The importance of nitrite measurements in a reef aquarium

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Lasse

Lasse

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My apologies if I put this thread farther off the rails. I liked your original post, and others you have started or engaged in, and should have stayed out of the fray. Please continue to engage & throw a picture of that gorgeous tank of yours every once in a while.
This was not directed to you or any other of the writers in this thread - with exception of one - guess who :p

Brandon - For the fiftyeleven time - If you read higher nitrite levels during a start up (let us say over 0.1 and higher) your nitrification cycle is stuck, hang or whatever. This in a scientific way. The second step does not works as it should. In a normal aquarium - the NH3/NH4 -> NO2 -> NO3 is seamless. The cycle is - scientifically - not working if nitrite is build up. In this case - adding more load - new ammonia, more food or whatever will worsen the problem. If a cycle stuck for a prolonged period - adding new NOB (Nitrite Oxidizing Bacteria or NOO (Nitrite Oxidizing Organisms) can help. Either from a bottle, used sand, used living rocks or soil. But it could also be a lack of inorganic P (PO4 in the water) - the autotrophic bacteria can´t grow. The remedy in this occasions is not to rise the load (more ammonia, more fish or other additions that rise the ammonia production) - It is just to let a proper bacteria population establish itself. In a new aquarium a motorized foam filter - type this - help

1632552760880.png

It is right that nitrite is not as toxic in SW as it is in many FW tanks - but we know too little about chronic stress caused of higher nitrite levels in the water.

Note - the following is pure speculation from me based on facts we know but put together in order to get a picture over the whole mechanisms.

In the gills - there is certain cells - the chloride cells - responsible for the osmos homestatos in the fish. In freshwater - they take up chloride and in saltwater - they export chloride. Probably because of similarity between chloride and nitrite molecules - they can also transport nitrite through these cells. In freshwater with low chloride content - they take up nitrite - in SW with high chloride concentration - this pathway for nitrite uptake is blocked. However - salt water fish drinks and we know that there is a nitrite uptake in the digestive track. We also know that the nitrite levels increase in the blood stream but not as much as expected. There is probably an export mechanism through the chloride cells. The chloride cells already working hard (and cost energy - it is a transport against concentrations - it cost ATP). My concern is that the need of re-export the nitrite molecules through the chloride cells cause a chronic stress and cost of energy. For me - it is of huge importance to not recommend people to keep on stocking if there is an unsolved nitrite problem but also not to panic if they read higher nitrite levels in a working aquarium - the fish will not die directly - as they do in freshwater low in chlorides - you have time to fix the problem.

If you not test nitrite now and then - you will not be able to use this tool when things goes south. If something happens - you do a nitrite test - you read between 0.02 and 0.1 - your conclusion is that this "high" level is the cause of the problem. But in reality - your tank could have been run in this concentrations for many years - but because you don´t have tested it - you have not noticed it. This concentration was not the cause of your actual problem.

Here is an example from my job. We have a MasterTronic that measure the nitrite levels now and then. It is clear that our normal concentration is around 0.02 -0.03. However the 29/8 - there is a reading of 0.213. This was caused by a mistake by me and we could track the cause (and prevent further disaster) with help of this reading. The result you see is from 3 different aquariums.

Screenshot_20210925_082927_com.focustronic.app.jpg




IMO - misreading of nitrite concentrations are very seldom and if you have problems with colours (like me) - use a Hanna marine low nitrite checker or a robot that analyze nitrite

Sincerely Lasse
 
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Lasse would you agree or disagree there

he’s at five weeks submersion time, demonstrable ammonia control but his nitrite reads positive

see the hesitation that follows nitrite testing? Many people buy more bottle bac at this point. He’s done, he paid for the quick start with bacteria already that always tests on seneye to work right out of the bottle, no wake or lag time.


new cycling science put him at ease as stated there


When is his allowed start date if not now?


is there a point you would agree to misreads being possible there or ignoring the nitrite readding for his cycle challenge?


nobody has talked about disease prevention as the real concern
His elevevated nitrate reading is confirmation that his nitrite is in fact a true result, hence an incomplete cycle. Is that harmful long term, don’t know, maybe not. Do you know for sure it is not? Is it right?, no it isn’t. If you can’t wait for a cycle, are you going to be long term successful in keeping a reef tank, doubtful.
 

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Thanks Lasse for using Mastertronic:)

Its a really good statement that Lasse is doing that nitrite will affect the nitrate measurement. So a proper nitrate measurement must first measure nitrite and then withdraw that from final results (with a certain factor that is specific for the reagent and method). In Mastertronic we have included that function.
Also as a bonus, and I agree with Lasse also on this point, is that we get Nitrite. Its a parameter that marine water aquarists maybe have ”forgot” or underestimated its value. Most of us know that its good to measure Nitrite in the start up phase as an indication when tank is cycled. But actually, and this is based on my own experience now, nitrite also in an established tank has a great information value. Because nitrite varies more than you think, and if something happening in the tank (new fish, more feeding, something is dying), nitrite is the first parameter to show you this(maybe ammonium but nitrite is easier to measure and reasonable fast). A low nitrite is an evidence that the nitrogen cycle is reasonable mature. But even in a matured tank, you can occassionaly get nitrite peek again. You will not notice it by measure only nitrate, until its too late. So, for me its definitively of great importance to not only get nitrate, but also nitrite. And again, dont forget: Many people maybe is not aware of that nitrate measure methods are sensitive to existing nitrite, and thus with manual tests and if you dont measure nitrite at same time, may get false high NO3 results from the test.

Also, I agree with Lasse, for the marine fish its well known that they are not that sensitive to nitrite as fresh water fish are, and this is due to chloride ion is blocking the nitrite ion in the gills. But despite that, its anyway of interest to know nitrite as its an indication of the nitrogen cycle of the tank.

One more thing. Quite often we read that people are puzzled about having cyano despite they have "high readings of nitrate". I would not be surprised if some of these cases actually have very low nitrate (and that explains the cyano) and the manual nitrate is false high because you have not compensated for nitrite.

Happy reefing as we are saying:)

/Jonas Roman
 

brandon429

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Lasse



purposefully excluding live time reef work insulates your thread from fair scrutiny.

in order for your thread to have validity you need to post links of cycles you guided that omit disease preps fallow and quarantine and include waiting long enough for zero nitrite.
You should be testing nitrite-compliant cycles in work threads to see if it lowers disease incidence in common reef tanks and keeping those together as a pattern set.


my patterns above will prove that we do not need to factor nitrite at any time in display reefing.

any losses from bad science will be reported there. If we go years without losses then it’s good science.

at least it’s testing using objective start date metrics in hundreds of others reefs, we can extract patterns from those updates.





your thread relies on how people report nitrite, subjective vs objective. Garf doesn’t take time to assess if prime was used before deeming the cycle unready, its why work threads that give clear start dates to aquarists are rare.

anyone who works in live cycles knows prime is used often and rarely disclosed.





we have prevented thousands of dollars of double purchases of bottle bac, we name the start date for every reef there requiring no subjective reports. We demonstrate cycle control using no testing or misreading kits (a common ammonia line from a cycling chart is a recurring checkpoint, number of days water has been in the system, objective)


we want to know number of days underwater, how you fed, what you dosed and that’s it. degree of actual live rock used or known use of seneye-tested bottle bac moves up the start date before ten days. It’s working like clockwork.

All reefs there are started with positive level nitrite. Nitrite takes the longest to comply per cycling charts, but we ignored it. We will be able to inspect my claims outcome because a trail of feedback connection is being set.
 
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brandon429

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Thank you for posting the nitrite levels above, that they land in the hundredths consistently is nice to see I’m assuming that is your matured display reef. That closely matches nh3 turnover rates too, on most kits. I think thats the first time I recall seeing detailed running data for nitrite using accurate testing.


Having the requirement that cyclers post zero nitrite before beginning, and that shows above systems don’t run at zero = easy to see how conflicts can arise on lesser test kits.

everyone has seen this article saying it’s ok to not measure nitrite



my thread above is a test for that claim, it’s panning out to be an accurate claim.
 
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You can write, you can report, you can do whatever you want - but you can never deny that if nitrite is accumulating - the nitrification cycle have stuck before the second step and if you care for your animals more than you care fore the money - you should not go further before you have a nitrification cycle completed. That you can manage with help of many things - not only bottled bacteria - but you need to manage it.

Why is measuring nitrite a such a hot potato for you? To measure that does not do any harm and it is a useful tool and give an early warning if something is going bad.

We have two different views on reefing - stay om your threads and preach your new age theories there - excuse me - I meant - new cycling theories.

Let my threads be and do not troll them as you do for the moment. I am not interested to discuss with someone that not is able to listen and understand basic science You are talking about "we" all the time - however I only see posts supporting your ideas from you - are you not alone in your pants? I stay out from your threads - please stay out from mine.

In the last post - you use an article by Randy as a sledge hammer against my thoughts - you are welcome to do that - but I do not - of different reason - share his thoughts that nitrite is not interesting in a reef aquaria. For me it is - and I try to explain for others why I have this opinion. After that - it is up to each one and decide how to do.

According start up cycles - I prefer to use natural methods instead of chemical methods - as an example - I would never use prime in order to rush the cycle. I would not either use chemical ammonium or "rutten" shrimp method in order to cycle. I use a fish and very sparse feeding. I do not even measure NO2 or NH3/NH4 in the start because I know that my method will not produce any toxic or ugly stages. My aquarium is often cycled in 2 - 3 weeks - depending on method I use.

Sincerely Lasse
 

brandon429

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I don’t think nitrite is rising for them, it’s just they report positive nitrite and we proceed if known ammonia control conditions have been met. if their filter systems weren’t ready we’d have losses or at least symptomatic fish. Or dying lysmata / sensitive creatures…

the bottle bac people dose get them a quicker start than normal, that’s not an outlandish thing to say.


nitrite measurement is subjective, open to unstated misread interference from common tank dosers, and completely removes timeliness from any reef tank job/ need.

Whether nitrite matters affects market shift for bottle bac purchases as response training, we make unneeded purchases when we factor nitrite in cycling and it’s neutral impact per Randy’s thread above, why expend the effort to measure a neutral impact parameter

new cyclers are benefitting from timing methods that free them from having to use api and Red Sea to know if a cycle is ready. Fewer misreads

They get introduced to disease preps immediately, this matches daily forum trending needs. Nobody is needing help carrying their planned initial bioload


they lose the fish eight months later for reasons shown daily in the fish disease forum, even if they did wait for zero nitrite before beginning. Preventing disease loss in fish takes complete priority over nitrite measure. This thread should be about the need for verifying fish disease preps before beginning if you want to address current needs in the hobby.
 
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Lasse

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If someone understanding the above post and how it explain why you should not use nitrite measurements in order to understand the biology of your reef - please let me know

Sincerely Lasse
 

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I enjoyed reading Lasse's detailed writeup, we have a good post trade history for debate and I like to read what he has to say. My passion against nitrite readings is really just displacement from hundreds of algae help threads and hundreds of cycling threads, all we do is remove perceived gateways/blocks/limitations in those threads in order to get a job done, and they're turning out just fine per updates.

The #1 hesitation mechanism in all of reefing is perceived free / uncontrolled ammonia, stalled cycle claims. I have never seen one stalled cycle in thousands of threads, no joke. not one. they're all false reads. We can't find a single stalled nh3 reef referencing every seneye owner we can find online.


the #2 hesitation in all of reefing is perceived uncontrolled nitrite


by specifically designing work threads around the new information that nh3 control doesnt stall past a predictable date, and nitrite will never matter in any phase of reefing, we are doing really well across threads. no hesitation, reefs are getting fixed from invasion and cycles progress on the exact date we predict they will be ready.

I cannot count the number of times we couldnt get someone to clean a tank because one or both of those params said 'not ready'

same for cycles, Ill come across cycles online where they've been waiting 65 days for api ammonia or nirite to allow a start, one of those is linked prior here. The new reefer who waited 65 days thinks bacteria can't tolerate anything, they automatically start hands-off and will ride it into a full tank invasion 80% of the time.

all due to measuring nitrite.
Using this logic, there is no need for ammonia tests, nitrite test or Nitrate tests. You have posted multiple times that a tank with just rock and water will be fully cycled and ready to use in 30 (or is it 60 days). And posted thread after thread that supposedly prove this. If this is the case - skip testing altogether, just put salt, water, rock in a tank - and wait - then stock it with fish and corals. Thats the logic of what you're saying. right?
 

brandon429

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We have more than one thread that uses timing in place of test kits. the first one revolved around 30 day mark then with the emergence of seneye report patterns and bottle bac it’s moved up now to ten days and sooner, including total skip wait time cycle options I’m sure you’ve seen. For example, show any seneye tank on the board that has ever posted not being ready by day ten


or try and find one postable example of a failed ability to carry fish after ten days wait and some bottle bac. This is the pattern as observed.

by factoring # of days underwater for the setup above all, and relating that to the ammonia line of a cycling chart, we are doing well in assigning exact start dates for any system.

we got spot checked recently by someone who had a seneye in that thread, our timing passes pop up seneye audits. I’m not meaning to change this into an ammonia thread Lasse, he’s asking what our criteria are for a clean accountable start date and none of it is nitrite based. Cycling is so predictable in timing, the random ways cyclers misreport levels (tan vs nh3, doser prime used etc) doesn’t affect the start date any longer.


suspect systems merely change all water for new and what’s left behind on surfaces is the working biofilter. They can stew their “stalled” cycle any number of days then simply change out all water and the tank is ready, it’s now unstuck.


it is no longer required in cycling for systems to completely degrade wastewater into perfect parameters, that’s old cycling science. I’m phasing it out. Their cycles were never stuck, one water change started the balance perfectly and the the systems became fully trackable reef tanks.
 
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Lasse I have question

in this post here

the majority on the board doesn’t agree on repeated nitrite and ammonia testing, what will happen to their reefs by omitting ammonia and nitrite data?

I feel that survey reflects the fact that new cycling science has edged out old cycling science in practice.

everywhere new cycling science is referenced, actual reef tanks are present to evaluate its application. Everywhere old cycling science exists, it’s only paragraphs of chemistry that paint a risk of stalled cycling but never includes a single tank example.


In these 4 pages, not a single tank example of nitrite consequence.
That link has nothing to do with whether people test nitrite, ammonia new cycling science or old cycling science IMHO. All that survey says is that people a certain percentage of people think Nitrite testing is the 'least' important. It doesn't reflect how often they do the actual tests right? My guess is that lots of people that pick alkalinity as the most important - also test ammonia. But - they can't choose 'both'. So they chose alkalinity. Maybe that would be an idea for a thread. How often do you routinely test ammonia, nitrite, nitrate in your established tank. That would answer your question. Lasse mentioned at least 2 or 3 times recently where in his tanks nitrite testing has made a difference. Maybe - if more people tested nitrite, there would be more examples? Maybe nitrite testing is really the 'new science'? IDK.
 

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We have more than one thread that uses timing in place of test kits. the first one revolved around 30 day mark then with the emergence of seneye report patterns and bottle bac it’s moved up now to ten days and sooner, including total skip wait time cycle options I’m sure you’ve seen. For example, show any seneye tank on the board that has ever posted not being ready by day ten


or try and find one postable example of a failed ability to carry fish after ten days wait and some bottle bac. This is the pattern as observed.

by factoring # of days underwater for the setup above all, and relating that to the ammonia line of a cycling chart, we are doing well in assigning exact start dates for any system.

we got spot checked recently by someone who had a seneye in that thread, our timing passes pop up seneye audits. I’m not meaning to change this into an ammonia thread Lasse, he’s asking what our criteria are for a clean accountable start date and none of it is nitrite based.
So - you're agreeing with my interpretation. Your logic is that there is no need for Ammonia, nitrite or nitrate testing in teh cycling process. That was the direct question I was trying to get an answer to?
 

brandon429

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The way you write is unclear, and often shrouds ill intent. Asked that plainly yes, our cycle umpiring gets better the fewer times we have to see someone’s non seneye test reports.


Id prefer no testing reported over non seneye ammonia reports. All we need to know is the number of days underwater and the boosters used, if any.
 

MnFish1

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The way you write is unclear, and often shrouds ill intent. Asked that plainly yes, our cycle umpiring gets better the fewer times we have to see someone’s non seneye test reports.


Id prefer no testing reported over non seneye ammonia reports. All we need to know is the number of days underwater and the boosters used, if any.
Well - maybe it would be more clear (to everyone) - if you would just use the quote function. Which would allow other people reading the thread to know what exactly you're referring to. But - to say that my post is shrouded with 'ill intent' - is a little weird. First because - I have never tested ammonia, nitrite or nitrate when cycling a tank. Second, because I've posted multiple times that I agree that people are too OCD about cycling.

What I do disagree with you here - is that @Lasse posted examples of how nitrite testing in established tanks (and to a certain degree in cycling) might be being under-done. that has somehow lead to multiple paragraph threads with your opinion on cycling - which have nothing to do with the original point being made. IMHO - what @Lasse posted - its interesting to think about. I think he makes some good points. Will I do it? No. Is it because I think he is 'wrong'? - no - its because I think 'testing' in general is overdone in this hobby (and thats partly because of errors people make when doing the tests - and getting erroneous results).

But - in all fairness. My guess is that if there were a poll about 'writing clearly', I would not be the 'loser'.
 
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brandon429

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new cycling science named the start date for his reef, the date those rocks carry bioload or pass a seneye spot check- before it’s even assembled. It won’t matter if skeptics don’t like the method, it’s what we do for pages. A great way to verify the info is to own a seneye and post findings around core stated timing dates.


if he chooses not to use my method then I dont track his post. If he does, I’ll add it to the rolls of similar rules we’ve been using above and we can track the entire lifespan of the system. wanted to show a specific example of live time, specific start date no nitrite factored reef cycling. If he adds fish on the date I said and they die, I’m easy to find for the harsh feedback. But if his fish go well, and get added to twenty pages of other fish that did well, there comes a point even skeptics must consider sheer patterning. There comes a point where prediction and feedback wins out over no work link posting.
 
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MnFish1

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new cycling science named the start date for his reef, the date those rocks carry bioload or pass a seneye spot check- before it’s even assembled. It won’t matter if skeptics don’t like the method, it’s what we do for pages. A great way to verify the info is to own a seneye and post findings around core stated timing dates.


if he chooses not to use my method then I dont track his post. If he does, I’ll add it to the rolls of similar rules we’ve been using above and we can track the entire lifespan of the system. wanted to show a specific example of live time, specific start date no nitrite factored reef cycling. If he adds fish on the date I said and they die, I’m easy to find for the harsh feedback. But if his fish go well, and get added to twenty pages of other fish that did well, there comes a point even skeptics must consider sheer patterning. There comes a point where prediction and feedback wins out over no work link posting.
As I've said multiple times before - I think the OCD behavior about cycling, etc - is way overdone. However, this is just my 'opinion' - What you're talking about above is not 'new cycling science'. Its the way it was done for decades before test kits, etc were even available. Its just that people used 'filters' instead of 'live rock'. So - it's not really 'new'. And they only way its 'science' - is if you somehow calculate the bioload that you're allowing DrLazyReef to put in his tank. For example if he puts in 2 clown fish - and they survive - that proves nothing. If he puts in a school of adult tangs and they survive thats another story - right?
 

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I'm not sure this video makes much sense in a couple ways - but I guess I don't get her point.
Yeah. Her ammonia source was insufficient, evidenced by ammonia and nitrite tests. Without testing both, one test could be considered unreliable, but both? Not sure why it took her so long to catch on but all good in the end. I agree totally with your attitude towards cycling, it’s the simple bit compared to the trials of running a reef tank.
The point of my initial post was that Brandon would have considered it cycled, now if that is important or not is a different issue.
 
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Once again - and I think I have to repeat it for another couple of years before it stuck into Brandons head - the reason why I believes that nitrite testing is an important tool have nothing to do with if fish survive or not. The reason is that it is needed in order to get a right nitrate reading ant that the bacterial second step is one of the more sensitive bacterial processes in an aquarium. If the nitrite level rise above the normal level - it is an early warning that something is going wrong. In a start - it is also a sign if the full nitrification cycle is done or not.

Sincerely Lasse
 

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understood. My claim based on logged examples + a few years of seeing cycle patterns is we have never seen that breakdown occur.

but if it was going to occur rising nitrite would be one way to see it.


no cycle we have ever seen added to a work thread had a nitrification breakdown. Approaching a reef tank cycle with concern that breakdown might occur is the incorrect way to cycle, it’s the beginning of doubt and hesitation, there aren’t any examples of a failed attempt or you might link one.


one water change and we fixed even the most ammonia overdosed cycles, no breakdown occurred.

*** let’s say someone is holding fish in a crowded emergency container due to tank break. monitoring nitrite to ensure biofilter efficacy is ok there. Paired with accurate nh3 tracking and they’ll know when to take action in the holding system if needed.

it takes extreme arrangements to make a doubtful biofilter.


just not in display tank cycling. The surface area ratios we all use in a display completely rule out stalls or biofilter breakdown. Updated cycling science says there are some arrangements that never fail to cycle on time, those are display tank cycles.
 
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