Dosed nitrates disappear in 10 hrs - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 59 (permalink) Old 08-06-2016, 04:06 PM Thread Starter
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Dosed nitrates disappear in 10 hrs

I have a high tech fully planted 3 gallon aquasky light low iron tank that is around 4 months old. It was very well established and on a consistent fertilizing schedule and nitrates were always detectable In the 10-20 ppm range even without dosing nitrogen. I decided to switch from my two nano HOBs to an eheim classic 150 two weeks ago and I seeded it with media from the HOBs. Immediately after setting it up the nitrites went through the roof (forced recycling of my established tank) and killed all my shrimp and damaged the respiratory of my three dwarf emerald eye rasboras. I added fritz zyme nutrifying bacteria and some Seachem stability the next day with consecutive 30% water changes. Two days later the tank was at 0 nitrite, 0 ammonia, 0 nitrates and has stuck to that ever since. The problems the past 1.5 weeks since, is every time I dose Seachem nitrogen it disappears back down from 20 ppm to 0 ppm overnight. The eheim has filter floss and purigen only in it. No carbon. I can't seem to figure out any reason why this is happening. Nitrates seems to be removed so quickly. Does this mean my nitrifying bacteria arent working. Or because the filter has only been running two weeks? The plants aren't doing well from nitrogen deficiency even tho dosing 3 ml to my 3 gallon every day. Any help would be appreciated, I've tried everything to solve this problem.
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post #2 of 59 (permalink) Old 08-06-2016, 04:26 PM
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What are you testing your tank with? If it's a API kit, make sure you shake the bottle really well as otherwise you are going to get wonky readings.
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post #3 of 59 (permalink) Old 08-06-2016, 05:22 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Smooch View Post
What are you testing your tank with? If it's a API kit, make sure you shake the bottle really well as otherwise you are going to get wonky readings.

I shake the nitrate test kit really hard for about 60 seconds. More than the recommended level. I also test it on a control bottle of RO water with a ml of Seachem nitrogen and it turns up super high so I know the test kit is functioning correctly.

Since adding the new canister filter I've been dosing Seachem nitrogen 3-4 ml daily which I never had to do with my HOBs and the API test goes from orange color to yellow zero from the night before (when I dosed) to the next morning. I do use purigen in the filter. But I've done tons of reading that it will not remove nitrates. They were in my HOBs too and nitrates never disappeared. It's a complete mystery. I did tons of online researching and a daily testing of all my levels the past two weeks religiously.
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post #4 of 59 (permalink) Old 08-06-2016, 05:36 PM Thread Starter
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Or is it possible that if I used a lot of white plain filter floss in the new eheim 150 that ferts including nitrogen get trapped in it? My phosphates never alter everyday so it doesn't make sense to be the filter media. Phosphate levels stay at 1-2 ppm and do not drop like the nitrogen does. The nitrates are the only thing changing. My staurogene repens is melting when it use to be super healthy. Baby tears new growth is clear and flimsy. I know nitrates are the problem. Seems to be nitrate deficiency. But if it's not the filter media the only thing that would make sense is that the dense plants are soaking it up fast for some reason.
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post #5 of 59 (permalink) Old 08-06-2016, 06:11 PM
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Filter floss does not remove nitrates.

Can you post a pic of your tank? May be able to help better if we can see your plants.
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post #6 of 59 (permalink) Old 08-06-2016, 06:19 PM Thread Starter
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I will post a current picture of my tank later today when I get home. For now I've attached a picture of my tank before everything went sour two weeks ago.

A mistake I made when I first installed the eheim 2211 is I didn't realize that the black pad was carbon cause I guess I'm not up to date that carbon comes in forms other than rocks now a days. Lol. So after a week with it in there I removed it but I thought that would solve the nitrate zero issue, but unfortunately it has not solved it. :/. Is it possible that there is still residual carbon in the water column from the carbon pad? I wouldn't think the foam carbon pads would do that like the rock version would. It's now been a week since I removed it.

Possibly the filter is so much more effective than my azoo HOBs I had before that they're more affective on a 3 Gallon.
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post #7 of 59 (permalink) Old 08-06-2016, 09:49 PM
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There wouldn't be residual carbon in the water column. Even carbon sticks get saturated and no longer have absorptive properties after a month. What's your substrate? What deficiency symptoms are you seeing?

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post #8 of 59 (permalink) Old 08-06-2016, 10:01 PM
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Looking at the picture, it is possible that the nitrates you are dosing are being used.

I agree with Axelrodi202. Carbon doesn't last long, so I don't think that's the issue. A close up of the plants that are showing problems would be helpful.

If any of the plants are new, there is often a transition period that can cause leaves to melt or die off. As long as the plants are healthy, there should be new growth as well.
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post #9 of 59 (permalink) Old 08-06-2016, 10:40 PM
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My two cents may not count much but.

Lately I have noticed a loss of phosphates even though I dose them.
Purposely dosed up to about 1.5ppm for the tank.
Nitrates started to fall after the introduction of more PO4.
I use nitrate free solutions for dosing, decent fish load is present.

I notice your PO4 between 1 & 2.
That amount of plants may be putting a hurting on NO3.


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post #10 of 59 (permalink) Old 08-06-2016, 11:18 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for your quick replies. There are no new plants in my setup. All, especially the staur. Repens and baby tears already went through their acclimation period months ago and were taking over and beautiful algae free, deficiency free.

The picture I just posted in my last post is of when it was at its prime. That was two weeks ago and now the repens is half as dense, leaves and stems are turning a milky clear color and melting into moosh. I've had to pull a lot out. All the other plants are just not as vibrant, no new growth and some brown algae on my anubias leaves.

The following pictures are of today after the last two weeks of struggling with nitrogen levels and adding my new eheim 2211 canister filter.

I have read a lot about phosphates do not pose harm in that 1-2 range to plants or fauna and I've had mine that high in the past and nothing bad happened.

I have mr aqua soil covered by a thin layer of black sand with few osmocote tabs pushed into the soil.

Tank was set up in April. Eheim 2211 addition forced a recycle and since then Nitrates have vanished whenever I dose.

Plants are looking bad but they are pearling today. Staur. Repens are continuity no to melt.

I dose Seachem trace, iron, nitrogen, potassium and phosphorous. I use RO/DI water with equilibrium added.

I have a chihiros aquasky 7 level adjustable crystal light on a dim/ramp and a co2 paintball setup running at 30 ppm with a GLA in tank atomizer and a Fabco needle valve.

Plants are:

Staur. Repens
Baby tears
Micranthemoides baby tears
Hydrocottyle
Dwarf riccia
Java lace fern
Anubias (golden and nana petite)
Dwarf cardinalis
Dwarf hygrophila


All pictures below are as of today EXCEPT
THE LAST two PICTUREs is of the repens the same day the eheim was added two weeks ago. Just for comparison
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post #11 of 59 (permalink) Old 08-06-2016, 11:25 PM
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How long is your photo period? You've got lots of algae.

Since changing from HOB filters, what is the water flow around the tank like?

Your phosphate levels are fine.
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post #12 of 59 (permalink) Old 08-06-2016, 11:50 PM Thread Starter
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I just got home and used my test kits
Results are:

Nitrite is at 0.25 again!! No! I had it down to zero the past week. Maybe the eheim is still cycling. Plants getting nitrite burned?

Nitrates 3-5 ppm (dosed 4 ml this morning and the night before and disappeared) turns to 0 by evening test kit checks.

Phosphates 1-2 range

Ph (during co2 run) 6.6-6.8

Ammonia .5 (lots of dead plant matter I've been trying to remove)

Gh and kh are both at around 8
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post #13 of 59 (permalink) Old 08-06-2016, 11:53 PM Thread Starter
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Im shooting myself in the foot for switching filters. My tank was perfect and now it's a nightmare that never ends! I leave for a week on August 14th and am really worried what I'll come back too. Dead everything. For the past two weeks I have been trying to get it back to normal before I leave but that's not working out so great.
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post #14 of 59 (permalink) Old 08-06-2016, 11:58 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Smooch View Post
How long is your photo period? You've got lots of algae.

Since changing from HOB filters, what is the water flow around the tank like?

Your phosphate levels are fine.

I didn't have algae for 2 months. Lights ramp on at noon for 15 min to full intensity and then Dim starting around 9pm. It's been this way for a long time without algae. I had algae bad when I first set it up but it's returned along with the new filter setup.

I did have a week of no co2 injection and low light while setting up the eheim. Was having dead shrimp and was acclimating. Didn't work. But co2 is back up the past week and pearling is happening around the tank.

Water flow is really good with the eheim. Much better than when I had the HOBs. I had tons of water film issues with the HOBs. Don't see that anymore. Current isn't too strong at all for the 3 gallon. I wouldn't use that eheim 2211 on a tank any larger or it wouldn't be enough flow.
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post #15 of 59 (permalink) Old 08-07-2016, 12:31 AM
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It's best to avoid sudden changes with planted tanks - they're living systems after all. Unfortunately you've learned this lesson the hard way. I highly suspect an imbalanced microbial population as the root of your problems. I'm not sure if what you're seeing is nutrient deficiency rather than poor health due to a shift in parameters and ammonia. What's your pH during lights off?

Hopefully it will resolve itself - the lack of surface film is encouraging. In the meanwhile, manually remove as much algae and unhealthy plants/dead leaves as you can. If your tank is cycled in time, add a lot of amano shrimp - 1 per gallon.

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