Kept Fish For 2 Years Now I Need Help

Theredeyedfish
  • #1
Hey everyone new t the forum so finding my way around still lol.
I have decided to go for AC (African cichlids) after I have kept angels before.
However I have a few issues and I need help!
The size of my tank is 45 US gallons I plan to keep 6 chichlids and keep on top of water changes weekly and test water often (if you are going to comment about size of tank I’m not interested)
My nitrates are being a pain and have been for the past 6 months causing me to lose my angel stock I have done water changes every other day nothing worked I have cleaned my filter out still won’t go down nothing is birigning those levels down. However there is little to no ammonia and 0 nitrites
But my nitrates are sky high I did a test and they are the highest they can be on my test paper about 180. I need help to fix that first.

My next question is I’ve boguht some new decorations today they are big and are artificial big loads of hiding spots etc which is needed for cichlids (I also have sand substrate with a few stones) if I add them will they affect anything negatively I currently have 1 plec and 2 shrimp living in there the water is 26 degrees Celsius (you may need to convert it to Fahrenheit) my PH is sitting at about an 8.0 I understand adding decoration may make the PH higher which is fine because I plan to keep cichlids. I am undecided on what I will keep I think either haps and peacocks or yellow labs. If I choose peacocks and Haps will most likely be 3 of each.

If I choose to change my substrate or add more could this affect my tank badly too?
Ive been keeping fish 2 years I’ve dealt with ich disease once before and nitrite levels but I’ve never re modelled my tank or anything so I’m worrying adding new stuff will upset the cycle or something any help would be appreciated I look forward to reading your replies.

Best fishes, Ryan.
 
Lchi87
  • #2
Changing substrate should be okay. The only thing I might caution against are gas pockets in the sand. This happens when the substrate isn’t disturbed for awhile and anaerobic bacteria create this gas pocket that if disturbed could hurt the fish. You’ll know if you come across one, because it will smell really, really horrible.

As for your nitrates, if you’re sure that your test is accurate, I’d test your tap too. For everything, not just nitrates because its gotta come from somewhere.

Nitrate reducing media could be a temporary bandaid but I’d be curious as to the real source of nitrates that high.

Decorations shouldn’t swing your pH though, decor should be non reactive otherwise I wouldn’t be too sure that its safe. I know some rock will raise pH but that’s usually added intentionally and it doesn’t sound like you’re trying to alter your pH.
 
AquaticJ
  • #3
Welcome to the forum, my friend! What are the dimensions of your tank? How many angels were in there and what kind of Pleco do you have? Plecos have extremely high bio loads. Mix that with heavy feeding and that’s the recipe for nitrates. AC also have high bio loads, so you may need to address that. Have you tested the nitrates in your tap water?

What kind of filter do you have?

Sorry for so many questions, but they’re necessary lol.

You’re good to change substrate, just don’t mess with your filter media because that’s where 99% of bacteria are.
 
bgclarke
  • #4
Have you been cleaning the surface of your sand?

Food and waste can accumulate and it may appear clean (at least with black sand), but it actually could be very dirty, which results in elevated nitrates.
 
Theredeyedfish
  • Thread Starter
  • #5
Welcome to the forum, my friend! What are the dimensions of your tank? How many angels were in there and what kind of Pleco do you have? Plecos have extremely high bio loads. Mix that with heavy feeding and that’s the recipe for nitrates. AC also have high bio loads, so you may need to address that. Have you tested the nitrates in your tap water?

What kind of filter do you have?

Sorry for so many questions, but they’re necessary lol.

You’re good to change substrate, just don’t mess with your filter media because that’s where 99% of bacteria are.


HI thank you for replying.

I have a bristlenose plec I believe I got it from a friend so never got a definite answer he is about 10cm big and hasn’t got any bigger for about 6 months I don’t feed him due to their being a decent amount of algae on the glass and rocks so he and the shrimp are satisfied. With feeding I would always feed every other day as I thought it was the best way to keep them lively and keep the waste down. I have not tested my tap water I do know my area has very hard PH water but I haven’t tested my tap water and if my tap water is the issue there isn’t a lot I could do without it being extremely costly.

I currently own a all pond solution external filter 2000EF

I don’t know the exact dimensions of my tank as lost the box and am too lazy to measure and don’t have anything to measure it with
 
Theredeyedfish
  • Thread Starter
  • #6
Have you been cleaning the surface of your sand?

Food and waste can accumulate and it may appear clean (at least with black sand), but it actually could be very dirty, which results in elevated nitrates.


I use a vacuum thing I have siphon it brings water out and can suck all the poop out of stones and that it’s difficult to clean the sand but I go over it every week or so but it usally pulls up sand and not poop most of the poop is in the stones at the back.
 
bizaliz3
  • #7
Algae should NOT be your pleco's primary diet. You need to feed him!!
 
Theredeyedfish
  • Thread Starter
  • #8
Changing substrate should be okay. The only thing I might caution against are gas pockets in the sand. This happens when the substrate isn’t disturbed for awhile and anaerobic bacteria create this gas pocket that if disturbed could hurt the fish. You’ll know if you come across one, because it will smell really, really horrible.

As for your nitrates, if you’re sure that your test is accurate, I’d test your tap too. For everything, not just nitrates because its gotta come from somewhere.

Nitrate reducing media could be a temporary bandaid but I’d be curious as to the real source of nitrates that high.

Decorations shouldn’t swing your pH though, decor should be non reactive otherwise I wouldn’t be too sure that its safe. I know some rock will raise pH but that’s usually added intentionally and it doesn’t sound like you’re trying to alter your pH.


Gas pocket sands would they stink the room and tank out so I’d know?

Nitrates I have a few theories
First is the tubes I have for my filter haven’t been changed for 2 years have a lot of in it stuck to the tubes but I can’t actually get it out because it’s stuck really hard onto the tubes like it just does not come off along with the spray bar some weird stuffs on it and is so tough it won’t come out looks like it would need bleaching lol obviously I won’t do that.

If it is my tap water I don’t know what I can do because I don’t want to spend hundreds of £££ on a water system or something.
 
Theredeyedfish
  • Thread Starter
  • #9
Algae should NOT be your pleco's primary diet. You need to feed him!!

Oh he’s been living on it for a good year now he’s fine he is really picky he won’t eat any of the pellets or tablets I’ve put in for him.
 
bizaliz3
  • #10
Oh he’s been living on it for a good year now he’s fine he is really picky he won’t eat any of the pellets or tablets I’ve put in for him.

Eating algae and scraps isn't a good diet. Sure he is alive after a year. But he would be bigger and healthier if you give him the food he need to thrive. Give him veggies or something.

I don't mean to side track. But that's not fair to the pleco. :-( it's common to think they live on algae. Many people think that. But it's not correct. They can survive off algae and scraps. But not thrive.
 
Lchi87
  • #11
Gas pocket sands would they stink the room and tank out so I’d know?

Nitrates I have a few theories
First is the tubes I have for my filter haven’t been changed for 2 years have a lot of in it stuck to the tubes but I can’t actually get it out because it’s stuck really hard onto the tubes like it just does not come off along with the spray bar some weird stuffs on it and is so tough it won’t come out looks like it would need bleaching lol obviously I won’t do that.

If it is my tap water I don’t know what I can do because I don’t want to spend hundreds of £££ on a water system or something.
Oh ya, you’d smell it real quick. A large water change would put it right though.

I don’t think grimey tubes would cause nitrates that high.... here’s a dirty little secret of mine...I haven’t cleaned out the tubes on my canister since I got it two years or so ago and my nitrates are never above 20. Like ever. So that’s why I think yours might not be causing that...
If its your tap, nitrate reducing media or a reactor might be an option but I’m not the right person to ask for advice on that since I’ve never had to reduce my nitrates. A natural way to reduce nitrates would be the use of nitrate loving plants.

Also....plecos do need to be fed, like bizaliz3 said. Not going to harp on it but surviving a year on algae doesn’t mean he’s doing well. You’d survive on scraps for a year but I’m sure you appreciate proper meals. He might not be eating the prepared food because he doesn’t know its food yet but they’ll learn. Drop a zucchinI in there and see how happy he gets once he figures out that its edible!
 
Theredeyedfish
  • Thread Starter
  • #12
Oh ya, you’d smell it real quick. A large water change would put it right though.

I don’t think grimey tubes would cause nitrates that high.... here’s a dirty little secret of mine...I haven’t cleaned out the tubes on my canister since I got it two years or so ago and my nitrates are never above 20. Like ever. So that’s why I think yours might not be causing that...
If its your tap, nitrate reducing media or a reactor might be an option but I’m not the right person to ask for advice on that since I’ve never had to reduce my nitrates. A natural way to reduce nitrates would be the use of nitrate loving plants.

Also....plecos do need to be fed, like bizaliz3 said. Not going to harp on it but surviving a year on algae doesn’t mean he’s doing well. You’d survive on scraps for a year but I’m sure you appreciate proper meals. He might not be eating the prepared food because he doesn’t know its food yet but they’ll learn. Drop a zucchinI in there and see how happy he gets once he figures out that its edible!


I think it may be my water so I don’t know what to do

My plec I’ve tried feeding it vegetables like cucumber etc and it’s not interested in the slightest it just ends up dissolving in the water and sinking to the bottom where it is left for days
 
DoubleDutch
  • #13
How high are the nitrates in your tap water ?
 
bizaliz3
  • #14
I think it may be my water so I don’t know what to do

My plec I’ve tried feeding it vegetables like cucumber etc and it’s not interested in the slightest it just ends up dissolving in the water and sinking to the bottom where it is left for days

Ends up sinking to the bottom? Does this mean you are just letting the veggie float?? The plecos won't eat it up there....
 
Theredeyedfish
  • Thread Starter
  • #15
How do I do that I’ve used my siphon to help but it hasn’t really worked on the sand usually works on the rocks.


Have you been cleaning the surface of your sand?

Food and waste can accumulate and it may appear clean (at least with black sand), but it actually could be very dirty, which results in elevated nitrates.
 
Theredeyedfish
  • Thread Starter
  • #16
How high are the nitrates in your tap water ?

The nitrates in my tap water are 40 ppm
 

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