Someone please help- Nitrate levels crazy high, dead fish..
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Old 04-30-2013, 08:56 PM   #1
CTet
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Someone please help- Nitrate levels crazy high, dead fish..


So I was looking at my tank today (25 gallon) and I noticed a dead threadfin rainbow stuck to my filter. I immediately tested my water and got the following:

Ammonia 0
pH 7.6
Nitrites 0
Nitrates 160ppm
Water temp is 76, EI method and weekly 25% H2O changes

Stocked:
3 Otos
4 Guppies
4 (now 3) threadfin rainbowfish
7 Cardinal Tetras

The threadfin is the first fish to die since I started the tank about 1.5 months ago. It's medium/heavily planted and I run a Fugeray for about 8 hours per day. Also, no CO2 but I do dose Excel daily.

I did an emergency 40% H2O change and retested but my Nitrates are still coming up high. Borderline between 80 and 160... Can someone please give me an idea of what may be going on and what I can do to prevent losing any other fish? Could those Nitrate levels have caused my little guy to go?
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Old 04-30-2013, 09:02 PM   #2
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why not increase water changes to 50% daily.. thats about 10 gallons.. easy peasy on a little tank
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Old 04-30-2013, 09:20 PM   #3
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Test your tap water too. it is not unheard of to have nitrates in your tap water.
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Old 04-30-2013, 09:25 PM   #4
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How often do you do water changes? Since the tank is only 1.5 months old, you should be changing the water pretty frequently. Just high nitrates and no nitrite or ammonia means your bacteria colony is established and doing its job. I would do 50% water changes every day until nitrates are below 20 ppm and then check it daily, doing a 20% water change any time it hits 20 ppm.

Those nitrate levels could indeed be the cause of death for your threadfin, usually 40 ppm is the upper limit for most fish. The best way to prevent any further deaths is to slowly lower the nitrates by daily water changes then maintain it at a healthy level. As your plants grow in, you will be able to do less frequent water changes.
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Old 04-30-2013, 10:46 PM   #5
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Thanks for the feedback. I had no idea I should still be doing such frequent changes. What's strange is that I tested about 1.5 weeks ago and Nitrates were at 0. I wonder what caused the sudden spike within that time period?
Currently, I'm doing weekly changes every Saturday. (25%)
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Old 05-01-2013, 12:35 AM   #6
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nothing breaks down nitrates so those will build up. The only way to decrease nitrates is with plants or with water changes. I change about 50% of my water once a week.
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Old 05-01-2013, 12:45 AM   #7
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Default Re: Someone please help- Nitrate levels crazy high, dead fish..

You said you are dosing the EI method, are you dry dosing? I'm guessing if you are you're dosing potassium nitrates and monopotassium phosphates. Those both have nitrates in them; try backing off on your dosage if you are dosing those. You might evenwant to stop dosing the potassium nitrate completely for a while until your nitrates come down. I had a problem with high nitrates as well using the EI method. Use the EI method Moyer as a guide and disk in your dosing for your aquarium. That would be my advice. Also, as stated before, increase the amount and frequency of your WC's until the nitrates come down.

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Old 05-01-2013, 01:08 AM   #8
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Default Re: Someone please help- Nitrate levels crazy high, dead fish..

Something is going on and you need to find what it is. NO3 change from 0 to 160 is a bit drastic.

First of all, how come N was 0? It is a planted tank with fish and if your tank was cycled you should have seen at least some.

What is NO3 from your tap?
Did you add fish in the last 1.5 weeks?
What is your substrate and did you disturbed any?
Do you feed the fish reasonably?
Did you remove any plants?
Do you use fertilizer? Which and how much?
Did you use the NO3 test ad per instructions?

Somewhere here is the answer.

Thrradfins are delicate fish, but 40ppm is by no means the upper level: it is a reasonable target for a planted tank.

Meawhile, I would do another 25-50% water change, dump in some plants like water sprite, water wisteria, green temple, anacharis, etc.

Check your water daily for a week and figure out what is going on with the tank.



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Old 05-01-2013, 02:54 AM   #9
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are you using root tabs or osmocote under your substrate ?
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Old 05-01-2013, 03:16 AM   #10
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Default Someone please help- Nitrate levels crazy high, dead fish..

Dude, 160ppm no3 from ferts is not harmful. Maybe something else.

Now if you got that number because of your ammonia and then no2 levels were that high... Yeah that would kill.
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Old 05-01-2013, 12:35 PM   #11
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When I had a 125 gallon tank full of African cichlids I had high nitrates. Nitrates are usually not that big of a concern. It's ammonia and nitrites that cause major problems. The only way I know to combat nitrates is with frequent water changes and less feeding. If your nitrates are 160 and you do a 50% water change then your nitrates will come down to around 80. That's if your tap water has no nitrates. Keep in mind that nitrates will start to climb with feeding and waste in your tank. I have a 40 gallon breeder that is heavily planted and about 20 fish and my nitrates stay at 20. The best thing I ever did was to add MTS snails to my tanks. They breed like crazy but they are a great clean up crew.
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Old 05-01-2013, 01:21 PM   #12
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Try cleaning your filter media Seems like that is usually a breeding ground.
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Old 05-01-2013, 01:50 PM   #13
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If the tank is not brightly lit and doesn't use CO2 it is possible the plants aren't taking up much of the nitrate in EI. With 25% water changes and not much uptake there could be such a build up. Do as rk923 mentioned and dose EI to desired nitrate level.

You would be better off dosing a modified system such as this page
http://www.sudeepmandal.com/hobbies/...ed-tank-guide/
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Old 05-01-2013, 08:25 PM   #14
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Default Someone please help- Nitrate levels crazy high, dead fish..

Quote:
Originally Posted by Psycofc1 View Post
Try cleaning your filter media Seems like that is usually a breeding ground.
I'm curious to know what does this mean.
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Old 05-01-2013, 08:45 PM   #15
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I had similar problem with high nitrates and I was doing EI dosing in a non co2 tank. agree with kathyy, plants are not taking up nitrates fast enough and you are getting build up. second sudeepmandal site as well
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