Controlling Nitrite/Nitrate Levels (Water Parameters)

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friezafish

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Location
Riverside
Tank Inhabitants: 2 baby blue shrimp, nerite snail, mystery snail

Temp: 1 heater set to 86 deg F

Size: 10 gallons

added a few cholla wood pieces (x3) and it totally clouded my tank, including these levels:

added a carbon pack, but I’m waiting on an air pump for a medium-sized sponge filter
 

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Do a 75% water change and see if that helps the clouding. What are your test results (in numbers)
 
Okay, 75% water change. So Gravel/Siphon? (tap water + water conditioner) Test: GH 180 ppm KH 180 ppm pH 7.0 NO2 6 ppm NO3 80 ppm. I also have a master test kit, but I’m waiting on the water for my water change to get to room temp.
 
I'm amazed anything is alive with a nitrite (NO2) of 6ppm.

Your nitrate (NO3) is high because the nitrate test kit reads nitrites as nitrates and you get a false reading.

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Do a 75% water change and gravel clean the substrate every day until the levels are 0ppm.
Make sure any new water is free of chlorine/ chloramine before it's added to the tank.

Check your tap water for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate and pH.
 
I don’t have a chlorine test, but I do have test kits from the API Master Test Kit. I’m not used to using it yet though. I just did the water change. Any recommendations on products to purchase to make water changes easier? It’s impossible to use the manual gravel siphon and pouring water with a 14 gallon tub. Definitely going to need to invest in more towels. Hope they survive and the filter gets here soon. I’m thinking of getting an HOB or just a larger sponge filter / air pump setup. Honestly, I’m surprised they’re still alive as well. Natural instinct kicked in and they all went up to the surface for oxygen (floating on a leaf or the cholla wood). Hopefully they survive.
 
This is what I’m using now and I’m not quite sure if I’m using it properly or if it’s just difficult to use. :( Both of my tanks are still cloudy... who knew aquarium-keeping could be so stressful.

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edit: I think I’ll try the (second picture) of a squeeze gravel siphon and that will solve the gravel cleaning issue. I could probably use it the other way where it’s filtering the new tank water into the tank itself (vis versa). It’s going to take a while for the Algone and the squeeze siphon to arrive. Hope it works and gets here quickly.
 

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The second picture has a gravel cleaner with a squeeze pump to get the water syphoning. It is no better than the gravel cleaner in the first picture.

To use a gravel clean, put the clear plastic pipe in the tank so it fills up with water.
Put the end of the clear hose in a bucket.
You can either suck on the end of the hose to start the water draining out of the tank or lift the gravel cleaner up and let the water start syphoning then get the gravel cleaner back in the water.
When the water is draining out the hose, push the gravel cleaner into the substrate and lift it up. The gravel will circulate in the tube and drop down while the gunk gets drawn out with some of the water.
Move the gravel cleaner around the tank pushing it into the substrate and lifting it up. Do this until you have drained 50-75% of the tank water, then refill the tank.
Watch the water going into the bucket so it doesn't overflow on the floor.

You can see videos of how to use a gravel cleaner on YouTube.
 
The second picture has a gravel cleaner with a squeeze pump to get the water syphoning. It is no better than the gravel cleaner in the first picture.

To use a gravel clean, put the clear plastic pipe in the tank so it fills up with water.
Put the end of the clear hose in a bucket.
You can either suck on the end of the hose to start the water draining out of the tank or lift the gravel cleaner up and let the water start syphoning then get the gravel cleaner back in the water.
When the water is draining out the hose, push the gravel cleaner into the substrate and lift it up. The gravel will circulate in the tube and drop down while the gunk gets drawn out with some of the water.
Move the gravel cleaner around the tank pushing it into the substrate and lifting it up. Do this until you have drained 50-75% of the tank water, then refill the tank.
Watch the water going into the bucket so it doesn't overflow on the floor.

You can see videos of how to use a gravel cleaner on YouTube.
Yeah, after watching a review video from Amazon, it looks like I’m using the gravel siphon correctly. However, it’s painfully slow. I’m hoping the squeeze siphon might work faster. Or would it be just the same? I really need to do more research and find the most convenient tool(s) for water changes.
 
The squeeze syphon will be exactly the same because the rubber squeezy bit is only used to start the syphon. Then the gravel cleaner works exactly the same as the other one.

If you have a big tank and want to gravel clean faster, make a gravel cleaner from a 1, 1.5 or 2 litre plastic drink bottle and a garden hose.
Cut the bottom off the bottle and throw the bottom bit away.
Remove the cap and plastic ring from the top of the bottle and throw those 2 bits away.
Stick one end of the garden hose in the top of the drink bottle and run the other end out onto the lawn.
Start the water syphoning and use the bottle as the gravel cleaner.
 
The squeeze syphon will be exactly the same because the rubber squeezy bit is only used to start the syphon. Then the gravel cleaner works exactly the same as the other one.

If you have a big tank and want to gravel clean faster, make a gravel cleaner from a 1, 1.5 or 2 litre plastic drink bottle and a garden hose.
Cut the bottom off the bottle and throw the bottom bit away.
Remove the cap and plastic ring from the top of the bottle and throw those 2 bits away.
Stick one end of the garden hose in the top of the drink bottle and run the other end out onto the lawn.
Start the water syphoning and use the bottle as the gravel cleaner.
Okay, I understand what you’re saying. I’ll try that. It should work the same since it’s just a big straw with a larger container. I’d need to buy a garden hose and sand down the plastic bottle that’s cut at the end.

edit:
I’m having a problem finding a garden hose that doesn’t leak or has issues with algae. I’ll need to keep looking.
 
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After the 75% water change, the water looks worse. Both of my tanks are super cloudy. You can’t see anything. Pretty sure everything is dead and the Algone won’t get here on time. :( Can’t find any nitrate solutions anywhere at PetSmart or Petco and the Carbon Filters made it worse.

edit: working on trying to get a shrimp filter / water clarifier and nitrate remover since PetCo was all out nitrate/nitrate remover filters (air pump for sponge filter originally ordered from Amazon is delayed atm)
 
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Just keep doing daily water changes and don't add chemicals. Most chemicals do more harm than good in a fish tank.
 
Just keep doing daily water changes and don't add chemicals. Most chemicals do more harm than good in a fish tank.
Okay, how much of a water change should I do this time? I’m reading that the algae remover would’ve killed my shrimp and snails, so I immediately removed it from my cart.
 
Just do a 75% water change and gravel clean the substrate once a day until the nitrite is 0 and the water has cleared up. It will probably take 3 or 4 days and then it should be fine.
 

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