Help extremely high Nitrates - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-17-2017, 06:52 PM Thread Starter
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Help extremely high Nitrates

Hi I just tested my water in both of my tanks and seriously had a heart attack.

Shrimp/Guppy Tank:
4 Guppies (2 male 2 female)
10-20 RCS
10 Gallons, Running a sponge filter.
Has a small amazon sword in it a ton of java moss and a small ~7" long piece of anubias. It's a newer tank so the Nitrate doesn't really bother me its still acceptable for me.
PH: 7.0-7.2
Ammonia:0 ppm
Nitrite: 0ppm
Nitrate: 10 ppm

Here is what really scared me.
My mail display tank:
55 gallons running on a Fluval 306 Canister.
Regular weekly water changes of 20%
2 Medium sized angelfish
2 Cobalt Blue Gourami
12 Neon Tetra
5 Bronze Corydoras
PH: 7.2
Ammonia:0 ppm
Nitrite:0 ppm
Nitrate: 80-160 ppm (couldn't really tell checked with API Master Test kit)
The tank has been running for over 2 years, substrate is sand that gets vacuumed once a week, has 6 small amazon swords in it, like 13 7" long stems of Bacopa, about 20" of Anubias. Fertilize it with Seachem Root Tabs. To add on there is no algae bloom which id usually expect with high Nitrates Algae is under control, fish don't show any signs of high nitrates either they all seem happy and healthy.

What can I do to lower the Nitrate, what could cause this huge Nitrate reading?

Last edited by AlonsoOrtiz; 09-17-2017 at 07:01 PM. Reason: More info
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-17-2017, 07:04 PM
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Best way to lower it would be a water change imo. Did you miss a water change? I would also check for any dead fish or plants. If it's not that, then maybe your plants aren't able to process as much nitrate as usual, are they showing any signs of poor health?
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-17-2017, 07:11 PM Thread Starter
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Currently doing a 50% water change gonna wait an hour then check readings and do more water changes if necessary. I never miss water changes don't have school or work Saturday so I do all my maintenance on Saturday. Plants and fish are all healthy haven't had a death at all nothing is showing signs of poor health thats why it surprised and concerned me so much.

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Originally Posted by myessail View Post
Best way to lower it would be a water change imo. Did you miss a water change? I would also check for any dead fish or plants. If it's not that, then maybe your plants aren't able to process as much nitrate as usual, are they showing any signs of poor health?
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-17-2017, 07:29 PM
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Check your tap for nitrates is first, see what the level is if the supply, how often do you feed and how much? should be 2-3 x a day @ small servings not one big one at one time, when was the last time you cleaned the filter as food and fish waste builds up in them, up your water change to 30%, Clean filter pads in a bucket of tank water (not tap water) if not been cleaned in the last month (as I clean mine once every 3-4 weeks), if dosing nitrates stop as the plants you have are not nitrate hogs so they don't consume the nitrates like others, is also important to note aquarium plants alough they do eat nitrates prefer ammonia, but the main thing right now is to see what your tap reads because you might just be adding it back in to fix this you can cut it with distilled water, or RO water, if low do bigger water changes I would start at 30%-35% no need to do 50 imo, you do have a pretty full load of fish so you might have to do 2x20% a week instead of one.

Just know nitrates aren't going to kill your fish, they do weaken the immune system which makes them more susceptible to illnesses, infection etc etc, but the lower the better of course, you could also get a Golden pothos and just put the roots inside the tank and let the plant grow immersed out of the tank.

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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-17-2017, 07:32 PM
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To me(and a lot of others I think) the API nitrate test is very hard to read once nitrates get to higher levels on the scale. I used to use the API kit but have switched to the Seachem kit. It's still hard to read higher levels but seems a bit easier to me. What I do to make it easier is dilute the test water 50/50 with RO water and then take the reading times 2. By doing that it gets the reading lower on the scale where I can see the color difference more easily. My eyes can't really see the difference between say 30 and 60 because both are so dark. At some point it just becomes a guess.
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-17-2017, 07:34 PM Thread Starter
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Tests my tap water right now too. I feed twice a day small feedings they usually eat it up within two minutes. I don't dose any nitrate only thing I add is the root tabs mainly for the Swords. I cleaned the filter two weeks ago in table ater so I don't think that could be the problem but I'm mgive it a clean right now while I'm at it.

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Originally Posted by p0tluck View Post
Check your tap for nitrates is first, see every the level is if the supply, how often do you feed and how much? should be 2-3 x a day @ small servings not one big one at one time, when was the last time you cleaned the filter as food and fish waste builds up in them, up your water change to 30%, Clean filter pads in a bucket of tank water (not tap water) if not been cleaned in the last month (as I clean mine once every 3-4 weeks), if dosing nitrates stop as the plants you have are not nitrate hogs so they don't consume the nitrates like others is also important to note aquarium plants alough they do eat nitrates prefer ammonia, but the main thing right now is to see what your tap reads and do bigger water changes I would start at 30%-35% no need to do 50 imo, you do have a pretty full load of fish so you might have to do 2x20% a week instead of one.

Just know nitrates aren't going to kill your fish, they do weaken the immune system which makes them more susceptible to illnesses, invections etc etc, but the list the better, you could also get a Golden pothos and just hanged the roots inside the tank and let the plant grow immersed out of the tank.

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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-17-2017, 07:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlonsoOrtiz View Post
Tests my tap water right now too. I feed twice a day small feedings they usually eat it up within two minutes. I don't dose any nitrate only thing I add is the root tabs mainly for the Swords. I cleaned the filter two weeks ago in table ater so I don't think that could be the problem but I'm mgive it a clean right now while I'm at it.
No need to clean it again, if it was just done, test tap, do 2 x weekly 20-25%, you could do a full tank flush where you drain 50% fill 30% drain 25% but it's not needed and I don't exactly know how to do it but it takes several hours to perform.

And if not done right the water chemistry swings can kill the fish

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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-17-2017, 07:55 PM Thread Starter
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Just finished up a 50% water change and truly don't know if I should be embarrassed or relieved. I think I somehow got a false test because tested both my tap and tank (before adding the water back in) water again for nitrate and got the following results (left tap right tank) needless to say I'm glad. So tank got a total of 70% water change from yesterday and today combined lol. Don't know why it didn't occur to me to do a second test to confirm because my nitrate usually falls between 0-5 ppm

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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlonsoOrtiz View Post
Tests my tap water right now too. I feed twice a day small feedings they usually eat it up within two minutes. I don't dose any nitrate only thing I add is the root tabs mainly for the Swords. I cleaned the filter two weeks ago in table ater so I don't think that could be the problem but I'm mgive it a clean right now while I'm at it.
No need to clean it again, if it was just done, test tap, do 2 x weekly 20-25%, you could do a full tank flush where you drain 50% fill 30% drain 25% but it's not needed and I don't exactly know how to do it but it takes several hours to perform.

And if not done right the water chemistry swings can kill the fish

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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-17-2017, 08:29 PM
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Are you shaking bottle #2 vigorously for 30 seconds before you test?, shaking vile for a min and letting it sit 5 min? Also hold the bottle straight up and down.

Is very hard to achieve 0 ppm as you want 5-40

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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-17-2017, 08:37 PM Thread Starter
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Yes I am to all of that I'm just really confused never had a false reading I'm waiting about an hour then I'm gonna do another nitrate test.

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Originally Posted by p0tluck View Post
Are you shaking bottle #2 vigorously for 30 seconds before you test?, shaking vile for a min and letting it sit 5 min? Also hold the bottle straight up and down.

Is very hard to achieve 0 ppm as you want 5-40

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