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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I set up my 30 gallon, added an old filter cartridge, and let it run through a cycle. Then, about 3 weeks ago, I added my golden wonder killifish to the tank. Everything was fine until I tested my levels a few days ago and both the nitrites and nitrates were way high up there. The nitrates were actually so high that the color on the test strip was roughly 2 times darker than the highest color range shown. Other levels showed a ph of 7.8, fairly hard water, and no ammonia. Since I was wanting to introduce cichlids into the tank, I bought Amquel and put in the recommended amount, despite that my killifish didn't seem to be having any issues with the high nitrite/nitrate levels. Within hours, he was dead. It's been 2 days now, and the levels are still the same. I'm at a loss as to how to proceed from here, and I'm very unhappy that I lost my beloved Killer. :( Any suggestions? I'm afraid that if I do a massive water change, it will kick start a whole new cycle.
 

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I set up my 30 gallon, added an old filter cartridge, and let it run through a cycle.
What exactly did you do to cycle it? Did ammonia, and nitrite peak, then fall? What was the ammonia source and how much did you add?
 

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Keep your filters running and remove all debris (food,poop,dead fish). Test some bottled water to check your kit. Then test the tank, if all is well with the kit. If readings are the same, I would do a 50% water change and test 24 hrs later. You should see a drop in Nitrite and nitrate. Then after that i would do mini water changes. i would start with half a gallon in the AM and same at night until it levels out. If you continue the mini water changes ( I would) do half gallons a day after cycled and maintain it. make sure you test the water daily so you don't cause a mini cycle.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Good news! I did a bunch of water changes like you guys suggested, and now my ammonia and nitrites are at 0, and my nitrates are 20. Interestingly, my ph dropped to 7.2 and the water went from moderately hard to soft. Is there a natural way to pull that up? The last time I used chemicals, they killed my favorite fish :(, and even though the tank is empty now, I'd rather not introduce chemicals unless I'm certain they're safe. Thanks for all the help!
 

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Good news, but for reference my test kit says that if Nitrites are high then the Nitrate test will be innacurate. I found the same as you did with the colour of Nitrate. Now I don't test Nitrate if Nitrites are high.

I'm new to test kits though, and whilst I'm finding it interesting I do think I was less worried before I had one...my fish might not have been, but I was!
 

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What is the pH of your tap water? If it is low then you may need to use baking soda to raise pH and hardness in your tank. Check out the water chemistry articles in the Library for buffer recipes and amounts.

If your tap water is higher than 7.2 then we may need more information.
 
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