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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I sure could usse some advice. I have been fighting with the water quality for 3 months. When I started my small tank at the office a year ago (my first ever) I set it up and waited 24 hours before putting the fish in and they are doing fine. I did the same with the 16g bowfront at home 3 months ago as well. When I kept having problems, I started searching the web and discovered that this was not nearly long enough. Too late now. I am not sure what to do to correct the situation. I have test strips that give me the following info:

Nitrate = 0
Nitrite = just above 0 and less than .5
GH = 75
KH = just above 40
pH = 6.2
Temp = 76 F
(I know...now...not the best strips. I'll work on this one)

I have been using StressZyme and Nitraban. I have put some aquarium salt in that got the GH and KH up. I have tried using the 7.0 pH adjuster but it doesn't seem to be helping.

I can change anywhere from 1/3 to 1/2 of the water and it clears up for a so (usually). Today it clouded right back up after about 3 hours. It is white cloudy not green.

What should I do to get the water quality under control???

*c/p*
 

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First: What kind of fish?
Second: How often are you doing the water changes?

My advice would be to go to your local pet store and get some of their gravel that is already cycled to put in your tank to establish some of that bacteria already, so it doesn't have to be created out of thin air. I find that that is the easiest way to get a cycle under control when you cant really remove the fish.
 

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Pleco n bn breeder n BOSS
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What you are having is a bacterial bloom by the sounds of it. Its caused by the tank not being cycled. If you can get some filter media from a friend or even gravel as suggested, just make sure that the tank its coming from is healthy.

If that isn't possible a lot of water changes are in store and it will take longer to cycle the tank than not having fish in it. Feed the tank very lightly, in fact I would just feed maybe 2 days a week. Does the tank contain any live plants? If not, try to find a bunch of elodea or hornwort and that will help take up any ammonia or nitrites till it does cycle. By a bunch I mean a lot of it to almost fill the tank, you can plant it or let it float, but it will help.
 

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Queen Platy
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This is very unusual because your Nitrate is 0ppm. The results must show at least something in the nitrate readings especially if it has been 3 months. Even if your tank went into a mini cycle, it still should have some readings. It seems as if your tank has not been cycled yet like a newly set up tank. You dont need to worry about the GH and KH, those readings just show how hard the water is and how easily the pH can be flucuated. Also, the pH should be fine. Its too hard to adjust the pH to match it to the fishes needs. Its easier to let the fish adapt to the water. As long as the pH is not in the extremes, then it should be ok. 6.2 pH IS a bit low, but you cant be certain unless you get liquid testing. If you want to raise the pH, add crushed corals into the substrate.

Continue doing water changes every 2-3 days and once the tank is cycled you can reduce the water changes to once a week.
 
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First, stop adding the Nitraban. You've got plenty of bacteria in there if you have a bloom going. Also stop adding the PH adjuster. That stuff is worthless. If you REALLY need a buffer, I agree with the crushed coral method.

Stresszyme is fine.

Definitely pick up an API Master Freshwater Test kit ASAP. It's expensive, but it's well worth the money for it's accuracy and thoroughness. Right now I think you definitely need to test your ammonia levels (which the kit has), because if there is a little nitrite and no nitrate, I'm suspecting you have a very high amount of Ammonia right now, which would account for the bacteria bloom.

I second getting Anacharis (Elodea) and/or Hornwort to help level out and soak up some of the ammonia. Keep doing water changes every couple of days or so like Nurse Platy said, and checking the water before you do one and write down your numbers.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks to everyone for the advice. I'll keep the water changes going and tomorrow I will try to get the test kit and plants. I'll let you know when I finally succeed!
 

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hope it all works out, its always nicer when you know you dont need to check your water chemistry 46283426 times a day :)
 

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i agree with everything above. also, how do you maintain your filters? After 3 months that tank should be totally cycled no matter when you added fish. It seems to me like you are destroying the biological filtration somehow and causing these bacteria blooms.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Well, I went to the store and they were out of the Master Kit. I did get an API Ammonia Test kit and I am at 1.0 ppm. They were also out of Elodea, but I got some ribbons and wisteria. I'm keeping the water changes going to try to keep it from getting any higher.

I have quit adding the Nitraban. Silly me, I didn't realize it was adding more bacteria. *frown

I change the carbon fisher 3-4 weeks and never change the biological filter.

Guess we'll wait to see what happens. I sure hope the plants help.
 

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well i dont get how your biological filtration could be failing you with this info. unless ofcourse you rinse your carbon out and reuse it. However, there is no need to use carbon on your tank. try using pillow stuffing instead. The thing is that carbon pulls out all types of chemicals.. good chemicals and bad ones.

What kind of filter do you use? fluval fx series? rena xp? hob? and what are you using to house your bacteria?
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Well good news! The plants are working. My ammonia is going down quickly and my nitrates are coming up. The water is clearing also. The fish seem happy. In 2 days I have gone from ammonia levels of 1.0 to 0.25! I think there is hope. I'm still keeping the feeding at a minimum (don't think the fish like it that much, but they'll survive I think). The ribbon plants I got said they were aquatic, maybe they miss named them. I am not sure of the scientific name that was on them. They seem quite healthy so far. I'll keep an eye on them and if they start "drooping" I'll pull them out.
Thanks for all the support guys!
 

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Queen Platy
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Local fish chain stores buy a group of plants at a time. And they have no say to which plants to pick. Some are sold as aquatic plants. Aqua ferns and Ribbon plants are not aquatic and will die.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Just wanted to say thanks to everyone. The tank is cycled (Master Test Kit readings) and the fish are happy. I picked up a couple more fish to put the school back together and the readings have held. Thanks again.
 
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