Chemical/Bacteria Tests: HELP! - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-17-2009, 01:26 AM Thread Starter
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Chemical/Bacteria Tests: HELP!

What is the optimal level for the different tests? PH, Ammonia, Nitrite, and Nitrate? What should they be at?

We just got home and the water in our tank is murky and the fish are breathing very fast. Everything was fine before we left. We did a water change this morning.

So, I did the tests.

The PH is at about 7.8. The Ammonia is between 1 and 2 ppm. Nitrite is also between 1 and 2 ppm. Nitrate is at about 10 ppm.
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-17-2009, 02:31 AM
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your tank is not cycled yet. ammonia + nitrite should be at zero.
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-17-2009, 02:36 AM
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How long has this tank been setup? If it is new then it has not completed the initial cycle. If it has been going for awhile then something happened to either put more ammonia in than the bacteria could handle or to kill the bacteria.

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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-17-2009, 02:40 AM
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I'm really rusty on the numbers. I think ammonia needs to be <1ppm (preferably no higher than .5). I don't remember the level for nitrites, but I know they are very deadly. Your nitrates are okay.

It sounds like something died in the tank or something got into it. Tanks don't suddenly spike like that unless it's being cycled, but you'd know if you were cycling a tank.

The root cause needs to be figured out in order to truly know what's best for the situation. How long has your tank been running? What size is it? Plants? Fish? Filtration? Any animals at home while you're away (a cat?). Any chance someone sprayed insecticides close by? Any changes of any kind to the tank in the last 2 weeds? New plants? New fish? New decorations? New equipment?

Something had to have caused this. You need to know what it is so you can fix it.

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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-17-2009, 03:40 AM
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They did a water change. I am wondering if for some reason they wiped out their bacteria with the water change.

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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-17-2009, 05:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by airborne_r6 View Post
They did a water change. I am wondering if for some reason they wiped out their bacteria with the water change.
Yeah, but how? Forgot to add dechlor maybe? What would be the outcome of that?

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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-17-2009, 05:03 AM
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Quote:
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Yeah, but how? Forgot to add dechlor maybe? What would be the outcome of that?
Some people's idea of water change involves scrubbing everything out with hot water and soap. Maybe that happened.

Also how long were you gone for?


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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-17-2009, 02:16 PM Thread Starter
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We did a water change but didn't scrub anything. The tank has been up and running for almost 4 months now. It was cycled fine within the first month. We did another water change yesterday and added another bubble stone to increase the oxygen for the fish. Cloudiness is gone now and they are breathing normally.

We think the problem is number of fish. It's a 10 gal tank with nine fish in it which, yeah, we found out is a bit more than usual but we've been watching them and they've been fine. Until yesterday when our mollies had about a dozen babies. We think that just pushed it over the edge.

So, we're going to keep watching it carefully and hope everything levels out. We don't want to kill the babies, so we're probably going to be getting another small tank today to keep them in until they grow a bit so we can give them away.
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-17-2009, 02:18 PM Thread Starter
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Oh, and we were gone for maybe 8 hours. No more than we would be on a normal work day.
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-17-2009, 06:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Complexity View Post
Yeah, but how? Forgot to add dechlor maybe? What would be the outcome of that?
I couldnt come up with how either but that was the only change to the tank.

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