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Old 02-20-2017, 10:50 PM   #1
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Nitr(ite/ate) Spike Overnight??

What's going on everyone? New guy to this forum. I've recently had an issue with my main community tank.

Tank stats:
40 Gallon
Planted with one Ruffle and one Green Myrio
Sand over gravel substrate
Established for 3 years

My tank is established and contained 2 angels, 1 flying fox, 2 discus, 1 blue jack dempsey, 1 rose tetra, and 1 GBR. So about 3 months ago, I got a new canister filter and set it up to run with most of the original filters media. I transferred the bio blocks over as well as the carbon and foam to the new canister. I woke up Thursday to cloudy water and all but the 2 angels and 1 jack dempsey were dead! The water stats are as follows:

Ammonia: 0ppm
Nitrate: 20-40ppm (Color is close to both in test vial)
Nitrite: 5ppm
Ph: 7.6
Water temp: 82

My question is what could have happened? I do weekly 10% water changes while vacuuming the substrate, and feed once per day either blood worms or flake food. I've treated the tank with a 50% immediate water change and 25% water changes daily since then. I've also added API Quick start as well as Nite-Out II in an attempt to save what fish I have left. The fish showed zero signs of stress before the water conditions changed. Any help is appreciated.
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Old 02-20-2017, 11:05 PM   #2
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For one, those weekly 10% changes need to have been more like weekly 75% changes. The tank was extremely overstocked for the long haul. Not sure how big the fish were but one single jack dempsey places an enormous bioload on a 40, that's before everything else. Simply put the huge amount of waste crashed the tank. I would change as much water as possible and create a more appropriate stock list.

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Old 02-21-2017, 12:39 AM   #3
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I agree that 10% water changes are too small. That Nitrate reading is probably closer to 40... You need to keep Nitrates at about 10ppm. My tank (60 GAL) requires a 25% weekly change with gravel vacuuming to keep nitrates at 10-20.
I test every Weds and Sun. Test results take a few minutes rest to read correctly.
Sunday the nitrates hit 20, and the water gets changed.

Discus require a much lower pH,.. about 6.5, and VERY clean and stable water,
and housing them with an aggressive Jack Dempsey may have added stress. Not an easy fish to keep.

Keep nitrites down through partial water changes until the bio filter builds up again, then as already mentioned, restock fish that can be housed together in the water parameters you keep.
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Old 02-21-2017, 12:52 AM   #4
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I agree that 10% water changes are too small. That Nitrate reading is probably closer to 40... You need to keep Nitrates at about 10ppm. My tank (60 GAL) requires a 25% weekly change with gravel vacuuming to keep nitrates at 10-20.
I test every Weds and Sun. Test results take a few minutes rest to read correctly.
Sunday the nitrates hit 20, and the water gets changed.

Discus require a much lower pH,.. about 6.5, and VERY clean and stable water,
and housing them with an aggressive Jack Dempsey may have added stress. Not an easy fish to keep.

Keep nitrites down through partial water changes until the bio filter builds up again, then as already mentioned, restock fish that can be housed together in the water parameters you keep.
This was my first go with Discus. It's a shame because before this crash my water had been very stable. I'm wondering if maybe some plant waste accumulated and added to the bio load? I read that discus can live in as high as 7.8 ph as long as there is no fluctuation as there is hardly any ph fluctuation with my tank thankfully. The Dempsey is about the size of my thumb nail, I had the option to purchase a larger one but wanted to start small as I've heard they can cause stress. I will increase water change % weekly. Any recommendations for more bio friendly fish? Don't want to run into this issue again. Thank you!
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Old 02-21-2017, 09:22 AM   #5
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The discus have a total different set of water guidelines as the other fish I mean just the temperature for instance I would keep no other fish with them and especially a JD
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Old 02-21-2017, 11:12 AM   #6
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Bill...

Your tank management needs some help. Below are some simple things I do for my tanks. There really isn't much else to keeping a basic, no frills fish tank. The simpler, the better.

Use a chemical additive to remove the chlorine and chloramine. Keep all other chemicals out of the tank water.

Remove and replace at least half the tank water every week. More is always better. No slacking!

Feed the fish daily, alternate a little variety of low phosphate flakes, freeze dried and frozen foods.

Clean the filtration system every time you change the tank water.

Maintain a steady water temperature around 75 degrees.

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Old 02-21-2017, 08:41 PM   #7
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Bill...

Your tank management needs some help. Below are some simple things I do for my tanks. There really isn't much else to keeping a basic, no frills fish tank. The simpler, the better.

Use a chemical additive to remove the chlorine and chloramine. Keep all other chemicals out of the tank water.

Remove and replace at least half the tank water every week. More is always better. No slacking!

Feed the fish daily, alternate a little variety of low phosphate flakes, freeze dried and frozen foods.

Clean the filtration system every time you change the tank water.

Maintain a steady water temperature around 75 degrees.

B
Thanks for the advice. Aside from the lower volume water changes, I do every one of those things. I just retested the water and got values of:

Nitrate: 0ppm
Nitrite: .25ppm
Ammonia: 0ppm
Temp: 78 (lowered to reduce possible bacterial growth)
Ph: 7.4

So I guess the tank really did just crash and the nite-out did its thing along with my water changes. Looks like I'll be heading a different route this time around. Thanks.
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Old 02-22-2017, 02:20 AM   #8
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Are you doing the nitrate test right, you have to shake the heck out if bottle #2, im sure it did cycle just cirious
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Old 02-22-2017, 08:35 AM   #9
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Are you doing the nitrate test right, you have to shake the heck out if bottle #2, im sure it did cycle just cirious
Yea I'm positive I'm testing correctly. Did each test twice to make sure it wasn't a fluke.
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Old 02-22-2017, 08:50 AM   #10
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Too bad you just did not cycle new filter with the old one still running ?
I think that would have avoided it all?
Regardless of opinion if the tank was running for 3 years like that your maintenance was just FINE !
I will also just guess if the sand is still on top of your gravel [after 3 years[] that you don't vacuum in the sub just over it ?
Lots of crap can and will build up in the sub.
I only say this as I mixed subs and the first time I vacuumed the smaller sand fell under the gravel to never be seen again?
If you are still in a mini cycle maybe add the empty old filter back if you haven't washed it out?
Prime detoxifies ammonia and nitrites if you need to. 1 application will last 48 hours. They will still register on your test so don't keep adding.
Salt also works for nitrite although I am NOT the salt guy.
Search 'brown blood disease in aquarium' ...
Good luck.
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