Hello from Yuma, AZ
I recently started a 20-gallon about 6 weeks ago after being out of the hobby for years. So much has changed and I'm trying to learn all that I can before diving back into the passion that I once had and now have time to pursue again.
I'm trying to resolve a small algae bloom which started as brown, now green. I think I'm on the upper end of it but I ran a test which concerns me still, even after doing regular water changes:
1. Nitrate: 10
2. Nitrite: 3
3. PH: 8.0
4. KH (Carbonate): 180-190
5. General Hardness: 120
Living in the deep Southwest, the hardness doesn't surprise me. I bought a couple of plants today and will up the water changes. They always seem like they're starving to death but obviously I need to cut down on the feeding.
I have 9 Rasbora's as the pet store said they were good for cycling; they've been in there about five weeks. They haven't fussed much with the whole new tank syndrome but I want the Nitrate/Nitrite down to nothing, right?
I'm told with our hard water (unless I reverse osmosis), not to fuss with anything but Cichlids when I buy a larger tank but the Rasbora's at least don't seem to mind the hard water. I'm not sold on the idea that other types of fish won't do well with our water and have read various opinions.
At any rate, I'm looking forward to reading more and getting to know some of you. Please feel free to add your thoughts if you have any :)
Hello , welcome aboard. I hope you will enjoy the forum.
Do as I say. Not as I do.
Welcome to the AC!
I am still learning here but you are correct that you want ammonia and nitrites at zero when your cycle is complete. For nitrAtes, anything below 20 ppm is ok, so you are good there. The only way to reduce nitrAtes is through water changes, so you need to do a water change anytime they are above 20 ppm or so. Most people here, I believe, accomplish this through weekly water changes of anywhere from 20% to 50% or so.
You did not mention ammonia levels. Have you tested for them?
Since you are cycling your tank with fish in it, you should try to keep ammonia and nitrites below 0.5 ppm at all times until your cycle is established by doing frequent water changes. They are both toxic to fish, and dangerous at levels about 0.5ppm or so. You said nitrites are at 3ppm, which is very high for your fish! You should do a few water changes until you get that down. I will let others with more knowledge decide how much to change and when to change it to get there, but I would perhaps start with a 50% change right away to get those nitrites down as soon as possible and avoid losing any fish.
The live plants you bought today will help will all three: ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates, so you will see an improvement just from having them in there.
Unfortunately i have nothing to contribute in regards to the algae, so i will let others chime in on that one.
+1 to the above...those fish aren't going to live long in those conditions...what kind of test kit are you using?....we need to know your ammonia levels, I'm betting they are through the roof...if that nitrIte level is correct, you need to do a 80-85% water change right now
Also please read and follow the cycling with fish sticky, located here: http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/aqua...ad.php?t=36492
Last edited by Slaphppy7; 09-06-2013 at 01:10 PM.
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See my profile for my tanks and what fish I keep
75 gal - Smudge Spot Cories, Silvertip & Pristella Tetras, Scissortail & Red Tail Rasboras, Pearl Gourami, Black Kuhli Loaches, Whiptail Cats, Wild Caught BNP
Dual 29 gals - Diamond Tetras. Harlequin Rasboras, Bloodfin Tetras
10 Gal - Mr. Betta's Fishy Paradise
"Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass....it's about learning to dance in the rain"
Thanks for all the warm welcomes! I am aging water now to do a big water exchange tomorrow, though I figured between 20-30%, perhaps by reading I need to do more. I found a dead fish from the first week I had the tank that I couldn't ever find; the corpse was down beneath a plastic plant that I couldn't see.
I scraped a good deal of the algae off last night and the water has cleared quite a bit.
I just tested again and the strip reads as follows:
2. Nitrite= 3
The only thing that came down was Nitrate to nothing, and it seems the water became more hard. Water chemistry is definitely a science that's going to take some more learning on my part.
I am using the API 5 in 1 Aquarium Test Strips and doesn't have a mark for Ammonia, just Nitrate/Nitrite. This was the best that Petsmart offered which is basically the only game for aquarists in our little city.
Thanks for everyone's input. I'll increase to two water changes a week until the chemistry comes into check. The water is clear and the fish are healthy so I'm scratching my head.
Welcome back to the hobby! A lot has changed to be certain. We know a lot more now than we used to and are learning every day.
Originally Posted by Brandflake
So here's the truth of your situation. Test strips aren't accurate. The first and most vital purchase you can make is for the API Freshwater Master Test Kit. It is a liquid kit and it's really going to give you the right answers for your values. You can find this for a resonable price on Amazon with Prime shipping. You need to get an ammonia reading asap.
The second purchase I would recommend is a bottle of Seachem Prime. This is the most popular dechlorinator. In addition to removing chlorine and chloramines from your water, this is going to help to detoxify the Ammonia that is most certainly high in your tank and reduce its harmful effects on your fish. Prime is sold at my local petsmart, but if it's not at yours you can also get it on Amazon.
The reality of the situation is that you are going to probably need to do daily (or every other day) water changes between 50 and 80% on your tank until it's cycled. Cycling with fish is very hard on them and it's crucial to keep those numbers under .25 the whole time. Because you are intentionally lowering the ammonia and nitrite in your tank through water changes, cycling with fish in the tank is also going to be a longer process.
The way you decide the size of your water change is by running a test. For example, if you have 1 ppm of ammonia or nitrite, you need to change 75% of your water to reduce it to .25 ppm. If you have larger values like 3.0 you could do multiple back to back water changes, each time diluting that concentration until it's under .25.
The other option you do have to save yourself so many water changes is to return the fish you have and do a fishless cycle (see sticky in the cycling forum). This will be a lot less stress on you and the fish.
You can start a thread in the cycling forum or the beginner section with all of the information on your tank and keep updating it with test results and water change schedules so the forum members here can talk you through the process every step along the way.
120 gallon FW bowfront in progress