Water Parameters: What exactly am I looking at???

  1. PD305 Initiate Member

    Hi everyone! I'm a beginner on this and didn't have a great start. I've been dealing with cycling a tank the wrong way (unknowingly, until I joined this forum). And once I got my water parameters about were they should be, 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite and 10 nitrates. ...my fish got sick with ick. I treated the whole fish tank with Jungle ick tabs, and did water changes, but with no results...my 3 fan tail goldfish died after fighting for 5 days . Today, 2 days after a 80% fishless water change I've got the following readings: PH 6.8 , Nitrites 2.0, Ammonia 0.00, Nitrates 5.0
    Why is the Nitrate level so high? I read that after the ick I should wait at least 2 weeks without adding more fish. But I wonder...how can I keep the good bacteria alive in my 20 g.tank in the meantime? I have 4 small plants on it, and I dropped just 2 tiny flakes of food yesterday because I red that may help. Am I doing this right? Or what should I do? Thanks!
     
  2. el337 Fishlore Legend Member

    Sorry for your loss. :(

    Have you tested your tap for nitrite and nitrates? If they're zero, it's possible there is some detritus, leftover food or plant matter in your substrate and/or in your filters that are causing those readings.

    You can keep adding fish food to feed the bacteria but I'd put them in a fine mesh bag or nylon stocking from making a mess of your tank. You can also use pure ammonia to feed the bacteria.
     

  3. PD305 Initiate Member

    Thanks for your answer. I will definitely be testing my tap water for nitrites. Regarding the nylon stocking (this may sound silly but..) is there any color that may add toxic to the water? Or can be any? Once again, I really appreciate your guidance.

    Thanks for your answer. I will definitely be testing my tap water for nitrites. Regarding the nylon stocking (this may sound silly but..) is there any color that may add toxic to the water? Or can be any? Once again, I really appreciate your guidance.
     

  4. el337 Fishlore Legend Member

    As long as it's new and hasn't been washed with any detergent, I would think it's ok.

    Just want to add that if you do have nitrites/nitrates in your tap, you may have already lost most if not all your beneficial bacteria and will need to cycle the tank again.
     

  5. PD305 Initiate Member

    Oh, My! I so hope I don't have any, then . I use Prime water conditioner. Do you think I should add an " extra" dose to the tank or let it be? Also, are water changes required during the fishless cycling?
     
  6. el337 Fishlore Legend Member

    Well, you don't have any fish so I wouldn't bother trying to detox the nitrite with Prime.

    I don't know at exactly what level the ammonia/nitrite starts killing off the BB but I would not let it go above 4ppm so if it does get that high, then yes, you'll want to do water changes to bring it down.

    Test your water source first and then you'll get a better idea of what your next steps will be.
     
  7. PD305 Initiate Member

    Will do. Thanks!