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Old 01-04-2013, 11:59 PM   #16
smiller
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Quote:
Originally Posted by christian_cowgirlGSR View Post
According to what the API test kit says, up to 40 is safe for the fish.
Most fish can take much more than 40. I was speaking more in terms of what those levels mean in planted tank.
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Old 01-05-2013, 12:44 AM   #17
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Hmmm... I'll throw some thoughts your way...

Is there any reason why you keep your tank at 80 degrees?

Your lighting isn't high, and I see you are not dosing N, P, and K... this should be fine. Is there any chance your nitrate is coming from your fert tabs? I'm not sure what is in them... do you disturb your substrate a lot?

Have you calibrated your test kit? Tested your tap water?

I agree with the others who have suggested one large weekly water change is likely to be more beneficial to several smaller ones throughout the week (not meaning to belabor the point)...

I agree with racer... clean off as much as you can, then do large WC, and make sure your filter is clean (of course you know to preserve your biofilter... I'm just including that for others).

HTH
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Old 01-05-2013, 01:00 AM   #18
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I have sort of the same problem...except without the algae and dying plants. I've been doing a 50% water change very 3 to 4 days to control high nitrates. In my case I believe it to be overstocking (I'm not familiar with your fish so I can't say in your case) and root tabs. Have you checked to make sure you are not overstocked?

Do you use root tabs?

Do big water changes. Clean water will help your fishes heal. I understand those big water changes are a pain in the butt.....but those water changes will keep your fishes alive.
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Old 01-05-2013, 04:01 PM   #19
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My thoughts/answers inline in red....

Quote:
Originally Posted by jart View Post
Hmmm... I'll throw some thoughts your way...

Is there any reason why you keep your tank at 80 degrees?
Yes, there is. I prefer cooler water tanks, but I really like the gouramis, and 80 degrees is at the low end of what the gouramis are comfortable with.

Your lighting isn't high, and I see you are not dosing N, P, and K... this should be fine. Is there any chance your nitrate is coming from your fert tabs? I'm not sure what is in them... do you disturb your substrate a lot?
This is an interesting point. Come to think of it, I had been using Seachem Root Tabs, but ran out and didn't realize I was out until I went to use them again just recently. So, I used some other root tabs I had on hand that I didn't like as well. I do not know what ingredients are in these alternate root tabs.

As for disturbing the substrate... yes, I do. Very few of my plants are root feeders (namely just the vals and the amazon sword). So, to keep the gravel in the rest of the tank clean, I do vacuum the gravel. I do my best to stay away from the areas that I've put root tabs in though. Could this be part of my problem?

Have you calibrated your test kit? Tested your tap water?
To my knowledge, there is no way to calibrate the API test kit. If I'm wrong on this, please let me know.

I just tested the tap water. I got distracted and let it sit for 10 minutes instead of 5, but the tap water registered at between 10-20ppm. What is normal for tap water? Is this reading high?

I agree with the others who have suggested one large weekly water change is likely to be more beneficial to several smaller ones throughout the week (not meaning to belabor the point)...
This is my preference, but from what I've read a 20% weekly water change is usually sufficient. In my case, it is not. So I increased the number of water changes per week. I will do a large water change today and then keep an eye on the levels throughout this coming week and see what happens. Thanks for the input!

I agree with racer... clean off as much as you can, then do large WC, and make sure your filter is clean (of course you know to preserve your biofilter... I'm just including that for others).
Saturdays are the day I prefer to do water changes, so I will do that today and see how it goes this coming week.

HTH
I have a limb from a hedge tree in the tank. Could that be causing problems? Hedge is a very hard wood and is often used for fence posts here.

Also, I have a 3g bucket full of trident java fern that I have been considering adding to this tank. However, I would rather sell the java fern and buy a different plant(s) if the trident java fern is only going to melt away and die in this tank. I had it in my 29g tank that I am taking down, and it did fine in there. Thoughts/suggestions?
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Old 01-05-2013, 04:52 PM   #20
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You calibrate your API kit by testing it against a known amount of Nitrate.

And about the API instructions: shake the reagent solutions in the bottle (for nitrate) for longer than recommended. For at least a minute. Many times that will help.
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Old 01-05-2013, 05:12 PM   #21
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I agree with those who are recommending a bulb change...

I also would question your photo period as being an issue. In nature, plants (and fish for that matter) don't receive light in broken periods throughout the day. You should find 7-8 hours a day straight to run your lighting. If the plants are healthy and photosynthesizing properly they should help a bit with the Nitrate issue as well.

I would also recommend relaxing on the vacuuming a bit. Constantly churning up all of the bacteria stored in your substrate as well as all of the other junk in there is basically making it easy for bacteria to thrive and making it hard on your fish, as well as to a lesser extent your plants. I'd say only lightly vacuum the top of your substrate (don't suck any substrate up into the tube) Especially with a sandy substrate like it looks like you have. And maybe only do this a couple of times a month.

Also if you only have a couple of root feeding plants, you shouldn't need a lot of root tab ferts. Your water column ferts are more important for the others.

Other than that do a big cleaning of the glass and 50% water change twice a week until the issue improves then resume a weekly program with a light vacuum, glass scrubbing and 50% water change.
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Old 01-05-2013, 05:20 PM   #22
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Testing Your Nitrate Test Kit

  • Take 1000ml of water. Dissolve 6.5 grams of KNO3 in it.
  • Take 1 gallon of water. Each ml of the above solution will add 1 ppm of NO3.
  • Add 5 ml, test. Your test kit should show 5 ppm.
  • Add 5 more ml, test. Your test kit should show 10 ppm
  • Repeat through the range of your test kit.
  • (Thanks Rex )

edit: split photo periods are no problem at all so I would forget that being a possible problem (done it for years here)

Plants can't use nitrates without phosphate though and as I posted low phosphate levels cause me algae issues.
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Old 01-05-2013, 07:00 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wkndracer View Post
Testing Your Nitrate Test Kit

  • Take 1000ml of water. Dissolve 6.5 grams of KNO3 in it.
  • Take 1 gallon of water. Each ml of the above solution will add 1 ppm of NO3.
  • Add 5 ml, test. Your test kit should show 5 ppm.
  • Add 5 more ml, test. Your test kit should show 10 ppm
  • Repeat through the range of your test kit.
  • (Thanks Rex )

edit: split photo periods are no problem at all so I would forget that being a possible problem (done it for years here)

Plants can't use nitrates without phosphate though and as I posted low phosphate levels cause me algae issues.
What is KN03 and where do I find it?

How do I tell if my phosphates are low? I don't think I can test for that with my API test kit. If they are low, how do I fix it?
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Old 01-05-2013, 07:12 PM   #24
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There are phosphate tests for fresh water aquariums. API makes them, and other companies. Look on line, if the local stores do not carry them. Drs Foster and Smith, Big Als and others.

KNO3 is the major source of nitrates for people who dry dose their tanks. It is usually used as an agricultural fertilizer, so you might find a bit that way, and it is also sold as a stump remover. Make sure you read the label, not all stump remover is KNO3. Make sure it says potassium nitrate.

Fish are not causing the nitrogen problem. Fish food is.
Feed only 1/4 the regular amount for a couple of weeks, and skip one day of feeding entirely. If the fish will accept vegetables, then feed them salad or lightly cooked vegetables at least once a week. High protein foods contribute the most nitrogen to the tank.

Do not go by what the testing label or instructions say about what is a safe level of nitrate. I have found my fish to not be too happy when the nitrate level from fish food and other decomposing things gets up there, but they do not seem to react the same when I dose KNO3 as a nitrogen source for the plants. Also, different species of fish are sensitive to different levels of nitrate. I generally keep all the tanks under 20 ppm, and aim for 5-10 ppm either from fish food or from fertilizer dosing.

If you do smaller water changes, frequently, or one large water change less frequently does not matter.
If you are not removing nitrogen as fast as you are adding it then the levels will rise.
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Old 01-08-2013, 12:52 AM   #25
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I just finished thoroughly scrubbing the sides of my tank. When I was done with that and the water of my tank was sufficiently green, I went ahead and did a 50% water change. I'll try to check the nitrates in the tank regularly this week and then do another 50% water change next week and see how everything goes with the algae. I've also got some water wisteria coming in a few days. Hopefully, the added fast-growing plant will help with the nitrate issues as well. On a good note, my frogbit is finally starting to spread. When I first got it, I didn't think it was going to live. I'm not sure what's changed, but it is finally starting to spread and grow some roots as well. My gouramis seem to enjoy hanging out in the roots!
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Old 02-14-2013, 04:12 PM   #26
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After a month of following your suggestions, I wanted to give an update on my tank! I have stopped vacuuming the gravel and, instead, just vacuum the things that are loose on top of the gravel. I have started doing 40% water changes weekly (instead of 20-30% I had been doing). I also did A LOT of scrubbing and got most of the algae off. I've been trying to do a little bit of scrubbing every week to keep up with it and so far, it seems to be working. In just a month's time, you can see how much my frogbit has grown, when I had previously wondered if it would die off on me. Just this weekend when I did a water change, I noticed that my amazon sword has sent up a stalk thing. It hasn't done much yet (except get longer), so it will be interesting to see what it ends up doing. The die-off rate on my java fern has also slowed down tremendously! Overall, it looks like your suggestions have worked for my tank! Everything seems healthy, and I haven't had any issues with ich/fin rot recently. Thanks again for all of your input! On to the before- and after-pictures!

Before:



After:


Edit: I almost forgot to add that I did add some water wisteria (back left corner) and some trident java fern. I also added more root tabs for the plants that needed it. In addition, I decided that, since my italian vals weren't getting very tall, I'd start using them as a "carpet" plant. I put them to the left of the amazon sword, and added a root tab or two around them... and they've gotten taller than they had in a long time! Go figure! They are also spreading like crazy!
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Old 02-14-2013, 04:15 PM   #27
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Well done. Keep up the good work!
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Old 02-14-2013, 05:46 PM   #28
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Quote:
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Well done. Keep up the good work!
Thank you!
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Old 02-14-2013, 05:59 PM   #29
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congrats!!

also to help, make sure your wiping down then glass,
THEN changing water as well as at least rinse down filter pads a few hours later
this will remove as much of the algae as possble

water changes do more than just remove waste, they remove parasites, fish and plant horomone, increase alkalinity which bacteria need to survive
+much more

on higher light high growth tanks even more is suggested. I've found this suggestion is adequate
on my tanks i change 60-80% water weekly, for clarity, organics removal, and to help with algae.. as water passes by plants and exposes them to air, algae spores are removed and the plant tissue is kinda cleaned as well as exposed to carbon rich air which it actively absorbs (theory) which helps promot good growth
this theory is almost proved by doing water changes and measuring growth over a month period vs not in a similar contrl tank.. growth is significantly different


again GOOD JOB!!
its always nice to see a good tank turnaround
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Old 02-14-2013, 06:52 PM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HD Blazingwolf View Post
congrats!!

also to help, make sure your wiping down then glass,
THEN changing water as well as at least rinse down filter pads a few hours later
this will remove as much of the algae as possble

water changes do more than just remove waste, they remove parasites, fish and plant horomone, increase alkalinity which bacteria need to survive
+much more

on higher light high growth tanks even more is suggested. I've found this suggestion is adequate
on my tanks i change 60-80% water weekly, for clarity, organics removal, and to help with algae.. as water passes by plants and exposes them to air, algae spores are removed and the plant tissue is kinda cleaned as well as exposed to carbon rich air which it actively absorbs (theory) which helps promote good growth
this theory is almost proved by doing water changes and measuring growth over a month period vs not in a similar contrl tank.. growth is significantly different


again GOOD JOB!!
its always nice to see a good tank turnaround
Thank you for the added input!
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