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Old 04-06-2006, 09:33 PM   #1
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Help me figure this out....

This has been an ongoing problem since Monday April 3rd. I was asking for advice in another forum without much luck. I'm hoping you guys can help me figure this out. I will copy my posts from there to here to get you up to date. Sorry its pretty long.

Monday
Am 1 Ni .5 !!
Okay my tanks been cycled for almost 2 months. Water parameters have always been perfect. Am 0 Ni 0 Na 10. I dose dry ferts and flourish, just started Excel on Saturday the 1st.

I did my normal 50 % pwc Saturday and started adding Excel. The only cleaning I did to any filter was the HOB, rinsed the sponges and floated the biowheel while doing the pwc.

I noticed my Vals don't look as good and the water is a bit cloudy. So I added polyester fiber to the canister and HOB. I decided to just go ahead and take some readings.

Am 1 and Ni.5

Can dying plants( Vals ) jump parameters that much? Should I look for other causes though I can't see what it would be. The only thing I've done different in the past 2 weeks is add dry ferts, flourish and excel.

I'm doing a 50% pwc as I type this and will continue pwcs until the levels get back to normal.

edit:

Is it possible that the algae is dying off and adding to the problem?

Tuesday

I think I found my problem...

I have Xmas moss in the tank, so I pulled it up off the slate cave and daaaammn a ton of junk started floating. So I did a vac of 33% of the water, pulled the moss out and added Prime.

I'll rinse out the moss and add it to my 20 gallon which only has 1 fish.
I think part of the problem was the filter flow goes right over the moss so the junk was getting pushed into it.

Still doesn't explain the Val melting unless high am and Ni can cause that.

Wed

Took readings today and Am is down to .5 Ni is still .5 and nitrates are 10.

I swear the only thing I've done different is add Excel. I'm going to clean out the canister filter but not rinse anything. Maybe I have a build up of plant material in it. Its been about 3 weeks since I've done anything to it.

I have lava rock and ceramic rings as bio. I've heard lava rocks could hold and leech nitrates but that doesn't seem to be the problem.

Anyone with any tips?

edit:

Canister was nasty, but not plant matter. I gave it a rinsing and moved some of the media around.

I had 2 coarse and 2 fine in the same basket. I put them in seperate baskets so there is more circulation.

Bottom basket -2 coarse sponges
Middle basket - 2 fine sponges, divider, ceramic rings
top basket - lava rocks, divider, poly fiber

Anyone see anything wrong with this setup?

Thursday

Took another reading.

Am .25 Ni 1!! So AM is dropping but NI is rising. Its like I'm cycling again. What the hell caused this?

I did nothing different in filter cleanings, nothing different in pwc, nothing different than anything I've done in years of fish keeping. Only thing different has been adding Excel.

Has anyone noticed Excel affecting their parameters?


My water comes from an individual well, No chlorine.
Well water parameters are Am 0 Ni 0 Na 2.5

Can you guys help?

I wasn't sure if I should post here or planted. If the mods think this is more a planted question please feel free to move it.
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Old 04-06-2006, 09:48 PM   #2
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decaying plantas can raise your nitrates which would in turn over time bring the nitrites up and possibly the ammonia since it is waste. remove the plants, do another 50 pwc and vaccuum everything real well. clean your filter agian just to be sure. I personally don't see anythihng wrong with your media setup but I run all HOB type filters. asfter 24 hours retest your water and tell us your readings and we'll go from there
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Old 04-06-2006, 09:59 PM   #3
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I trimmed all the dying vals down on Monday,and removed the moss on Tuesday.

The nitrates never climbed over 10.

I'll continue the daily pwcs to help keep the Am and Ni under control. I'll post results tomorrow.
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Old 04-07-2006, 08:20 PM   #4
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Ok tested today, Friday, and Am is 0 but Ni is still near 1. I use the AP test kit and while its not pink it is a brighter purple than .5 is.

I noticed my biowheel is spinning faster. I'm thinking maybe I put the cover on wrong and it was impeding its spinning. I figure this could cause the bacteria death resulting in the spikes. It wasn't stopped but it wasn't quick like it is now.

Plants are doing great.

I'm a bit confused about the fish though. 6 of the 9 are labryinth (?) types but they aren't hanging at the top gasping. I would think a week of high nitrites would affect their O2 gathering abilities and have them hanging at the top to get airborne O2. Any thoughts on this?

I tested the test kit on plain well water and got Am 0 Ni 0 so the kit is accurate.
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Old 04-07-2006, 09:11 PM   #5
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are we sure that decaying plants produce nitrate? I know that you will get an excess of phosphate, but I didn't think Nitrate. I hardly ever do gravel vacs as my tank is so heavily decorated and planted, its nearly impossible and I never get an increased reading in Ammonia, or NO2
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Old 04-08-2006, 09:14 AM   #6
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Most people don't realize how fragile and slow growing that nitrifying bacteria can be. Hence the reason mini cycles occur more often than we would like. A rapid pH shift will kill off the bacteria. I'm wondering if you've kept tabs on this. Adding Excel might cause a rapid pH drop. Just a thought.
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Old 04-08-2006, 10:32 AM   #7
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I've never had anyone tell me nor does the bottle mention pH drops when added.

I don't see why it would drop the pH as its not a gas. I think it was the biowheel, I'll test again later today and see what the readings are.
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Old 04-08-2006, 11:48 AM   #8
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The reason has to do with proper buffering Ice. It's common knowledge that CO2 injection will lower the pH of an aquarium with a DH of less than 3. In fact, the way to measure CO2 in an injected aquarium is by a calculation which is the relationship between pH and DH. I understand that Excel works differently but might give the same result. Perhaps someone knows the facts on this.
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Old 04-09-2006, 11:56 AM   #9
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I've tested the pH (6.8) and its the same so is the Kh(3-4).

Am is at 0 and has been for the past couple of days but Ni still climbs to near 1. Will continue the 50% pwcs. I did 1 this morning and will probably do another tonight. Then I'll do 50% back to backs during the week as I won't be able to do them in the morning.

My main concern is more of WHY it happened so it doesn't happen again. Thanks for the help so far.
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Old 05-23-2006, 10:05 PM   #10
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I know this is an old thread but it might help someone with the same problem.

The reason I had the minicycle was the label on Excel 2L is the one from the smaller bottles. They misprinted the directions. The actual dose is supposed to be 5 ml, a capful. The cap on the 2L is 10 ml. So when I added the initial dose it was an overload and killed off a good bit of bacteria.
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Old 05-23-2006, 10:12 PM   #11
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Another thing, vals don't do good with Excel, and may melt and die off as well.
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