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Old 08-09-2015, 10:54 AM   #1
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99 guppies and nitrate is enemy number 1

I know this a long post but I believe the full story is needed in order to answer the question.

I started a post 2 weeks earlier regarding a 29 gallon tank I purchased from a seller on Craig's List that was filled with show guppies.

After transporting the entire batch I discovered the tank and everything about it was nasty mess. My main objective was to stabilize the fish and try to get my new 29 gallon BioCube cycled so I could split the population.

Its been a long 2 weeks! I've done water changes and attempted a vacuum the gravel but when you have a ton of guppies, including fry in all stages its a delicate operation. I also noticed all of these 'flea or eggs' being sucked up as well.

All along the concern has been the nitrate reading as the water in the test tube turns Kool Aid red as soon as I add drops from bottle #2. I think the color is 40ppm.

I've been advised by a forum member to get rid of the under gravel filter and perhaps rinse the gravel to help get rid of the waste.

Yesterday I moved the tank downstairs which was a flashback of 2 weeks ago.
I got rid of the under gravel filter, black and day glow gravel and changed to some Carbi Sea Super Natural rock in Blue Ridge.

One of the things which grossed me out was all the daphnia which was living in the waste in the UGF, at least that is what I think it was. I also found 10 baby fry there as well. It took a lot of patience but I managed to save the fry and hopefully not transport any of those bugs into my tank.

I saved maybe half the water and added new Spring water, Prime and used the old filter media. I kept the one large decoration for it's bacteria in hopes of helping prevent a tank crash since I got rid of the gravel.

Everyone made the transition but one male who has been looking bad since I got the tank its looking like today will be his last day.

I tested the water yesterday about 4 hours after everything was completed and again this morning ph 7.8, amo 0, nitrite 0 but nitrates are still at 40ppm! Same readings this morning.

I am at a loss. I know I need to thin the guppy herd which will happen but I would have thought removing all the waste and the old gravel would have made the nitrate level drop.

On one hand I'm thinking I should be celebrating the fact that despite 2 tank breakdowns/transports in two weeks I've lost 3 fish but the nitrate level is driving me crazy.

Thanks!
Dayna
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Old 08-09-2015, 11:03 AM   #2
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You just need to change water to get nitrates down. You could add some floating plants to help suck up nitrates. Good thing is that it sounds like through all the moving around and tear downs and rebuilds, you avoided cycling again.
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Old 08-09-2015, 01:04 PM   #3
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The nitrate test is only designed to measure nitrate up to 160 ppm. If the nitrates are above that, the test will sometimes give a funky reading. With an old, over-stocked and filthy tank, I suspect the nitrates were way off the scale.

Just keep doing regular water changes and the nitrates will come down eventually.
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Old 08-09-2015, 01:20 PM   #4
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You say you reused half the old water. If the old water had an exact reading of 80ppm nitrates, by using 50% old water and 50% new water, your nitrates are going to be 40ppm. LARGE (and frequent) water changes are needed to effectively lower nitrates. Another 50% WC will bring it to 20ppm, a 50% afterwards will bring it to 10ppm, then 5ppm, etc.
Clean water is a fishkeeper's best friend.

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Old 08-09-2015, 03:43 PM   #5
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off topic question: What kind of guppies?
But as said before, wtaer changes and some "Nitrate sponges" such as elodea will help your cause
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Old 08-13-2015, 03:27 PM   #6
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I agree, frequent water changes are the key here. Daily 50% changes is what I would be doing, however skip the spring water. Unless theres high levels of ammonia or nitrate in your tap water then tap is fine to use.

Also, to touch on the subject. If the guppies are kept in conditions like that and are massed into large quantities of different types of guppies they are no longer "show" guppies. I hope you didn't pay a lot for them.
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