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Old 10-25-2011, 02:14 PM   #1
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Water changes please help

HAs anyone have the right ideas in water changes? Some say dont vaccume the gravel some say do- my nitrates and ammonia were perfect before i did my water change last night. I vaccumed the gravel but i kept the vaccume in one spot and sucked till water came clear then repeated. Did not shuffle gravel, today my nitrates are spiked to the max! Ammonia is still same. My ph is still 7.6 and does not budge. I did another water change again this time just removing water. This time using filtered water to help my ph go down and still using water conditioners. Is it ok for the temp to fluctuate from 1-2 degrees putting back in the water? Am i doing this correctly? My dwaf rainbow fish keeps charging at the glass like if it is trying to hopefully break thru. What is going on.
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Old 10-25-2011, 06:56 PM   #2
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What size tank and what fish are in there? How long has the tank been set up? Can you post ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels for the tank?

First, your PH at 7.6 is fine. Messing with PH can be dangerous to the fish. Fish like stability and will adapt to your PH, so don't try to get it up or down. If it's at 7.6 and is stable leave it be.

You likely had waste and uneaten food built up in the substrate that got stirred up with the vacuum and caused the spike. You may want to start vacuuming substrate more regularly (weekly). How high are nitrates exactly now? If ammonia and/or nitrite are over .25, and/or nitrate are over 20, do another large water change to get them down. Don't forget dechlorinator and try to temperature match the water as closely as you can (feel both the tank water and tap water with your hand; a difference of 1-2 degrees is fine but no larger).

Also just use your tap water. Don't mix with filtered water, etc. Changes like that can be dangerous to fish. I hope this helps.
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Old 10-25-2011, 07:13 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by librarygirl
What size tank and what fish are in there? How long has the tank been set up? Can you post ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels for the tank?

First, your PH at 7.6 is fine. Messing with PH can be dangerous to the fish. Fish like stability and will adapt to your PH, so don't try to get it up or down. If it's at 7.6 and is stable leave it be.

You likely had waste and uneaten food built up in the substrate that got stirred up with the vacuum and caused the spike. You may want to start vacuuming substrate more regularly (weekly). How high are nitrates exactly now? If ammonia and/or nitrite are over .25, and/or nitrate are over 20, do another large water change to get them down. Don't forget dechlorinator and try to temperature match the water as closely as you can (feel both the tank water and tap water with your hand; a difference of 1-2 degrees is fine but no larger).

Also just use your tap water. Don't mix with filtered water, etc. Changes like that can be dangerous to fish. I hope this helps.
10Gallon
Nitrate 2: 5.0 ppm
Nitrate 3: 10-20 ppm
Ammonia: 0ppm

Tank been set up approx. 1 going on 2 months.
So u
You think i need to vacuume weakly? Im afraid it will spike it again
Ok, and tap water only.(so much easier that way, anyway)
What is Your take on needing carbon in the filter?
Can you suggest me a good co2, that will make my fish and live plants happier?
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Old 10-25-2011, 07:15 PM   #4
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Old 10-25-2011, 07:22 PM   #5
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If that's your nitrite you're talking about for NO2 that's really high, I would really do some water changes.

I don't vacuum my substrate. My tanks too heavily planted to get into most areas. You should though if your levels are that way.
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Old 10-25-2011, 08:35 PM   #6
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If that's your nitrite you're talking about for NO2 that's really high, I would really do some water changes.

I don't vacuum my substrate. My tanks too heavily planted to get into most areas. You should though if your levels are that way.
Well that's why i don't understand what's going in because B4 I vacuumed it my nitrates were at 0. After it went bizurk. Do u think I should do another water change with vacuuming?
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Old 10-25-2011, 08:36 PM   #7
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Is nitrIte 5?? Looks like you're in the nitrite phase of the cycle. You've past the ammonia phase, which is good, which means ammonia should stay at 0. Next is the nitrite phase and nitrites are as toxic to fish as ammonia. They need to be kept under .25 at all times. With them at 5 I'd do a few 70% water changes ASAP. Nitrites will eventually go to 0 and stay there on their own which means the tank is cycled, but it isn't yet, so frequent water changes are necessary to keep them low.

You don't need carbon in the filter unless you're removing medications. It isn't harmful to have it in there but it isn't needed.

Get on those water changes.
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Old 10-25-2011, 11:39 PM   #8
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I done a 70%wc, now it's about a 1.0 ppm
Better but still very high. Need to do a daily water change. Should I do 50% tomorrow again? Also, without vacuuming the gravel.. Right? I be scurred to stir up that gravel again :/
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Old 10-26-2011, 08:51 AM   #9
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I done a 70%wc, now it's about a 1.0 ppm
Better but still very high. Need to do a daily water change. Should I do 50% tomorrow again? Also, without vacuuming the gravel.. Right? I be scurred to stir up that gravel again :/
1 is still too high for fish. Do another 70% now if you can, if you haven't already. Don't be afraid to do back-to-back changes if they are needed (anything over .25 nitrite is too high). After the one last night you could have done another one to get those nitrites lower. Nitrites spike quickly so it's super important to keep on top of them: frequent testing of the water and water changes are important (again it may mean more than one water change per day,or even more than one back-to-back).

I don't know that stirring up the substrate would have caused the nitrites to spike like this. It's possible I guess, but I'm questioning whether the tank was truly cycled. With the tank only a month old I'm guessing you were only part-way through the cycling phase (the ammonia phase, entering the nitrite phase) and it could be just coincidence that they spiked when you stirred the gravel. If there is that much gunk in the gravel however you're probably vastly overfeeding the fish. Feeding sparingly is important particularly when a tank is cycling. Did you have nitrites spike and then come down before or is this the first time?

Also what dechlorinator are you using? If you can get Prime, it'll help detoxify the nitrite between water changes to help your fish throught the toxin spikes (not to be used in place of water changes however; clean water is very important now). Whatever you have on-hand now is fine though b/c at least one 70% pwc is in order this morning assuming the nitrites haven't risen from 1 (if they have, then do two pwc back-to-back).
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Old 10-26-2011, 08:59 AM   #10
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get some amquel plus
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Old 10-26-2011, 09:02 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tinafina View Post
I done a 70%wc, now it's about a 1.0 ppm
Better but still very high. Need to do a daily water change. Should I do 50% tomorrow again? Also, without vacuuming the gravel.. Right? I be scurred to stir up that gravel again :/
The reason that your numbers are changing drastically is because you haven't stirred up the gravel enough. If you tend to overfeed (not saying you do, but what if), so much debris gets down into the substrate that it creates an issue if you don't clean it out regularly.

With larger established tanks, many people vaccuum only 50% of the gravel itself per week. Then they do the other 50% the following week. I would say for tanks over 100 gallons, this could be the norm.

For smaller tanks, you really want to get all that crap out of there so that it doesn't create a problem.

Did you mention which test kit you're using?

As always, Librarygirl is spot on with her advice. You should follow it.
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Old 10-27-2011, 02:37 AM   #12
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Ok- so I've done a bunch of water changes. Even vacuumed substrates again. My nitrates will not budge. Still lingering around a 1.0 .
I'm beginning to think I should place fish in a bucket and deep clean this tank.
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Old 10-27-2011, 09:58 AM   #13
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just get the amquel plus from pet store. Deep cleaning it willl kill all the benifical bacteria.
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Old 10-27-2011, 11:21 AM   #14
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just get the amquel plus from pet store. Deep cleaning it willl kill all the benifical bacteria.
I disagree (respectfully). Most of the BB live in the filter media, not in the water or gravel, etc. Not cleaning uneaten food and waste can cause fungus and other water quality problems which can harm the fish. Adding chemicals isn't safe usually and just provides a bandaid to a larger problem.
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Old 10-27-2011, 11:23 AM   #15
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Ok- so I've done a bunch of water changes. Even vacuumed substrates again. My nitrates will not budge. Still lingering around a 1.0 .
I'm beginning to think I should place fish in a bucket and deep clean this tank.
How high were nitrates before water changes? What % of water changes did you do and how many? If you did a number of large ones (50-70%) nitrates should have gone down unless they were crazy high. Do you have nitrates in your tap water by any chance? Also nitrates aren't as toxic as nitrites or ammonia. As long as nitrates are under 20 your fish will be fine.
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Old 10-27-2011, 11:30 AM   #16
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Can you please identify what type of filtering system your using on your tank? Is it planted or not planted? If not planted what method are you using to remove nitrates? You stated that prior to vaccuming your nitrates were perfect, please define perfect. Thanks.
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Old 10-27-2011, 11:43 AM   #17
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Can you please identify what type of filtering system your using on your tank? Is it planted or not planted? If not planted what method are you using to remove nitrates? You stated that prior to vaccuming your nitrates were perfect, please define perfect. Thanks.
It's an old aqueon I purchased on Craigslist. Planted- but it isnt thriving green.

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If anything changed before the jump-
I had to previously remove the carbon from my filter when I was medicating my puffer(rip).
I went back weeks later to purchase 3 neon tetras. The fish man told me I needed the carbon- told me to add another cartridge on top of what I already had and in 2 weeks Toss the old cartridge
( the filter media)
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Old 10-27-2011, 11:51 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by librarygirl

How high were nitrates before water changes? What % of water changes did you do and how many? If you did a number of large ones (50-70%) nitrates should have gone down unless they were crazy high. Do you have nitrates in your tap water by any chance? Also nitrates aren't as toxic as nitrites or ammonia. As long as nitrates are under 20 your fish will be fine.
I'm sorry this whole time I have been talking about the nitrites. After the first initial vacuum clean it jumped to
A 5. after all the WC it lingers around 1. It kinda looks like a 2.
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Old 10-27-2011, 12:09 PM   #19
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I'm wondering if it wasn't the vacuum but the changing of the filter media (or at least a mix of the two). Regardless of the reason just do water changes to get them down. Is that photo above from today? If so you'd need to do a number of water changes. For example, with nitrites at 2 a 50% water change would get it down to 1, which is still toxic. Another 50% would get it down to .5 which again is still on the high side. So you'd need to really do 3-4 large water changes of 50-70% each to get that down further.

Most LFS stores don't really give sound advice (not all of course, but most from what I've experienced). There's no need to use carbon all the time unless you're removing meds. There's no harm in having it in there but you don't need it and instead using a filter pad or something would give more surface area for bacteria to grow on. What kind and how much filter media do you have in there total and what did you replace? To me it sounds like a mini-cycle from replacing the filters and stirring up the gunk on the bottom.
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Old 10-27-2011, 12:16 PM   #20
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Yep gonna agree with the above. When you change out your filter cartridge, if at all possible, you don't want to just toss the old and put in new. If that filter is your only means of filtration, than removing the cartridge removes the majority of your beneficial bacteria.
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