Neglected tank problems, advice please

FancyPantsy

So, I'm a bit embarrassed to post, but if I don't ask I won't know, right?

So my tank has been bit neglected of late because if my own personal health issues, but today I took great pleasure in giving it a good clean and 50% water change (I have been doing this, just not as regularly as I should have). I have a few problems:

Water quality
I've just done the water change, including changing the filter pads in the my fluval U2 filter and scrubbing the surface of my sponge filter, but that could probably do with a change too (all cleaned with tank water).
Ammonia I think is between 0.25 and 0.5
Nitrite is 0
Nitrate is off the scale!! But I then tested my tap water and that alone is 40
Ph is 7.4-7.6
All according to API master test kit

Worms
While doing the water change I found a few worms. Two I removed, one got away. The one that got away was pretty fast, and sort of clear/whitish in colour. One I caught was similar and the other was blackish brown and sort of sucking on the base of the tub I use for water changes.

Veins
Both fish seem to have noticeable veins running down there tails that I don't recall being there before, I probably wouldn't have mentioned it but on one of the fish there seems to be little white pompoms on the fin at the end of where the vein is visible. This is the same fish that has had a furry tummy for a while that, started as what looked like a bruise. It looked like it was getting better, but while I'm here I thought I'd throw that in too. (Actually asked about this originally before my laspe.)

Tank - 105 litres (a little on the all side I know, but it is literally the biggest I can fit in my current flat) established about 5 months, but had fish for 10 months. Use fluval aquaplus water conditioner and pure aquarium balls during water changes although found I have run out so no balls today in todays change).
Temp - fluctuates around 22C (fluval e100 heater as my flat can get quite cold in the winter).
Substrate - white sand from LFS unbranded.
Plants - bog wood with java fern, did have a anubias, but the piggies ate it. And a sad little potted java fern that is very beaten up (also by the piglets)
Feed - vitalis sinking pellets and occasionally some repashy gold.

They seem happy, they are active, thank god. They eat (likely too much ), poop seems normal, one was a bit pale and stringy this morning but that was the first time I've seen it like that). I just wanted to ask on these few things to fix things before they get any worse now my head is in a better place to deal with it.

What should I prioritise out of the above problems? Any and all advice welcomed.

Thanks in advance x
 

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Bgreen82

To start, I would continue to do 50% water changes until that nitrate is down. Make sure you give your fish some time to settle in between changes. 4 hours is recommended in most cases. I am not great with fish ailments but there are people here who can help with that part of the question. Super high nitrate can cause a multitude of problems though so I would address that first personally, and it is the easiest thing to try first. Keep a close eye on your fish and note any changes while you do this.
 

FancyPantsy

To start, I would continue to do 50% water changes until that nitrate is down. Make sure you give your fish some time to settle in between changes. 4 hours is recommended in most cases. I am not great with fish ailments but there are people here who can help with that part of the question. Super high nitrate can cause a multitude of problems though so I would address that first personally, and it is the easiest thing to try first. Keep a close eye on your fish and note any changes while you do this.
Thank you, I'm guessing I won't get the Nitrate below 40 if that's the level of my tap water, I've tried to add more plants but they just keep eating them!
 

carsonsgjs

Having such high nitrate in the tap water is a pain, and having fish that wreck plants doesn’t help either! Changing 50% at a time will bring the levels down albeit slowly. Have you considered using a plant like pothos to help with the nitrates? It can be grown out of the tank but will take nutrients from the water, so the fish won’t eat it.

I’d also look at upgrading the filtration. A U2 is ok for smaller tanks but for your tank size and stock personally I’d go for an external or a bigger internal or HOB that is capable of holding more media and turning over more water.
 

Bgreen82

Sometimes the thicker leaves plants like anubias do better, most fish won’t eat Java fern. Personally I highly recommend floating plants, they are nitrate sponges, I have salvinia in all of my tanks.
Another option, I have fish that tear my plants up so I planted 3 groups of water lettuce, they like that more than anything so I just keep it alive or add in more when it’s bad and they tend to stay away from everything else. It was lots of trial and error but I love my Buenos Aires tetras so I found a happy medium for us both.
 

mattgirl

It is good that you are feeling better and are now able to give your fish the care they need. Having nitrates that high in your source water is a problem. If I was having to deal with this problem I would be running nitra-zorb in my tank. Along with water changes it should help remove excess nitrates.

I would actually remove them from the water before putting it in my tank. You can do this by putting enough water for a water change in a separate container. Run a HOB filter with nothing but a pouch of nitra-zorb in it. If you can do this it will be much easier to get and keep the nitrates down in the tank.

The second thing is the ammonia you are seeing. Were you seeing this before you did the deep cleaning? By doing so much all at the same time you removed too much bacteria. Given time it should catch back up to the bio-load of this tank but during this time you need to keep it down by doing water changes.

I agree with carsonsgjs I think this tank needs a more powerful filter. If you choose to replace the one you have on this tank you can use the original in the container you are using to pull the nitrates out.
 

FancyPantsy

Having such high nitrate in the tap water is a pain, and having fish that wreck plants doesn’t help either! Changing 50% at a time will bring the levels down albeit slowly. Have you considered using a plant like pothos to help with the nitrates? It can be grown out of the tank but will take nutrients from the water, so the fish won’t eat it.

I’d also look at upgrading the filtration. A U2 is ok for smaller tanks but for your tank size and stock personally I’d go for an external or a bigger internal or HOB that is capable of holding more media and turning over more water.
I have actually been growing out a pothos cutting till its tall enough to reach out of the tank. I have a lid, but plan to but a little hole for it.

I added the sponge filter when I upgraded the tank, but I'll have a look at other filter options. Thank you
Sometimes the thicker leaves plants like anubias do better, most fish won’t eat Java fern. Personally I highly recommend floating plants, they are nitrate sponges, I have salvinia in all of my tanks.
Another option, I have fish that tear my plants up so I planted 3 groups of water lettuce, they like that more than anything so I just keep it alive or add in more when it’s bad and they tend to stay away from everything else. It was lots of trial and error but I love my Buenos Aires tetras so I found a happy medium for us both.
They ate the anubias and rip the java apart but it is at least surviving. Anything floating I have tried they have inhaled, even duck weed!!! Guess that's goodies though. Thank you for the suggestions though.
It is good that you are feeling better and are now able to give your fish the care they need. Having nitrates that high in your source water is a problem. If I was having to deal with this problem I would be running nitra-zorb in my tank. Along with water changes it should help remove excess nitrates.

I would actually remove them from the water before putting it in my tank. You can do this by putting enough water for a water change in a separate container. Run a HOB filter with nothing but a pouch of nitra-zorb in it. If you can do this it will be much easier to get and keep the nitrates down in the tank.

The second thing is the ammonia you are seeing. Were you seeing this before you did the deep cleaning? By doing so much all at the same time you removed too much bacteria. Given time it should catch back up to the bio-load of this tank but during this time you need to keep it down by doing water changes.

I agree with carsonsgjs I think this tank needs a more powerful filter. If you choose to replace the one you have on this tank you can use the original in the container you are using to pull the nitrates out.
I didn't think of treating the water before the change, thank you, I'll definitely look into that.

I didn't actually test before the change, but will be keeping a much better eye on it now. Thank you for the advice
 

jtjgg

goldfish won't bother the pothos, i have several pothos vines in my goldfish tanks.

for nitrate in tap water, you might try something like Nitrazorb. It can be recharged using aquarium salt every 2 weeks.

here's an old list of nitrate removers/absorbers. i didn't read through all 5 pages. i only recommend trying these products for people who have high nitrates in their source/tap water. and not to be used in lieu of weekly water changes.
Review of Nitrate Reducers | Aquarium Water Forum | 217267

Nitrasafe aging barrel by bigemrg My Nitrate Lowering Water Aging Barrel | Aquarium Water Forum | 297237

another option is to allow the back glass of your aquarium to grow a wall of algae, TheeLadyG has a wall of algae and her parameters are 0,0,0. 75 Gallon Tank - I've Done It, Perfect Cycle | Cleaning and Maintenance Forum | 403644 my outside patio pond has algae all along the walls, and it is also 0,0,0.

atleast one member Cichlidude used Seachem Denitrate in a diy filter to reduce nitrates Diy Nitrate Reducing Filter | Aquarium Filter Forum | 380576

several members have deep sand beds that have anaerobic bacteria that consume nitrates. MrBryan723 has a very deep sand bed Nitrate Filtration Better Than Expected | Freshwater Aquarium Builds Forum | 413882
 

FancyPantsy

goldfish won't bother the pothos, i have several pothos vines in my goldfish tanks.

for nitrate in tap water, you might try something like Nitrazorb. It can be recharged using aquarium salt every 2 weeks.

here's an old list of nitrate removers/absorbers. i didn't read through all 5 pages. i only recommend trying these products for people who have high nitrates in their source/tap water. and not to be used in lieu of weekly water changes.
Review of Nitrate Reducers | Aquarium Water Forum | 217267

Nitrasafe aging barrel by bigemrg My Nitrate Lowering Water Aging Barrel | Aquarium Water Forum | 297237

another option is to allow the back glass of your aquarium to grow a wall of algae, TheeLadyG has a wall of algae and her parameters are 0,0,0. 75 Gallon Tank - I've Done It, Perfect Cycle | Cleaning and Maintenance Forum | 403644 my outside patio pond has algae all along the walls, and it is also 0,0,0.

atleast one member Cichlidude used Seachem Denitrate in a diy filter to reduce nitrates Diy Nitrate Reducing Filter | Aquarium Filter Forum | 380576

several members have deep sand beds that have anaerobic bacteria that consume nitrates. MrBryan723 has a very deep sand bed Nitrate Filtration Better Than Expected | Freshwater Aquarium Builds Forum | 413882
Oh my goodness, thank you so much for all of these links!! So helpful.

The baby pothos is in place, so fingers crossed it likes the new home. And the black-out on the window end is coming right off to start an algae wall!


20211103_213650.jpg
 

mattgirl

An algae wall may help but may be difficult to achieve with fish that love to eat plants. I do have to wonder how folks grow an algae wall without the algae also growing on everything else in the tank. I will have to read up on that because now I am curious.

I know there are lots of ways to keep nitrates in a tank down to the bare minimum but in your case even if you do, each water change will spike them again. If you can remove them before they go in the tank with nitra-zorb and also have something that removes what the cycle produces it would be the best of both worlds.

I actually have no problem keeping nitrates down in my tanks. I've never attempted to get them down to zero but do try to keep them down to less than 30 simply by doing my weekly water changes. As long as I see orange in the test tube I consider it good enough. :)

I am a firm believer in keeping my water pets in fresh clean water thus the reason for over filtration, weekly 50% water changes and once a month change even more.
 

jtjgg

the goldfish will nibble on the algae, but they can't/don't completely scrap the algae off the glass/decor.
 

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