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Old 11-26-2012, 01:24 PM   #1
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Hello. Need some help!

Hello everyone. I have had my tank(s) for about a year overall now. I started with a 29g tank that my neighbor gave us and then I upgraded to a 55g tank. The problem that I'm having is that my nitrates are always high. They seem to always be around 80ppm. I did two 50% water changes over the last three days trying to get them down, but it is still around 60ppm. I have been doing a lot of reading over the last few days and now realize that my tank is probably overstocked. Also, I lost a couple of fish over the last four days, one before the water changes and one after.

I am thinking about doing another 50% water change and then retesting, but I just want to make sure that all these water changes aren't too much for the fish. I'm always careful of the temperature of the new water and I'm always careful about making sure I put enough conditioner in with the new water. I'd like to keep the setup the way it is, but I still have the 29g tank at my house and I am thinking of setting that one back up and moving some of my fish to it. Below is a list of the fish that I currently have. I am looking for some suggestions as to which ones I should move to the 29g tank if I end up having to set it up. I was thinking about moving the discus as they are small yet and they are slower swimmers.

2 clown loaches - 3" ea
1 yo-yo loach
3 roseline sharks - 3.5" ea
3 rosy barbs
2 bristlenose
2 discus - 3" ea
1 discus - 2"
1 turquoise rainbow - 2"
1 bosmani rainbow - 1.5"
1 orange ranbow - 4"

All the fish seem to get along fine. I haven't seen any aggression from any of these fish and like I said earlier, I would like to keep my setup the way it is, but I need to do what's best for the fish. Thanks in advance for your help.
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Old 11-26-2012, 06:33 PM   #2
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Old 11-26-2012, 07:05 PM   #3
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Thanks.
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Old 11-26-2012, 07:14 PM   #4
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Hello! The water changes are not hurting anything. Do another 50% change then retest. Keep doing the water changes daily until the nitrates are under control. Hopefully someone with more knowledge will reply also! Search high nitrates on the main page, you might get some info there.
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Old 11-26-2012, 07:18 PM   #5
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Ok, will do. Thanks.
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Old 11-26-2012, 07:23 PM   #6
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What is your water supply like in terms of nitrates? What filtration do you have on your tank? What substrate do you have? Is the tank planted? The more info you can provide the more likely it is that someone can give you the most probable cause. PWC's will clear the symptom but will not necessarily cure the cause.
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Old 11-26-2012, 07:34 PM   #7
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@Dreadz
I did test my tap water and the nitrates we basically 0. I have gravel in the bottom of the tank and no live plants yet, though I was planning on getting some since I read that they can help lower nitrates a little. I have a fluval 404 canister filter and a marineland emperor 280 filter on the back of the tank also.
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Old 11-26-2012, 10:59 PM   #8
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Old 11-27-2012, 01:16 PM   #9
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How long have you had the 55 up and running and what type/soze filter are you using?
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Old 11-27-2012, 02:49 PM   #10
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I've had the tank up and running for about five months now. I have a fluval 404 canister filter, which is rated at 340 gph, and I also have a marineland emperor 280 hob filter.
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Old 11-27-2012, 03:02 PM   #11
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With that many fish frequent water changes are a must. I always do it when the house and outside plants need watering. Aquarium plants would really help. You can also put some house plant cuttings in the top and they will help take up the nitrates. The filters are doing their job changing the ammonia to nitrates but you have to remove those through plants and big water changes.
Last thought if you had a bacterial bloom (like many new tanks do) your ammonia would have spiked and eventually would have raised your nitrates.
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Old 11-27-2012, 03:17 PM   #12
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As far as water changes go, how often and how much water do you recommend? Thanks.
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Old 11-27-2012, 04:22 PM   #13
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Cleaning filter...

How long has it been since you cleaned the filter media? If you clean it frequently and use unconditioned tap water you are killing beneficial bacteria (BB) needed to make the waste convert so it is harmless.

If you haven't cleaned it in a while, them maybe you should. ONLY rinse the filter media in old tank water or conditioned/treated water to preserve as much BB as possible.

Possibly reduce feedings to half of the amount you normally feed each time and see if the numbers go down. Most people over feed the fish.

If your numbers start coming into line, then maybe you are over feeding.

Also check what kind of food you are using. Some have lots of fillers. Which don't do your fish or tank water any favors. Some better quality ones, I use Hikari, others like Spectrum, Omega One I think it is called.



Also do you vacuum the substrate when you do pwc, sucking out excess food and waste at the bottom. Also helpful!

Hope that helps.

Clean conditioned water/pwc is good to back in the right numbers.
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Old 11-27-2012, 05:31 PM   #14
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Great points autumnsky!
I would do 50 to 75 % every three or four days till the numbers come down. Then 25-30% once a week with a once a month 50% if your numbers call for it.
Cut back on feed a bit and see if that helps. I feed mine three small pinches and if its gone in a couple of minutes or they go after my bottom feeders they get a pinch or two more.
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Old 11-27-2012, 08:22 PM   #15
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I do vacuum the substrate every time I do a pwc. I have been doing about 20% a week recently. I just did about 20% and I have to go out of town for 3 days, but when I get back, I'll start doing some more pwc's and do some of the other thing everyone suggested. I'll keep you posted. Thanks again for the help.
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Old 12-02-2012, 09:10 PM   #16
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Just wanted to post an update. I got back and did two 50% water changes over two days and got the nitrates down to 15ppm. I'm going to watch them for the next few days and see how long it takes them to get back up, then I'll start doing changes accordingly. Thanks again for the help.
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Old 12-07-2012, 02:26 PM   #17
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Are you vaccuming your substrate? How old is the carbon in your filters? It is only good for 3-4 weeks. Rinsing and re-using it will not work either. The other problem is fish waste. Reduce feeding and vaccum your substrate with a 50% water change and your nitrates should drop pretty quickly.
Good luck.....Dwayne
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Old 12-08-2012, 03:30 PM   #18
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That's good news! Keep it up and you'll be fine.
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Old 12-08-2012, 04:55 PM   #19
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Yep. Did another pwc today and I now have the nitrates down to 5 ppm and all the other numbers are great.
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Old 12-09-2012, 03:12 PM   #20
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Keep up the good work! Water changes are key. Reduce feeding and vacuum substrate. Everything should fall into place....but you have to do your part.
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