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Disappearing Nitrites and still no Nitrates, please help!

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Disappearing Nitrites and still no Nitrates, please help!
Old 04-26-2011, 02:19 PM   #41
 
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I just had another thought... what filter media is in your filter? Has any of it been changed since stopping the Prime? If not, its time to do so. Because you still have no nitrate I would not worry about depleting the bacteria culture at this point. There will be plenty of bacteria in the tank itself, in other areas of the filter, on the glass, decor, etc. for it to be safe now to change the media.
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Old 04-26-2011, 03:24 PM   #42
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bettababy View Post
Sorry it takes me so long to get back sometimes, it can't be helped. Unfortunately, I have to ask more questions...
Do you have a quarantine tank available?
Can you do me a favor and take a cup of your tank water, as close in temp as you use to put into your tank during water changes, test the pH and then let it sit out overnight, untouched by anything fish related, and then test pH again after 24 hrs? Bring those readings here. I am trying to determine if there is a buffering problem in your tap water (unlikely but not impossible) or if the problem is in the tank specifically.

I agree with Byron on the crushed coral... all you would be doing is masking a problem that would likely worsen because it hasn't been resolved. Crushed coral, at this point, is not your answer. Also, please remember that I still suspect the problem was the Prime water conditioner and it is going to take time to remove it all from your tank water, even with daily water changes.

Each change dilutes it, but it is still in there and likely still at a somewhat high level. Seeing that your jump went from the 6.4 it started with to 6.8 now, that tells me you are making progress. Continue as you have been with the small daily water changes and no Prime. Continue tracking the pH shifts and reporting them here as things change in either direction. This is difficult because we are doing this via internet, I don't have the ability to see anything in person, test anything in person, etc. I am relying on you to keep us informed, and sometimes the best thing anyone can do is be patient and diligent.

I'm also very sorry for your frustration, but things like this happen. When you work with an aquatic situation in any form you have an ever changing environment. There was a time when people thought that fish keeping was as simple as dropping a fish into water and watch it swim. Over the years people have learned a lot, including that fish keeping, when done right, is a little more complicated than first thought.

Over those yrs many others have taken advantage of the still not widespread knowledge about this hobby and they create products to "help" us, though some of us are not actually helped by them. Buffering chemicals fall into that category. In all my 20+ yrs of working in this industry, keeping my own at home, etc, I have seen very few cases that actually required the use of buffering chemicals.... and too many cases where buffering chemicals/methods wiped out entire tanks of otherwise healthy fish, simply because the fish keeper was not patient enough to sort out the cause of their problems...

Quick fixes, in fish keeping, are never the solution. Hang in there, please. Don't give up. Once we figure this out you will be on your way to enjoying the fish because the "work" part will be greatly reduced, as will the stress of the problems you face at present. If nothing else, at least consider this a good crash course in water chemistry, something every fish keeper should have anyways. Everyone's tap water is different. Every tank is different. You are doing all you can right now, and should be proud of yourself that you care enough to sort this out and not impatient enough to allow the fish to suffer needlessly. There is an end... we will get there, and I promise to stick with you until this is resolved. The best is yet to come!

I will watch for those pH results from the cup of tap water and we will continue from there.
Thank you I will get a cup of aquarium water in a minute and test it, then let it sit overnight and test it again tomorrow and post the results. I'm a little excited to see what happens actually. I definitely don't want to give up, I love having my aquarium again. I just wish I could give my fish the ultimate healthy environment and cycle as easily as everyone else on here. But you're right: everyone has different tap water, different tanks, etc. and I just have to work with what I have.

As for the filter catridge, no I have not changed it since I set the tank up (8 weeks ago?) I was always afraid of changing it in fear of wiping out the bacteria because it's the only media I have in there (no sponges) but yes like you said, there are still no nitrates so it won't matter. I probably won't be able to get a new catridge until the weekend and I hope to pick up some sort of sponge from another brand to slip in behind it for the future so I won't wipe everything out when I change the catridge again. But I will continue with the small water changes and keep monitoring the pH before and after. I was just so upset when I saw this morning how the pH jumped from 7.0 to 6.6 overnight.

I don't have a quarantine tank available unfortunately. I have the tank on top of my beareau in my bedroom and it is very small in there and there's no room to set up another tank.

Now that I think of it, I think the whole thing with the pH and losing nitrites was around the time I began using Prime (just after I discovered there was nearly 1.0 ppm ammonia in the tap water and freaked out). But my fish have survived all along. I give them credit, they are hanging in there!

Thank you again for your help, I really appreciate it I will post results tomorrow...
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Old 04-27-2011, 03:54 PM   #43
 
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Hi Dawn,

pH Results:

Straight from the tank readings:
-Tuesday: 6.8
-Today: almost 6.4

Cup of tank water, left out overnight:
-Tuesday: 6.8
-Today: 6.8

Treated tap water straight from faucet, left out overnight:
-Tuesday: 7.6
-Today: 7.6

Ok so there is something going on in the tank then. I'm not sure if this is a good thing or a bad thing!
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Old 04-27-2011, 10:17 PM   #44
 
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Ok, new update: so now that I know there is something wrong going inside the tank and it isn't the tap water itself, I've taken a handful of gravel and put it in a cup and will let it sit overnight and I'll see if the pH drops in there. I also took out the castle and have it sitting in water overnight so Iwill test that also. I'm really hoping it's the castle because that'd be the easier culprit, but I doubt it! I forgot-- I do have another filter that came with the tank set up and I've never used it and it has two different sets of catridges in it. I don't know what kind it is though; it has no name on it and it came with the tank setup and its box was just a cardboard box without anything written or pictured on it so that's why I chose to purchase my Aqueon filter. But if the pH doesn't drop in any of my new experiments I will try switching filters. I don't know if a filter is capable of crashing my pH though.

Just did a 15% water change and the pH is currently 7.0. Will post results tomorrow.
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Old 04-28-2011, 11:10 AM   #45
 
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Well I discovered the problem! It's the gravel. I left a handful of the gravel in a cup overnight in 7.0 pH and this morning it was about 6.6. I tested the water the castle was kept in and it was fine. I went on Google and did a search and discovered someone else had my same problem with pH constantly crashing and they had the same exact gravel I had: black coated gravel from Petco. I am going to scoop it all out with a strainer today and do a 20% water change and hopefully the problem will go away. Hopefully the tank won't get too messy without gravel for a while as it will be a little time before I can get some new gravel. This time I am getting the natural un-coated kind. Hopefully there won't be a problem with it. I will post in a few days my pH results and I'm really hoping things will get better with my tank!
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Old 04-29-2011, 11:40 AM   #46
 
I had a similar pH problem with blue coated gravel many years ago. Once I replaced it with uncoated gravel, things stabilized. Glad you found the source of the problem.

Last edited by Electric; 04-29-2011 at 11:41 AM.. Reason: spelling
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Old 04-30-2011, 02:58 PM   #47
 
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Sorry I was away for a few days, it couldn't be helped. I'm pleased to see that you discovered what was crashing the pH. Do you know the name brand of the gravel that was the culprit? It is important that the company making/producing this stuff knows that it is causing problems.... and its even more important to let others know what it is so that they can avoid it.
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Old 05-01-2011, 11:43 AM   #48
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bettababy View Post
Sorry I was away for a few days, it couldn't be helped. I'm pleased to see that you discovered what was crashing the pH. Do you know the name brand of the gravel that was the culprit? It is important that the company making/producing this stuff knows that it is causing problems.... and its even more important to let others know what it is so that they can avoid it.
It was Petco's brand.Black coated gravel. It even says on the bag, "Will not alter water chemistry." Thank you for all your help! I didn't even consider leaving aquarium water out in a cup overnight. Thanks again Dawn.
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