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I have had tropical fish all of my life. I recently had a 55 gallon with a large ornate bichir, two large blood parrots and another common bichir. We moved and I lost all but the ornate and one blood parrot in the move. I lost the other parrot a month ago and I was left with the Bichir. He did fine in the tank. I had tried putting a few other things in the tank with him like some african cichlids, another blood parrot, and I would always wake up to find the other fish dead. I figured he was killing them overnight. I decided to get rid of the remaining bichir and my kids wanted some fun tropical fish. I got some guppies, and they all died within hours. I tested the water and my nitrates are high, around 80 ppm and my alkalinity and ph tested high also (ph tested toward acid). I am at a loss. I dont know whether to start over and drain the tank and start fresh or just treat the tank. What should I do?
 

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I would look at the possibility of something being wrong with your water, or source of water. How long has it been since you moved and what process did you go through there? Disturbing old substrate could have cause the tank to cycle again. Do you test the water yourself, and what type of test kits do you use? What do you use to dechlor your water, and are you sure if the water available has chlorine or chloramines? Acidic PH is on the low end of the scale. High PH is considered alkaline. Welcome to the forum.
 

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It has been two months since I moved. I test the water myself using an API kit. I use stress coat to treat my water. I just don't understand how everything in there will die, but my bichir was perfectly fine and active. If my levels are deadly, why did he flourish?
 

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Good question.
Different fish tolerate nitrate differently. For example, many loaches are sensetive to nitrate and will not survive much more than 20-40 while other fish , like paradise fish and some gar, are more tolerant and can survive levels over 80.
What is deadly to one fish may be survivable to another.
You probaly already know that high nitrate is always harmful to fish even if it doesn't kill them. Best way to keep nitrate low is with frequent water changes.
Good luck!
 

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I suggest you switch to Seachem Prime. I believe it is the best product to eliminate chlorine,chloramines. It will also make nitrate, nitrite, and ammonia so it is not harmful for one day.This is good when you test, see your nitrate is rising, and need to prepare for a water change. Or if there were an ammonia spike for some reason{fish dies as an example}
 

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update

I emptied the tank yesterday cleaned all of the equipment and driftwood, and filled it back up. I used seachem prime to treat the water and a safestart solution to get bacteria going. I tested levels today and so far my nitrites are 0, nitrates are 0, but my ph is still low. What can I do to raise it. It was 6.2 according to the kit.
 

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You can add an airstone and air pump. Get some surface turbulence using your filter. Products to raise PH are not good. You will chase the dragon constantly. The PH will rise and fall. It is better to have a stable PH than a fluctuating one. Test the PH from your tap, see what it is.
Another method is adding some crushed coral to your filter.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
PH from the tap is the same, around 6.4. Isn't that super harmful for fish though? How much will the crushed coral raise the Ph?
 

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It will be only a small rise in ph, but if you include a piece of limestone as decoration, it will gradually leach into the water and raise both ph and kh a little. Keepsmiling is correct though in saying that STABLE ph is better than trying to fix it.
I have the opposite issue- my ph is 8.2 out of the tap, and my fish and plants are fine. I worried for a long time and searched for products to lower it, but the impossibility of constantly doctoring my water set in and I decided to research the effects of less than perfect ph. Turns out that fish are great at adapting to a wide range of ph as long as it is stable.
The real danger of water like yours- low ph and soft(low kh)- is the danger of ammomia swings.
I could explain more about the science of ammonia swings if you would like, but what it boils down to is that you will have to do regular water changes to protect your fish.
Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter #10
ANy thoughts on using fish to cycle versus using ammonia? I have always done it with fish, but am curious about using household ammonia.
 

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Many people on this forum use ammonia . Dose till the water test reads 4 ppm.

I use fishfood, a couple flakes per day, till ammonia rises... about two weeks. Then the cycle completes itself in another two weeks or so. I am cycling a 75 gal right now using this method.

I would never cycle with fish in because it will harm them to be exposed to unballanced water conditions. Many people do though.

Best thing to help a cycle is used filter media and gravel. If you have an old filter that has been running for a while, put the whole filter onto your new tank...instant cycle. Just add fish slowly so your bacteria colonies can adjust to the changing bioload. And test your water often till your sure what the tank is doing. Of course water changes are still required even after your tank is fully cycled.
Good luck!
 

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I have had tropical fish all of my life. I recently had a 55 gallon with a large ornate bichir, two large blood parrots and another common bichir. We moved and I lost all but the ornate and one blood parrot in the move. I lost the other parrot a month ago and I was left with the Bichir. He did fine in the tank. I had tried putting a few other things in the tank with him like some african cichlids, another blood parrot, and I would always wake up to find the other fish dead. I figured he was killing them overnight. I decided to get rid of the remaining bichir and my kids wanted some fun tropical fish. I got some guppies, and they all died within hours. I tested the water and my nitrates are high, around 80 ppm and my alkalinity and ph tested high also (ph tested toward acid). I am at a loss. I dont know whether to start over and drain the tank and start fresh or just treat the tank. What should I do?

Hope I'm not too late but you might take a look at the methods in the link in my signature.

just a thought.

Worth at most .02
 
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