Gah! Help! new aquarium, water quality issues! - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 10 Old 07-19-2008, 03:44 PM Thread Starter
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Gah! Help! new aquarium, water quality issues!

so ive bene keeping fish for as long as i can remmeber and NEVER had this issue.

i have a 30 gallon fish tank, it was set up 2 yrs ago with no problems, when i moved i broke it down and 3 of the remaining fish whent into a 10 gal.

i reacently reset up the 30 gallon.

but now im having major water quality issues.

from the tap, even WITH a britta filter, our water is EXTREEMLY hard and extreemly alkaline...

right now were running a ph of 8.5, KH of 300 and a GH of around 200

ive tried buffers, ive tried peat in the filter, theres driftwood in the tank, nothing seems able to lower it.

after cycling i was down to 0 amonia 0 NO3 and 0 NO2 and after the first week ph was at 7.5 and around 180 on the KH and 150 on the GH
so i moved the fish in form the 10 gal
right now the rainbow shark and the 2 serpeas out of the 10 gal old tank are doing fine...a 3rd serpea that was in there died after a week but he was a new addition.

in that week of course everything jumped a little, partial water changes as per usual 25% water changes, with aquasafe water conditioner.

now its week 3 and my ph is 8.5, Kh is 300, gh 200.
NO2 is running .75
NO3 is 25
and i ran out of amonia stuff but cloudiness suggests thats high too!

i havent added fish, i havent added any rocks or deco, ive been doing 25% daily water changes for the amonia NO2 and NO3 of course doesnt help with the Ph, KH, or GH.

im at a loss, i just dont know what to do, ive NEVER had this issue before.

should i just put them all back in the 10 gallon, empty the 30 gallon and refill with bottled water?! theres nowhere that i know of locally that i can buy preset water (our only local LFS is a small petco) and there was a recent study that showed 3 of the major bottle brands of water in our area are just tap water from NY...

any ideas? thoughts?!

we have a filter on the tap that was reacently imagine how nasty our town water is?! (town/city water NOT on well)

im not willing to give up,
i realy dont want to over treat the tank trying to bring the ph down...but its also my mothers tank and she doesnt want cichlids which of course is the only real possibility with high ph...even then i think were too high for i need to figure something out.

thanks in advance.
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post #2 of 10 Old 07-19-2008, 06:17 PM
If your tap water is 8.5 and you are doing daily water changes that may be why your ph is staying so high. I would doing fewer water changes and try leaving your water out for a day or two before adding to tank( test your water out of tap then leave it out over night test again see if you get a ph drop)

If your test reading on your tank are climbing you might of killed the benifical bacteria with so many 25% water changes, or you may be having a mini cycle.

in any case 25% water changes every day sounds to me as too much!

some one will be along to give you there thoughts on the subject or might know what is exactly happening in your tank good luck.
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post #3 of 10 Old 07-21-2008, 12:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Busgod

in any case 25% water changes every day sounds to me as too much!
Its not to much if you have ammonia and nitrite readings and wish to keep your fish alive. And so long as your not vacuuming the gravel with every water change your not really killing off to much bacteria.

Sorry, but I don't really know any advice to give you to help with your pH... Sounds like you've done just about everything you can to lower your pH. Pretty much the only thing I can think of is some water filter that would hook right up to your tap and lower the pH before you add it to the tank. But that could run you a few hundred dollars.

You seem to know what your talking about when it comes to raising/lowering your pH, but I'll ask this anyways Any chance you've got some sea shells in your tank? Whats your decor like?

And just before you laid dead weight upon its shores, I stung you in the face for that's the nature of my core.
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post #4 of 10 Old 07-21-2008, 02:11 PM Thread Starter
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yeah, with the nitrites so high the water changes are a MUST, i dont gravel vac, feddings have been minimied and i havent cleaned the fliter.

the rocks in the tank are actually home made, its the same system they use for making rocks for the zoos and aquariums...
Foam insulation base, acrylic painted, marine epoxy coated and CURED for 4 weeks (daily water changes and washes untill all readings were 0/fish safe for at least a week. plastic plants (ive never had luck with lighting for live lol though im thinking of adding a few to help with the nitrite problem...) and a large peice of driftwood thats on its 10th tank lol. its about 20yrs old and never caused any issues in the past.

im thinking your right though...guess by best bet will be to simply empty the tank and refill with bottled or filtered water...frustrating yes...but if thats what it takes.
now off to find a SAFE bottled water thats not going to break the tank....

if anyone else has any ideas?!

the cloudiness has gone, amonia has dropped but im still having issues with nitrate and nitrite

and of course, still having the ph and hardness issues.

i left out some water overnight and the ph out of the tap is actually 8.3 and afer 12 hours it climbed to 8.5
not sure we should even be drinking that!

theres a britta tap filter on it and thats whats comming THROUGH the filter...i havent tested direct from tap through fear of the result lol.
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post #5 of 10 Old 07-21-2008, 02:29 PM
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I don't know if the bottled water will really be an effective solution. It may help briefly but are you really just going to keep buying bottles of water when you need to do a water change?

I realize your probably at your wits end and not getting any better suggestions, wish I could help you but I'm just as confused as you. Actually I'm probably more confused then you hah. I hope someone else can give you some advice, but I've tapped my knowledge on this subject dry.

And just before you laid dead weight upon its shores, I stung you in the face for that's the nature of my core.
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post #6 of 10 Old 07-21-2008, 02:59 PM Thread Starter
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yeah see thats the problem, i dont REALY want to go out and buy bottled water, not only is it going to work out expensive...most bottled water is just another states tap water...

but i also dont realy want to overload the tank with chemicals which the hardness of the water is everntually going to buffer out...

*grumbles* stupid city water!

thinking ill keep doing water changes untill the nitrites drop....THEN work on the ph *fingers crossed*
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post #7 of 10 Old 07-21-2008, 05:06 PM
It would be really helpful if you could age some water for 24 hours (just in a glass or something) and test all of those water parameters. That way we will know where exactly your issue is coming in.

A good way to lower the ph & hardness is to mix your tapwater and R/O water from your LFS. It's pretty cheap around here- around 25-50 cents a gallon. You can also get your own R/O system for your tap water, but I'm not sure that it would be worth it.

I've tried very hard to avoid using additives and chemicals as well, but recently I my tap water went crazy and my puffer couldn't take it (I have very SOFT alkaline water). All my other tanks are fine, but my puff stopped eating. After hemming and hawing I decided to try chemicals and did a lot of experimentation before settling on the ones I wanted. I've been very impressed with the Seachem line, it takes three of their products to get my water where I want it, but my puffer has been doing very well and the water has been very stable. Their Acid Buffer would probably work quite well for your purposes. It doesn't contain phosphates (which is important) and will lower pH and kh. It doesn't lower gh, but generally a high GH is ok, so you'll only have to lower it a little bit. Discus Buffer (by Seachem) will lower ph and remove gh but not effect kh.
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post #8 of 10 Old 07-21-2008, 05:30 PM Thread Starter
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ill age some water and see what happens, mabe someone can see something im not. :)

i think ill take the suggestions so far, get the nitrites under control first, then try chemicals to lower the PH.
the only LFS i have is petco and they dont offer RO water...and i simply cant afford an ro filter for the house, its my parents house and im on minimum wage and there tight on cash flow too...

right now, the 4 fish that are in there are doing ok...1 zebra danio, 1 rainbow shark and 2 serpeas... the desire for that tank is an angel tank (mums fave fish) but im not sure if il ever get her down far enough for angels...
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post #9 of 10 Old 07-21-2008, 06:04 PM
You could also collect rainwater- it's got very low mineral content, similar to R/O water. However, you need to make sure it doesn't have any icky chemicals in it or anything, so you'll want to make sure you know exactly what you're doing.

Also, you can usually purchase r/o water or distilled water at the supermarket, wal-mart etc. I'm not sure how expensive it would be, but you could probably find it pretty cheap.
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post #10 of 10 Old 07-21-2008, 07:12 PM Thread Starter
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so the nitrates have dropped a little, but the nitrites have climbed another .5, the fish in the tank still seem fine but im freeking out. ive moved rocks ive pulled the filter moved all the deco, i cant find any source for the nitrite spike, it was at 0 after the cycle...
i thought about it today and came home, took alook, thinking mabe a fish had died and got stuck somewhere causing the spikes...
but i found nothing...

ill definatly look into the ro/distilled at the supermarket see what i can do there.
for now ill just keep up the water changes to try and get the nitrate under control.

other than a dead fish and over feading, is there anything else that could cause a nitrite climb?!
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