Sorry Kate I've only just seen this post, apologies for the delayed response
My main tank is settling well, though ALL the Swordtails that were sick and caused me to first come to this site died in the end.
The only real issue I have is that I'm having to do a lot of very frequent water changes to keep the nitrates down due to the output from Herman (the pleco who started it all off). He really needs something bigger!
The babies that miraculously appeared in the QT just before I emptied it are growing well and I'm hatching brine shrimp daily to feed them. There are around 30 of them so more tank room needed for them too as they grow, but it's been a delight rearing them so far.
Just been having a conversation with Cathy about ammonia in my tap water - looks like I need to switch to using Prime as my water conditioner to counter that.
Was glad to read that John finally has his Guppies
Thanks Cathy. It looks like Prime is the best way to go.
The only thing is, what will that mean in terms of testing the tank? I see Prime detoxifies the ammonia, rather than removing it so presumably there's little point in testing the tank water for ammonia when water changes are very frequent (i.e daily in the case of the fry tank)?
Just tested my tapwater after letting it sit for 36 hours and found it reads .5 ppm for ammonia. What, if anything, can I do about that when changing water?
I know .5 isn't a lot, but I'm not very happy about adding ammonia when I change water, especially in the fry tank which is only 30 litres and has a simple sponge filter which may not process the added ammonia very quickly.
I'm afraid I'm not familiar with that filter but I don't think its output is adjustable.
Just to reiterate, though that's a very good filter it won't do anything about your nitrate level. Nitrates are the final product of the nitrogen cycle and can only be reduced by regular water changes. How often that needs to be done depends on how much ammonia is initially produced by the occupants of your tank: the more fish and the bigger they are, the greater the amount of ammonia produced and the faster nitrates accuumulate.
In your case, you still have too many fish for the size of your tank and your tap-water nitrates are very high which means very frequent, large water changes and even then you're not going to see the level drop below your tap-water level.
You really need to be reducing the nitrates in your tap-water before you put it in the tank, or using a proportion of RO water to dilute the nitrates. But with the output from your fish you will find nitrates building up pretty quickly.
You do really need to consider larger tanks or less fish, especially as the water quality isn't the only issue - some of your fish will just be too big for the tanks you have and will need more space to live healthily.