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Discussion Starter #1
I am having some weird problems with my water quality lately.
All of a sudden, my 30 gallon tank (running for over a year) is having severe problems with nitrate/ammonia.
My 10 gallon tank is also having these problems, although the tank is about a month old.

I have had two small fish die in my 10 gallon. (guessing from the water quality) and the 2 gouramis in that tank are just laying on the gravel.. very very lathargic...
In my 30 gallon tank, no fish have died from the water quality... But they are all very non-active. The angelfish just sit at the top of the tank with their top fin out of the water.. the sharks just sit there and twitch.

I have added aquarium salt for fresh water to help with the ammonia and nitrate levels. I have also started using Prime instead of aquaplus... but I have lost one of the small fish just last night.
I do not want to lose anymore fish and am getting a little stressed from the water quality.
The large tank will be having a big move into another room tomorrow and I don't want to have to worry about water quality anymore!

Anyone have ANY advice on what to do?
I appreciate any feedback!
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I had changed the water in the 30 gallon tank 2 weeks previous, then got a sick fish... so I started to medicate the water and worked my water-changing to the schedule of the medication.. Which was pretty much 25% every 48 hours.
after that, I had my water tested and the levels were high (not sure the exact numbers.. they were just astounded)... and I was told to do 25% water changes for three days
I did so, went back in and they said levels were still high and to use freshwater salt and prime. i am getting my water tested again this afternoon, but my fish are still lathargic/twitchy.

in the 10 gallon tank, i changed the water once before the "levels were high" bit..
a few times before the fish were introduced, and once after.
they have been in there for 2-3 weeks.
i treated with salt and prime and getting test results today.. but my two fish are barely moving at all. just laying on the bottom of the tank.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Well,
I just got back from the pet store for my water test.
Yikes, it is still around dangerous.
The ammonia was dark green (he wouldn't say the exact level.. just showed me how bad it was) between the last and second last greens.
The Nitrite wasn't as bad as the nitrate. And the nitrate was between the last 3 on the scale.
Both tanks were like this....
 

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Most stores use strips that test up to 6.0 for ammonia, so you're probably looking at about 5 ish. Not good.

I think the nitrates test up to 160, so probably around 120-140? Also not good.

Prime will work to add bacteria, which may help break down that ammonia. I would use some kind of neutralizer for now, and see if that will take care of your ammonia/nitrates. Amquel should work for that.

I would keep up those water changes. Are you doing all your changes from the gravel/bottom? If so, you are probably taking some bacteria with it. Try sucking a lot of water from the top. This will avoid taking out too much bacteria, and will also take out more ammonia. (Ammonia is usually more concentrated at the top of the water)
 

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Discussion Starter #7
All my water changes (except for a rock cleaning just now on the 10 gallon) have been taking water from the top.

Will daily water changes help even out the ammonia/nitrate?
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Would the high levels of ammonia/nitrate have an affect of the oxygen in the water?
Should I be looking at getting some airstones in the tank to provide more oxygen?
 

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Hmm... when you say all your water changes have been from the top, do you mean while using the medication, or since setting up the tank?

If you have not cleaned the rocks in a year (when you set up the 30), the accumulated detritus will definitely cause toxic levels of nitrates, nitrites and ammonia.

Aeration will probably not benefit you enough to cause a major difference. Nitrates don't directly affect the levels of dissolved oxygen as much as they reduce the fishes ability to extract oxygen from the water. One reason to introduce salt into the aquarium is that the salt will block the effect nitrates have on the fishes' gills.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
alright. sounds great.
i am moving the tank tomorrow, how much of a water change should I do? should I keep the water that is closer to the rocks or closer to the top?
 

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A scheduled weekly water change of 20 of the trank water, and gravel vacumming in a 4 section pattern ( a different section each week) will keep your water quaility high and your fish healthy. I would do a 20% WC asaap and than test the water. Never do more than that or you will recycle you tank.
 

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as long as you dont vaccum the gravel each time or change out all the media in your filter you can do a 75% WC without cycleing the tank
 

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Only under extreme situation would you ever do 75% Water Change. 20% is generally the excepted amount of water to remove from the tank. To remove medication and metals from your water, you use carbon. Thats why when you treat a tank you have to remove it. The problem here is a more lacks maintence schedule, life sometimes get busy and sometimes you let the it go by, without realizing that it really been sometime from the last water change. If he just does a 20% WC and test the water and then repeat in a couple of days if needed, he can bring the WQ back up quickly.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
i have been doing constant water changes the past 2 weeks, and before that i was doing monthly changes.
its not about a lack of structure maintenance, its just that i was told obviously other routines that you believe in.
 

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So what is causing the high ammonia/nitrite in your established tank?

1.) Test your tap water, maybe something changed and you are actually getting it from the tap the first time you changed it.

2.) Are you overstocked with fish? Too many fish in too small a tank. General rule is no more than 1" of fish per gallon.

3.) Are you overfeeding? Don't feed for a few days. Chances are they aren't really in the mood to eat anyways?

4.) Not enough filtration? What type of filters are you using for your tanks? Are they made for that amount of gallons? When did you clean them last? Are they still running as good as when they were new?

Until you find out about your tap continue to do 25% changes every 48hr if possible and always add Prime to each change. Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
great news.
I bought two test kits today to test the water at home (it would be the same amount for gas to drive to the pet store)..
and i have the actual levels of my waters!

10 gallon tank ... nitrate is around 10 (not quite 0 yet but getting there), nitrite is around 1.5, ph is around 7.3... ammonia is around 1.3 .. still not 0 but getting there!

30 gallon tank .. nitrate is 0, nitrite is 0, ph is around 7, ... and ammonia is around 2. (still high but not AS high!)
 

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Sounds good. Nitrate is not bad for fish and they can tolerate up to 40 or so, but get that nitrite and ammonia in check.

EDIT: BTW I was told by a Seachem tech, that prime will detoxify ammonia but still make it available for bacteria to cycle. However, this means it will still show up on most test kits. He calls it a false positive and says you should be safe as far as ammonia and nitrites. Have you lost any fish after ~24hrs from first using Prime?
 

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Discussion Starter #20
I lost one fish on thursday morning. i started using prime on wednesday night.

in my 10 gallon fish i have 2 paradise gouramis, 2 mollies and 1 lone tiger barb (his friends both passed :()
in my 30 gallon i have 3 angel fish, 2 bala sharks, 2 skirted tetras, 2 dwarf gouramis and a pleco.

i was told that it is not overstocked. at least, i hope its not.

thank you for checking on the ammonia I appreciate it!
I am glad all my hard work and stress is finally showing something good :)
 
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