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Old 06-12-2012, 10:57 PM   #1 
kykartracer
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Water Quality Question

I have a divided ten gallon tank...my first tank ever...and I am learning as I go here. Put my two bettas in, two weeks later I added six otocinclus catfish and added eight ghost shrimp tonight. I tested my water, performed a 10% water change and tested it again. I got the following readings:

PH - 7.6
Ammonia - 0.25 PPM
Nitrites - 2.0 PPM
Nitrates - 0.0 PPM

Are these acceptable levels? The tank has been setup for about three weeks now.
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Old 06-13-2012, 12:14 AM   #2 
freemike
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Well it looks like your cycle is getting started as you do have nitrites but not nitrates. I would do another water change and get the nitrites below one preferably .25. The goal is to have the ammonia and nitrites at undetectable levels and to have some nitrates. Nitrates at low levels are safe and do not reach toxic levels as quick as nitrites or ammonia. The Otto's also like to school and may not settle well with just 3 on each side. Otto's are known to be very sensitive to water parameters. Most people would consider that tank overstocked. I would highly recommend getting down the ammonia and nitrites to minimal levels until you start to see nitrates. This will require daily water changes. After you start getting nitrates and not being able to detect nitrites or ammonia you can drop to weekly 50% changes. With that stocking level you may have to do more water changes than that to sustain the bio-load in that tank and to keep the parameters in check. Is it possible for you to get a second 10 gallon tank? That would probably be the best option for you to be honest. The goal parameters are:

Ammonia: 0 PPM
Nitrites: 0 PPM
Nitrates: <40 PPM
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Old 06-13-2012, 11:44 AM   #3 
kykartracer
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Unfortunately what I have is what I am stuck with for a while. The oto catfish are doing great in a group of three so maybe I got lucky. As for the readings, I did treat the water with some betta drops before the water change with a small amount of aquarium salt and also treated the plants with Flourish and CO2 Booster so maybe all the chemicals at once cause a spike in readings. Is that possible? It is heavily planted with live plants so maybe that will help the nitrites too?

Also, what can I put in the tank if I wanted to lower the Ph levels some? I heard driftwood, bogwood and peat moss...which one works best?
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Old 06-13-2012, 08:11 PM   #4 
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None of those additions should have caused a spike in the readings. Ammonia and nitrites are toxic to fish so you preferably never won't those in the tank in quantities over .25 ppm. To be honest I'm not very sure which one of those would lower the ph level the best. 7.6 should be fine though for the fish you are wanting to keep. If it was over 8 I would start looking into ph lowering solutions. Plants will definitely help with decreasing ammonia, nitrates, and nitrates but are not a substitute for water changes.
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Old 06-13-2012, 08:24 PM   #5 
kykartracer
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Just checked the levels again after it sitting for 24 hours and everything stayed stable except the nitrites were a little fainter on the water test and the nitrates went up to 5.0 PPM so thinking it is still trying to build up everything. Going to continue changing water out in the meantime and continue monitoring. Thanks for the help!
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Old 06-13-2012, 08:28 PM   #6 
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NP and it looks like your cycle is well on it's way to getting set up since you are getting nitrates showing up. Hope everything goes well for you and your fish.
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Old 06-13-2012, 09:04 PM   #7 
kykartracer
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Thanks! I hope so too. Don't want to lose any fish because of my lack of research. This is my first aquarium and glad I at least did research enough to cycle the tank a few days with just plants, then added the bettas and waited two weeks to add the oto catfish and another week before adding the ghost shrimp. I know it was still too quick, but hoping I get lucky and they all make it.
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Old 06-13-2012, 09:17 PM   #8 
michael0918
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your otos are still ok? I heard they're very sensitive and your tank hasn't fully cycled yet.
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Old 06-13-2012, 09:22 PM   #9 
kykartracer
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They seem to be quite content, they have been in the tank for five days so far. Keeping an eye on them.
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