I can't seem to keep my nitrates down. Need help please - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-26-2016, 10:36 PM Thread Starter
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I can't seem to keep my nitrates down. Need help please

Ok, so like the title says I need some help an guidance. I have a 90g tank that's been up an running for over 2 years and I always seem to be battling high nitrates. I'm at 80-90ppm. I do EI dosing an I've stopped dosing no3, I do weekly WC's of 50-60% The water that I'm adding it tap and the no3 is about 1-2ppm. I'm adding co2 at more then a 1 ph drop and I'm pretty sure I have plenty of flow seeing that i use an fx5 filter plus 2 hydor pumps.
What am I missing or doing wrong ?
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-26-2016, 10:41 PM
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Overstocked?
Overfeeding?
How often to you clean your filters?
Any mulm or crud laying on the bottom of the tank?
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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-26-2016, 10:47 PM Thread Starter
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Overstocked?

Overfeeding?

How often to you clean your filters?

Any mulm or crud laying on the bottom of the tank?


Overstocked, possibly I'm sure there's close to 40 fish in here. I feed every other day, so I'm not sure if that's over feeding or not. I try an clean my filter every month and I don't really do much to the bottom of the tank, there's not much room to clean down there
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-26-2016, 10:48 PM
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You have something contributing to your nitrates in the tank. Either something decaying in the substrate/filter (less likely) a high bio load or something else. If you are lightly planted your nitrate demand is lowerer so even with a light stocking nitrates can still build up.

Something to keep in mind if you were dosing kno3 and stopped, you are no longer adding as much potassium and if deficiencies begin to appear you might need something like k2so4 to make up for it.


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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-26-2016, 10:50 PM Thread Starter
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You have something contributing to your nitrates in the tank. Either something decaying in the substrate/filter (less likely) a high bio load or something else. If you are lightly planted your nitrate demand is lowerer so even with a light stocking nitrates can still build up.



Something to keep in mind if you were dosing kno3 and stopped, you are no longer adding as much potassium and if deficiencies begin to appear you might need something like k2so4 to make up for it.


Ya I started adding more k2so4 when I stopped the no3
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-26-2016, 10:53 PM
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Overstocked, possibly I'm sure there's close to 40 fish in here. I feed every other day, so I'm not sure if that's over feeding or not. I try an clean my filter every month and I don't really do much to the bottom of the tank, there's not much room to clean down there
What kind of fish? Big fish? Little fish? No, this is not Dr. Suess. LOL
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-26-2016, 10:55 PM Thread Starter
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What kind of fish? Big fish? Little fish? No, this is not Dr. Suess. LOL


Hahaha. They're all little fish. Like guppys, neons, rummynose an other small tetras
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-26-2016, 11:02 PM
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I don't think it's the fish themselves that are the problem unless they are really packed in.

High nitrates don't come from nowhere as theatermusic87 has pointed out.

I'd make mental notes of when you feed ( make sure all food is consumed within a few minutes) and do a surface vac. If lots of crud comes up, there is a good chance you found the cause of the nitrate issue.
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-26-2016, 11:10 PM
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What's your substrate? It might be trapping fish poo.
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-26-2016, 11:12 PM Thread Starter
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What's your substrate? It might be trapping fish poo.


I can't remember, I want to say Eco complete but I can't say for sure
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post #11 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-26-2016, 11:20 PM
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Overstocked, possibly I'm sure there's close to 40 fish in here. I feed every other day, so I'm not sure if that's over feeding or not. I try an clean my filter every month and I don't really do much to the bottom of the tank, there's not much room to clean down there
Just as a side note, I have just over 40 fish in my 75 gallon tank. Several are larger rainbows, several are pretty small serpae tetras.
In my opinion, I would think I have more fish mass per gallon than you do. I dont know your volume of plants but I have a pretty heavily planted tank but most of the plant mass is not fast growing. I dose PPS Pro and my nitrate levels usually run around 40ppm now that I have reduced feeding to once per day.

All that said, I suspect like the others there is something else going on in your tank because it sounds like your feeding / filter maintenance is pretty good.


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post #12 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-26-2016, 11:20 PM
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Are your nitrates constant throughout the week? If they increase your plans aren't keeping up with the nitrates load. , In this case water changes are the only way to immediately lower them, though additional plant growth will help in the long run. If you nitrates level is constant or goes down slightly, you plants are keeping up and I would just continue weekly water changes until the nitrates drop back to the level you want.

Your nitrate level isn't quite high enough for major concern as long as it doesn't keep going up. Your plants will continue to grow and use more nitrate and when they finally have dropped enough you can go back to dosing them at a reduced amount


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post #13 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-26-2016, 11:23 PM Thread Starter
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Are your nitrates constant throughout the week? If they increase your plans aren't keeping up with the nitrates load. , In this case water changes are the only way to immediately lower them, though additional plant growth will help in the long run. If you nitrates level is constant or goes down slightly, you plants are keeping up and I would just continue weekly water changes until the nitrates drop back to the level you want.



Your nitrate level isn't quite high enough for major concern as long as it doesn't keep going up. Your plants will continue to grow and use more nitrate and when they finally have dropped enough you can go back to dosing them at a reduced amount


I just did a water change so I'll take a reading then check it through out the week
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