Help Water issue help

Renaldz

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Hey guys, so usually my water parameters are within the norm but after my most recent water change everything seems a mess.
Nitrate is 160ppm
Nitrite is 0.5ppm
PH 6.5
KH is 0ppm
GH is 120ppm
This is in a 200L tank which was running on a external canister filter and also an old internal one. I removed the old filter on the water change as it had been running with the new canister for 3 months now.

I'm at a bit of a loss and was hoping you guys could help me out with how I get my water back to safe levels.

Thanks
 

Aquashrimp42

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What were your levels before the water change? What is your ammonia reading?

You could try letting the tank settle for a day and then try tearing it again. I would be curious to see if that would help.
 

Shambhalaubie

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What do you currently have in the tank (if anything)? What do you use for conditioning the water you use during a water change? Are there any other additives in the water?

Fish water really is like chemistry, if one element is out of wack, it can throw your whole aquarium off. And can have some unexpected results if we are not careful.
 
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Renaldz

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Aquashrimp42 said:
What were your levels before the water change? What is your ammonia reading?

You could try letting the tank settle for a day and then try tearing it again. I would be curious to see if that would help.
Nitrate was hovering between 40/60 ppm which was still high but no where close to this level...the others I honestly can't say.
And as far as ammonia goes my test strips don't include this so I have no actual way of checking that at the moment.

flyinGourami said:
Levels before? Water source levels? When is the last time you did a water change, other than the one you just did of course?
I do water changes weekly and the external filter I clean once a month but I clean it in the water from the tank and never tap water

Shambhalaubie said:
What do you currently have in the tank (if anything)? What do you use for conditioning the water you use during a water change? Are there any other additives in the water?

Fish water really is like chemistry, if one element is out of wack, it can throw your whole aquarium off. And can have some unexpected results if we are not careful.
I currently have 2 angel fish, a silver dollar, a silver shark and 4 widow tetras....I have not added any fish in a long time as the tank was settled nicely with what was in there. When I change the water I use tap safe to condition it
 

EmbersToAshes

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It sounds like you haven't been changing enough of the water. 160 nitrate is way too high. The only way nitrates can be removed is with water changes or live plants. It's hard to give addition advice without an ammonia level, but I would do a 75% water change to reduce nitrates down to 40. Keep nitrates under 40
 

flyinGourami

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Water source levels? Did you stir up a lot of stuff during the water change? Did you do this water change like other water changes in the past?
 
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Renaldz

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EmbersToAshes said:
It sounds like you haven't been changing enough of the water. 160 nitrate is way too high. The only way nitrates can be removed is with water changes or live plants. It's hard to give addition advice without an ammonia level, but I would do a 75% water change to reduce nitrates down to 40. Keep nitrates under 40
I usually change about 30% of the water weekly which I'm guessing isn't enough? Will 75% not kill off alot of the good bacteria in the filter and tank etc?
 

jkkgron2

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Renaldz said:
I usually change about 30% of the water weekly which I'm guessing isn't enough? Will 75% not kill off alot of the good bacteria in the filter and tank etc?
It shouldn’t kill off to much bacteria. For the future after you do a 75% I would do 50% water changes weekly to prevent this happening again :)
 

EmbersToAshes

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I think you have "old tank syndrome" it is basically when nitrates build up in the tank faster than you remove them. It usually takes months to years of only doing partial water changes to get this problem. It is good to change a little more water every now and then at least to prevent this. I would also make sure you aren't over feeding.
 

mattgirl

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Run the nitrate test on your source water. As you know, water changes should have lowered the nitrate level. What part of the world do you live in? High nitrates in tap water in the US isn't common but it seems to be in some parts of the world.

Is your pH normally this low? The production of bacteria slows down when the pH gets down this low. Bacteria has a difficult time processing the ammonia. It sounds like your tank has gotten out of balance and unless your nitrates are unusually high in your tap water it is going to take some water changes to get it where it needs to be.
 

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It does sound like old tank syndrome but it can also be nitrates from the tap water or nitrates from stirring up and releasing bacteria "pockets" in substrate if you messed with that.

Water conditioners don't really do anything for nitrates, you have to dilute them with water changes. Water conditioners will just bind harmful toxins into nonharmful toxins for a period of time giving your beneficial bacteria time to settle and convert it.

Get an API Master Test Kit to test for ph, ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate but do keep in mind that you can get false positives when testing with added chemicals in the water. The best old school way for you to fix this problem is to do a huge water change and clean your substrate and lower feeding maybe one less meal or lower the portion.

Also, it is good to let the tank settle for a few days til the bacteria can settle again but high nitrates aren't gonna go anywhere without a huge water change to dilute the levels.

Also, just keep in mind that when it comes to beneficial bacteria, this is where your biomedia comes into play more than the water itself. On top of that those benebac need water changes to so they get the minerals and such from fresh water. Fish pee and poop and unless you watch them every minute, they do a lot of this more than you think. Essentially fish live in their own toilet so when you think of it like that, you really start to understand the importance of water changes. Every tank cant live off of one water change a month or every few months.
 
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Renaldz

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Thank you so much to everyone who has helped me here....I have just finished a 75% change and will retest tomorrow......I will also be buying a full test kit so I can monitor correctly
 

GuppyDazzle

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I agree with the advice above. Not sure if it's been mentioned yet, but the bacteria colonies are on surfaces, not in the water column. Just changing water won't affect the bacteria. What will affect the bacteria is if you clean surfaces too much at once, like cleaning the glass, vacuuming the gravel, and rinsing out your filter media at the same time.
 
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Renaldz

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GuppyDazzle said:
I agree with the advice above. Not sure if it's been mentioned yet, but the bacteria colonies are on surfaces, not in the water column. Just changing water won't affect the bacteria. What will affect the bacteria is if you clean surfaces too much at once, like cleaning the glass, vacuuming the gravel, and rinsing out your filter media at the same time.
I did not know that...I genuinely thought that the bacteria was on the filter media but also the water and that's why only partial changes were required
 

Presidenchill

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Renaldz said:
Thank you so much to everyone who has helped me here....I have just finished a 75% change and will retest tomorrow......I will also be buying a full test kit so I can monitor correctly
After you do a water change you can test immediately, you can also test in 24 hours. There isn't really a test window, if its in the water its going to show up in the test. Granted your levels might be lower right after but sometimes they aren't. Just something to think about.

GuppyDazzle said:
I agree with the advice above. Not sure if it's been mentioned yet, but the bacteria colonies are on surfaces, not in the water column. Just changing water won't affect the bacteria. What will affect the bacteria is if you clean surfaces too much at once, like cleaning the glass, vacuuming the gravel, and rinsing out your filter media at the same time.
Just to add to this, from my understanding, when you do filter cleanings or changing, you don't want to change all parts together, you want to do one media at different weekly or monthly intervals so that you keep the benefical bacteria in the filter. Also, and this is down to personal preference, I only completely replace sponges when they are completely tore up and I've literally almost never changed biomedia, just rinse in tank water. If I do change biomedia, I leave some of the old biomedia in with the new, same for sponges if you use those I leave a piece of the old sponge in. I try to do water changes more frequently than filter and decor and substrate cleanings as thats where most of the benebac is. If you get the API master test kit it lasts for a really long time so its worth the price, just make sure to follow the directions to the letter, especially when it comes to nitrate testing with the two bottles.
 

mattgirl

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Renaldz said:
I did not know that...I genuinely thought that the bacteria was on the filter media but also the water and that's why only partial changes were required
I agree with all the others. Little to no bacteria is free floating in the water. It grows on our filter media and on all the surfaces in the tank. The strongest colonies of bacteria are going the be where there is the most water flow. That is normally the filter media because ammonia rich water is being pulled into it to feed the bacteria. One of the reasons for doing partial water changes instead of changing all of it is to keep from changing the perimeters drastically.

Personally I change out no less than 50% of the water in each of my tanks each week but once a month I change out even more. I consider this bigger water change a reset water change. It removes more of the thing we don't test for but are building up over time.
 
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Renaldz

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Presidenchill said:
Just to add to this, from my understanding, when you do filter cleanings or changing, you don't want to change all parts together, you want to do one media at different weekly or monthly intervals so that you keep the benefical bacteria in the filter. Also, and this is down to personal preference, I only completely replace sponges when they are completely tore up and I've literally almost never changed biomedia, just rinse in tank water. If I do change biomedia, I leave some of the old biomedia in with the new, same for sponges if you use those I leave a piece of the old sponge in. I try to do water changes more frequently than filter and decor and substrate cleanings as thats where most of the benebac is. If you get the API master test kit it lasts for a really long time so its worth the price, just make sure to follow the directions to the letter, especially when it comes to nitrate testing with the two bottles.
Ah see I did not know this and have always cleaned everything in one hit...likely my downfall there.....thank you all again, I have learnt a lot tonight and will use this going forward
 

Wrench

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I would guess if you have nitrites you also have ammonia........did you some how start a mini cycle?
Do you have love plants?
Have you tried cleaning the tubes of the canisters?
 
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Renaldz

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Wrench said:
I would guess if you have nitrites you also have ammonia........did you some how start a mini cycle?
Do you have love plants?
Have you tried cleaning the tubes of the canisters?
I don't believe I did as it was just a regular water change.....I have no plants at all and when I cleaned the filter I checked it all over and it looked fine.....
 

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