Need help and advice please!

Discussion in 'Freshwater Beginners' started by JDavies200, Jul 2, 2016.

  1. JDavies200Valued MemberMember

    Hi all!!

    I have never tested my water since setting up my tank I know really bad. We have 1 gold severum, 2 angels that have just laid eggs, 5 dollars all happy swimming around very active.

    Today we purchased a bristlenosed catfish acclimatised as we did all our other fish we happily went to the bottom of the tank started munching on brown algae. Then after a few hours he was on his side still breathing. Googled this lots of people say it's normal and they have had the same.

    Also when buying him we bought a JBL 6 in 1 test strip. We used this after he went a bit funny. According to this test everything was ok apart from nitrites and nitrates were through the roof off the chart on the colour indicator. Over 500 on one and over 10 on the other.

    Tonight we have done one 50% water change and agitated the gravel to release all the and sucked up with a hose pipe and still not difference in test and one 75% water change still no difference in test. All fish still happy and swimming other than the bristlenosed which I think might have possibly just died as I'm writing this.

    With readings this high shouldn't everything in the tank be dead?

    I have attached a few pics left to right on test stick is before/during/after I can't really see any difference. What am I doing wrong?



    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 23, 2018
  2. Mom2some

    Mom2someWell Known MemberMember

    I am not familiar with your test kit & can't seem to make the comparisons in my head between your pictures. I would say your instincts are completely right about doing large water changes. Back to back 50% water changes is often what I find helps water quality situations where readings are off the charts.

    The test strips tend to be less accurate. Coradee I believe is in the UK and may be able to help you find better products locally. If your testing demonstrates nitrites are >0 then your tank is not fully cycled. But your angels have laid eggs so the water quality I would think has to be pretty good. I don't think I can help, but will refer you to CindiL for water quality & wacky cycling help. @ bizaliz for angel egg laying support.
  3. SabrinaBrook

    SabrinaBrookWell Known MemberMember

    Hi J,
    I read everything and didn't see what water conditioner you use during water changes, do you use prime or some other conditioner to take out the nasty harmful things in tap water?

    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 23, 2018
  4. maggie thecat

    maggie thecatWell Known MemberMember

    The catfish may have died from transfer shock. Especially if it was new to the pet store, it may have been pre stressed out.

    Check the expiry date on the test strips to make sure they are fresh and make sure you follow the timing exactly for the most accurate results. Do a dip of your tap water to see if you are importing nitrates or nitrites (it happens).

    It's theoretically possible your existing stock have adapted to high nitrate conditions, that happens too.

    Have you made any other changes to your tank or filter that might have resulted in a mini cycle?
  5. CindiL

    CindiLFishlore LegendMember

    Hi, It does look like you have very high nitrites and nitrates. Would you also test your tap water so we can see what you're adding in? What water conditioner are you using?
  6. OP

    JDavies200Valued MemberMember

    Hi I tested tested the tap water and it was spot on. I use fluval biological enhancer and I think is aqua clear tap water conditioner. I haven't changed anything in the tank. The bristlenosed is the only issue I have had in this tank everything else seems very happy.

    Is it possible for fish to get used to high nitrates and nitrites. I'm just confused at why everything else is ok and happy and laying eggs.

    Before this the tank hadn't been touched for a week and a 50% water change last weekend. Same this morning not change. Everything else is spot on just that one test. Test strips are in date they go out 11/2018.

    I just can't get my head around the readings as everything else is happy and swimming around.

    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 23, 2018
  7. WeepingShadesOfIndigo

    WeepingShadesOfIndigoValued MemberMember

    Are you close to a pet store? You could run some of your water down and get them to check it and ask them for the numbers. I agree with what some have said about liquid tests being better but if you are not able to pick up a test kit then double checking your own readings with a store maybe a good thing just to make sure that the numbers are indeed high.

    Things can get used to high readings I think thats called old tank syndrome, can look that up and see if it fits.
  8. OP

    JDavies200Valued MemberMember

    I will do that when I get 5 mins. Just done another 25-30% water change with a gravel vac. See how that goes later on when I test it before bed. Won't make it to anywhere today I don't think but will try to in the week if I can. I'm just shocked because everything seems happy and hasn't been in there that long.
  9. CindiL

    CindiLFishlore LegendMember

    I would do another 30% today, 50% tomorrow and ongoing daily until they're back down.

    You can add in 1 tsp aquarium salt per every 20 liters or so to help prevent nitrite poisoning (brown blood disease) while getting the nitrites back down. I don't think the strips are accurate. If they were truly that high you would have dead fish but its safe to say you have them. Mix it in tank water first. Replace it with water changes, i.e., every 20liters out, put another tsp back in. Once they're back to 0 the salt will be removed with water changes.

    And get yourself a liquid test kit asap :)
  10. OP

    JDavies200Valued MemberMember

    Yea I think I will def get a liquid test. After a tiny amount of research could I use plants to aid with bringing the nitrate level down?

    I have read Java moss or water lettuce are good at it? Is this true?

    Would the salt help or it that just a barrier for the fish to kill of disease?

    I wouldn't use the plant solely for nitrate removal but with the aid of water changes would I achieve my goal faster?
  11. maggie thecat

    maggie thecatWell Known MemberMember

    Terrestrial plants such as pothos or philodendrons will make the most rapid improvement in nitrate levels, followed by hornwort and other floaters. Then rooted aquatic plants.

    You can also add nitrate absorbing chemicals to your filter to help bring levels down.
  12. CindiL

    CindiLFishlore LegendMember

    Your nitrates should be back down substantially within a few days. You can even do two a day. I would tell you to do a 75% change but with nitrates that high it will be shocking to the fish to go from high nitrates to low.
  13. OP

    JDavies200Valued MemberMember

    I'm new to the whole plant thing. What floaters are easy to care for and keep. I've also read a lot of conflicting info on Marimo moss balls some say are brill others say are more a decor?

    What floaters would you recommend and poss any pics?


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