So I've had my 65 gallon freshwater set up for about 2 years now, and I haven't had any trouble with ammonia or nitrite levels until very recently. Here's the story: I noticed the beginnings of black beard algae a few months ago for the first time. When I tested my phosphate and nitrate levels, the nitrate was around 40ppm while the phosphates were off the chart (10+ on the API test). More regular water changes and some aggressive algae scraping seems to have gotten the outbreak under control, however, phosphates have remained 10+ despite all of my best efforts at removing any biological matter that was decomposing, pwc
's 2 times a week, and even after I added a Fosters and Smith Phospur pad to my Aquaclear HOB
I finally decided that what I needed to do was dig REALLY deep into the substrate with my vacuum and try to suck up whatever I could. During my last water change, I did this, only to discover today (about 4 days later) that my Nitrites were inching up. I also discovered this morning that one of my zebra danios is dead and my pearl gourami is acting much more sluggish and timid than usual.
So my question is... did I cause this spike in nitrites with my vacuuming?
Also, does anyone have any other thoughts about what is keeping my phosphate levels so high?
Any help is greatly appreciated!!