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Old 07-05-2022, 10:24 AM   #1
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Exclamation Help With Balancing Levels

Hi Everyone , Im new here!
Just wondering if i can get some advise on what i am doing wrong . . .

Basically i have had my freshwater/temperate fish tank for a good couple of months now, only just starting to have problems.
I have platys, danios and 2 x Corydoras. All fish being relatively small.

Im starting to have a problem with levels in the tank, i done a water change 2 days ago, and the levels are still the same. I have noticed the gravel has now got brown/brown algae forming underneath and slightly on the sides against the glass. Also small spots of brown algae on the glass (which has now also been cleaned) i have also bought solution to clean off dirt etc on my fake plants and ornaments. I am just awaiting my gravel cleaner to be delivered.

Also forgot to mention i did put a solution in last week, well over a week ago actually to balance it/help get rid of any harmful substances etc.

Should i do another water change? .. take out my ornaments or plants (fake plants) ?
The water isn't really cloudy or anything, i do get a slight odour when opening the lid though ...


I just don't know what im doing wrong, and would be really grateful for any advise please, im now hoping it could just be down to the gravel needing a good clean?

Filter is good, recently replaced it and it works perfectly, as far as im aware anyway! fish were A LOT happier with the new filter.

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Old 07-05-2022, 10:36 AM   #2
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Im not sure what it is you are trying to balance.

Are you talking about water parameters? If so what are they?

Are you talking about algae? If so thats normal. Brown algae is normal in a newly establishing tank and typically goes away on its own after a few months as the nutrients start to get used up. After that you tend to get green algae. If you have lights you will get some algae, and its about adjusting the lights to balance the length of time you want the lights on for with how much algae you are prepared to look at and manually clean up.

You mentioned replacing the filter. What do you mean exactly? Did you change a cartridge?

There is nothing in your post that indicates a problem that needs fixing. Can you be a little more specific about what your concern is?
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Old 07-05-2022, 11:08 AM   #3
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Sorry... yes, i had copied them ready to post and obviously i never!

So: my Nitrate levels are showing 100-200
GH - 50 (could be better)
KH - 15-20
P.H 8.4
Chlorine is good - 0




the brown algae i did presume was normal and was hoping that would fix its self, i do have lighting in the tank.

In regards to the filter, i bought a whole new filter unit around 3 weeks ago.

My concern is the nitrate levels, p.h , all of them really.
they are all usually ok. so i just don't know what's happening or going wrong? i was hoping it could be due to the waste of food, poop etc needing to be cleaned from and underneath the gravel... or do i try a different testing kit. i used API 5 in 1 strips. Can post a picture if it helps?

Thanks so much
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Old 07-05-2022, 11:42 AM   #4
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Testing strips arent reliable. They are ok, i use them occasionally as a quick dip and check when i cant be bothered getting the liquid test kit out. An issue with 5 in 1 strips is they dont test for ammonia which is the first parameter to be off. If you want a recommendation on a test kit, then get the API FW master test kit. It covers what you need (pH, ammonia, nitrite and nitrate), is accurate enough for what you are using it for, and as you get 100s of tests from the kit is more cost effective long run than strips. At the very least you need something that measures pH, ammonia, nitrite and nitrate.

Onto your parameters. 100 to 200 nitrate is high. This is a sign you are either overstocked or arent doing enough water changes. Or possibly you are starting with high nitrate from your tap water. Can you confirm how many fish you have, of what species and in how big a tank? What is your normal water change schedule? How much? How often? Will also be useful to know your tap water nitrate too.

Im going to presume you arent having an issue with ammonia or nitrite because you are seeing high nitrate. The nitrate would indicate you are cycled and the ammonia and nitrite are being cycled out. But in due course i would get this confirmed through testing.

Your water hardness. Hardness has 2 units of measurement. Degrees of hardness (°GH/ °KH) and ppm. You havent specified which your test kit measures in. If its degrees then you have very hard water, if its ppm then its very soft water. Given your pH i would infer its degrees and you have hard water. Water hardness isnt really something you should worry about unless your fishes health are noticably being effected by it.

pH. Again this isnt something you really need to be worried by unless you are seeing health issues which can be put down to pH. Most of the commonly kept fish are adaptable to a wide range of pH and its more important that you maintain a steady pH rather than what you perceive as being ideal. If you get your fish locally then they will likely have been born and raised in similar water to what is coming out of your tap. Fill a jug with water, leave it over night, test for pH, see how it compares with what's in your tank.

Chlorine. If you are using a water conditioner when you add water to your tank you will have no need to test for it.

If you changed your filter you will likely have crashed your cycle, but your nitrate is high which suggests you havent. You cant test for ammonia and nitrite so its difficult to know for sure.

For now i would like to see what further information you can provide based on above post. Change 25% of the water, and then change another 25% a few hours later if possible. And change 25% every day until you can test for ammonia and nitrite to ensure these levels dont elevate without you knowing.
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Old 07-05-2022, 02:02 PM   #5
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Exclamation

Thank you so much for your reply and advice/help. Much appreciated.

I did think the testing strips were a bit unreliable to be honest as they do run quite easily. I will definitely get the one you have said, thank you.

In regards to questions
  • I have a 45L Tank
  • 4 Platy's
  • 3 Danios
  • 2 Cordroyas
My normal water change is usually every 1-2 weeks, when doing water changes i use Tetra Aqua Safe - Water


Up to now what you have mentioned about water hardness and ph, they are not affecting fish's health.

i will test for ammonia and nitrite asap with the new testing kit.

i will post a picture of the test i have used just so you can get a bit more of an idea what i am going off. after i purchased them i did see quite a lot of mixed reviews on them. a couple of reviews being that once they had purchased other tests kits, levels were actually showing ok, and a few took to local aquarium store and they tested ok too. so it is making me wonder.

but i am also worried about the gravel needing cleaning too. i presume this can really upset tank too??

Thank you so much
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Old 07-05-2022, 02:22 PM   #6
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Arrow

https://www.amazon.co.uk/API-FRESHWA...7045108&sr=8-4

Can i just check this is the correct kit you recommended please?

Thankyou!
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Old 07-05-2022, 03:48 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nsmall809 View Post
I have a 45L Tank
4 Platy's
3 Danios
2 Cordroyas

My normal water change is usually every 1-2 weeks, when doing water changes i use Tetra Aqua Safe - Water
That feels like quite a lot of fish for a smallish tank. Doesnt explain the high nitrate on its own though. It should be managable.

I would do the 2 x 25% water changes a couple of hours apart. Then change 50% daily until you are down to about 20ppm nitrate. Should take 3 or 4 water changes based on your reported test result. After that test weekly and change 50% weekly. If you find your nitrate is creeping up above 50ppm before your water change i would look at getting a bigger tank. Let us know what your tapwater nitrate is too.

Also make sure you arent over feeding. Once a day as much as is eaten in 3 minutes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nsmall809 View Post
but i am also worried about the gravel needing cleaning too. i presume this can really upset tank too??
Its a good idea to periodically vacuum the gravel when you do a water change. Dont go overboard. Make sure you clear off any detritus off the surface every time you do a water change, and i gravel vac half the substrate every couple of weeks, then 2 weeks later the other half. Etc.
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Old 07-05-2022, 03:49 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nsmall809 View Post
https://www.amazon.co.uk/API-FRESHWA...7045108&sr=8-4

Can i just check this is the correct kit you recommended please?

Thankyou!
Thats the one.
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Old 07-05-2022, 04:15 PM   #9
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Smile

Thank you so much for all your help, it is really appreciated!!

In regards to tank size etc, can understand why, i know it probably makes no difference but all of my fish are pretty small.

I have ordered the test kit you recommended.

I will do the water changes etc like you say, and thinking about it ... i may be over feeding them

fingers crossed i can manage it!

Thank you again
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