Nitrate And Ammonia! :(

Shelbi

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Hi everyone. I am new to the site but not to new to the hobby. I have a 15 gallow bowfront with 2 red velvets, 1 MM molly, 1 betta splenda, 2 green coreys. I have had the tank up and running for almost 3 years now. I recently changed to a FLUVAL overtop filter. I know this could set my tank back while the new filter builds its bacteria but nothing else has been cleaned or removed.

My problem lies with my nitrate and ammonia levels. I have live plants in the tank. I do my bi-weeky water change, change my carbon every month. Water is clear. Barely any algae .. I just don`t know what else there is to do! I have been using Seachem AMGuard to protect my fish but I`m just so tired of dreading my weekly water tests , HAALLLPPPP !
 

Lissi Kat

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Hi!
Just to clarify is it nitrite and ammonia your struggling with or nitrate and ammonia? Depending on how heavily planted the tank is you shouldn't have to worry about nitrates as they'll be eaten by your plants and the rest will be removed by your water changes and between 10 and 20 ppm should be fine for your fish too.
Nitrite and ammonia on the other hand means that your nitrifying bactira took a serious hit probably when you removed the old filter you also removed their main strong hold so now a new colony has to establish. How long is your new filter in place? I know this isn't helpful now but next time transfer some of the old filter media into the new filter. Or hook the new filter up while the old one is still running for a week or 2.You could give tetra safe start a try it's liquid bacteria that will speed things up and I've heard good things. If you've recently dosed certain medications that could have a bad effect on your filter too. Another point I just thought I'd drop in is if you're dosing ferts for your plants the carbon will just soak that all up. Personally I only use it to soak up any residue from medication but each to their own
 
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Shelbi

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It is the nitrate. I should’ve let both run before removing the old. Your right on that. But even before I changed the filter .. my nitrate was high even before then. I’m going to add a quick start I think. I can either get the terta or I have Microbe-Lift. Not sure what is better for a already established tank.
 

Lissi Kat

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Ok you're nitrate being high is not something bacteria is gonna fix for you you're literally only gonna lower those with water changes and live plants.
I'll explain this again cos I have a feeling you're a bit confiused fish create ammonia (NH3 and NH4) this is toxic. Bacteria eat this and convert it to Nitrite (NO2) This is also toxic. Bacteria eat the NO2 and turn it to nitrate (NO3) nitrate is less harmful to fish and can be tolerated to about 20ppm. You can only remove NO3 from your tank via water change adding some live plants will help lower the NO3 levels but does not eliminate water changes.
Please clarify your parameters
Ammonia ppm
Nitrite (NO2) PPM
Nitrate (NO3) ppm

It would be strange to have ammonia and nitrate but no nitrite
 
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