Hello! I last owned a 30 gallon tank 30 years ago, but my girlfriend gave me a a tank for my birthday last month. I've had it up and running with fish and live plants for over a month and really didn't remember how enjoyable it is to have a fish tank!
My question lies in the use of the sump that came with it, which is completely new technology for me. I did a little research and received a bit of advice from a friend who owns 4+ tanks, but I'm still struggling. First, I assume my water should be crystal clear regardless of the type of filtration used, i.e. no tinted water, little to no particles, etc. However, my water is brownish and has an unpleasant smell (not a slight earthy scent as would be expected). I've done a partial water change but this didn't seem to make much of a difference.
Secondly, my ammonia and nitrite levels won't zero out. They have hovered at 0.25 ppm
for weeks. My nitrate levels are at 40 ppm
which I don't appreciate either. Water changes have done nothing to change any of these measurements. I realize I'm probably a little overstocked, but that's something I'd rather deal with as a last resort.
On a side note, my GH
is exceedingly high and also has not changed much after a few partial water changes. I initially filled the tank with conditioned tap water (GH
is over 250 ppm
), but have done all subsequent water additions/changes with RO
water from the local pet store. I tested this water straight from the bucket and it gave me a GH
reading of 176 ppm
Considering these testing results, could it just be that my test kit is bad? Could I be getting non-RO
water (because I assume it should have 0-17 ppm
hardness)? And what is the best fix (and most likely cause) for the brown water? Also, do I need to add more bio matter to the sump when I change water?
Thanks everyone for your help!