help - water levels gone through the roof

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help - water levels gone through the roof

Postby Lynton » Mon Jun 18, 2007 4:24 am

Hi all,

Some urgent help required..........

7th June - water levels were 1.5 ppm NH3, 0 N02 and about 5 NO3 - not too bad though the ammonia was a bit high.

Went on hols and asked neighbour to feed sparingly - came back on 15th June - cloudy water - food on inside of tank...... did a water test and oh my god!!! 8+ NH3, about 5 NO2 and 30 NO3.

Carried out 1/3 water change and added some ammo lock and stress zyme to help get things moving but levels still high last night. (No real improvement)

I guess changing 1/3 water (20l) will remove a lot of bacteria which if anything will increase levels.

What do I need to do to help get things back on track as quick as possible. (One of the neon tetra's died last night - guess due to poor water quality)

Have seen on here people mentioning - hoovering the substrate - how - as theres still bits of food there - not so much now.

Thanks
Lynton
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Postby Angel Fish » Mon Jun 18, 2007 4:58 am

Ok, stop panicking - let's see what we can do to help you.
Firstly, what are the dimensions of the tank? It helps to know so that we can help with the amount of water to change.
When you say there's food on top of the substrate, how much are we talking about? The odd flake or piles of the stuff?
The first thing to do would be waft a small net over the surface of the substrate to see how much lifts from the bottom - you can then scoop it up in the net.
The next thing to get is either a "Gravel Vac" from your LFS (Aquatics Shop) or cut a piece of garden hose - about a metre long should do.

The AF Guide to Reasonably Simple Water Changes

1) Get your bucket ready - I find it's best to sit it on a folded towel, just in case.
2) Switch off your Filter, Heater and Air Pump (if you have one)
3) If you have a Gravel Vac, put the thick end into the tank fairly near to the bottom, but don't stick it in the gravel yet.
4) Either follow the instructions on the pack explaining how to start the syphon, or do what I do and gently suck the thin end of the syphon hose - hold it over the bucket so that you can pop it in as soon as the water starts to flow.
5) Move the thick end of the pipe over the top of the gravel - all the debris should start to lift and shoot through the tube.
If it doesn't move, lower the tube into the gravel and gently stir the gravel until it does.
6) Keep an eye on the bucket - I've soaked many a foot and carpet by not watching.
7) When the bucket's almost full, remove the thick end from the tank. Make sure the tube empties brfore you hang it over the side or the water will continue to flow.
8 ) Empty the bucket.
9) Repeat the whole process again, moving to a different part of the tank.
10) When you've removed about one third of the water you'll need to refill.
11) If you have a clean bucket (I always use two - one for water out and one for water in) or water container, fill it with water that has been matched to temperature - well, as near as possible.
12) Add dechlorinator as the bucket fills, this will ensure that it mixes into the water and makes it safe straight away.
13) Slowly, using a jug, add the dechlorinated water.
14) Keep doing this until the tank is back to its normal depth.
15) Switch on the Filter, Heater and Air Pump (if you have one).
There will be a surge of "gunk" (technical term) from your filter, don't panic, you can always scoop any big bits up with a net - the filter will take care of the smaller bits.

Please don't continue with the Ammo-Lock, it may make the Ammonia slightly more tolerable for your fish, but it will give false readings and really mess up the chemistry.

I think that's it for now. Shout if you think of anything else :D
All the advice I give is based on my own personal 30 years of experience.
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Postby Wolfgirl » Mon Jun 18, 2007 5:11 am

Just so you know, changing the water won't remove the beneficial bacteria. That bacteria is not free-floating; it's found on your filter media, the substrate, the plants, decor, etc. Changing the water is a very good idea. :)

In fact, if your levels don't drop quickly, I would recommend doing small water changes daily or every other day, until the levels drop. In an established tank, ammonia and nitrite should be at 0. Even small amounts of those can be lethal.
Don't let your mind wander. It's too small to be let out on its own.
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Postby Lynton » Mon Jun 18, 2007 6:14 am

Thanks for your help.

Tank is 60litres.

Changed 20 litres on Friday.

Will try to get most of the old food (lots of it!!!) out tonight.

Will it be safe to change another 20 today or do i need to do smaller changes.

Also, for ease - will there be any problem in removing the plants whilst I clean the tank and then replant later?

Cheers
Lynton
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Postby Angel Fish » Mon Jun 18, 2007 6:37 am

20 would be fine :)
Wafting a net, if you haven't got a vac should lift most of the food.

I'm no expert when it comes to plants so I'm afraid I can't help you there, sorry :?
All the advice I give is based on my own personal 30 years of experience.
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Postby krekra » Mon Jun 18, 2007 6:38 am

The surface of your plants may house some bacteria so they mak actually be helping. If they are real plants definatly leave them in as tha plants will utilise some of the ammonia and help drop the levels faster. If you cant get the excess food vacumed up without removing the plants you may have to. Rinse them in the bucket of removed tank water and put them back in.


K

*edit* AF....didnt see you at the bottom there :lol:
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Postby Lynton » Mon Jun 18, 2007 3:15 pm

Cheers for your help guys - much appreciated.

OK - I have changed 20l of water, dechlorinated, and added some stress zyme to the water.

Managed to get a lot of the cr@p out, but will check the levels and change more later in the week if necessary.

However the most bizarre thing now happened, unfortunately resulting in the demise of a glo-light tetra....

was watching the tank, and one of the tetra's now had a massive spurt of speed, jumped out of the water, crashed into the edge of the tank, dived straight down, and buried itself in the gravel at the bottom.

Never seen anything like it.

Any ideas?
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Postby krekra » Mon Jun 18, 2007 3:20 pm

Ammonia is one of the few chemicles in the body that can cross the blood/brain barrier. It is very irritating to the tissues and causes irratic behavior. I suspect that is what is going on.

Have you been able to retest your water levels??
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