New tank what do these readings mean?

Discussion in 'Aquarium Water' started by fml123denney, Jan 11, 2013.

  1. fml123denney

    fml123denneyNew MemberMember

    I'm rescuing a tank I recently acquired care of. I've never done this before so not confident on my next move. The tank I acquired is a 125 gallon freshwater. 3 fish. 1 id shark. 2 other little fish. No plants. Aqua clear 110 filter. Heater probably doesn't work.

    My water readings are:
    Kh: 180

    I don't think the water was changed for a while so I've done two 10% water changes in 3 days.. I've read you can shock them with too much fresh water? And should I be using a conditioner for hard water?? Fish seem kinda happy except for Id shark just hides all day. Would plants help stabilize the tank also?? Sorry lots of questions... search only finds so much.
  2. Skysong87

    Skysong87Valued MemberMember

    Firstly, welcome to fishlore!

    Now on to the basics: The nitrogen cycle is important! So please click up on the link and have a read about it if you haven't already. If you need something explained further don't hesitate to ask.

    A healthy tank has 0ppm of ammonia, 0ppm of nitrite and under 20ppm of nitrate. Anything above 0ppm of ammonia or nitrite is highly toxic to fish while very high nitrates can also be toxic. If the tank you have has 200ppm of nitrate then it most likely has 'old tank syndrome'. This means the last owner obviously did not do many (if any!) water changes to bring nitrates down. The fish in here are now most likely used to the high/toxic levels of nitrate.

    So while usually a large water change is healthy for normal tanks, doing a large change now could shock and kill the fish. For example if you we're to do a 50% water change the nitrates would drop from 200 to 100. Such a large drop would not be good! So just continue doing the smaller changes like you are now.

    Now your next problem is your nitrites, at 5ppm that is extremely toxic. Since you can't do large water changes to help with that I would suggest buying some Seachem Prime water conditioner. Prime not only removes chlorine and chloramine from tap water but it also detoxes ammonia and nitrites and makes them safe for fish for 24 hours.

    From the results you posted above I am going to assume you used test strips, correct? Test strips are extremely inaccurate. If it's possible try and get a liquid test kit such as the API freshwater master kit. This kit tests for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate and ph, all the necessary stuff!

    Lastly the filter on the tank is no where good enough for a tank that size and it might be contributing to some of the problems. Also consider getting another hang on back HOB filter or better yet a canister filter.

    That's all I can think of for now but I may have missed something, hopefully other people will be along soon! And if you have any more questions please ask!
  3. p3t3r

    p3t3rValued MemberMember

    Skysong has covered just about everything there. The only other thing you can do to help bring down the Nitrate over time is to add plant life. I must emphasize what Skysong has said, don't be tempted to try and change things too quickly as this will only end in disaster!
  4. OP

    fml123denneyNew MemberMember

    Thanks for your info. Would a fluval 406 be a big enough filter? I like the clean canister look and could use the spray bar for the diy co2 setup..

    I want to plant the tank but it only has 2 cheap 24" 17watt florescent lights... do u think java fern could grow with that little light till I have chance to upgrade lighting and maybe a co2 setup?

    I'm also starting up a 10 gal qt tank with some of the gravel from this tank and I already had nitrite readings.. but yes I was using strips so maybe that was in accurate. I'll have to get a liquid test kit and a thermo with a decent heater too. Best I can guess the tank is about 74°f..

    Thanks for the help
  5. freak78

    freak78Well Known MemberMember

    As far as filtration I would add 2 more aquaclear 110s.
  6. OP

    fml123denneyNew MemberMember

    I don't mean to sound mouthy, but why 2 more hob to clutter things up and three outlets??
  7. Skysong87

    Skysong87Valued MemberMember