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saganco 11-26-2006 06:04 PM

HELP! Nitrate problem!
I have a fairly recently set up 10g (about 2 weeks) with some pg platties in it. For the last couple of days I cannot get my nitrates down even with several 30-40% water changes! What am I doing wrong!? The params are: nitrite .5, ammonia 1.0, and nitrate 40+. I am about to do another 30% (did one day before yesterday, waited yesterday for improvement but there was not any really noticeable change). Any thoughts!? I have no chlorine to speak of in my tap water and believe there are no chloramines - so would Prime really help - and if so, how much for this size tank with these params?
Thanks in advance!!!!

EDIT: 11-17 -- Problem is now under control thanks to you guys and your great help!!! Bravo to you all and my fish are still alive and thank you as well :D

girlofgod 11-26-2006 06:11 PM

sounds to me like your tank is still cycling...and doing so many large water changes all in a row while you are cycling will just cause your tank to mini-cycle, or in your case, never STOP i would hold off on the large water changes...and maybe do a 1 gallon change in a couple of days...maybe every 2 or 3 days....your parameters are all going to peak, and then drop back down within normal range, and once they have done that you will know that your tank is cycled. then you can resume 10-15% water changes weekly...or %25 changes every 2 weeks....hope this helps!


saganco 11-26-2006 06:36 PM

Thanks girlofgod (like your user name by the way) - do you think the pg fish will survive the high range of nitrate while it cycles ok without taking a chance with the babies health? The gold algae eater and the male platty (prevously kinda "puny" thus his presence in the nursery/hospital tank) are all doing well and swimming and eating, as are the pg girls.

If you think they are in no danger, I'll leave it alone till tomorrow then only do a 1 gallon change. I'll stick with that a couple of times a week till things level if you believe it will do so.

God bless and thanks again!

girlofgod 11-26-2006 06:40 PM

could you tell me exactly what is in your tank as far as fish go? i know the platys will be fine (even the pregnant ones) during the cycling process, they are very hardy fish, danios would be good for cycling as well...but the gold algae eater i am not familiar with, and i'm pretty sure it's not recommended to use him for cycling. you might want to consider taking him back to the pet store...but if not, just watch him carefully until your tank cycles completely. good luck!

thanks for the compliment!
God Bless


saganco 11-26-2006 10:24 PM

Bri, there are 3 pg platties in there (2 calico and 1 mickey mouse), 1 pg cremecicle molly, 1 male (moving tomorrow, he's well now) green neon moon/platty, and the 1 GAE (they seem to be really hardy rascals). None are in there for the purpose of cycling, thus the need to get some danios is out. All are in there for a purpose (peace and quiet for the little "sad" male who's all better now) and nursery needs for the girls, and the little GAE will live there no matter who comes and goes (and since this is also a hospital/qt tank, we'll hope for no contagious illnesses for him). I chose him for this tank because I have 3 of them in my 55g and my cats adore them!! And the feeling is mutual - these crazy fish tease the cat and play "tag" with them (actually only 2 of the 3 in the 55g do this)! So since my kitties just love "sucky face", there's some in each tank. I need to find out if they will do ok with my new tank as well :nicefish:

Lupin 11-26-2006 10:29 PM


Originally Posted by saganco
1 GAE (they seem to be really hardy rascals).

That one is probably the CAE(Chinese Algae Eater). I'd get rid of him. CAEs can reach 25 cm max and will not fit in the 10 gallons. Moreover, they have a tendency to harass other tankmates even to death. Juveniles are fine in a community tank for ridding off algae but we should realize that they can be a pain to catch if they are to be moved out soon as they mature. They get more aggressive as they mature.:)

saganco 11-26-2006 10:42 PM

Blue, I had thought that to be the case as well, but I believe that they must not be CAE's. I have had the 3 that are in the 55g for over a year now and they don't harass anyone (except the cats!) and still eat like crazy. They hide in their "teepee" when they are scared, but are good cleaners and have only grown to around 4" after all this time (and there's a runt who's about the same age is only about 2" long). I know they're impossible to catch because I WAS going to take the runty one and move him/her to the 10g, but the little rascal would have NO part of that idea! Anyway, as long as they don't torment anyone but the cats who think they are "the cat's meow", it's ok as long as they do what they were "hired" for! I need to find the picture I located once upon a time online that looked like them. Oh well...

Lupin 11-26-2006 10:47 PM

Would love to see your pics.:thumbsup: There are still lots of confusion differentiating CAEs, SAEs and flying foxes without pics. A pic will help.:)

crazie.eddie 11-26-2006 10:58 PM

I agree that your tank may not be fully cycled.

Your filter may not be sufficient. What model filter are you using?

You also maybe overfeeding. How much do you feed and how many times?

Any dead fish, snails, rotting foods?

How often do you do your gravel vacs?

Prime would help in reducing ammonia, chlorine/chloramine, BUT keep in mind, that it should be used as a temporary basis. I would figure out what why the levels are so high and try to reduce them first.

saganco 11-26-2006 11:11 PM

My filter may not be sufficient - it's the aqua-tech power filter model 5/15 (came with the tank) - I rather thought that for a "not full and active tank" it should do the job (not quite like my fluval 305 on my 55g though!).

I feed this crew a small pinch of flake in the am, and usually 3 shrimp pellets in the evening. If I vary the food (like micro pellets or algae wafers), it would still be about the same amount equivilent. No dead fish, snails, rotting foods - I know these things will poison a tank and kill other fish (had that happen in the 55g several times due to the amount of plants hiding the corpses!).

I have not done gravel vacs since I started this tank for two reasons. Couldn't figure out how to get the bulky syphon tube in the small space without totally destroying the plants and structures in it and totally terrorizing the pg females. And two, figured that with so few fish I could wait a bit longer before attacking said syphon tube plan since there isn't much mess in the tank yet (unlike my 55g that I vac every week).

I thought most folks recommend using Prime with every water change...? That's what my LFS told me anyway, along with many on the various fish forums... I am confused now! :oops:

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