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Need help neutralizing nitrates in 20g tank

2568 Views 6 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  Robin
One of my tanks (20g) which was originally set up six months ago as a quarantine tank (just couldn't leave it empty!) is giving me a headache! While it's small, I have a Magnum 350 canister on it (love canisters!) and up until this morning it had been a fantastic tank! It had two 1.5" frontosas until I added three 1.5" peach peacocks this past Saturday. Well, yesterday I did a water change (about 20%) and this morning the peacocks were all dead in the tank and the frons are just fine! Checking the water revealed the nitrates are very high, so I did another water change after removing the little peacock bodies. Well, nitrates are still high! What to do?? I did water changes on all of my tanks yesterday and all of the other tanks are fine. Any help would be great! Thank you!
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Clean the filter. Whats the nitrates out of the tap? Also make sure the test kit isnt too old. They will give false reading after they expire. You can even take a water sample to a lfs and double check the results.
The only way to remove nitrates is by water changes. Unfortunately if your tap water is high in nitrates, you may have to either use RO water or buy spring or distilled water from the store.
The test kit is only a couple of weeks old and the tap water has no trace of nitrites or nitrates. Water changes weren't working, so I moved the remaining fish to my new tank which has been set up for a couple of months to properly cycle and so I could decide what I want to put in there. The two frons are the only survivors of the mishap. I'm going to clean the filter and then let it set . . . wait and see. Thanks for the help!
If you got new fish on Saturday and they were dead the following Monday I would consider the possibility that they were either sick with something when you got them or your two fronts killed them. I know your fish are small but its still a possibility. Especially in such a small tank. THere's really no place for a harrassed fish to escape.

What was the actual nitrate reading?

Nitrate normally doesn't outright kill a fish. High nitrates will weaken a fish and leave them open to other illnesses that they would normally fend off. To lower nitrate that has creeped up above 40ppm it takes daily partial water changes for a few weeks along with gravel siphonings and also attention to the cause of the high nitrate, which is usually a combination of overfeeding and having an overstocked tank.

Sorry you lost them.


You might post a question in the Front folder to figure out what kind of tankmates will work well with your fronts in the tank size you plan to keep them in. :)
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Thanks, Robin. I think you're right on that the frons killed them. I was under the impression that the frons were so very peaceful and wouldn't hurt the new peacocks. Well, to see mouths wide open on the little peacocks is a good indication that I was wrong. Even though I have rock caves along the entire back of the tank for territories and hiding places, I think that's probably what happened. I'm still confused as to why the survivors were gasping at the top of the tank with the only apparent oddity being the high nitrate reading.

I don't recall what the nitrate reading was, but the tank is empty now until I can get it corrected. The frons got moved into my 29g which I set up a while back to create another malawi tank. Now, I'll just have to wait . . .

I'm just very confused as to the cause of the whole thing. Thanks, again, and take care!
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You're welcome, Gavin. :)

Fish will gasp at the top for a number of different reasons--being harrassed by other fish is one of them. Often when a fish is being harrassed they'll seek out a spot near the surface--behind the filter tube if they can manage it.

From everything I've read about Fronts they are fantastic fish but you have to choose any tankmates carefully as they don't house well with everyone. (Guess you could pretty much say the same thing about just about all cichlids)

The mods and members in the Frontosa Fanatics folder will be glad to advise you on how to set up a tank for them.

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