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Post by Spwoerful on Wed Jun 15, 2011 7:50 am

Hello all,

I'm going to try this again. my last post was about the strange filter, well, i took it apart and realized that it was FILTHY! i thought i had checked it a week ago, but apparently not. I replaced the foam, rinsed the rest in old aquarium water, put it back together and now, no more bubbles. : )

so i did a water test, and im a dumbass and was doing the nitrate test incorrectly - giving me a false 0. so, now that im doing it correctly, i get a reading of about 80. i did two separate 35% water changes yesterday, and tested it today and its still high. im going to do a 25% change in a little bit. Wouldnt math tell you that if you change, lets say 50% water, you reduce your nitrate by 50%? unless of course, the nitrates are sky high. So is my only shot here to keep doing water changes, maybe 25% daily until i get it right??

i have a 110 gallon, Malawi tank. two aqualcear 110 filters, and a circulation pump.... roughly 22 fish.... all about 1" - 1.5" in length. i only feed them once a day, what they will consume in about 20 seconds. and, you all know cichlids, they spend most of the day picking the gravel.

im new to cichlids. i LOVE these guys and i want a gorgeous show tank like many of you have posted here. Please give me any advice you can, or any tips from the pros!! thanks a lot!!!


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Post by Norm66 on Wed Jun 15, 2011 8:47 am

What kind of substrate do you have? If it's gravel and there's a lot of detritus down in it it can become a nitrate factory. If it's sand it should be pretty easy to get the stuff sucked up with a gravel vac waved over the surface.

Be careful how much you clean the media in your filters. Only do one (as you did, with old tank water) per week so you don't upset the nitrifying bacteria too much.

Sounds like you're feeding OK. Is it possible you have a dead fish in the tank? They can decompose and create a bunch of ammonia which gets broken down to nitrates. That's what I have going on in my brichardi tank right now in fact. I've been able to keep the nitrates down to 40 but that's with some really, really large water changes. hehehe

As a final resort you can pull all your rocks etc. out and do a super cleaning under them. Just make sure when you put them back they're down to the glass so the fish can't dig under and topple them.

It's really OK to do large water changes as long as the water going in is the same as the water that came out. I use epsom salts and baking soda to buffer my water and mix it up in a container with my dechlor stuff and let it trickle in through a 1/8" diameter air hose while I'm refilling the tank. Then at the end if there's still a little left in the container I just dump it in. I think that keeps the water fairly consistent even with large changes. Last time I did my brichardi tank I changed 75% and the fish didn't seem to mind a bit.

Good luck!


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Post by Aura on Wed Jun 15, 2011 11:00 am

How long has the tank been set up?

How old and what type of test kit are you using? Will your fish store test water for you? (Some will do this for free.) You could have them double-check to make sure your readings are accurate.

LIke Norm said, a few large water changes should bring the nitrates down. I routinely do 50% changes without any problems. I match the temp and make sure to dechlorinate.

Oh, and when cleaning my AC 110s, I use the same foam sponges for years. I rinse them well and reuse.

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Post by Spwoerful on Wed Jun 15, 2011 11:24 am

Thanks for the speedy replies !!

Ive had this tank running for about 10- 12 weeks. Im done stocking it now, finally got my last Ruby Red Peacocks. I think my biggest problem was not cleaning my filter.... it was causing bubbles to accumulate on the discharge of that filter only. Im glad to hear that a good rinse and you're good to go with those foam pads. I didnt know anything about external/canister filters.... but now im curious about making my own. Seems easy to change the pad and keep an eye on things. Not that its that large of a PITA to change these AC pads, but with the way the tank is, these AC are needed to be almost forced down over the black plastic rim of the tank- Im considering cutting it down a little.

Its kinda crazy because ive had aquariums since i was 12, and im 30 now. ive NEVER done water changes.... ever. when i was younger, i would just top the tank off with water... and maybe once every 3 months do a gravel vac, but thats with one of those air line ran tubes with the little fabric bag on the end to catch the feces. i did have oscars and seems those things can live in anything!! So i am learning all about water chemistry and water changes and such. All makes perfect sense. the API water test kit is new, and i was doing the nitrate test wrong, so i was fooled this whole time. i got the rift lake recipe for a homemade buffer and its amazing how much cheaper that is.

This forum is great for info, i ve been looking through and reading all the posts and replies.

Im apparently prehistoric and still use buckets with my water changes... im going to make my own gravel vac.... make it easier with the changes.

thanks again for the info and the quick response!!!

I posted my first pic in the pics section... kinda crappy pic, but its still my baby!!


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Post by jmcfive on Wed Jun 15, 2011 1:01 pm

I change about 80% twice week in all of my tanks (Tue and Sat) and vacuum the gravel on Sat, waqter tests on Sat before the cleaning. You would be suprised at the 'build up' you will get in one weeks time. I use a siphon vac (which can be gotten at any LPS for about $30 - $50 depending on size) since I have gravel, and like Norm66 said, it is a magnet for debris!

Make sure you stay on top of the water quality for Mbuna. Their behavior/coloring/liveliness varies with water quality, and we all know you don't want to slowly poison your fish

welcome to the forum! Smile

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