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ChadOwens 10/26/2007 12:01 AM

Nitrite keeps spiking... help! (Not a new tank)
 
I have been having problems with recent nitrite spikes..... I checked the water this morning and everything was perfect... 0 nitrites. Then, i noticed my blue tand and pipe fish acting all crazy so I checked the water and the nitrite level was up to .25 ppm. This is the second time this has happened. About a week ago it spiked and I lowered it with water changes then it was fine for about 5 days. Then another spike today??

Note: this is a 12 nanocube

About 3 weeks ago I had a small carpet anenome die from a torn foot and wasn't able to remove it. Could this still be causeing the nitrite spikes.

What else might cause this?

I'm feeding frozen once a day
Live phytoplankton every other day (Could this be bad...spoiled?)
zooplex every other day

My pipe fish is doing fine now that the nitites are down but my blue tand is still breathing really fast and swimming wierd... will it be okay???


Any help with this would be great....

Thanks

Chad

demonsp 10/26/2007 12:13 AM

What coral do you have ? Whats the water source ? How many fish do you have ?

ChadOwens 10/26/2007 12:24 AM

I have :
coral:
1 large carnation coral
6 heads of frogspaw
Clam
Zoos
Green Clove polyps
Star polyps
toadstool

Fish:
Small blue tang
Dragonface pipefish
small clown
scooter blennie
watchman gobbie
fireshrimp
cleanershrimp
pistol shrimp

I know its alot for such a small tank.... I have had it stocked this way for about 4 months now with now problems... the only new additions are the pipefish and cleaner shrimp.

lfs water... checks out ok.

Chad

demonsp 10/26/2007 12:33 AM

Do you have a fuge ? And again what is the water source?

Also the scooter blennys main diet is pods and in a 12 gal he will starve. JSYK

ChadOwens 10/26/2007 12:40 AM

LFS Water... I tested it and its fine.

An external one no... I have regular spong filter, organic filter, and chemipure in first chamber, Rubble and macro algea in second chamber(sort of a fuge). Also just added phosban reactor.


The scooter eats brine and mysis.

demonsp 10/26/2007 12:53 AM

All filters and pumps need to be cleaned regularly or they can do this. Also overfeeding , OVERSTOCKING , low flow and water source. Not sure i would trust the LFS water myself , just because you test the water before it goes in doesnt mean its good , as tap water or improperly filtered water only shows high readings after time ,collects slowly and before you know it you have high readings.
Also a SB that isnt properly sifted and if you have alot of LR in the bottom back that cant get flow then uneaten food and waste can collect and cause this.

ChadOwens 10/26/2007 01:08 AM

Filters are clean... plenty of flow (mj900 and koralia in tank, +mj900 on chiller). Overfeeding can cause an immediate spike like this? I don't think I'm overfeeding... though I might be overdoing it a bit with the phyto for my carnation. Sand bead is good and clean... I have a bunch of sand sifting snails and i also clean it occasionally.

Could my live phyto be the problem? Might it be spoiled?

demonsp 10/26/2007 01:12 AM

Well you need to turn skimmer off whene feeding phyto plankton then after a few hours turn back on and it would remove any left over. Overfeeding will cause it to rise but not overnight. Takes time and would be noticable if weekly testing is done.
Wait oh wait do you have a skimmer?

Oh and you will get alot of response on this from the overstocking so look again tommorrow.

ChadOwens 10/26/2007 01:24 AM

No skimmer....

I am open to suggestions as to a more appropriate stock list for this tank. The Blue tang, clown, and scooter (they are all very small) are really the only things things I must keep. Are the pipefish, watchman, and shrimps really adding that much more to the bioload?

Can you have to many corals?

demonsp 10/26/2007 01:43 AM

Corals fine as long as they dont bother each other , but some can overgrow others.

The tang and bleeny need to go . Chalk bass are cool fish and small. Just resaerch , there are very many smaller cool fish .
Or upgrade the tank as your eyes are bigger then your stomache. Remember that smaller tanks are harder to maintane then larger ones so whatching the water readings amount you feed and maint. are much more neseccery then a larger tank. And can go south real fast.

ACBlinky 10/26/2007 11:54 AM

[QUOTE][i]<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=11054691#post11054691 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by ChadOwens [/i]
[B]
Small blue tang
Dragonface pipefish
small clown
scooter blennie
watchman gobbie
fireshrimp
cleanershrimp
pistol shrimp
[/B][/QUOTE]
This is WAY overstocked for a 12g nanocube. You may be having issues now because you just added the shrimp and pipefish, or because the fish are growing and creating more waste, or because levels are building up over time as demonsp mentioned.

[QUOTE][i]<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=11054691#post11054691 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by ChadOwens [/i]
[B]
I am open to suggestions as to a more appropriate stock list for this tank. The Blue tang, clown, and scooter (they are all very small) are really the only things things I must keep. Are the pipefish, watchman, and shrimps really adding that much more to the bioload?[/B][/QUOTE]
Nope, it's not the three little fish causing the problem - it's the additions of phyto, and the heavier bodied, messier fish (tang and clown). If you're open to suggestions, listen to demonsp and remove the tang and the scooter dragonette. Even keeping a clown, a watchman goby and a pipefish in a 12g is really pushing it IMO. Tangs need big tanks, even when they're small. It's likely your tang is acting strange because it's a) stressed and/or b) sick as a result of stress. The scooter will starve over time; a 12g tank just won't support the necessary pod population to keep a dragonette healthy.

Unless you drastically reduce the bioload, the tank will likely crash and you could lose everything. demonsp has offered good advice; your water quality issues will disappear if you follow it.

WaterKeeper 10/26/2007 12:30 PM

Right AC, no advice I could give would reduce the nitrates in that tank except to increase the tank size to about 70 gallons.

ChadOwens 10/26/2007 12:40 PM

nitrites

papagimp 10/26/2007 01:30 PM

I agree with AC on this as well, way to overstocked and wouldn't suprise me if those fish were being overfed. too many fish taking too many bathroom breaks = more ammonia than the system can handle, hence nitrite spikes.

As for the various scooter comments, scooters seem more likely to feed on frozen/prepared foods than their mandarin cousins, still a dragonette, but i've heard too many comments on people keeping them succesfully at lengths in smaller systems due to their willingess to eat stuff other than pods. My last one would eat just about anything by the time i sold him. So if you can get him eating great, if not, get rid of him or risk another dead fish.

Leaving a dead anemone in the tank can cause oodles of issues as well.

Live phytoplankton, is this DTs or some type of home cultured stuff? Home cultured is usually easy to tell if it's gone bad. Just give it the ol' sniff test. If it smells bad, probably is, good live phyto will just smell like algae, not like nasty rotting algae.
DT's however can be a little more misleading due to the concentration, but still, if it's bad, you'll should be able to tell. I'd imagine this would cause issues like high phosphates/nitrates, not so much ammonia/nitrite.

Mavrk 10/26/2007 01:41 PM

Do you show any ammonia?

ChadOwens 10/26/2007 01:55 PM

0 ammonia - 0 nitrates

yes, i am using DT's... it smells really bad... thats normal....right?

I went to the LFS this morning and said that yes I have to many fish but that should not cause immediate nitrite spikes like I'm having. They said it is most likely the phyto.... makes sense... I will stop feeding phyto for a few days and lower my fish count.

Chad

Conky 10/26/2007 01:57 PM

DTs should not smell bad. Throw it away.

If this is a "mature" tank, part of your problem may be with nitrate reconverting to nitrites...going backwards thru the "normal" pathway. I'd listen to the advice of all above posters. There's too much going on in that tank.

wooden_reefer 10/26/2007 01:58 PM

In an established tank, the only possible reasons for nitrite spikes are:

Absolutely not enough sites for bacteria growth, not enough filter medium, live rock, sponges, any possible sites. Too much bioload for the amount of medium.

Sudden surge in ammonia, dead animal gross over feeding

mechanical problem, clog, pump failure, suddenly not enough gaseous exchange and/or circulation etc.

medication that affects nitrification.



Think and you will find the cause; nitrification is a simple bacterial process.

uscharalph 10/26/2007 02:19 PM

[QUOTE][i]<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=11054691#post11054691 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by ChadOwens [/i]
[B]I have :
Fish:
Small blue tang
Dragonface pipefish
small clown
scooter blennie
watchman gobbie
fireshrimp
cleanershrimp
pistol shrimp

I know its alot for such a small tank.... I have had it stocked this way for about 4 months now with now problems... the only new additions are the pipefish and cleaner shrimp.

lfs water... checks out ok.

Chad [/B][/QUOTE]
Too many fish for 12 gallons!

ChadOwens 10/27/2007 06:38 PM

I got rid of the blue tang, added some bacteria, and added a bag of denitrate whish says also helps with nitrite

I did all this this morning.... How long until the nitrite will start falling. Water changes are not helping for very long anymore?? The nitrite seems to lower when the lights are off and rise during the cycle... does that make sense or am i just seeing things. Should I keep my lights off for a day?

Chad

Chibils 10/27/2007 07:14 PM

I would say the heavy bioload is causing more waste decomposition than the tank can handle. Too many fish going to the bathroom = lots of ammonia breaking down into nitrites.


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