nitrites off the chart
tank is about 6 weeks old. amonia and nitrates are zero (or close to it) but nitrates are off of the chart. can it still be cycling this long or is it a problem? (i just got test kit so i wasnt able to follow the cycle)
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Check for a dead fish (inside a decoration or underneath a rock), this happened to us once and it ended up being a Redtail Shark that had crawled inside a resin log and died. Other than that, clean your substrate really well, see if your filter is really dirty (sometimes our high nitrates are a sign that our canister filter is in need of cleaning) If your tank is overstocked like ours are, I would do a 50% water change and stop feeding your fish for a couple of days. Should bring the levels down. You may just be overfeeding, we were.
that sounds about right. i didnt know about cycling at first and i overstocked and and some died, probably left from that
also, is it bad to do big water changes?
Large water changes really depend on the tank/fish. Our Lake Tanganyika fish don't like ph swings so not a good idea for them. But I have done 50% WC on all of our other tanks with no problem whenever the nitrates were high. I've been told that up to 100% water replacement within a weeks time is ok. We tried API NitraZorb and Seachem Purigen in our 220 and 120 and it brought the nitrates down, but it was not immediate. Decided not to continue using the products after recharging them a few times because it was a lot of trouble. We are looking into Seachem Matrix to lower nitrates because all of our tanks are over filtrated with lots of water movement (spray bars, power heads, etc.) This swift moving water does not allow areas of "still water" for the anaerobic bacteria that is necessary to eliminate nitrates to grow. Matrix is a highly porous media, basically like a rock with lots of tiny holes in it I think. I have done so much research and this product seems to make more sense to me. We can't do plants, our fish would tear them up. Also, if you use Prime water conditioner and de-chlorinator, the Prime will neutralize the Nitrates so they are less toxic to the fish. Dose Prime equivalent to the entire water mass of your tank when you do a water change, regardless of how much water you remove/replace.
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