NO2 spkes? - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 02-14-2017, 03:22 AM Thread Starter
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NO2 spkes?

First the basic parameters of the tank. 36 gal with ~28 gal actual water, 40lb EcoComplete capped with a bag of CaribSea courser gravel, for ~4" of gravel depth. There is a "Rhyzomat" underneath all that. I've used the CaribSea flora Spore as well. Moderately planted by the standards around here, but it is pretty far from sparse. pH 6.9. kH~2.5. Tank is still pretty new, almost 2 months now.

So for the second time in the past 2 weeks, I suddenly have nitrites of .25-.5. Yesterday they were zero, this morning they were zero. Ammonia was zero last night, this morning, and now. No spike. I can only isolate it to one thing. I put two new plants in tonight before I did the test. Dug down in the sub. I did the same the day before that last spike. Digging in does stir up a bit of cloudy residue, nothing extreme. Is it possible to have converted NO2 inside my substrate? And/or, is it possible to "trap" it there? Until the first spike converted over, i had barely ever had any noticeable NO3, almost always <10ppm. Is this something with a planted tank, or any of the CaribSea substrate or rhizome type products I've used? I have had many tanks over the years, with deep substrate, and never had anything like this happen.

I'd appreciate any advice or info. I've buffered the water with prime, added some bacterial boosters, etc, to hopefully protect the fish. Also, would leaving the light (Satellite plus pro) on full strength a bit longer than usual tomorrow help speed the process a bit, enabling the plants to process a bit more of it?

Last edited by Fishbones; 02-14-2017 at 03:39 AM. Reason: spelling
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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 02-14-2017, 06:47 AM
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How often are you feeding how many fishes?
Do little hand's have access to the fish food's and tank?
Maybe filter media could use a cleaning in some old tank water or dechlorinated water in a bucket?
How often and how much water is changed?
At two month's,I would not expect to see measureable ammonia or nitrites in established tank with moderate to more plant mass.
Would only use more lighting if I could ensure CO2 and possibly nutrient's were also able to be readily increased.(more light will increase demand)
At two month's old, the substrate could be housing dissolved organic matter that could leach from the depth's if disturbed frequently, depending on food's and number's of fishes,frequency of feeding's,maint routine or lack thereof.(maybe decaying plant matter)
I might want a couple different test's if it were me.
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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 02-15-2017, 05:21 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by roadmaster View Post
How often are you feeding how many fishes?
Do little hand's have access to the fish food's and tank?
It's pretty well stocked, currently:
3 neon tetras; 1 swordtail; 2 rainbows, 1 is a dwarf; 4 different spp of Corydoras; 1 long finned BNP; 1 Colombian zebra pleco, L129(?); 1 betta; 2 small African leaf fish; 4 rams.

They are fed various frozen foods 1-2 times a day, 1-4 cubes a day total, avg 2 cubes a day. Usually skipping a day a week. A few times a week I drop a couple algae wafers or pellets and occasionally a bit of NLS pellets at night. Little hands are not too little, my 13 yo has little interest, and my 17 yo has my 65gal community in her room, so she gets to play with that.


Quote:
Originally Posted by roadmaster View Post
Maybe filter media could use a cleaning in some old tank water or dechlorinated water in a bucket?
How often and how much water is changed?
Filter is running well and clear. It's a Fluval Aquaclear 70, so if it needs to be cleaned out I can see the water flowing out over top of the intake tube. I just rinsed the sponge well about 4 days ago. I really don't think this is it. The tank reads 0/0/10 (NH3/NO2/NO3) almost constantly, then suddenly 0/50+/10. Just the nitrites go up. I test daily with this still being a new tank. After the first spike a few weeks ago, the nitrites stayed up for about 3 days, then the nitrates went up just as one might expect after the nitrites zeroed out, then the plants had a boom and the NO3 dropped again.

Now, after this spike last night, I tested this morning, and if anything the NO2 was higher. I tested just now when I got home, and the nitrites are almost zero, barely a noticeable amount. Nitrates are still 10-20. So maybe the plants sucked it all out?
I've been averaging changing about 5 gal a week, RO. I have been hesitant since I can rarely get much of a NO3 reading, and for the first month I had almost 0 phosphates (I have since bought some Flourish Phosphorus and have it up ~1-1.25).

Quote:
Originally Posted by roadmaster View Post
At two month's,I would not expect to see measureable ammonia or nitrites in established tank with moderate to more plant mass.
Would only use more lighting if I could ensure CO2 and possibly nutrient's were also able to be readily increased.(more light will increase demand)
I agree, I have rarely seen even a trace of ammonia since it cycled. Never anything worth mentioning. Just the two sudden nitrite bursts. And that's what I thought on the lights, just figured I'd ask. My Co2 level isn't high. Nutrients seem pretty good.

Quote:
Originally Posted by roadmaster View Post
At two month's old, the substrate could be housing dissolved organic matter that could leach from the depth's if disturbed frequently, depending on food's and number's of fishes,frequency of feeding's,maint routine or lack thereof.(maybe decaying plant matter)
I might want a couple different test's if it were me.
This is the only thing I can figure. Can there be, in effect, a "separate" nitrogen cycle going on under the sub that just hasn't completed to converting to NO3? So that in effect, there is a bunch of NO2 a few inches down? Is this a good thing, and do I just wait it out and make sure not to stir it up? The area I planted the scarlet Temple in may have some decaying plant matter, I originally planted a 20+" Amazon sword there. Over time almost all of the larger leaves have died off, though there is some new growth. But there was a very thick, long (horizontally) root. I as hoping it was still alive, just maybe converting? Should I try to dig that root out?

Thanks for the info Raodmaster, I do appreciate it.
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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 02-15-2017, 07:32 AM
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I think possibly too much food,fish poo, between water changes, and might see if once every other day feeding's, and half the amount presently being offered (this can only help) made a significant difference.
Might also increase size of water change from 5 gal from the tank to 10 gal a week or bi-weekly were it me.
Same process of bacteria breaking down organic matter such as fish food's ,fish waste, occur's on/in first few centimeter's of substrates where oxygen needed by all living thing's is more available than deeper in substrate where less O2 feed's anaerobic bacteria.
This is all good till we start mucking about in the deeper area's while moving plant's for whatever reason.Disturb the substrates and I would be sure to perform largish water change directly after.
Best to leave plant's be as much as possible except for trimming or planting more plant's.
I think you have a lot of fish and maybe feeding a bit more than needed which might explain brief nitrite spikes that mostly follow brief ammonia spike.
More plant's,a bit larger water change, and less organic input would be my move.
As for the sword plant's, I have grown lot's of em, and find them to be nutrient hog's
From both the substrate and water column like many plant;s but not near as hungry as the Sword's.
I see these large sword plant's lose many or even most of their leaves when I first submerge them and they grow new leaves often different in shape that are best suited for submerged growth.
I remove the old leaves as they shed them, and just wait for new growth assuming the root's are still in good shape.
Root tabs under the sword's and crypt's work's well for me.
Hope some of this help's.
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