In contrast to the less dangerous nitrogen compound nitrate (NO3), nitrite in the aquarium is always poisonous for aquarium inhabitants such as fish and primeval crustaceans. Nitrite (NO2) is not harmful for an aquarium that is not yet stocked during the start-up phase, and a nitrite peak is not a problem during this phase. However, as soon as the tank is stocked, too much nitrite in the aquarium is highly toxic and countermeasures must be taken. Too much nitrite in the water causes nitrite poisoning and eventually leads to the death of the animals. After putting a lot of love, time and work into Triops breeding as a breeder, you will not want this horrible scenario to happen. For this reason, it is very important to deal with the basics of nitrite and nitrate and to recognise too much nitrite in the aquarium and eliminate it in time. In this article you will get all the important information about nitrite in the water so that you can enjoy a successful Triops breeding.
Nitrite in the aquarium: How does nitrite develop?
As an aquarist and Triops enthusiast, you will sooner or later have to deal with the consequences of poisoning caused by too much nitrite in the aquarium. There are two types of poisoning. On the one hand, there are the poisonings that form in the water and the poisonings that are supplied from outside, e.g. if the tap water contains too much nitrite. Attention should be paid to the following types of poisoning:
- Ammonia poisoning
- CO2 poisonings
- Chlorine poisoning
- Copper poisoning.
The most common type of poisoning is nitrite (NO2) and nitrate (NO3) poisoning. Nitrite should not be present in the aquarium at all, except during the start-up phase. Nitrite is formed as a product of the nitrogen cycle. Dead animals such as fish, primeval crustaceans or snails are decomposed and these waste products produce toxic substances. But ammonia (NH3) and ammonium (NH4) also enter the water through organic waste such as food or plant residues as well as excreta. Bacteria convert ammonia and ammonium into nitrite.
As a result, too much nitrite is produced in the aquarium, which must be combated specifically. Other causes of nitrite in the water are:
- too high stocking or a sudden stocking increase
- unstable bacterial flora
- Medicines in water
- Fertilisers with carbamide or urea that are unsuitable for the aquarium.
Too much nitrite in the aquarium: What is a nitrite peak and how does it occur?
A newly set up aquarium contains few bacteria. If organic substances such as fish, plants or fish food are added to the aquarium, ammonia and ammonium are released into the water as a decay and consequence of metabolism. Ammonium is relatively harmless and is consumed by aquatic plants as fertiliser. Ammonia, on the other hand, is highly toxic. The former is formed more in acidic water while the latter is more common in alkaline water.
Nitrosomonas are bacteria that convert ammonia and ammonium into toxic nitrite (NO2). Nitrobacter are other bacteria that convert the nitrite in the aquarium into the less dangerous nitrate. The prerequisite for functioning decomposition processes is enough bacteria in a new aquarium. The more nutrients there are for the bacteria, the greater their multiplication. Only when there is enough ammonia and ammonium will the bacteria responsible for nitrite in the water multiply. If there is enough nitrite, the bacteria that produce nitrate also multiply.
At this point, at the latest, one speaks of too much nitrite in the aquarium. Only when the nitrobacter have multiplied is more and more nitrite converted into nitrate. As a result, the nitrite level slowly decreases and a balance is created in the aquarium. To prevent the aquarium inhabitants from dying due to a nitrite peak, a new tank must always be run in. After the initial nitrite peak, it is best to add only a few Triops and then carefully increase the stocking.
It is generally assumed that the nitrite peak is over after a good four weeks. However, there are also aquariums in which the peak occurred much later or not at all.
How can I lower the nitrite levels in the aquarium?
Even though a high nitrite level is toxic for the Triops, this is no reason to panic. If detected early, the nitrite level can be successfully lowered. To do this, first carry out a large water change. Depending on requirements, such water changes can be carried out several times a day. It is important that more than 80 percent of the water is changed.
If the aquarium is in the start-up phase, you should not clean the filters if there is nitrite in the water. It is better to wait a while and keep an eye on the values until bacteria have formed that break down the nitrite into nitrate. Until the nitrite level has dropped, reduce or completely stop feeding. This will prevent new nitrite from forming in the aquarium. Regular cleaning and maintenance of the aquarium is essential.
Don’t worry, you can give your Triops a diet day, they won’t starve to death.
Too much nitrite in the aquarium – Conclusion
In this article you have learned the basics about nitrite in the aquarium. This basic knowledge is enormously important if you want to successfully master your primeval crayfish breeding. Triops breeding is not complicated, but it does require some knowledge and correct implementation. Here at Triops Galaxy you will find all the important information you need to have fun and enjoy breeding Triops. Also have a look at the blog article about Triops diseases.
Even if something doesn’t go as it should at the beginning, don’t despair. Look around here on the blog and try again and again. No master fell from the sky.
Good luck with your Triops breeding!