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Thread: Nitrites in aged water

  1. #1
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    Default Nitrites in aged water

    I am waiting on my tank to cycle and basically get ready to get fish. My ammonia was dropped to zero but I still have nitrites.
    So I have been testing nitrites a lot. using the tetra strips - I have the API liquid tests also.
    In playing around with my water change setup, I noticed that my aged water barrel has nitrites in it. 3-5 ppm
    I measured my tag water nitrites are zero.

    I run the water through sediment and carbon filter.
    I run an air stone and heater @ 80.
    The water had been sitting a few days before I tested it.
    The drum has a lid with some holes for tubes and such
    I inspected the inside it looks very clean. There is a little slimy feed to the hose and drum wall.

    I'm a little confused...

    Edit: i noticed the water in the barrel has no chlorine/chloramine. So I guess the carbon is working it is new.
    Last edited by Makko; 08-01-2020 at 05:25 PM.

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    Default Re: Nitrites in aged water

    How long has your tank been cycling? You may already know this, but typically when cycling a tank, you'll get an ammonia spike and then a nitrite spike. Is it possible you just haven't gotten to your nitrite spike yet? I hate to try to answer your question with more questions, but... is your tag water your source water (I'm sorry I'm unfamiliar with term "tag water"), before you age it in the barrel? Are you doing water changes on the aquarium while cycling it?

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    Default Re: Nitrites in aged water

    I am a little confused as well, but guessing your tag water is the source which also has 0 nitrites, but I am going to assume it does contain chloramines, otherwise I am completely lost. Your aging barrel, which I am assuming is where the tag water goes after filtration has as stated no chloramines/chlorine after a few days. If I am correct then the nitrites in your aging barrel came from ammonia which would have been a breakdown product from chloramine, cannot imagine another NO2 source. If you are using carbon only to eliminate chloramine that is to my read considered risky and marginally effective.

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    Default Re: Nitrites in aged water

    I meant tap water. doh. typo...

    I just added the carbon filter because it came with the kit I got. I def wanted a sediment filter after looking at the sediment filter on my RO system.
    Im on city water just outside of dallas.

    Yes my tank is still cycling, but this is before the tank. My ammonia has dropped, just waiting for nitrites to drop and happen to test the barrel,

    Im guessing once I start doing real water changes the water wont age as long. This water was 10ish days old.
    I drained the barrel and refilled it measures 0 now. I will monitor daily to see if it goes up. I just didn't think there was anything to produce nitrites in tap water.
    I was just shocked that the water had anything in it.

    Edit - There was no chlorine or chloramine in the water after the filter while filling. I checked a sample coming into barrel.
    Last edited by Makko; 08-01-2020 at 08:46 PM.

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    Default Re: Nitrites in aged water

    Now I feel silly, pondering tag water........Nitrites have to have some biological source of Nitrogen, 3-5 ppm is also quite high. If it recurs I would put a cycled sponge filter in the barrel. 3-5 ppm nitrates is a minor issue.

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    Default Re: Nitrites in aged water

    Quote Originally Posted by Makko View Post
    I meant tap water. doh. typo...

    I just added the carbon filter because it came with the kit I got. I def wanted a sediment filter after looking at the sediment filter on my RO system.
    Im on city water just outside of dallas.

    Yes my tank is still cycling, but this is before the tank. My ammonia has dropped, just waiting for nitrites to drop and happen to test the barrel,

    Im guessing once I start doing real water changes the water wont age as long. This water was 10ish days old.
    I drained the barrel and refilled it measures 0 now. I will monitor daily to see if it goes up. I just didn't think there was anything to produce nitrites in tap water.
    I was just shocked that the water had anything in it.

    Edit - There was no chlorine or chloramine in the water after the filter while filling. I checked a sample coming into barrel.
    Thanks for the explanation. It sounds like there may be some biological activity inside the barrel. If the nitrite isn't coming from ammonia resulting from chloramine breakdown, then maybe look for possible biological contamination sources. You mentioned a sliminess on the inside of the barrel and tubing. That sounds like a biofilm. I wouldn't think a biofilm sloughing off would create that much ammonia (and subsequent nitrite), but it's something to look into.

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    Default Re: Nitrites in aged water

    Quote Originally Posted by dspeers View Post
    Now I feel silly, pondering tag water........

    Likewise. I probably should've been able to figure that one out.

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    Default Re: Nitrites in aged water

    I drained the drum twice refilled and this is the test results the next morning.
    My discus adventure may be over before it starts.


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    Default Re: Nitrites in aged water

    Are you just filtering the tap water as it is filled or do you have a recirculating filter in your aging barrel ?
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uhFp68wjRUU
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    Default Re: Nitrites in aged water

    Just once through a sediment filter followed by 2 carbon filters 10 and 1 micron. Only when I fill, then its just an air stone

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    Default Re: Nitrites in aged water

    I did some more tests

    This is right out of the sediment+carbon filter - I didn't flush it, so this was sitting in the filter from yesterday



    This is straight tap water - strip test show chloramine



    This is tap water + prime - strip test shows no chloramine



    Out of my RODI unit just for a sanity check - I used this when I made saltwater

    Last edited by Makko; 08-02-2020 at 01:59 PM.

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    Default Re: Nitrites in aged water

    There seems to be ammonia in my tap water.
    Not sure why it seems higher coming out of the filter
    Then some bio activity to get to nitrite.
    I can def lose the filter, but I'm not sure that fixes the issue.
    Last edited by Makko; 08-02-2020 at 01:50 PM.

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    Default Re: Nitrites in aged water

    Check and see if your water supply has chloramine added to it. Chloramine is a group of chemical compounds that contain chlorine and ammonia. Prime splits the chlorine and ammonia, neutralizing the chlorine and detoxifying the ammonia. The ammonia will still show on a test. https://www.seachem.com/prime.php

    Maybe you already know this sometimes a reminder helps.

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    Default Re: Nitrites in aged water

    I tested ammonia on straight tap water before ( and after ) I added prime. I check that chloramine was present so it seems like both are in the water.
    Unless the API ammonia test picks up chloramine. it seems to be there before prime.

    Im just not sure how to proceed. IF by aging the water I spike the nitrites that seems like an issue.
    I have removed the carbon filters so I'm just doing a sediment filter. Maybe that will keep the nitrites from going up.
    I found a few random posts about people in Dallas having trouble with ammonia in tap water, so it may be a issue.

    At this point I am not comfortable adding Discus. I may just sell the tank, or maybe do easier fish.
    I dont want to mess with RO water that's the reason I stopped keeping my reef tank.
    So I'm kinda stuck...

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    Default Re: Nitrites in aged water

    Don't give up too quick. Test every two or three days until ammonia is stabilized. After two weeks, ammonia levels should read 0.0 p.p.m. and nitrites should increase and maintained under 0.75 p.p.m. After the sixth week, nitrites should decrease again and nitrates should increase, approaching a reading of 25.0 ppm. Someone else will post numbers that may modify mine to adapt to discs but the point being to give yourself sufficient time in weeks to truly give your water a chance to adjust and for you to be able to enjoy discus keeping.

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