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Old 04-15-2020, 02:59 PM   #1
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Bad Parameters???

I have a 10 gallon community tank that's been set up easily for a month and a half now, and I had reached the end of the nitrogen cycle once already but I'm pretty sure I messed it up over-cleaning everything.
Instead of partially cleaning the gravel, I did a full gravel vac, fake plants and fish removed for good measure, and gave almost all the plants a good rinse as they were covered in a bit of algae. I also managed to make the huge mistake of rinsing my filter sponge media without thinking about it --- all in the same cleaning. All together it ended up about a 75% water change, fresh media, and basically fresh gravel.
It's been about 2 weeks since then (give or take), and now I have the following when I test the water:

Ammonia > 0 ppm
Nitrites ~ 5ppm
Nitrates ~ 40ppm
Ph ~ 7.5/8.0

When I previously tested about 5 days ago I was at:

Ammonia > .5 ppm
Nitrites > 1.0 ppm
Nitrates > 10 ppm -- almost 0
Ph ~ 7.0/7.5

So I added a few handfuls of sand from my shrimp tank to maybe help the bacteria along but I'm unsure if I'm going in the right direction with these readings? Will they drop to safe levels with 20%-30% water changes, or do I need to buy something to get the nitrites down? Help!! (And yes, the fish are in the tank!!)

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Old 04-15-2020, 08:57 PM   #2
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Do you have prime? If so dose for nitrite, I believe there are instructions on the bottle. If not, yes you need to water change to get back to a safe level.

You’re right, you wiped out most of your bacterial filter and are cycling. It probably won’t take as long as the first time but since you managed to hit almost every source of bacteria in the tank at once, it’s taking longer than the usual few days you get from over cleaning.

Any plants in the tank? What are your inhabitants? What has your water change schedule been like and has ammonia been present the whole time?

You need to be testing and possibly water changing and/or dosing prime at least every 48 hours, preferably daily until you’re no longer seeing toxic levels.

The nitrates are on the high side too in your latest test so I would water change today then dose extra prime to detoxify remaining ammonia.
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Old 04-15-2020, 10:15 PM   #3
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Liberty is right
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Old 04-15-2020, 10:38 PM   #4
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Well in this tank I've just got all artificial decor besides 2-3 moss balls. As far as the fish, I'm a bit over stocked but in the process of getting a 29 gallon tank to move some around:

2 koi angelfish, one medium and one small.
3 cory cats
And 5 sunburst platies, one of which is pregnant.

None of them seem too stressed out though and are still eating very happily. The most I've noticed odd about their behaviour is occasional floating near the bottom of the tank, but very very rarely.
My water is also still fairly cloudy but I think that's just to do with the bacteria and a little bit from the stocking.

I usually do a 50%-60% water change at least once a week to help with my bioload, but have yet to run into any major problems. This is the first time I've ever had any signs of bad test readings and really the first time ive seen any ammonia read on the tests at all, and I've had some of these fish (the cory cats) for over a year now.
As for the Prime, no i don't currently have any but I'm able to go get some after work tomorrow so it shouldn't be an issue with a good water change for the night until tomorrow.
--
I have two tanks, this 10 gallon which is heavily planted with room for the angels to swim (as much as they can) and room for the platies to hide. Then my 5 gallon that is very lightly planted and has 5 shrimp.
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Old 04-15-2020, 10:45 PM   #5
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Picture of 10g with the cloudy water I mentioned and the pregnant platy
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Old 04-15-2020, 10:58 PM   #6
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So you didn’t have ammonia after the big clean and now two weeks later you do?

Big water change tonight to get the nitrite down and once you have prime test daily both ammonia and nitrite. Check the instructions but I think it’s something like 1 dose per ppm ammonia or nitrite. So if you have .25 ammonia and 1.5 nitrite you need 2 doses of prime. Round up if you’re not sure. Prime is safe up to (again check the bottle) I think 5x dosage. If you need more than that you should be water changing instead. And anytime your nitrates get above 20 or so water change again. It’ll probably mean a lot of changes but that’s the downside of an overstocked tank. Little room for error.

Edit: and yes, don’t worry about the cloudiness. Totally normal while cycling. It’s a good sign really.
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Old 04-15-2020, 11:45 PM   #7
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I never had any that I tested and saw no, but at the same time the first test I did after the water change was 2 days after, but still never really saw any ammonia on the strip. It's a yellow to green test strip and .5 is hardly noticeable on the strip without a really bright light.
But I did about a 50% water change and now I've got as follows:

Ammonia > 0.5
Nitrite in-between 3 and 5 ppm
Nitrate > 20 ppm

I have some water conditioner type stuff to help lower nitrates so I added some of that to get it down from 40ppm but until I get the Prime my nitrites are still pretty high. But yeah, the water changes with the overstock are a little tedious but if it means keeping the water at safe levels I don't really mind it. Eventually the angels will have a bigger tank though! Thank you for the input! 😊
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Old 04-16-2020, 07:47 PM   #8
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UPDATE: I went home and before I drove the 30 minutes to go get any Prime I tested my tank and everything seems much better with just the water change!

No ammonia anymore,
my nitrites are in between 1 and 3 ppm more towards 1ppm
And nitrates are under 20 ppm.

One more water change and I should be okay I think without any dosing of Prime for it.
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Old 04-16-2020, 08:45 PM   #9
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Just my .02$ but I'd be keeping a bottle of Prime on hand *just in case*, esp with your overstocking. Angels can be *fussy* about their water conditions and the Prime will help keep them happy
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Old 04-18-2020, 03:50 PM   #10
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And consider liquid tests. Test strips can be really really iffy.
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