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Amber1013

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I notice 2 fish dead yesterday. I took them out of course did about 25% water change and cleaned out my Marine land canister filter as my nitrate and nitrite levels were high. The filter does need new stuff in it that should be here tomorrow. I got up this morning and lost 2 more fish. I did a 50% water change tested the water nitrate was a little high at about 5.0ppm, turned the canister filter back on, noticed I lost another fish this afternoon. I have done another about 25% water change but have left the filter off. Don’t know what to do to keep my remaining fish alive till the stuff for the filter comes in tomorrow but could the filter even be the cause of the fish die?
 
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Amber1013

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What are your water test numbers?
What size tank?
Total number of fish and species of fish?
Do any of the fish show any wierd symptoms?
PH is around 6.8
Ammonia is 0
Nitrite is around 0.25 (had it down to 0 ppm this morning after a 50% water change)
Nitrate is around 5.0 ppm (this I can not get to go down even after a 50% water change)

The nitrite spiked back up after I did the water change about 3 hours later.

The tank is 60 gallons

I am now down to 1 Angle fish, 2 dwarf grammies, 4 neon tetras, 4 snails, 2 Corry fish and 1 sucker fish.

The fish are swimming to the surface like they are trying to get air even the snails are going up to the top.

I have done a 25% water change last night and cleaned out the Marine land canister filter (I have the carbon bags, polishing filter pads and filter foam coming in sometime tomorrow), turned the canister filter on. This morning I lost 2 more fish (not listed above).

I did a 50% water change this morning, turned the canister filter back on did a water test which was ph 6.8, ammonia 0, nitrite 0 and nitrate 5.0. Then I lost 2 more fish (not listed above) and the nitrite and nitrate spiked back up.

I have since done another 25% water change but have not turned the canister back on but the fish are still acting stressed and the snails are all going to the top of the tank.
 

JuiceBox52

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Do you have an air stone/ bubbler? The fish are trying to get oxygen. Is there any movement on the surface of the water?

Your nitrate is fine
Your nitrite will go down with large daily water changes, try to get it to 0 and keep it there :)

Keep the canister on for water movement. I seriously doubt that the filter is causing these issues
 
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Amber1013

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Do you have an air stone/ bubbler? The fish are trying to get oxygen. Is there any movement on the surface of the water?

Your nitrate is fine
Your nitrite will go down with large daily water changes, try to get it to 0 and keep it there :)

Keep the canister on for water movement. I seriously doubt that the filter is causing these issues
Yes they have a bubble curtain in the tank and there is surface movement as well. They were acting like this with or without the filter being on. So if the filter is not causing the problem what is? How many water changes can I do in a day? I have also tested my water (it comes from a well) it is 0 across the board no ph, ammonia, nitrite or nitrate. Do you have any suggestions for me to save the fish I have left?
 

Retired Viking

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What type of substrate do you have? What chemicals have you added to the tank? Do you have a planted tank and are you adding fertilizer?
 

Metalhead88

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Nitrate levels are great actually. Since nitrate is the end product of the cycle, it will build up and the trick is to keep it upder 20ppm.

Do not change your filter media!!!!!!!!! This is where most of your bacteria lives. You can change out mechanical filtration (polishing pads) and carbon if you use it. Biological media like sponges, foam and so on does not need to be changed until it is falling apart. If you throw it away your beneficial bacteria is going with it.

When you cleaned your filter, how did you do it? Media should only be cleaned with tank water.

If the fish are gasping, they may need oxygen. You should have lots of surface agitation from either airstone, filter, or both. Also what is your temperature at? High temperatures decrease oxygen levels.

You should absolutely leave the filter running. If you have turned it off, you are doing no good.
 
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Amber1013

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What type of substrate do you have? What chemicals have you added to the tank? Do you have a planted tank and are you adding fertilizer?
What is a substrate? I also do not understand the planted tank or fertilizer? I am not new at having fish however I do not know everything and am willing to learn from others or I would not be here asking for help. Chemical wise I have put in salt, stress zyme, and Tap water clarifier.
 

Retired Viking

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substrate = sand, gravel, soil. planted tank = live plants not plastic, fertilizer is what you add to make plants grow. ;)
 
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Amber1013

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Nitrate levels are great actually. Since nitrate is the end product of the cycle, it will build up and the trick is to keep it upder 20ppm.

Do not change your filter media!!!!!!!!! This is where most of your bacteria lives. You can change out mechanical filtration (polishing pads) and carbon if you use it. Biological media like sponges, foam and so on does not need to be changed until it is falling apart. If you throw it away your beneficial bacteria is going with it.

When you cleaned your filter, how did you do it? Media should only be cleaned with tank water.

If the fish are gasping, they may need oxygen. You should have lots of surface agitation from either airstone, filter, or both. Also what is your temperature at? High temperatures decrease oxygen levels.

You should absolutely leave the filter running. If you have turned it off, you are doing no good.
I read your response and ran in and turned the filter back on, thank you for that part. The water tempt on a digital thermometer is reading between 75 to 78 degrees.

As for cleaning the filter I broke it all down and rinsed it all off. Yes I did use tap water, however my water is from a well and when I tested that water is is 0 across the board. This actual problem started before cleaning the filter, but then I guess I assumed changing the water would solve the problem and when my fish keep dying then I assumed it was the filter as I know the carbon and pad need to be changed out. I have also ordered new air stone curtains for the tank but again they will not be here till tomorrow.
 
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Amber1013

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substrate = sand, gravel, soil. planted tank = live plants not plastic, fertilizer is what you add to make plants grow. ;)
Thank you and sorry for sounding dumb. I have gravel in my tank. I have fake plants in the tank. I have wanted to look into live plants but do not know anything about it so I have always stayed with fake plants.
 

Retired Viking

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I understand, the reason I asked about plants and fertilizer is that many fertilizers are high in nitrates and can easily leach into the water. Many soils for planted tanks are also high in nitrates.
 

Munroco

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Thank you and sorry for sounding dumb. I have gravel in my tank. I have fake plants in the tank. I have wanted to look into live plants but do not know anything about it so I have always stayed with fake plants.
You don't need any great knowledge to grow real plants. Most of them you just stick in the gravel. Plants will help with your water parameters too as they use up nitrates.
 
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Amber1013

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I understand, the reason I asked about plants and fertilizer is that many fertilizers are high in nitrates and can easily leach into the water. Many soils for planted tanks are also high in nitrates.
Not a problem and I learned something. I see where you were going now. No I am basic plain Jane and do fake plants.
 

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