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hey guys

im fairly new to cichlids got my new 3ft tank up and am needing some friendly help.

set up tank cycled for 1 week added a few gold fish for a few days to help cycle waited another week then added 3 cichlids.removed all gold fish one died tho...readings were..

gh 143.2

kh 71.6


temp 26c

nitrite 0.25

nitrate 0

ammonia 2

did a 30% water drop that night and the next night got some more cichlids all was well decided the little guys needed more hidey holes in the tank (as im still waiting on my new 5ft tank to be picked up later next week.) 2 days after the purchase of some pretty new texas holey rock and i noticed one of my demasoni sticking to the top gasping checked the parameters

gh 179

kh 71.6

ph 7.9

temp 25c

nitrite 5

nitrate 10

ammonia 0.1

did another water about 40% change realised its probably nitrate poisoning the fish had added *prime* (removes chlorine & chloramine) and *rift lake* powder to the water as i was doing a bit more of a water drop then i would usually did another test tonight


kh 71.6


temp 25c

nitrite 5

nitrate 20

ammonia 0.1

im about to do another water drop to try and reduce the nitrate just a small one tonight then another filter clean tomorrow with another small water drop.

could you guys please help on any ideas as to why the readings are all over the place i know its a smallish tank i never had thee issues with a 6ft b4 this one. could you guys please let me know where each one should be sitting and any tips on how to get it there im trying to use as little amount of chemicals as possible sorry for the long post. :)

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The nitrate is up and down from the water changes.

The ammonia and nitrite are all over the place as the tank isnt cycled.

Ammonia would be causing issues with the fish, ideally you shouldn't waterchange during the cycle as the bacteria are you are trying grow should be consuming ammonia converting it to nitrite then nitrate.

Don't touch the filter let it do its thing and grow the bacteria you need it to.

As there is already fish in the tank you will have to waterchange to keep them alive so do 10% daily.

The prime will make the ammonia non toxic, don't add rift lake salts yet that will be the ph up and make ammonia more deadly.

Once the ammonia and nitrite are zero and nitrate starts to climb the tank tank will be cycled.

Nitrate up to 40 won't hurt them fish so leave the tank alone as much as possible.

You might be able to just add a little prime each day to lock up the ammonia, it will still read on the test kit but it won't be harmful, nitrite is the one that you have to worry about at the moment.

Cheers mick

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