Re-booting our aquarium
January 2, 2014 12:52 PM Subscribe
Mr. brilliantine keeps a freshwater fish tank that I've also grown attached to over the years. Sadly we just lost Big Guy, his pleco. He thinks he got him around 1997, so he definitely had a good run but it's still another indicator that the tank is not as healthy as it has been in the past. We've got a few extra stubborn fish hanging on but we've also lost several over the past year. Please help us figure out how to fix this so we can have a flourishing tank again!
posted by brilliantine to Pets & Animals (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I'm not the detail person in this case but I'll try to include as much info as possible.
We had a major black brush algae infestation that is mostly under control now, but we haven't been able to keep most plants alive for at least a year and a half. We have an RO water system and all the buffers and chemicals needed to make it right, but we're afraid to add the wrong chemicals because the current tank water is weird in a way we can't seem to figure out.
pH is mostly in ideal range between 7 and 6.7, though lately it's closer to 6.4 (a little more acidic than we'd like). Nitrates are high, nitrites are good. KH is ok as well, but GH has been off the charts for a while. That's probably our main concern, but we're nervous about directly addressing it since pH, GH, and KH all interact with one another.
We're planning on doing a week of daily 10-15% water changes (RO only) to get the nitrates back down, but we need to know what to start adding to the RO after that to keep it buffered.
The tank is 55gal, with a few algae eaters, a cory, a tiger barb, and a couple of mollies. Gravel and dirt substrate with two teeny, sad-looking plants. We have a light on a timer so that's adjustable if needed.
Any advice on how to get our water back to ideal or suggestions for good boards I can ask would be greatly appreciated!