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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've got a 125g, Mainly CA cichlid tank. Running a fluval 405 and 305, as well as a HOB filter.

Stocked with 1 Red Tiger Mota, 1 Jack Dempsey, 1 Salvini, 1 Five Star General, 2 Pictus Catfish, 1 Bichir, 5 Corys, 8 Danio's. No aggression issues.

Ammonia: 0
nitrite:0
nitrate's: 100+
pH: Soo yellow it doesn't even match anything on the color scale. Very low.

My water change schedule isn't religious, I do about 30% every week and 1/2...or...2 weeks.

I just changed the carbon in my Fluval's to Chemo Pure Elite, I've added some pH increaser, I'll see if that helps anything in the morning..

Any suggestions on getting the pH up and lowering the nitrate levels? I know a more rigorous water change schedule would help.. but this nitrate is above 100...
 

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Personally I would do a massive water change... if you aren't comfortable with anything over 50% then do 50% one day and 50% the next. Nitrates should be at 25ppm or else you have nitrates in your tap or something weird...
 

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If the tank's fallen into OTS, then a large water change could kill all of the fish. I'd probably SLOWLY add dissolved baking soda to the tank (over several hours) until you get the tank pH to match your tap water pH, or do lots and lots of small water changes to get it close(maybe 5 gallons every hour), then do a massive (at least 50%) water change today, then tomorrow, then the next day,etc, until your nitrates are down to around 10pm.

If you're using gravel as a substrate, be sure to vacuum it VERY thoroughly with each of your water changes, and clean one filter(not replacing media, just rinsing it in old tank water, not chlorinated water) every few days. If you don't service your filters very often, it's likely that poo is accumulating in them and contributing to your nitrate problems. I'd say each time you do a water change(try doing 50% every week to start with), service one of your filters. This should help considerably.

Be sure to keep pH swings to a minimum. If you have very soft water out of the tap, you may want to consider buffering it slightly 2-4º of carbonate hardness(kh) to retain the pH where you want it to be.
 

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What are the pH and nitrates out of the tap? Agree with the water changes, but it would be good to know where you are starting in the tank, the goal, and what you are adding with the tap water.
 

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ok im having the same problem?? So yellow dosent show? high nitrates? Tap is fine no nitrates and 7.2 ph what is OTS.
 

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OTS doesn't truly exist...
What kills the fish is too much of a change too rapidly... easily rectified by adding the new water slowly. I run an old air line tube from the new water in 5g water jugs and let it drain into the tank...
if you are using a python, simply add in 5g increments and wait 1/2 hour between each 5g added.

In my experience, these filthy tanks are simply in need of some thorough cleaning and the more the better.
 

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At a very high level, with OTS your fish have been accustomed to having less than ideal water conditions(low pH and high nitrates) because it started off healthy and got worse gradually. If you don't keep the nitrates under 40ppm (and I like to even keep them under 20ppm) every week, the the tank pH will drop.

So first you get healthy again, then you do weekly water changes to keep pH up and nitrates low. If a weekly 50% change cannot control the nitrates, then you need to think about reducing your fish load.

Laurel's plan should work. Here is another. I'm assuming the 7.2 pH out of the tap ideal for your fish? I don't know CA.

I'd do daily 25% water changes until pH is up to 7.0 and nitrates are under 40ppm. If we guess that your current pH is 6.0 that should take 3 or 4 days.

Test after every water change to be sure you see progress. You don't want to change the pH too much with each change. A change of 0.2 or 0.3 should be tolerated.

Then do a 50% water change and repeat weekly after that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thank you. I'm gonna do a 50% water change today. and I'll do another either Wednesday or Thursday. I also bought some Seachem De*nitrate, which I'll add to the hang on back filter once the water changes are done and I've got nitrates down substantially.

Should I hold off on adding any pH adjusters until after nitrates are reduced? Will reducing nitrates and the pH increasing go hand in hand?

I'll test my tap before the water change and let you know the pH and nitrate levels.
 

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You've got to choose one person's recommendation and go with it. Number6 has the most experience, I think. So that would be no pH adjustments, but don't do the 50% water change all at once because the change would be too drastic.

Sounds like you can remove 50%, but add dechlorinated tap water 5G at a time waiting 30 minutes between each addition until your tank is refilled.
 

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first off, how old are the test kits. if they've expired then they may be giving you false readings.

if the tank is with those parameters. I would do 10% changes daily. moving up to 20% daily after a week/fortnight

once the tank water matches the chemical parameters of your tap water, then I would do a deep clean of the tank (thorough gravel cleaning, lift rocks up remove all dirt you can find.) before replacing with 50% fresh water.

and then stick to a schedule of 30-50% weekly water changes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I'm tryning to pile together the basic consensus from all the different info I'm getting..

Overall, what I take from it, is do atleast 30% water changes daily inorder to drop the nitrate levels any substantial amount.. and once they're down to where they need to be, I can begin a weekly water change schedule of about 40% and that should keep things in order..

I understand what your intentions are with the whole 5 gallons at a time, slow process, but realistically... time is an issue and I'm not gonna end up doing that..

My water change system is as follows, keep a 5g plastic garbage, vaccuum substrate into it... Until atleast 30% of the water has been removed, then I refill the tank using the same 5g bucket with water from the tap..
 

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I suppose your fish have been ok with 30% changes so far.

personally I would be inclined to do smaller more frequent changes.

it may be worth dividing the base of your tank up (stickytape to mark a line on the outside) and then gravel vacuuming that section, and do the next be after that.

btw, 5g you sure, my bin that I use for this is 20g, 5g is just a bucket really
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Yup its only a 5g bucket pretty much.. I have to make many trips back and forth between the tank and toilet and then from the sink to the tank.. Its a ***************... But I can't imagine carrying 20g's each time and hoisting it up over the tank lid and dumping that in, must be a work out
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Did a nice water change earlier, the nitrates are still through the roof but atleast the pH has gone up to 6.2.. I'll keep plugging away at the nitrates with daily 30% water changes and hopefully have them down to under 40ppm after a week, then hopefully weekly water changes of 40% will be enough to keep everything running smoothly.

Thanks for the advice.
 

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If you did a 30% water change and there are no nitrates in the tap water, the nitrates should have been reduced 30%.
 

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You should get a Python water change system. Especially with a tank that big, I can't imagine doing water changes that way. They're also helpful in doing large water changes because a 1% change is no more work than a 75% water change. :)
 
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