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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi All!

I have a 125 gallon all male peacock/hap tank (currently stocked with 10 3-4" peacock/haps) and two albino bristlenose plecos. I have two FX-6 filters and I do a cleaning with 40% water change every Sunday (about to start). I feed the fish twice per day and it's enough for each fish to get a couple of pellets. There is never food left over. Each night, I turn out the lights and drop a few small wafers in for the plecos.

For awhile, I struggled with keeping the nitrate level below 60, even with cleaning the tank weekly. We unfortunately lost three fish in the past six months. I bought Nitrosorb a few weeks ago and put one in each FX-6 filter and that has helped nitrates get down to around 20 (I recharge one in each filter each Sunday). I also have a few small plants.

I am struggling to figure out why the nitrates are still as high as they are (about 20-30 by the time it the next water change is happening). Tap water tests zero for nitrates. The only thing I can think of is that I have a 3D rock background. There is probably 1/16" or so on the sides of the rock background and behind it the water is pretty stagnant. I can barely see behind there is a little bit of sand and fish waste. I bought a thin 1" python vacuum and it gets a little bit of the waste but it won't fit in most of the places behind the rock.

Does anyone have any advice on if this could be an issue and what I can do back there to keep the water in better condition and moving more?

Thanks in advance!
 

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The pitfalls of installing an in-tank background.

IME you need to either completely fill the space between the background and the glass with silicone so zero water or anything else can get back there.

Or you need to do as I do and allow a one inch space behind the background and put your filter intakes back there. Drill holes on the background in front of the intakes.

This keeps the behind space clean as well as the tank.

Taking an in-tank background out and reinstalling it is no fun, believe me, as I have done it. But sometimes that is the only way.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
noddy said:
How often do you clean out the canisters? They could be harbouring the nitrates.
I clean each one every two weeks. I am not sure if I am doing it right to be honest. I typically squeeze all the foam to try and get the dirtier stuff out of there and I rinse off the all the media with water from the tank. I then dump out all the water from the filter and refill it with "clean" water from the tank (after I am done cleaning the waste).

DJRansome said:
The pitfalls of installing an in-tank background.

IME you need to either completely fill the space between the background and the glass with silicone so zero water or anything else can get back there.

Or you need to do as I do and allow a one inch space behind the background and put your filter intakes back there. Drill holes on the background in front of the intakes.

This keeps the behind space clean as well as the tank.

Taking an in-tank background out and reinstalling it is no fun, believe me, as I have done it. But sometimes that is the only way.
That sounds miserable to take it out and try to reinstall it, but I may just do that. Thanks for the advice!
 

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Patience now....
You are doing everything right!
It's the dead space between that very nice, internal backdrop and the actual, back of the tank, that is actually killing you.
I believe you have two options in this case, to ensure success.
As follows,
1) Move everything - temporarily - out. When the existing tank is fully dry? Correct the dead space problem. Living things (including filtration) are temporarily housed well, elsewhere. That is, during the fix.
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2) A new tank! Build the better tank of your dreams and apply these lessons learned. The old, relatively unsuccessful tank you describe now holds and waits until the new tank is ready to begin. You already have the fish you want in the unsuccessful tank. Add those fish from the old tank, when the new tank of your dreams is built & ready.
Enjoy!
 

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Ramo;

I would agree with others...it sounds like your not doing anything particularly wrong, so that dead space is the main suspect...is it possible to make that the source (IOW, take tank water from that) when doing water changes? ...or is is possible to replumb your filter system to either take water from that volume always, or feed the return from filter sys into it, so that it has a positive "pressure" and flows into the main tank volume to be circulated through the filter sys with the entire tank volume...I guess the point is to not have flow-restricted/dead areas...

Cheers
 

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Or can you just install a small power head or wave maker in the space between the tank and the background and run it on a timer or smart app maybe 10-15 minutes per hour ?
 

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ramo1680 said:
noddy said:
How often do you clean out the canisters? They could be harbouring the nitrates.
I clean each one every two weeks. I am not sure if I am doing it right to be honest. I typically squeeze all the foam to try and get the dirtier stuff out of there and I rinse off the all the media with water from the tank. I then dump out all the water from the filter and refill it with "clean" water from the tank (after I am done cleaning the waste).

Pretty sure it's not coming from your filters then. I'm lucky if I clean mine every six months and I don't have a nitrate issue.

Probably the background like the others have said.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I don't think a powerhead will fit well back there. I bought a Fluval 307 and I am going to try to run the intake on that behind the background. It should fit behind there okay and I have enough space in the cabinet below to fit the canister and the FX-6. Thanks everyone for the input and hoping this works!
 

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Are you going to cut a hole in the background? Usually there is a hole right in front of the intake.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
DJRansome said:
Are you going to cut a hole in the background? Usually there is a hole right in front of the intake.
I was thinking of keeping the two FX-6's as they are. The intake and outputs are all on the outside of the rock background in the larger part of the tank. I was thinking of running the 307 intake and output behind the rock wall just to keep water flowing and clean back there. I am really not sure if this would work great or not but there is only around .5"-2" of space behind the rock background (most of it is closer to .5").

After messing with it today, I just can't imagine getting the rock background out with 12 fish in there. This seems like it may be the easier thing to try first.
 

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Cichlidude said:
noddy said:
How often do you clean out the canisters? They could be harbouring the nitrates.
Another myth that needs to die... Nitrate Factory https://aquariumscience.org/index.php/6 ... e-factory/.
Taken directly from the link you supplied:

If one uses "uncleaned mechanical filtration" one can add about 10% to 20% to the nitrate loading in the aquarium. Many owners of canisters only open them up and clean them when the flow slows down, typically about once every six months. If the canisters were opened once a week and the mechanical filter (typically a floss pad) in the canister cleaned, the nitrate loading in the aquarium would typically be 10% to 20% lower.

If one considers this 10% to 20% to be significant, one can argue that uncleaned canisters are "nitrate factories". The same holds true for under-gravel filters. The 10% to 20% represents mainly uneaten food which could have been accumulated on a mechanical filter and removed from the system. Not exactly the huge problem being portrayed.

I can only assume that you either didn't read the article or you didn't read my post as it clearly states that the canisters do in fact harbour nitrates.
Nobody has mentioned "nitrate factories".
 
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