Diatoms And High Nitrates & Nitrites In Month Old Tank

sandrafizzle
  • #1
Sooooo I have a 10 gallon half moon glass tank set up with 5 male guppies and 2 ghost shrimp.

Earlier last week, I noticed a brown film on the flat back side of my tank and did some research and came to the conclusion that it was diatoms. I wiped them off with a new sponge, making sure to wipe upwards and vacuumed the gravel.
This past weekend, I woke up to find more diatoms on the part of the tank that wasn't covered before and also on the front round part of my tank. I let it sit for a few days because I've found online that this happens in new tanks and goes away on it's own usually.
Yesterday morning I found one of my ghost shrimp dead so I immediately did a water test (using API test strips) and nitrates were 160 and nitrites were 5.0. I had no time to do anything besides remove the shrimp. When I got home, I wiped off the diatoms and vacuumed the gravel, doing a 50% water change and used water conditioner, bacterial supplement, Stresszyme+, and Seachem water conditioner.
Nitrates and nitrites are still high after testing this morning. I'm fairly new to being an aquarium owner, my last tank was a 5.5 gallon that my dad bought for my 2 y/o and I upgraded to current tank after a month due to size.

What should I do?
 
Nauthes
  • #2
did you cycle this tank before adding the guppies?
 
Tesla
  • #3
It looks like your tanks wasn't cycled or lost the cycle. 50% water change will not help much, you need to do a 70% water change daily next 2-3 days to bring the nitrites below 1ppm, with every water change add prime that would handle about 1ppm of nitrites.
Did you do a water test after the WC? I am guessing your nitrites could have been much higher than 5ppm. You need to maintain the daily WC schedule until you get nitrites to <1ppm, once you get to that point then continue WC every 2-3 days to maintain nitrites below 1ppm until the tank is cycled. Remember to add prime with every WC. Water changes and prime are going to be your best friend.
You can try adding a seeded filter pad (used) into your filter to speed up the bacteria process. Also, make sure that during WC you are not adding water directly into the filter.
 
Nauthes
  • #4
I agree something happended to your cycle, either it wasn't ready to handle your bioload or something was done to lose the cycle.

Daily water changes are now required until it fully cycles.
keep nitrites below 1ppm and nitrate below 20ppm
Your fish should be ok hopefully but that high concentration of nitrite is deadly no doubt about it
 
sandrafizzle
  • Thread Starter
  • #5
did you cycle this tank before adding the guppies?
It was somewhat going through the cycle from the first 5 gallon tank, I just let this new tank run for 2 days then transferred the fish. I check the water every 2-3 days and the nitrates & nitrites were fine in both the old & new tank, always at 0 for both until yesterday. Before yesterday, the last time I checked the water was on Saturday since I added more water from evaporation.
 
mattgirl
  • #6
Tesla took the words right out of my mind

Also, make sure that during WC you are not adding water directly into the filter.
did you mean untreated water?
 
sandrafizzle
  • Thread Starter
  • #7
It looks like your tanks wasn't cycled or lost the cycle. 50% water change will not help much, you need to do a 70% water change daily next 2-3 days to bring the nitrites below 1ppm, with every water change add prime that would handle about 1ppm of nitrites.
Did you do a water test after the WC? I am guessing your nitrites could have been much higher than 5ppm. You need to maintain the daily WC schedule until you get nitrites to <1ppm, once you get to that point then continue WC every 2-3 days to maintain nitrites below 1ppm until the tank is cycled. Remember to add prime with every WC. Water changes and prime are going to be your best friend.
You can try adding a seeded filter pad (used) into your filter to speed up the bacteria process. Also, make sure that during WC you are not adding water directly into the filter.
So since I did a 50% water change, would I still do a 70% today or another 50% today & 20% tomorrow? Will my tank start a new cycle?

I agree something happended to your cycle, either it wasn't ready to handle your bioload or something was done to lose the cycle.

Daily water changes are now required until it fully cycles.
keep nitrites below 1ppm and nitrate below 20ppm
Your fish should be ok hopefully but that high concentration of nitrite is deadly no doubt about it
Yes, surprisingly they were all still alive when I got home from work. I changed the filter on Saturday and maybe I rinsed it too long under the tap?? Is that possible? Could also be bioload like u said, I feed my fish once daily and expect the shrimp to grab what sinks to the bottom if the fish or filter doesn't get it first. When I approach my fish tank, my fish always come to the top like theyre ready to eat.
 
Tesla
  • #7
Tesla took the words right out of my mind


did you mean untreated water?
mattgirl I am bit finicky about adding even treated water directly to the filter (or quirky ), I actually add untreated water from tap using a python into the tank and dose dechlorinator as the water starts to fill up and then around mid point on my 75g. I then add water from the tank after it is filled up to prime the HoB filter.
 
mattgirl
  • #8
mattgirl I am bit finicky about adding even treated water directly to the filter (or quirky ), I actually add untreated water from tap using a python into the tank and dose dechlorinator as the water starts to fill up and then around mid point on my 75g. I then add water from the tank after it is filled up to prime the HoB filter.
Ah ha, OK I understand what you are saying. I had never even thought about it but I never pour any water through my filter either but it is only because I've never found the need to do so. fortunately both of my HOB's self prime so I just let them do their thing.
 
Tesla
  • #9
Yes, surprisingly they were all still alive when I got home from work. I changed the filter on Saturday and maybe I rinsed it too long under the tap?? Is that possible? Could also be bioload like u said, I feed my fish once daily and expect the shrimp to grab what sinks to the bottom if the fish or filter doesn't get it first. When I approach my fish tank, my fish always come to the top like theyre ready to eat.
Never rinse your filter under tap - tap water has chlorine which kills the bacteria and most of the bacteria is in the filter. I did the same mistake for my first ever tank and not knowing anything about the cycle - I kept my filter cleanby washing it every week
Anyhow - hope this tip helps.
 
sandrafizzle
  • Thread Starter
  • #10
Never rinse your filter under tap - tap water has chlorine which kills the bacteria and most of the bacteria is in the filter. I did the same mistake for my first ever tank and not knowing anything about the cycle - I kept my filter cleanby washing it every week
Anyhow - hope this tip helps.
Thanks! 2 questions now lol
How do I add water to my tank for a water change? Do I put conditioner & bacteria in then let it sit for 30 mins before adding to tank?
andddd what type of water should I rinse the filter off with then since tap isn't the best choice
 
Tesla
  • #12
Thanks! 2 questions now lol
How do I add water to my tank for a water change? Do I put conditioner & bacteria in then let it sit for 30 mins before adding to tank?
andddd what type of water should I rinse the filter off with then since tap isn't the best choice
Before changing the water, take some from the tank and use it to rinse the filter. As for filling up the tank unless your dechlorinator says you need to add it and wait for 30 mins you need not age the water or let it sit. I used to add prime directly to the tank and then add water from the tap into the tank, never had any problems.
 
Ryan P
  • #13
Thanks! 2 questions now lol
How do I add water to my tank for a water change? Do I put conditioner & bacteria in then let it sit for 30 mins before adding to tank?
andddd what type of water should I rinse the filter off with then since tap isn't the best choice
I don't always clean my filter during water change since it's not necessary, I only do it when I noted it's really dirty or clogged up, what I do is save the water I removed from my tank after a water change and rinse my filter using my old water from the tank
 
sandrafizzle
  • Thread Starter
  • #14
Before changing the water, take some from the tank and use it to rinse the filter. As for filling up the tank unless your dechlorinator says you need to add it and wait for 30 mins you need not age the water or let it sit. I used to add prime directly to the tank and then add water from the tap into the tank, never had any problems.
Ohhhhh got it! I appreciate u, Tesla thank u for all of your help!

I don't always clean my filter during water change since it's not necessary, I only do it when I noted it's really dirty or clogged up, what I do is save the water I removed from my tank after a water change and rinse my filter using my old water from the tank
Thanks for your help, that makes sense to rinse it off with tank water lol
 
Ryan P
  • #15
Ohhhhh got it! I appreciate u, Tesla thank u for all of your help!


Thanks for your help, that makes sense to rinse it off with tank water lol
np and good luck with fishkeeping, patience is a key
 
Gone
  • #16
Also keep in mind that water changes will stress out the fish, it's just a matter of degree. I'm uncomfortable with the idea of changing half or 70% of the water every day. Even if your levels are high, you're going shock your fish by changing the water parameters so drastically so quickly. If you have an emergency, sometimes you need to do a big water change, but not over and over again. That will also make it much more difficult to determine what the problem really is.
 
sandrafizzle
  • Thread Starter
  • #17
Also keep in mind that water changes will stress out the fish, it's just a matter of degree. I'm uncomfortable with the idea of changing half or 70% of the water every day. Even if your levels are high, you're going shock your fish by changing the water parameters so drastically so quickly. If you have an emergency, sometimes you need to do a big water change, but not over and over again. That will also make it much more difficult to determine what the problem really is.
So is it best to do 50% like yesterday?
 
r5n8xaw00
  • #18
This is the problem with "New Tank Syndrome" after first setting it up and not cycled. Adding fish a couple of days later, and everything seems to be fine. Then a few days later wham!! everything goes out of wack with ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates. A lot of things to consider like bio-load, filtration, and oxygenation, water changes, and stress.
I don't mean to belittle you in anyway, because this also happened to me, when I just started learning.
 
sandrafizzle
  • Thread Starter
  • #19
This is the problem with "New Tank Syndrome" after first setting it up and not cycled. Adding fish a couple of days later, and everything seems to be fine. Then a few days later wham!! everything goes out of wack with ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates. A lot of things to consider like bio-load, filtration, and oxygenation, water changes, and stress.
I don't mean to belittle you in anyway, because this also happened to me, when I just started learning.
No worries, I appreciate your valuable input.
However, this tank has been running though for over a month now and all of the sudden this is happening...
 
r5n8xaw00
  • #20
No worries, I appreciate your valuable input.
However, this tank has been running though for over a month now and all of the sudden this is happening...
Sorry to hear that and sorry that I took it for granted that it was a new setup.

This is may lead into the bio-load cause. I have used AqAdvisor, using a 10 gallon tank, 5 guppies, 2 ghost shrimp and it calculates your stocking level to be 92%. Here is a cut screen shot.

10g_5 guppies_2 ghost shrimp_stocking level.jpg
Many experience people have stocked their aquariums with this high of a load, or some have even overstocked. But if a person doesn't really know what they are doing with this high of a stock load and know how to take care of it. Then when things go bad it goes bad quick. Just FYI.... This is why I keep my stock load to around 50 to 60%.

Here is a link to thewebsite... Click >
 
sandrafizzle
  • Thread Starter
  • #21
Sorry to hear that and sorry that I took it for granted that it was a new setup.

This is may lead into the bio-load cause. I have used AqAdvisor, using a 10 gallon tank, 5 guppies, 2 ghost shrimp and it calculates your stocking level to be 92%. Here is a cut screen shot.
View attachment 423662
Many experience people have stocked their aquariums with this high of a load, or some have even overstocked. But if a person doesn't really know what they are doing with this high of a stock load and know how to take care of it. Then when things go bad it goes bad quick. Just FYI.... This is why I keep my stock load to around 50 to 60%.

Here is a link to thewebsite... Click >
So I should really just have a betta in there lol. Ugh this is driving me crazy
 
r5n8xaw00
  • #22
So I should really just have a betta in there lol. Ugh this is driving me crazy
Don't let this get you down. We have all been there. I have always loved aquariums but never had much time to care for them. The one time I tried before this latest venture into the hobby was over twenty years ago. I had no idea what I was doing. I figured, hey, just set up and aquarium and throw a bunch of fish in it, what can go wrong, right. Needless to say, what didn't die got eaten. So my long ago ex ended up using the aquarium for an iguana. Then even that didn't turn out to well, we accidentally poisoned the iguana. Now that I am retired, I have gotten back into the aquarium hobby, and due to the internet, (which we did not have back then as it is today) I have learned to be a more successful fish keeper.
 
Tesla
  • #23
Also keep in mind that water changes will stress out the fish, it's just a matter of degree. I'm uncomfortable with the idea of changing half or 70% of the water every day. Even if your levels are high, you're going shock your fish by changing the water parameters so drastically so quickly. If you have an emergency, sometimes you need to do a big water change, but not over and over again. That will also make it much more difficult to determine what the problem really is.
WhoKnows I agree with avoiding massive water changes as much as possible but in cases like these when the nitrite / ammonia levels are so high to be really harming fishes - it is better to do regular big water changes to siutation in control as quickly as possible.

If the nitrites were 5ppm then with 50% WC daily you are going to 2.5PPM day 2 to 1.25 Day 3 to 0.75ppm day 4
vs with 70% WC, 5ppm would go to 1.5ppm day 2 to 0.45ppm day 3 and there on one can slow down to regular WC every 2-3 days until cycle is established. Not that big a difference as you can see

If you study / read of folks maintaining discus tanks, you would see of some folks doing 100% WC every day to provide absolutely clean water for fishes to grow. Is it really needed to that degree - probably not but providing cleaner water as a drastic change is not bad as bad as keeping fishes longer in harmful ammonia / nitrites. Yes other parameters like temperature, pH having wide swings is surely to be avoided.
To OP - add media to the filter to provide more area for BB to establish, it would reduce the chances of crash with bio load going up. You are practically in fish-in cycle - try to get a seeded filter pad to help speed things up. Given your nitrates were zero, I do not think the tank was cycled to begin with.
 
sandrafizzle
  • Thread Starter
  • #24
WhoKnows I agree with avoiding massive water changes as much as possible but in cases like these when the nitrite / ammonia levels are so high to be really harming fishes - it is better to do regular big water changes to siutation in control as quickly as possible.

If the nitrites were 5ppm then with 50% WC daily you are going to 2.5PPM day 2 to 1.25 Day 3 to 0.75ppm day 4
vs with 70% WC, 5ppm would go to 1.5ppm day 2 to 0.45ppm day 3 and there on one can slow down to regular WC every 2-3 days until cycle is established. Not that big a difference as you can see

If you study / read of folks maintaining discus tanks, you would see of some folks doing 100% WC every day to provide absolutely clean water for fishes to grow. Is it really needed to that degree - probably not but providing cleaner water as a drastic change is not bad as bad as keeping fishes longer in harmful ammonia / nitrites. Yes other parameters like temperature, pH having wide swings is surely to be avoided.
To OP - add media to the filter to provide more area for BB to establish, it would reduce the chances of crash with bio load going up. You are practically in fish-in cycle - try to get a seeded filter pad to help speed things up. Given your nitrates were zero, I do not think the tank was cycled to begin with.
Yeah, I’m beginning to think so as well. I just did a 50% water change. I’ll test tomorrow morning before work.
 
B1GD4DDY
  • #25
Yeah, I’m beginning to think so as well. I just did a 50% water change. I’ll test tomorrow morning before work.
I think your tank could have been cycled, or, at least close to it. However, when you washed the filter cartridge in tap water, you completely reset the cycle and had to start over. Don't stress too much about it. We all have made mistakes and learn from them. That is why we are trying to give advice to others. Good luck!
 

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