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So much info..can't seem to make fins or tails!
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FishyBusiness516
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Joined: 26 Mar 2011

PostPosted: 2011.03.26(Sat)22:02    Post subject: So much info..can't seem to make fins or tails! Reply with quote

Hello all! I'm new to being part of a fish forum so please excuse me if I ask any redundant questions. Smile

I recently purchased my very own water testing kit (API brand) and did my first test this evening. I've noticed my fish are a little sluggish and losing some of their color. Here's the stats on my tank before I start asking too many questions:

75 gallon freshwater tank; established about 6 months-discus, plecos, knifefish, tetras (a couple different kinds), angelfish, and cory cats.

Undergravel filter system with two overhang filters as well; no live plants

10-15 gallon water changes with all spring water every two weeks; temp stays around 84-86 degrees (fish seem to like it a little warmer)

Here are my test readings for today:

pH: 6.6/6.8
ammonia: 0ppm
Nitrite: 0ppm
Nitrate: 160ppm
GH: 214.8ppm or 9 degrees
KH: 161.1ppm or 15 degrees

Now, we've been working on having a large tank for almost 2 years now, asking as many questions as possible with our local fish specialty stores and doing everything we've been asked to do, to the letter.

My questions are as follows:
1. My nitrate seems high...best way to lower?
2. We've been told by our "fish guy" that GH and KH help to maintain proper pH. According to my tests today, the GH and KH are WAY out of healthy range. If I get these things under control, will it help to stabilize my pH (which has been jumping up and down for about 3 weeks now)?
3. What are some of the best ways to get GH and KH where they need to be without stressing the fish?

What are we doing wrong??? :/ Some of these fish we've had for two years now and want to make sure they continue living happy healthy lives (yes, we've named MOST of them!)

Please respond in laymans terms, as I'm still learning the chemistry slang and how different things are measured and what things affect others in the water world. Smile

Any advice would be greatly appreciated! And if I missed anything you need to know to help me with this puzzle, don't hesitate to ask! Smile

Thanks in advance!
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Darkblade48
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Joined: 21 Jun 2004
Location: Yokohama, Japan

PostPosted: 2011.03.26(Sat)23:44    Post subject: Reply with quote

Your aquarium may be overstocked, depending on the number of fish you have. This may be the reason why your nitrates are so high.

The best way to lower your nitrate level is to either reduce the number of fish you have, or to increase the frequency of your water changes.

For gH and KH, in general, as long as they are stable, your fish will be able to adapt. Most fish these days are not wild caught, and are aquarium bred. As such, especially if they are locally bred, they will already be adapted to your local water conditions.

If you want to lower your KH and gH, the best way to do it is with RO water, and not via chemical means.
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KhiaraFish
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Joined: 18 Aug 2010
Location: Saint Paul, MN

PostPosted: 2011.03.27(Sun)14:58    Post subject: Reply with quote

I second what DarkBlade said. What is a more exact stocking list for the tank, how often do you do water changes right now? What kind of filter is it?
How are you conditioning your water? What are the parameters of your tap water?
Sorry for all the questions, but the more detail you give us the better we can help you.
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Please, oh Please can someone help me!?

My fish mugged me and stole my wallet!
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susankatomerit
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Joined: 09 Mar 2005
Location: Tulsa, Ok

PostPosted: 2011.03.27(Sun)16:29    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would step up your water changes to a minimum of 30% each week, especially having discus in there. Then test your nitrates, if they need to go lower you will need to do bigger water changes.

If you add a bunch of live plants it will help take up the nitrates, but without plants more water changes.
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FishyBusiness516
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Joined: 26 Mar 2011

PostPosted: 2011.03.27(Sun)19:44    Post subject: Reply with quote

Khiara, we do water changes every two weeks and use gallons of spring water bought from the store. We just recently moved to Florida from Virginia and our VA fish guy told us using spring water was a good way to go for water changes. Also, we've been told that the water down here in FL is full of minerals and iron so we haven't used ANY tapwater for the tank...my next step is to test the tap water with my kit and see how that measures up.

We try hard not to put in any chemicals unless it's ABSOLUTELY necessary because I know that most things can be adjusted in a more natural way.

I'm concerned because my fish are sluggish and losing lots of color. The poor discus is almost completely white when 3 weeks ago, he was a beautiful bright red. The pH has been jumping around between 6.2 and 7.5 for about 3 weeks as well. I can't seem to stabilize it. And I can't figure out why it's doing it now. The tank has been great up until this point so I don't know why I'm having such a hard time with the pH.
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DaleJr
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Joined: 16 Feb 2010
Location: Memphis, TN

PostPosted: 2011.03.29(Tue)8:45    Post subject: Reply with quote

WOW....160ppm of Nitrates?

I keep mine around 40 and I am planed...Maybe add some plants (easy plants) Vals/water-sprites to eat up some of the excess.
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diademhill
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Joined: 18 Apr 2007

PostPosted: 2011.03.29(Tue)14:25    Post subject: Reply with quote

Still waiting for the stocking list but 160ppm is too high for most hardy fish let alone discus.

Why not invest in a RO unit and do more water changes?
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