Hi guys. I’m having problems with my freshwater tank and am hoping someone might be able to help please. I’ve spent hours and hours researching what to do, but I’m getting nowhere.
The tank is about 8 months old. It’s 160L and heavily planted. Stocked with: rasbora, tetras, honey gourami, cherry barb, albino cories, bn pleco and otos. They’ve all been there a while and there’s been no new additions for months.
As far as I understand it, my tank was cycled. I did a fishless cycle with ammonia originally, and for months I was getting readings of 0 ammonia and 0 nitrite. The biggest challenge I have had in terms of maintaining water parameters is raising KH
. The local water has no KH
, and this is a problem all of the local fish stores have also. I’ve done everything they say, such as crushed oyster shells in the filter and ocean rock (I think it’s called) in the tank itself. I add “KH
Up” during water changes, and get a KH
of about 3 if I’m lucky. If I add any more, the pH just gets too high.
The main problem, however, is unexplained ammonia and nitrite spikes. Just recently (maybe the last month), testing was picking up occasional nitrite readings of 0.25 - 0.5, which concerned me. I’ve added Freshwater Colony to try to up the BB, and as far as I know, I’m following all the recommendations. The weird thing is that these nitrite spikes are very unpredictable. We’ve moved to doing daily testing (always with a NT Labs kit) and it really is like lucky dip. I can go maybe 6 days with no nitrite, then bam, it’s 0.5. Tank cleans and water changes are happening at least once a week, but in reality I’d say much more due to these problems. I actually feel like there is too much turnover of water, and that this is preventing the tank from settling, but I could be wrong. Yesterday, we did our weekly maintenance with a big gravel vac, and changed maybe 50% of the water. Today, we have ammonia at about 0.1 - 0.2, and nitrite maybe 0.5. It makes no sense? I’ve tested the tap water and it seems ok.
My only theory that could possibly explain the problem is dying algae. We had quite a lot of what I think is BBA, so I looked into how to remove it. I started dosing with Seachem Flourish Excel every day (exactly the dosage specified), and I noticed a lot of the algae going grey. We try to remove it as soon as possible, but it’s so stubborn to get rid of, even when seemingly dying! I feel like if I stop using the Flourish Excel, it will makes things even worse and that I just need to ride it out? But I don’t know. I’m not even sure if that is the reason. As far as I understand it, ammonia and nitrite should never go past 0 in a cycled tank, and certainly not with such frequent water changes.
I’m honestly so disillusioned and dejected. I really feel like giving up. There’s no enjoyment at all at the moment. I dread even looking at the tank for fear of the next problem.
Thank you for reading if you got this far. Does anyone have any advice they can give please?