It's been a while since I've written, and I could use some help.
My tank has gone through some issues. I had a fish die and I think maybe I didn't find it very quickly and suddenly it seemed like my nitrates were through the roof. Well more fish started dying despite my frequent water changes and regular filter maintenance. I gave up my pleco to a new home (a 200 gallon tank) as I thought the enormous waste he puts out probably wasn't helping things. I also scaled back feeding to once every other day or every two days because I feared I was simply feeding too much.
Still, I couldn't seem to get the nitrates on track and algae started going crazy. I am down to five fish: 2 buenos aires tetra (from my original three that were the first in this tank), two rosy barb and one rubber lip pleco that is only about an inch and a half long.
I am doing weekly water changes of about 15 gallons. I'm completely confused. I have read about high phosphates being an issue (I don't currently have a test kit for that - I use those silly test strips for convenience purposes) but I don't know if that is the case here. I know the nitrates are high for sure. I also know my tap water tests safe as far as nitrates but not zero. And I wonder if perhaps there are high phosphate levels in the tap water.
Any suggestions!? What can I do to get things back on track?