Help With My Water Levels?

Discussion in 'Freshwater Beginners' started by Logan Weaver, Apr 19, 2018.

  1. Logan WeaverNew MemberMember

    So I finally went out and bought a water test kit and I’m a bit worried!! Here are the levels and a few pictures:
    PH: 7.6
    HRPH: 7.4
    NH3/4: 0.25
    NO2: 2
    NO3: 20


    Any and all assistance in how to bring these to acceptable levels is very much appreciated.

    P.S. I just changed the filter and biomaterial yesterday and today respectively if that helps. Last water change was a few days ago. ALSO all tubes had 5ml in it. They look high/low I know
  2. DemeterFishlore VIPMember

    The nitrites are what I'd me most worried about ATM. Do you have fish in the tank? If so then I'd do a 50% water change today and then another tomorrow, you need to get those nitrites down.

    Is this a newly set up tank?

    Last thing to add, when you say you changed the filter media, does that imply you tossed all the old media? You should never replace media with all new, un-seasoned media as this kills the cycle. I just rinse my media off during a water change and put it back in, hardly ever actually change it.
  3. Logan WeaverNew MemberMember

    Tank has been running for a few weeks now. Just had a white algae problem that seems to be resolving itself.

    Maybe media was the wrong word. In the filter I have it has the actual filter part and then after that is the biomatter grid that has another filter (ammonia remover if I remember correctly). I changed the first one yesterday and the second one today.
  4. Hunter1Well Known MemberMember

    So you lost all of your beneficial bacteria.

    What demeter said is correct. In a 2 cartridge filter, filter changes should be at least a month apart but a filter can last 6-12 months if you just rinse it in either tank water during a water change, or declorinated water.

    Most place the old filter on the upstream side of a new filter and let that run a month or so when they change a filter.

    I have some 4 cartridge filters and only remove, replace one of the 4. And never within 2 weeks of each other.

    I also run air driven sponges in all of my tanks but would never replace a filter cartridge without putting the old one in front of the new one although the sponge should pick up the slack.

    No one wants to cycle their tank again.
  5. 75g Discus TankFishlore VIPMember

    Don’t change the filter. That’s where all of the good bacteria is and taking it out will mess with your cycle.
  6. SnailwhispererValued MemberMember

    How long do you leave the old filter upstream? I think I under did it and my tank is cycling a bit again. Amonia 1 Nitrite 0.

    I left the old filter in for a few days. Then removed the charcoal and left in the fabric ( I was trying to get more flow).

    Also, I added some (5 0.5in + ?brand new) fry and three snails (could it just be change in bio load?)
  7. Logan WeaverNew MemberMember

    If I do a 50% water change and a 50% tomorrow then added beneficial bacteria, would that help?
  8. Hunter1Well Known MemberMember

    It will help. You may have some beneficial bacteria in your substrate, gravel?

    I would test daily.

    If your beneficial bacteria is TetraSafeStart, water changes with declorinator won’ Work. I would use Stability.

    I’m a TetraSafeStart fan but only if you follow directions. No water changes for 14 days. And 24 hours after you’ve used a declorinator.
  9. GuppyDazzleWell Known MemberMember

    I recommend against such huge water changes back to back. All water changes stress fish to an extent. Back to back 50% water changes you're asking for the fish to crash. I'd recommend 25% every other day. I'd also stay away from the additives. Every single time I see people having trouble figuring out why their tanks won't cycle properly, they're using bacteria starters or other additives. Let nature take its course.

    It looks like your tank is cycling. You said "a few weeks." If you're talking three weeks, your cycle is probably where it should be, but you should do more frequent water changes. If you're talking six weeks, it should have cycled by now. In that case something you're adding is blocking the cycle.

    I'd also recommend cutting way back on feeding at least until you have this figured out.
  10. Logan WeaverNew MemberMember

    So no water changes? It’s been about 3 weeks since I started it. Also when I change the water, no additives? Not even to dechlorinate it?
  11. Hunter1Well Known MemberMember

    He removed both of his filter cartridges in a 2 day period so the 3 weeks, 6 weeks is irrelevant. The day he removed his second filter his beneficial bacteria went to almost 0.

    You never answered demeter’s question if you have fish in the tank?

    If so, Stability and water changes are the way to go.

    If not, I would use TetraSafeStart and nothing for 14 days except feeding the tank with ammonia.
  12. GuppyDazzleWell Known MemberMember

    OK. Let me take a deep breath.

    I did not say no water changes. Here's what I said.

    "I recommend against such huge water changes back to back. All water changes stress fish to an extent. Back to back 50% water changes you're asking for the fish to crash. I'd recommend 25% every other day."

    I should have clarified when I said no additives I was talking about bacteria or stabilizers used to cycle the tank. Absolutely use Prime or other water conditioner that neutralizes chlorine and chloramine.

    If you look on this forum, 100% of the people having trouble cycling their tanks are using some kind of quick start or other additive. I've cycled over 20 tanks in my life, and never added anything other than water conditioner. The cycle worked fine, the toxins were kept down with a 25% water change every other day.

    With cycling you need to let nature take its course. I'm not saying the fish store folks just want to push add-0ns to every tank they sell, I'm just sayin'. In my experience the additives are much, much worse than adding nothing.

    Note that I said if you were talking three weeks, your cycle is about where it should be according to your water tests. You confirmed it's been about three weeks. Maybe I'm on the right track? I recommend 25% water changes every other day, with water conditioner, and nothing else added.
  13. Logan WeaverNew MemberMember

    Beautiful thank you for the clarification. Now allow me to clarify just is there isn’t confusion, I have an aqueon led 30. It isn’t 2 filters it’s just 1, but it has an ammonia reducer in the bio matter grid.
  14. Hunter1Well Known MemberMember

    We have 2 schools of thought here. But you never answered the question 20 posts ago, “do you have fish in this tank?”

    My answer will be different based on the answer to that question.

    If fish are in, water changes, enough to keep ammonia and nitrites below 1 are in order. Without fish, you are more flexible. WhoKnows has one recommendation, I have another.

    But fish in, at this point, water changes to keep ammonia/nitrites under 1 are the way to go if you want to save your fish. And adding Stability will speed the process
  15. Logan WeaverNew MemberMember

    I do have fish. Can we come to an agreement at 25% water change every other day?
  16. Hunter1Well Known MemberMember

    Depends on your nitrite levels.

    If they are over 2, you need to do a 50% WC to get them to 1.

    Testing every day will dictate your water changes.

    Every other day may work depending on your nitrite levels. But may also kill your fish.

    Your water changes should be dictated based on parameters.

    And Stability would be a great additive in your case.
  17. Jenoli42Well Known MemberMember

    I couldn't agree more. there's no such thing as doing water changes at an arbitrary amount. your water change volumes are based on your water parameters. in your case, the concern is nitrites.

    nitrites kill fish. prime will detoxify ammonia and nitrites up to a combined total of 1ppm. so if you have .5 ammonia + .25 nitrite, prime is safe because the combined total is .75. over that for either chemical means your fish can be harmed even if you use prime. so that means you must do a water change to get your levels below a combined total of 1ppm. your photo looks like your levels are higher than 1ppm. EDIT: your photos look like .5 - .75 ammonia + 1 - 2ppm nitrite. . but that could be the lighting.

    I'm also still unclear about your filter media change. your beneficial bacteria live in your filter media. changing it out removes any bacteria that have already grown. can you please clarify what you did and over what time period? sorry if you feel you've been clear - I'm confused and I'd like to help :)
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2018
  18. Logan WeaverNew MemberMember

    Okay doing a 25% water change today and I’ll test after to see where I’m at and post the levels here.

    The first picture is what I changed yesterday and the second is what I changed a few days ago:


    Did the water change and tested both the tank and the tap this time:

    Tank after 25% water change:

    Ph 7.6

    HR 7.4

    Nh3/4 0.25

    NO2 1

    NO3 40


    Tap water:

    Ph 7.6

    HR 8.4

    NH3/4 0

    NO2 0

    NO3 between 0-5
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 20, 2018
  19. GuppyDazzleWell Known MemberMember

    I'd do a 25% change every day until the levels come down. You have the right chemicals showing up, but they're high.
  20. Jenoli42Well Known MemberMember

    ok. I would say your levels are getting better but still unsafe for fish without an additional water change & prime.

    the water change is to bring ammonia & nitrite combined total below 1 . you're at 1.25 now so need at least a 20% pwc to bring you to .2 ammonia & .8 nitrite.

    do you have prime? you should buy some.

    having said that I'm still concerned that you've set your cycle far back by changing the filter media. why did you think you needed to change it out?

    did you leave any original media in your filter? if so how much (eg what percent)?

    I don't suggest changing your filter media again for a few months & when you do you want to put the new stuff in without removing the old stuff. you let both there for a month & the slowly remove like 20% of the old filter media a fortnight.