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Old 02-23-2012, 08:43 PM   #1
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Water change?

My 2 yr old dumped an almost whole bottle of fish food into our 20 gallon tank. My husband is talking about taking the fish out and doing a complete water change. I am worried because we just lost several fish due to too much water change.

My readings a couple hrs ago
Nitrate 20
Nitrite 3.0
Hardness 25
Alkalinity 80
Ph 6.8

Advice please
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Old 02-23-2012, 08:50 PM   #2
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I forgot to add i bought a nitra-zorb pack at the store's advice due to the dumping of food.
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Old 02-23-2012, 09:10 PM   #3
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You could always bag up your fish, water change all your water, and acclimate your fish to the new water like how you would when you first bought your fish.
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Old 02-23-2012, 09:43 PM   #4
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Just vacuum the substrate and you should be fine. Monitor for nitrates and do water changes as required.
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Old 02-23-2012, 09:52 PM   #5
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If you're doing water changes properly, you absolutely will not lose fish as a result. I can pretty much guarantee you that was not the cause of death..again if done properly.

Dont add any wierd additives that are supposed to absorb nitrates. Those are gimmicks. As a general rule, avoid any and all advice from the shops. The vast majority of them literally have no clue what they are talking about.

Vacuum the substrate thoroughly, doing a large water change. Temp match the new water and dose with a high quality dechlorinator like Seachum Prime. Use enough Prime for the entire tank volume and not just the water you are adding. This will neutralize the the ammonia and nitrites that are left behind for 24 hours, so they won't poison your fish.

By the test results you posted, which do not include ammonia, one of the most crucial to test for, I wonder, are you using test strips? Those are seriously inacurate. If they say your nitrite is at 3ppm, it's scary to think how high it could actually be, since 3ppm is already very severe. You need to be testing with a liquid test kit. Ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate are the most important tests to be running. Nitrate ideally should not exceed 20ppm, and nitrite and ammonia should remain at 0ppm. You need to continue doing daily water changes until they are down to these levels.
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Old 02-23-2012, 09:54 PM   #6
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My daughter did this, too because she thought the fish were hungry. An ENTIRE new container of fish pellets. Which promptly blew up & turned into a sticky, gooey mess. I vac'd as much as could (didnt work) and wound up having to remove the fish, completely vac & drain all the water, rinse the goo off the gravel, refill & re-acclimate the fish. There was a slight spike in ammonia & nitrite for about week afterwards- just some extra water changes.

Your ammonia readings would help here as well. A nitrite reading of 3ppm is quite high & really needs to be addressed with some water changes as well. I am curious why you are saying you 'lost fish due to a water change'?
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Old 02-23-2012, 10:01 PM   #7
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I'm guessing the fish loss is from the sky high levels of toxins in the water and has nothing to do with water changes. Unless there is literally still a huge mess of fish food still sitting in there, which I certainly hope not, there's no reason to remove the fish.
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Old 02-23-2012, 10:15 PM   #8
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I feel for you, my then 2 yr old "fed the fish" too. In a ten gallon there was no way to vacuum the gravel sufficiently without doing multiple water changes. I had to take the fish out and put them back in ... It was awful. Child locks on the fish food!!
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