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Hey guys I'm having a bit of a nitrite spike. My system was nearly cycled when I added my goldfish. My nitrite levels were dropping and my nitrate levels were on the rise. I added seven channel catfish I caught a few days ago and ever since then my nitrite levels have been off the scales. My ammonia levels are non existing and my nitrate levels are staying around 5ppm. Any help would be apriciated. I've got to do something quick or I'm gonna lose my fish.

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The quick response is to do a partial water change to lower nitrites. It is possible that you added too many fish at once for your bacteria to handle. Exact fish counts and weight plus tank volume will get you a more precise plan of action.

how much growbed do you have?  high nitrites are not good for the fish.. what's your ph? are you adding aeration?

the cycling process usually results in a nitrite spike after the ammonia spike, sounds like you were a bit short of actually being cycled.. as noted, water change will help lower the nitrites, i'd salt to help the fish deal with it...1-2ppt (i usually go 3ppt  but with catfish, i'd go lower)

I'm guessing you don't mean table salt right? My Ph is around 7.2. I am using the top of an ibc tote for my grow bed. Is there a test kit out there for judging salt content?

no.. you can use pool salt, or (as i do) use water softener salt - table salt contains anti-caking agents that may be harmful to fish.. kosher salt will work in a pinch but it's kind of expensive

a refractometer will measure salinity...

 

Hi Erik,

Whatever you do, don't feed them anything at all!!!!!!!!

That info would have come in handy a couple of days ago. I've been feeding them regularly. Why?

Feeding will end up creating more ammonia in the system as the waste breaks down and thus more nitrites. Fish can go weeks without food so don't worry about them starving

Ok so I think I get it. No food for a few days = less ammonia therefore less nitrites. That should give the nitrates more time to catch up right? I've already started a partial water change as well. Its just going to take a few days to get my water level back up because I've got to give my tap water a chance to evaporate the chlorine in it.

Here is a good visual representation to understand the nitrogen cycle

also pick up one of these:

http://www.campingworld.com/shopping/item/systems-iv-exterior-water...

to filter out the chlorine

Ok I lost two of my catfish this morning. One of them had white spots on the side of its head and a white strip going down its sides. Any ideas.

were the gills brown, or bright red? high nitrites cause "brown blood disease" in fish..

did you salt at all?  this does help, but is not a guaranteed "cure"..

 

No I have not salted because I don't know an exact amount and I can't afford a tester for that. I have 175 gallons in my tank so if you know about how much salt o put in let me know please. I haven't fed my fish in three days and have done a 1/3 water change and still haven't had any decrease in nitrites. I'm really beginning to lose faith in this whole project. I keep having to sink money into it that I don't have. I still need to buy the stuff to make a better filter and I need to buy an air pump so I can

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