You are here:

Freshwater Aquarium/overnight change in water condition


Virtually overnight my tropical fish tank changed to a dirty pond water. The nitrate level went to 40ppm (deep orange) and the Nitrite level had a reading of 5 ppm (deep purple. Ammonia was ok and Ph level was 6.0. I don't have a spare tank to put my fish in and aquarium supplies are available 200Kms away.
I have changed 1/3 of water of a 15gal tank and I have put on another filter so I now have 2 filters running but it will still take time to reach the required levels. Is there anything I can do in the meantime to assist the process?
I may have inadvertently started this process by trying to collect small snails off the bottom of the tank and disturbing the the gravel.

cut back on the feeding, and only change a gal or two of water at a time unless you are in a critical situation.
You could use "Cycle" to assist if you can get some..if not, I am going to guess this is an older tank as the PH is low, unless your water is naturally that low..keep the two filters running and only change one at a time that way you always have a charged filter biologically keep the tank stable.
watch the fish, if they are doing ok, then its ok..if they are at the top, clamped fins, or hugging the bottom more drastic measures would be, major water change, remove the fish, put them in a bucket or whatever will hold them, clean the top 1/3 of the gravel and change 10 gals....then re-aclimate the fish...only do this if necessary...
Good luck...

Freshwater Aquarium

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


michael mccorry


I can answer questions concerning tanks, setup, display, maintence,filters, heaters, substrates, CO2 Systems, lighting, arrangements. Also water quality, chemical makeup and altering water parameters. I can advise on fish selection, how to arrange the tank to minimize aggression, water parameters for specific fish, breeding and raisning fry. Feeding and nutrition. Lighting both flourescent and metal halide and everything in between Plants, selection, lighting and feeding requirements, CO2 Systems, and substrate selection as well as what plants will work with what fish. Heating, and cooling the tank. Automating certain functions and what maintenence is necesssary to keep things looking good. Fish diseases their diagnosis and treatment. As well as other topics related to the hobby.


I have been involved in Tropical Fish for over 30 years having bred or kept most everything that was out there at one time or annother. I have worked in several shops and managed several more, I have owned my own shop for over 12 years and currently maintain more than 3000gals of fresh water and saltwater fish, plants and invertabrates. I service tanks and respond to emergency calls. I advise on design, placement and impact of displays and custom design and install whatever the client wishes. I had a business within a business servicing systems for Dr;s,Offices, Restaurants, Hospitals, and private individuals.

TFH FAMA American Cichlid Association

I attended Clinton Comm. College and then went to work for the State of New York. I also recieved training in the unrelated field of Law Enforcement. I am a certified fish specialist both fresh and saltwater having attended seminars at the Backer Trade Shows in Atlantic City sanctioned by PPAC.

Awards and Honors
I have won awards from the New York State Dept of Education and from the Govenors Office for Business of the Year in the Northern Tier. I work as a consultant with the State assisting people who are starting a business.

©2016 All rights reserved.