4 weeks high nitrates and cloudy tank :(
My tank is a cloudy mess and I was wondering if I can get some advice. In December there was a miscommunication between my husband and I concerning the filters and we had slacked a bit testing the water. They got so nasty. We have been doing 25- 33% water changes every week (with python). We test the water before every change. The nitrates are 40-80 for the last 3-4 weeks and the tank doesn't ever completely clear. ph is 8... Ammonia is 0... nitrites is 0. In addition to water changes we have been checking and changing the filters as needed. My fish seem fine other than one of my bloodred parrot fish has lightened up a bit .. but I am wondering if that is just him/her changing color as he is still kind of small? He/She still eats and defends it's territory. He/she just began building a nest.. never saw that before this week and I watch them quite a bit. My husband thinks we should just leave the tank alone all together (no water changes) and let it balance out naturally and so I am coming you you all for help. Thank you in advance.
Hello & Welcome to the forum.
For starters "changing" filter pads on a brand new set up as yours can become fatal quickly. You have got to leave your filter alone; only then will beneficial bacteria settle in and the tank will finally cycle. Until this happens you'll have to do water changes more often to keep your readings down, some people cycling tanks with fish even have to do this daily to keep it down to a level where it will not become toxic to fish.
Biggest thing leave your filter alone; IF after several MONTHS it clogs up not running propped then you can rinse ONE pad at a time out in a bucket of tank water (NOT under tap water that will also kill all bacteria).
Also always make sure you use a good water conditioner each water change!
The cloudiness if its white its bacteria bloom, once the tank is finally cycled it will turn clear, mostly it'll do this over night. If its green water that is algae.
Also do you have live plants in this set up? That would help a cycle too.
I second what Natalie has said.
BTW, your tank is very pretty and you have beautiful fish. :-)
Thank you for your responses. My tank has been set up since August and we have had these blooms here and there, but this one just never seems to end (at least 2 weeks). It is white cloudy... not green. I am glad you told me about rinsing the filters in tank water as I did not know that. I will make sure to do the water changes more often. How do high nitrates effect fish? Should I be looking for certain signs? We use an average water conditioner with every water change and stress coat. Is one brand better than another? My husband wants to use stress coat as the sole water conditioner.. ur thoughts? No live plants yet although I look forward to trying it someday!
Is this the tank under your aquariums tab (94 gallon "fish tv")? You are running 2 Aquatech 60-90 filters. Do these have the dual cartridges and also 2 black sponges in each filter for the biofilter? If so, don't touch the sponges. This is were the majority of your bacteria will colonize. You can rinse the pads in tank water each water change (or every other w/c) alternating between filters each time. For example, at one water change rinse the pads from one filter, the next week rinse the pads from the other filter, etc.
High nitrates is like heavy air pollution to us. It doesn't kill right away but it is unhealthy and over a long period of time will affect health. Try to keep your nitrates under 40ppm.
If you want one good quality water conditioner that will do you well all around buy Prime. Also needs very little amounts therefore more economical then others.
The pads I wouldn't even go as far as ever w/c; being white cloud its a bacteria bloom which means your tank may have "been there" for a while but its not established and each "messing" with the pads just interferes there, I'd really only then wash them out in tank water if its near clogged up.
When Nitrate or Nitrite goes up your fish will become slow/sleepy seeming , hanging in a corner or unusually often to to the top "grasping" for air and as said over the long run this will make for a unhealthy fish who may then have a shorter life span then usual.
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