by mass water changes daily? <The former> So, the Cupramine inhibits the nitrites from breaking down into less harmful nitrates? <Indirectly in a few ways, yes> Aren't the nitrites toxic though? <Are... or more to the point, pertinence here, can be under various other co-factored incidences> If I recall correctly the reading is about 4PPM maybe a little higher. I'm still confused as to how an 80% water change would NOT dilute my readings? <Mmmm... is a bit artifactual... I do wish we were face to face... and I knew your chemistry and physics backgd. a bit... Is/are diluted, but the sensitivity of the kits is so poor, the actual subjectivity of reading such... that the difference here is hard to make out> Yes, I'll give Seachem a shout tomorrow... David Brynlund <Do please send along your synopsis of what is said. Cheers, BobF>
Re: Cupramine and Nitrites 7/5/07
Hi Bob, spoke to Seachem today... <Ahh!> Would be a pleasure to meet face to face sometime... Chemistry and physics background? Hmm, well I did fairly well in Chem/Phys through high school, but I'm an educated Finance guy. <A good combo. I taught H.S. level in these subjects for a few years... and have an ongoing interest of course...> Tech Support at SeaChem said that Ammonia is the only parameter that should yield a false positive. <Yes, as I, and I believe you thought as well> With a bare bottom tank and only foam cartridges for filtration, she mentioned that likely any sort of biological bacteria was held in the ceramic stones and I removed them. <Good> Therefore, I didn't have the biological bacteria present to continue the process as you mentioned... Converting Nitrite to Nitrate. She recommended using a product called Seachem MATRIX as non-copper absorbing bacteria holding stones and then using their SeaChem Stability additive to introduce or reintroduce the beneficial bacteria to continue the Nitrite - Nitrate cycle. She mentioned I should be setting up these products about 3 days prior to introducing new fish for quarantine or fish for medicating (if possible)... And then removing the product afterwards. <Mmm, sounds reasonable> Now I know for next time. My 3 fish are still doing well in quarantine and have finished their Cupramine treatment... The Tuskfish has also shed his Lyco##### (I forget the name of the cotton like fungus I sent you pics of and my employer has blocked all hobby sites on our network server... DOH!). <Yikes... Lymphocystis> All seems well. My main display 200gallon system has remained fallow less one snowflake moray eel now for 2 weeks. Shall I give it another week? Two weeks? <This latter...> Before introducing them back into main display? <I would "wait" a good month total> I guess I am a little bit eager now to get them back in there given the nitrite levels. By the time I locate or order SeaChem's recommended product it could be 10 days... As my retailers here don't carry either of those products. <... Man! What will it take to urge the trade to be/come just a bit more sophisticated! Well, we're doing our part I hope/trust> Thanks again! David Brynlund <And you. Bob Fenner>

Nitrite Question, Copper murdered my nitrifying bacteria? (And QT) 6/7/07 Hello Crew. <'Allo!> I have a question about the effect of copper on nitrifying bacteria. <Kills 'em.> I have a 30 gallon marine QT/hospital tank that I cycled with two mollies. <Poor mollies...> I have since had to introduce my four fish---a tiny gold stripe maroon, a tiny blue hippo, a lawnmower blenny and a 3.5" yellow tang--into the hospital tank to allow my display tank to go fallow because my blue hippo got Ich (I know, I know . . .). <Hope this is a big system we're talking about, 125g+ ???> Of course, my ammonia and nitrites shot up - ammonia went from 0 to 2 ppm and nitrites went from 0 to 2.5 ppm. I'm treating the tank with copper (keeping it between .15 and .30 ppm, but boy are those tests hard to read!). <Seachem?> They've been in the tank 5 days. The blue tang and maroon clown are happy as clams--you'd think they have known each other since birth. They seem totally unaffected by either the copper or ammonia/nitrite levels. <I'm sure they are affected, whether or not it's apparent.> The lawnmower blenny, who was perfectly healthy when I removed him from the display on Saturday, is now resting peacefully in pet heaven with my German shorthaired pointer. The yellow tang is hanging in there--he hasn't eaten since entry into the tank and periodically leans over to one side, but he is responsive when I approach the tank, stick my hand in, etc., and he's alive every morning when the lights come on. His breathing is not labored, but I can tell he's not feeling great. I have been doing 20% water changes daily and re-dosing to maintain proper copper levels. <Hmm... maybe you should brush up on QT setups? http://www.wetwebmedia.com/QuarMarFishes.htm You need to be doing water changes that will keep the toxic byproducts of their respiration and feeding to a minimum. Usually 20% is not enough with four animals in a 30-gallon. > Yesterday, I added Bio-Spira, which dropped my ammonia down to 0 overnight but my nitrites were still about 1.5-2.0 ppm this morning. <Hmm, the addition of Bio-Spira is mostly moot at this point. As you are seeing, the copper has deleterious effects on the bacteria, and they won't properly establish in the presence of medication. This is a good reason to use the water from your main tank to dilute the toxins in the QT whenever testing indicates a need. Think of it as aggressive water-changes for your main system...> My questions: What effect will the copper have on my nitrifying bacteria? <See above.> Do you recommend that I do multiple doses of Bio-Spira while I'm treating with copper? <No doses would be fine.> Do you recommend anything different with respect to the yellow tang to up his chances of survival? <Just refine your approach to new species introduction in the future. I think you have taken a concerned and proactive approach to the current situation.> My LFS will cure Ich without chemicals (using an incredibly ingenious, patent-pending (no kidding) top secret method--I'd have to kill you if I told you how it works) for $5 per day. <Per fish? What a racket! I should've thought of that one!> I could send him there until I ran the copper treatment on the other two fish and then put him back in the QT, but it would certainly be cheaper to just buy another yellow tang (but what kind of father would I be??). <Yes, we usually shy from relating importance of our livestock to their cash value...> Thanks for your guidance. <You are most welcome, but I bet you will do fine as you are. Do some Google searching here on WWM and read as much as you can. In no time, you may be the one answering the Q's. > Andy <-GrahamT>

Nitrite Spike? Hi I have been reading your FAQ's and I wanted to know about the nitrite levels. I have a 5 gal tank set up <<Way too small... RMF>>  now for 1 mon, and I have an Angler fish that I have had in the tank. I took my nitrite test tonight and it was reading 0.08 this is the highest it has been. My ammonia and nitrate is 0 the ph is 7.8. <The pH is a bit low, but within the acceptable range> I had an orange starfish in there which ended up disintegrating. I ended up tossing it in the garbage, could this be the reason my nitrite level went up so high? <Quite possible, but I'd expect the ammonia level would be detectable first> I have about 9 small blue legged hermit crabs and 4 snails in the tank, I took the Angler out and put it in my 20gal tank, as that one is doing good. Everything in that tank reads 0 and the nitrite is 0.01 ph is 8.0. <Nitrite should be undetectable in an established tank...do re-check> I did put 2 bigger hermit crabs in the 5gal to clean it up some. could you please tell me if I did the right thing with taking the Angler out and putting it in the other tank. <I certainly agree that moving the fish to a tank with a (hopefully undetectable?) nitrite level is the wise move. I would have done the same thing> I did a 50% water change the nitrite reading after that was 0.06.  Your help would be appreciated. Thank you. Margaret. <Well, Margaret, a detectable nitrite level in an established tank is definitely a sign of either a pollution-inducing event (such as the death of an animal, as you indicated), some kind of major nitrogen cycle disruption, or an indicator that the tank has not fully cycled yet. At this point, I'd leave the tank alone, and not execute any more water changes. Let the tank "re-cycle" (for want of a better term), and monitor the nitrite and ammonia levels regularly. Within a week or two, I'll bet that they return to undetectable levels.  Stay on top of things! Regards, Scott F>

Double Trouble (Illness And Nitrite) Hey Crew well I am completely dumbfounded please help! <Will try! Scott F. here today> I have a 220 gallon tank 175 lbs of live rock 175 live sand refugium wet dry system 55 gallon sump Aqua Clear Aquatics Macro Skimmer (Rio 3100 running it) and a Pentair 40 UV.  Well here's the dilemma: This tank was doing just fine; it has been setup for about 1 year. I added one fish at a time. (lime wrasse, harlequin tusk, blue hippo, yellow tang, dog face puffer, pink tail trigger and my latest addition,  Mr. Queen Angel. <Quite a collection! That's about as many fishes as you'd want in this tank...> The angel developed what I believe to be a fungus due to the fact he scratched himself raw just above his eyebrow on both sides. He then developed Ich and fungus.  I then noticed the trigger coming down with it so on and so forth. <Yep- Ich is highly contagious...You need to take steps to treat all of the fishes and address the presence of the causative parasites in the main tank> I purchased Maroxy which said it was ok and will not harm biological filtration. Well, it did. <Yikes...My advice across the board is never to medicate the display tank! A bit late for you now- but it holds true in the future! Treatment should only take place in a dedicated hospital tank or containers of suitable size to hold your fishes> The next morning 3.0 nitrite, 80 plus nitrates, ammonia 0 ph 8.4  I have quarantined the angel all is well with the other fish,  I have since changed 50 gallons of water and 70 gallons. <Aggressive moves, but probably warranted under the circumstances> Nitrite dropped to 2.5 nitrates 60 ammonia still 0 ph 8.4 cycled with Prime- a new product to me. It says it will detoxify the nitrites and nitrates so that your filter can take over.  I can't take the fish out- I only have a 20 gallon qt. The fish are eating again the disease has subsided and my skimmer is producing a milky type of matter in collection cup. <Possibly colloids from the Prime? I think that this is a situation where you may want to utilize a commercially available nitrifying bacteria product, such as "Cycle" or "Fritz Zyme" to help speed things up> I was thinking that I should do a 50% change next after a few days. Your thoughts please. <Well, if the fish have to stay put, I suppose a series of water changes would help. However, you need to do two things: 1) Re-establish the biological filtration that was lost, and 2) Address the presence of the Cryptocaryon parasites in the tank. My advice would to find some large containers (like Rubbermaid trash cans) to house all of the fishes for an extended period of time, and to treat the illness properly. Meanwhile, the display tank should run "fallow", without fishes, for at least a month to help "crash" the parasite population. You will probably need to "feed" the empty tank to help re-establish the nitrifying bacteria population to cycle the tank. It will take patience and a lot of water testing, but you can do it. Otherwise, you can leave the fishes in the tank while it re-cycles, but the ammonia and nitrite might doom the already stressed and ill fishes. Once the tank cycles, you could then engage in the fallow tank routine and attack the illness...It's a matter of priorities. Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Nitrite Spike! Hi Crew, <Hi there! Scott F. with you today> Thanks for the advice last mail on "pods"! After a good solid 0/0 Ammonia/Nitrite, I have added a Malu anemone to my 240 litre tank. It is well (possibly over?) filtered, and although it is maybe a bit new (3 months), it has finished cycling, and is fine with the fire shrimp, hermits, Turbos, and the 2 clowns. Anyway, the LFS was holding the anemone for me in a tank on its own, with two pieces of small LR, while my system settled. They are good folks, and I asked them to find me one. They have a monster filtration system, (Star Wars + Frankenstein's Factory  :-)   ) and the folks there are real enthusiasts, so I don't want to believe there was anything bad going on. However, after adding the Malu (Saturday), I've got a little Nitrite showing (0.1 -0.2), which I am sure is not good for the anemone? <Not good for any of your tank's inhabitants, really!> I added the 2 pieces of LR at the same time, could this be causing a mini cycle ( the LR was taken out and bagged for only about 20 minutes before adding, due to the drive home). My question is, should I remove the anemone to clean (zero Nitrite) conditions until things settle, or will it be less stressful to leave it in-situ, and do some big water changes, say 20% every day...?? Thanks for all the help...... Bob (UK) <Well, Bob- it's a reasonable assumption that the rock may have been "uncured", or not entirely cured, and could be contributing to a nitrite spike in the system. My instinct is to remove the anemone to better conditions, until the nitrite reading returns to undetectable levels. On the other hand, the stress of moving this animal around repeatedly may be worse...I'd take the risk and embrace a stepped-up water change schedule and careful monitoring of water conditions until things improve. Make sure that your protein skimmer is working hard, and that you are using a good grade of activated carbon or other chemical filtration media. Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

- Nitrite Creep on Addition of Anemone - Hi Crew, Thanks for the advice last mail on "pods"! After a good solid 0/0 Ammonia/Nitrite, I have added a Malu anemone to my 240 litre tank. It is well (possibly over?) filtered, and although it is maybe a bit new (3 months), it has finished cycling, and is fine with the fire shrimp, hermits, Turbos, and the 2 clowns. Anyway, the LFS was holding the anemone for me in a tank on its own, with two pieces of small LR, while my system settled. They are good folks, and I asked them to find me one. They have a monster filtration system, (Star Wars + Frankenstein's Factory  :-)   ) and the folks there are real enthusiasts, so I don't want to believe there was anything bad going on. However, after adding the Malu (Saturday), I've got a little Nitrite showing (0.1 -0.2), which I am sure is not good for the anemone? I added the 2 pieces of LR at the same time, could this be causing a mini cycle ( the LR was taken out and bagged for only about 20 minutes before adding, due to the drive home). My question is, should I remove the anemone to clean (zero Nitrite) conditions until things settle, or will it be less stressful to leave it in-situ, and do some big water changes, say 20% every day...?? <Hmm... well, think is also possible the anemone is contributing to the ammonia in the tank... water changes would help. Am I given to understand that this tank is just recently cycled? If so, your system is still getting established, and I'd consider either the large water changes or removing the anemone to a separate, fully-cycled tank while the nitrite gets back down to zero... wait a week after the zero and then you're probably set to put the anemone back.> thanks for all the help...... Bob (UK) <Cheers, J -- >

High NO2, dead fish Mr. Bob, Thanks for your column you help a bunch of us. I have two questions-unrelated. I have brown algae in my tank. Some say could be silicate or not enough lighting. <Or both...> But I have a spot of what look s to be pink algae too. Can I do something to get all Pink or at least a green? <Yes, and you should. More light (intensity, full spectrum) should do it> The second question pertains to a situation (55 gal Tank is 8 weeks old). I have three damsels and 2 turban snails. I bought a tang and it did great for two days. I tested before the tang was introduced and 0 Ammonia 0 Nitrites and looked to be 0 Nitrates. I found my tang trying to jump out of the tank on day two. Finally it went to the bottom and died. I tested the water again and showed .25 nitrites. Why? Other fish seem fine-but have gotten a darker purple/blue? Thanks <The nitrites might be "after the fact"... that is, the dying, dissolving protein which was the Yellow Tang might have overwhelmed the nitrifiers in your system... Or there may be some sorts of biological poisoning going on... maybe from your Pink (blue green) algae... leading to the Yellow Tangs behavior, loss and the darkening color of your other fish livestock... I would boost the lighting, probably effect a large water change, and add/change out your chemical filtrant (either carbon or Polyfilter). Bob Fenner

Nitrite Levels Question,  My Nitrite levels are really high, I've tried everything to bring it down. Changing water daily, weekly, cleaning waste every few days, adding Nitro Zorb in filter. etc. Can you help me figure out why my level is so high. I have 55 with 5 medium size fish. thank you. Danny Chan >> Hmm, lack of necessary microbes is the simple answer, but how to bring them on the tough question. Do you have live rock? I would get some, quick. Are you feeding your fish livestock? Stop! Don't feed them a thing till the nitrites drop to zip. Now, onto my usual tirade about sufficient information being offered. How high is high? What sort(s) of test kits are you using. Where is the pertinent data on the history of the tank? What types of filtration do you employ?  If someone gave you the above message what could you tell them? If it is nitrites (not nitrates) in your system that are "high" it is due to the tank not cycling (completely)... You need to find out why it hasn't, and leave it alone to do so... not place fishes in it. Bob Fenner

Nitrite level (Re: Lemonpeel angel & Kole tang) Bob, Do you think adding live (advertised) "cured" rock to an established system would cause a nitrite spike?  <Can... yes, this happens... often such "semi-cured" LR undergoes mini-recycling. Please read: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/morelrcurefaqs.htm> This morning my nitrite is 0.25, ammonia 0, & pH 8.2(these readings are closer to normal). Also, it was suggested to me by my LFS to add BioZyme in order to bring down my nitrates currently at 5-10ppm). I did add some of it with no effect though. Do you think that stuff works? <Not under all, these circumstances. I would just wait on the nitrates at this point. Read over re such on WWM. Bob Fenner> Thank you for the advise. D.

Nitrites, Nitrites, Nitrites Bob, My nitrites have been running zero since I cycled the aquarium and now I have a .4 level in the tank. <Not good... first, do have your "checker checked"... that is, try another test kit> I have a 6 month old,110 Gal Reef tank with 75 lbs of live rock, the substrate is crushed seashells & live sand about 1" deep. I am using an Oceanic trickle filter and Emperor skimmer. I also have a U.V sterilizer (the brand escapes me). I also have 350watts of compact lighting. <Mmm... no sudden death, overfeeding incident?...> Fish are: 1 Niger Trigger 1 Snowflake eel 4 blue damsels 3 yellow Tangs 1 mandarin goby 1 Fiji puffer 2 Percula clowns 1 tomato clown 2 crabs All the rest of my numbers are great. (Ammonia 0.0, Nitrates < 10 , PH 8.1, PO4 < 0.03, CA 450, ALK 2.9) I can see no visible signs of stress in the fish. I am beginning to see some coralline algae form on the back of the tank. <I would bolster your alkalinity here if you want the corallines to excel> I recently have been working on the alkalinity using Kent Superbuffer but I haven't had to add any for over a week now. I use "c" balance for ion replenishment. My last water change was 20% done two weeks ago. I have been trying to get the water right so that I could raise Inverts. Recently, I added a small stalk of Xenia and a Sebae Anemone with purple tips. My LFS recommended that I feed the xenia some phytoplankton and I feed the Sebae Kent's Microvert. I have each of them only once by "dosing" them with the food. Would either of these foods cause the Nitrite spike? <Possibly could trigger such... you shouldn't have to feed the pulsing coral in this set-up per se... and would use solid meaty pieces of food for the anemone... as gone over on WetWebMedia.com> What should I do to remedy the situation? <Test your kit first, then some water with the Microvert squirted into it... hold off on feeding much of anything till your nitrites are assuredly at zero ppm... and start shopping for a/nother, or larger system!> Thanks, in advance, for your advice. <Chat with you soon my friend. Bob Fenner> Paul

Lingering Nitrite Robert: I have been reading the FAQ's & Articles your web site so often, it inspired me to buy your book. <Glad to hear it. I will pass along the compliment to Bob. You are talking to Steven Pro now. Anthony Calfo and myself are filling in for Bob while he does some traveling.> I have a 10 month old reef tank with a NO2 problem. The stats are as follows: 110 Gal oceanic Emperor Skimmer UV sterilizer 75 LBS Live rock Oceanic Wet/Dry NO2: .14-.15 S.G. 1.20 PH 8.1 NH3 0.0 CA 470 Temp 78 NO3 20 ALK 2.5 I have 375 watts of compact lighting for 10 hours per day. Water changes : 20% monthly. Last change 2 weeks ago. I have a mild diatom problem so I reduced the lighting period to 8 hours and it seems to be better. I am using a Salifert test kit for the Nitrate at the 10X precision mode. My LFS suggests something may be amiss with my wet dry. I opened it up and found the balls to be moist with no particular slime on them as he suggested. I did notice the plate above the balls wasn't really distributing the H2O well so I adjusted it to make it a little better. I also took the discharge for the UV and fed it into the distribution plate to send its discharge through the balls again. Any Ideas? <There are a few possibilities. Sometimes UV's are capable of converting nitrate back to nitrite. You might want to try bringing your nitrates down close to zero and/or removing the UV for a while. See if things change. Also, do be sure to check your nitrite test kit against another tank or test kit to verify the results.>

Nitrite in my aquarium Dear Bob, I write this separate mail to you, cause it concerns a totally different matter. <Okay, thanks> I suddenly realized that I have a Nitrite level of 5 ppm in my aquarium. I made the test today, because I have a strange bed smell coming from my tank since one week. <Yikes! An American/English expression of surprise, alarm.> Just to give you some more facts about my aquarium: - Since 12 days I have been treating my aquarium with copper (SeaCure by Aquarium Systems) in order to get rid of Oodinium (plus freshwater dips for my fishes). Could the smell be caused by the copper? <Not directly, but indirectly yes... the nitrifying bacteria in this system are either dead or their metabolism slowed tremendously... You should change out a good deal of the water, likely add a source of bacteria. Please see the WetWebMedia.com site re the probable sources> - Since 2 weeks I have been running a new Wet-Dry filter (EHEIM 2229 Wet-dry, circulation cap. 550 L/hour). My aquarium is 210 lit. Before this filter, I have been using the external filter EHEIM 2224, which proved to be insufficient. Now I am running both filters at the same time and I am thinking of stopping the 2224 after two months (?). <Don't stop any filtration until the nitrites are zero, none, non-existent> Could the operation of the new Wet-Dry filter cause the increase of my Nitrite because it is not yet biologically mature, i.e. has nitrifying but no denitrifying bacteria? <Not nitrite... but nitrate... are we talking about Nitrates with an "A"?> - Since 12 days that I have started the copper therapy I have my skimmer out of function, in order not to remove to copper from the water. Can this be the reason of my high Nitrite through the loss of biological balance which is caused by the absence of the skimmer? <No. It may well be the copper itself that is the cause of loss of nitrification, or the lack of substrate for bacteria in the treatment tank. Do try to contact George (Reclos) here as well... he is very well-versed in marine aquarium filtration matters... and speaks Greek! Bob Fenner> Best regards, Thanassis

Fish & Nitrites Hi, I have a problem and I need your help. I have a 125 U.S. gallon tank, about 100 pounds of LR. However, my tank (more than month old) is almost ready : Ammonia is 0, Nitrite 0.2, and pH is 8.2. My friend came last night with an Emperor Angel (he had a BIG problem in his tank, everything is dead. The Emperor was lucky cause he was in QT tank.). I didn't know what should I do, so I added him to my tank. <Your friend should have left his fish in the QT tank. He now was about a 50-50 shot of losing this fish too!> He seems healthy but I am worried about the ammonia & nitrite cause there is a little bit increase in ammonia and as I said nitrite is not 0 yet. <You should be worried. This was a horrible idea.> Why, shouldn't there be enough bacteria? <Because the liverock is still curing. One another note, we routinely get two copies of your emails. We get over 50 emails per day and would appreciate it if you did not send us multiple copies. Thank you! -Steven Pro>

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