My Fish Should Be Dead?

JassyR

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So, my fish should be dead. I recently found out I've been doing everything wrong because I was irresponsible with my research when I first started this hobby. I just bought a freshwater test kit, and this is going to be the first time that I have ever tested my water...
pH - 7.6
Ammonia - almost 0.25 ppm
Nitrite - 0
Nitrate - almost 160 ppm!!
Shouldn't my fish be dead!? I have the API Master kit, I followed all the directions to a T. Are my fish just accustomed to the water levels? Did I do something wrong when testing? What should I do know? If I do a big water change, could it possibly harm them with the big fluctuaution in levels? I'm sooo confused and I just did a water change not that long ago - 1/3 of my 20 gal and vaccumed the gravel.
 

PlasticGalaxy

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So, my fish should be dead. I recently found out I've been doing everything wrong because I was irresponsible with my research when I first started this hobby. I just bought a freshwater test kit, and this is going to be the first time that I have ever tested my water...
pH - 7.6
Ammonia - almost 0.25 ppm
Nitrite - 0
Nitrate - almost 160 ppm!!
Shouldn't my fish be dead!? I have the API Master kit, I followed all the directions to a T. Are my fish just accustomed to the water levels? Did I do something wrong when testing? What should I do know? If I do a big water change, could it possibly harm them with the big fluctuaution in levels? I'm sooo confused and I just did a water change not that long ago - 1/3 of my 20 gal and vaccumed the gravel.
Honestly I've had way too much trouble with the nitrate tests. Said my tap water was 160ppm, so I just don't use it anymore. Probably doing something wrong, I just don't know what. I follow all the instructions, and I know that the nitrate isn't that high. Your fish are probably fine, just a naff test.
 

ClownLurch

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Bang the No2 bottle on a solid surface a few times before shaking it for the reqd length of time as it has elements that stick to the bottom if left undisturbed for long periods of time apparently.
 
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PheonixKingZ

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My guess is that you might have done the Nitrate test incorrectly. Make sure you follow the instructions in the book very carefully.
 

Naughts

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The instructions tell you to shake the nitrate reagent for 30 seconds but you need to shake for two minutes.

Can you detail your maintenance routine? It's possible that nitrate can build that high if your water changes are small and infrequent.

Keep an eye on the ammonia, if it goes higher you will need to do a large water change.
 

StevenF

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many people assume nitrate is too because ammonia and nitrite are toxic . But nitrate is a best not nearly as toxic as the other two. Ammonia sometimes is present in a form that is considerably less toxic than regular ammonia and yet the test kit will still detect it. Yes your numbers are are high but many people have made the exacts same mistakes with their new aquariums. An not all of them wind up with dead tanks.

Keep doing 1/3 water changes once a day until your water levels get close to tap water levels or your test kits show everything is OK. Generally I du a 50% water change once a week without any problem in my shrimp tank. but they are use to that and they know what to expect. once you get your tank stabilized with 1/3 water change you can gradually increase the amount of water changed until you find a level that works best for your tank.
 

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