7500 Club Member
- Review score
- +0 /0 /-0
R2R Excellence Award
Reef Tank 365Build Thread Contributor
This was not directed to you or any other of the writers in this thread - with exception of one - guess whoMy 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.
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
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.
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