"I had my water tested and it was good other then high nitrates. "
Well, then get busy with water changes and get those nitrates down! And get a test kit so you will know how fast they climb, and can schedule water changes before they get too high. If you are currently doing weekly water changes, and the NO3 is too high, then do twice weekly water changes of 50% with a thorough vacuum of the substrate. You could vacuum half on one day, the other half the next time, then clean the filter with the 3rd water change, and keep on rotating like that.
"Tank is a 20G"
This is WAY too small for the fish you list- Plecos, 8-9" long Loach... No way. I would not keep these in any tank less than 4' long, and more than double the volume of yours. Cories are OK in a 20g. What kind of new loach did you get?
Dojo Loaches are temperate zone fish, not tropical. Optimum temperature for them is in the low 70s, and they are fine with aquariums into the 60s. Most Cories are cooler water fish, too, with temperatures from 70-75 degrees suiting most, though you really should research the actual species you have. Same comment about the Pleco- Which one do you have? There is a golden Bristlenose Pleco that might work in a 20 (though it is marginal), but the albino form of the common plec can get over a foot long (I have one in my 125 gallon tank that is about 10"). Cooler water fish, also.
I am concerned also that you brought in more fish without quarantining them. This is a sure way to introduce parasites (Ich and other things) and diseases to the current fish.
With your stocking list, I would get a much larger tank and use the 20 gallon as a quarantine tank. Lower the temperature by 1-2 degrees per day until it is not higher than 75*F. Research the fish you have to find their optimum conditions.
As for welts on a fish, that sounds like an injury. Could the other Loach be attacking this one? Are they round patches? Some Loricariads will such on the slime coat of their tank mates. Common Plecos will.
Happy fish keeping!
I have consulted with the University of Florida and they feel she has a secondary bacterial infection caused from the ich. Even with the weekly water changes and vacuuming the substrate the nitrates are still height. From many conversations with people most likely the nitrates are high due to the fact that my biological filter was wiped out during the ich and should start inproving. The new loach did not make it when he broke with the ich. We are slowly lowering the water temp back down now that the ich has cleared, normal temp in this tank is around 76*f. The pleco is a albino bristlenose pleco about 3-4". These 5 fish have lived together for 5-6yrs now, so I don't think it is anyone attacking or injury. We started medicated bathes yesterday per UF recommendations. She has eaten well the last 3 days now. My fingers are crossed we make it through this as a bigger tank was already purchased but with all the sickness no moves have been made yet.
The nitrates are not high "because the bio filter died".
A healthy bio filter MAKES nitrates. If the microorganisms that do this had died, the nitrogen would remain in the ammonia form (NH3 and NH4). If some of the microorganisms were still alive some of the ammonia could get turned into nitrite (NO2), and you might see some nitrate (NO3), but not as much compared to a tank with a healthy bio filter.
To reduce nitrates you can reduce input- Protein is the major source of nitrogen in a non-planted tank. Feed fish less, or feed less fish.
You can dilute the nitrogen by adding more water such as a bigger tank, or spreading the fish out among several tanks. This just delays the problem- you still have to do water changes, but there is a larger safety factor before the NO3 gets too high.
You can increase the removal- More and bigger water changes with new water that has lower (hopefully zero) NO3. You can add nitrogen adsorbing media to the filter, and change it often. Look into Seachem Purigen as one possibility. You can plant the tank, or add a planted sump/refugium. Thriving plants with all their needs met can keep the NO3 from fish food at zero in a well maintained system. It becomes necessary to add nitrogen for the plants in such a system.
Happy fish keeping!
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