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post #1 of 5 Old 12-17-2010, 11:46 PM Thread Starter
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Issue with water parameters

I have a 30 (or 29?) Gallon freshwater tank, the gravel (can't remember specific name) is something for plants, tons of hiding places and such, there is a heater of course, a power head (Topfin brand), the filter is a Marineland Penguin Bio-Wheel 350.

It's been running for about 2 months now. It has a pleco (tiny fellow, common pleco. I know the tank is probably too small for him long-term, but within the next few months I'll be in a bigger place and will be able to upgrade then to something more suitable), 2 mollies, 5 rosy red minnows, 3 ghost shrimp, a rainbow shark (again, upgrading soon), and 2 snails. This past week I've done 3 25% water changes and 1 50% water change and nothing is working. I don't know if my tests are wrong (just now read that test strips are bad, liquid good) or what but it says that my NitrAte is at 80, NitrIte 10, Hardness 300, Alkalinity 180, and pH 8.4. I can't bring the NitrAte or NitrIte levels down. I've added aquarium salt as well, and still nothing. What else can I do to help with this?

Also, in the past when I had tanks, I always had some sort of algae growth. Either my clean-up crew is awesome, or no algae is growing. This just seems odd to me. Any ideas?

Thanks! Hope I provided enough information.

Edited to add: Also, I have had 0 loses except for a mollie that died 4 hours after I brought her home, so I'm guessing not due to my water quality.
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post #2 of 5 Old 12-18-2010, 10:12 AM
Did you cycle your tank? That is a lot of fish if the tank has not been cycled properly. Keep up with those water changes and get a good liquid test kit. I started with test strips, but after reading posts on this site got a liquid test kit and got some very different results.
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post #3 of 5 Old 12-18-2010, 11:31 AM Thread Starter
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Yes the tank was cycled. With the nitrates nitrites being so high according to test strips wouldn't I have lost fish by now?
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post #4 of 5 Old 12-18-2010, 11:34 AM
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There is certainly something wrong with your tests. Nitrite at 10ppm would mean dead fish, no fish can live in that. So this brings in to question the other test results.

I would take a water sample to your fish store for tests. Get the numbers from them, not "it's OK" which tells us nothing. If you can buy a test kit, the API liquid one is very reliable. There is a combo that includes pH, ammonia, nitrite and nitrate.

I would not mess with things until we know the test results. And I would not use salt; while mollies are fine, pleco and sharks are not.


Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]
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post #5 of 5 Old 12-18-2010, 11:56 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks both of you! That's what I thought. I'll take a water to the lfs and get them to test it.
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