Pre-history: This tank had a betta and three tetras. Was planted with moss from Haley and Anubias. I moved the tank, lost the betta and one tetra. Two tetras lived undisturbed until June when one fry went in named Lulu. It was a hot summer and the cats drank out of the tank so everyday I filled up 10-25% of the water. The params were normal even though the plant and algae were building up. Those three fish went into the pond.
Current Occupants: 3 little fry, Clarabelle, Isabelle, and Sweetiebelle. I added them without changing the tank which is my snafoo #1. So I tested the params a few days later and holy bean curds! The nitrates were off the charts! I tested my tap pH and it was vastly different than the tank . (7.4 tap and 8.2 tank)
So everyday I have been doing 50% water changes and trying to get the detritus and algae away. The fish are getting more active, the nitrates are slowly going down, the pH is levelled at 8 at the moment and as soon as the params are where I want them I will start prazi and salt on them.
What changed was the cats stopped drinking so much so it wasn't getting the fresh water change daily, that and the detritus caused the nitrates to spike up. I have matrix which has controlled nitrates in the past for me, I could have added that to the tank but I think the detritus should be almost absent before I add materials that absorb.
What to do now: Get these fry happy and growing and take pics!