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Old 09-01-2013, 03:15 PM   #1
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Advice please!!

We've had our tank set up since January with African cichlids. We use tester strips to test water and the past few weeks have shown high nitrates, nitrites and ammonia are fine though. LPS suggested 50% water change and adding aquarium salt (which we have never done before). After doing this, nitrates stayed high! So we did another partial water change 25%. One cichlid died and algae eater. Then today, our last cichlids died :/ Tester strip says water is okay. The fish had mucous-looking stuff on it- didn't look like ich though. Where do we go from here??? Treat the tank for ich? Does it need to cycle again because of all the water changes? We have zero fish! Please help!
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Old 09-01-2013, 09:19 PM   #2
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Anyone?
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Old 09-01-2013, 09:49 PM   #3
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First things first the test strips are inaccurate, try an api master test kit. Next how often do you vacuum your gravel? Sometimes when you vaccuum the gravel and stir everything up you can actually release built up nitrates in the substrate. That is why it's good to vaccuum the gravel with each weekly water change. Aquarium salt does nothing to lower the nitrates themselves, it just seems to make it less toxic. Also what are the rest of your levels ammo and nitrite. Have you tested your tap water. Sometimes tap water will contain nitrates in varying different amounts.
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Old 09-01-2013, 10:09 PM   #4
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Excess mucus on fish is a sign of Mouth and Body Fungus.

Many fish can't tolerate salt so before using it always check to see if it's safe for your fish.

Since you have no fish I would turn the filters off, add 8ml of hydrogen peroxide to every gallon of tank water, and let the tank sit 20-30 minutes with the filters off and peroxide in. Next remove as much water as possible. Then refill the tank with dechlorinated water and turn on your filter. Your filter will be holding all your beneficial bacteria in it so at worst your tank my go through a mini cycle. Now the thing is are you planning to add fish right away or not? If not you will have to add pure ammonia with no additives or perfumes, and keep it dose to 2-4ppm until about a day or two before adding fish. During this time the ammonia will feed the BB. But be sure before adding fish that there is no ammonia or nitrites present in the tank. Also get in the habit of doing a 50% WC weekly to keep nitrates below 20ppm.
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Old 09-01-2013, 11:28 PM   #5
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We will definitely get the API test kit. The pet store recommended the strips. They said that's what they use on theirs. We'd like to put fish back in as soon as we can, just don't want them to die. If their is any remaining peroxide, won't that kill the fish? Is 50% water change the norm? I had thought 25. So should we not put any salt in for cichlids?
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Old 09-02-2013, 01:01 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ashlymm View Post
We will definitely get the API test kit. The pet store recommended the strips. They said that's what they use on theirs. We'd like to put fish back in as soon as we can, just don't want them to die. If their is any remaining peroxide, won't that kill the fish? Is 50% water change the norm? I had thought 25. So should we not put any salt in for cichlids?
Skip the salt for cichlids. You should only really use salt if it's to treat an issue with fish.

Hydrogen peroxide breaks down very quickly when exposed to light and air. There's nothing to worry about.

You can easily tailor the water changes to suit your needs. Think of each water change as removing a part of your contaminants For example, if your nitrates are at 100ppm and you do a 50% water change it will drop the nitrates down to 50ppm (Assuming there aren't any nitrates in your tap) But if you do a 25% water change at 100ppm you will only drop it down to 75ppm and then a second 25% water change will drop it down to 57ppm.

Keeping that in mind you can change just as much water as you want to keep things in check, although I generally don't bother with less than 50%.
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