Help! Water Chemistry is outta control! - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-11-2013, 07:06 PM Thread Starter
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Help! Water Chemistry is outta control!

My 10g is temporarily holding my live stock in prep for my new 29g tank which has not been set up yet (still waiting on lights). The 10g will later be turned into a planted tank.

My 10g contains:
7 Bloodfin Tetras
2 Checker Barbs
3 Ghost Shrimpies
2 Guppies (Previously 4, 2 have died in the past 2 days)
NO plants yet

I lost the filter on this tank about 2 weeks ago, and was unable to get a replacement until today. In the meantime, I had one of those air pump biofilters set up in there and I had taken the sponge out of the broken filter and threw it in the tank as to not disturb the cycle.

Well, the cycle was disturbed anyhow. I started getting ammonia spikes and I continued with 40%-50% water changes every 2 days while adding bacteria. Fed up with these problems, I decided to try throwing in some Eco-Complete to see if that might help with cycling the tank.

Sure enough, a couple days later I was getting low ammonia readings and higher nitrate/ite readings. I was relieved. For like, a day.

My problem is now, that my Nitrate/ite readings are WAY too high and my PH is dropping dangerously low, I'm talking like below 6.0. I have been doing 50% water changes on a daily basis to save my fish from harm but as mentioned, I've lost 2 of my little guppies. I test the water, it's terrible, I do a water change, then it tests normal. The following day it's back to being terrible. I'd also like to mention that I've not fed these fish hardly at all.

The new filter came in the mail today. It's running now, while still running the air pump bio filter. I'm not sure what to expect next. I thought perhaps I need to throw some plants in to eat up all the Nitrates/ites but my lights are not due to be here for a few days. I do have an old stock hood I can throw on if need be.

I'm thinking about taking the critters out and keeping them in a bucket...I think something crazy is happening with that eco-complete and lack of proper filtration.

What can I do?

edit: just tracked my package. lights are due to be here tomorrow. should i try getting some plants?

Last edited by sarazorz; 03-11-2013 at 07:19 PM. Reason: new info
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-11-2013, 07:47 PM
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i have to agree on filtration, big water changes could help, but might overstress the fish as well.

have you considered some of the "quick start" bacteria additives? i'm not sure which ones are preferred, but they could help you get a handle on your no2 and no3?
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-11-2013, 07:54 PM
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Since your new filter is going now I would stop doing water changes for a few days as you can stress out your fish quite a lot when you do them every day. I would use the spare light you have and add some plants, they will help with your high nitrites/nitrates and ammonia. Basically let the plants control the water chemistry for a while. Keep checking your water to make sure things aren't too out of whack, but the new filter should get things in order soon. Keep the sponge in there until your new filter cycles.

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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-12-2013, 12:00 AM Thread Starter
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Just did some more testing; everything is looking ok. Got a bunch of camboba from the pet store, and some rotala too - tossed it all in there. Hopefully I don't get another crazy ph drop overnight.
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-14-2013, 12:46 PM
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any update on this?
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-14-2013, 06:57 PM Thread Starter
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Yes, I have an update for you. The plants and the filtration have solved my problems. I still have Nitrates/ites higher than I would like, but nowhere near the levels I was having before. I stopped doing daily water changes; the PH had stabilized and things were looking better. Doing 30% water changes every 2-3 days now, is the plan. I'm continuing with daily testing and feeding very little. I'm glad to report that I haven't lost any more fish, and that my lights came in. Waiting on the 29g to stop leeching tannins and cycle, then I'm moving the live stock and turning this 10g into a DBT shrimp tank - nature style, while my 29g will be dutch style. Can't wait for my plant order to come in!
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