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Old 10-19-2011, 10:33 AM   #1
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Old tank set up

I have a 30 gallon fresh water tank that has been set up for years. Lately I've been having very high nitrate levels and low ph. I keep changing water and cleaning gravel. This helps temporarily but not for more than a couple of days. I have an undergravel filter and a Whisper filter. Should I take the tank apart and clean under the filter? What kind of maintenance does an undergravel filter require? I'd appreciate some advice as I used to be able to keep all kinds of fish for years and now they keep dying. Thanks.

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Old 10-19-2011, 10:48 AM   #2
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First do you keep any live plants?what kind of filtration is being used? Do you use tap water?&if so have you had it tested?

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Old 10-19-2011, 11:27 AM   #3
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Both the lowering of pH and high nitrates are a sign of high bioload. As organics are converted to nitrates, the water is acidified as well. If you've had the same stocking for years, I would suggest a deep cleaning of the UGF. Wouldn't be surprised if it has collected lots of debris. Most people don't use UGFs anymore because of this sort of problem. It draws debris into the gravel as it passes water through and is not as easy to clean as a filter sponge. How often are you doing water changes btw? Weekly 50% would be a good idea if you aren't already doing that.

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Old 10-19-2011, 12:23 PM   #4
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Your 30 G

Good morning tu...

Apparently, your UGF isn't functioning well. UGFs aren't really the best filtration system. They're easily plugged with plant roots and small pieces of substrate. Filtration in general just replaces toxic water with less toxic water. The pollutants must be removed and you know that means a water change.

You can keep the UGF, but you'll need to do larger and more frequent water changes to keep the water clean. A minimum of 50 percent weekly should suffice, that's what I do in my tanks.

An alternative that wouldn't be too expensive, would be to unplug the UGF and leave it in the tank and just replace it with an HOB. I like Aqua Clear. A 50 or a couple of 20s placed at opposite ends of the tank should be fine. You should still be doing the larger water changes weekly.

If you're very good about doing your weekly water changes, you could go for a 60 to 70 percent weekly change and use an Aqua Clear 30 filter. I know I'm bucking some expert advice here, but the water changes are more effective than the filters for keeping the water clean.

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Old 10-19-2011, 01:29 PM   #5
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Old 10-19-2011, 01:35 PM   #6
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Welcome to the forum.

What stock do you have in your tank?

Great questions/advice given above.

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