Am I reading my NO2 test wrong? - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-23-2017, 12:12 AM Thread Starter
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Am I reading my NO2 test wrong?

So I'm running a high-tech 65 gallon heavily planted tank. Over the last few days my nitrites have been slightly raised. In fact, despite water changes, my parameters remain consistently at:

0 ppm NH4
0.3 ppm NO2
5 ppm NO3

Two days ago I did a 50% water change and yesterday I did a 30% water change. No change in parameters.

I want to do a water change to get the NO2 down, but I'm worried so many water changes might be stressful on my fish. One of my ottos died shortly after a water change last night. Should I change the water tonight or wait until the morning?

I have been adding Prime and Nite-Out II after my water changes to try to detoxify the NO2 and help the filter convert it to NO3.

Is it possible I am reading the tests wrong?
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-23-2017, 12:19 AM
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Are you using strips or liquid? If using liquid kit by api it should be light blue with no tint of purple, it is possible if using liquid you could have gotten a little extra of the solution in the tube, if using strips they are inaccurate and I would suggest getting a liquid test kit.

What water conditioner do you use I would recommend seachem Prime if you're not using it already


EDIT : read you use prime which locks ammonia and nitrites, never heard about nite-out as prime does everything, is this a new tank setup?

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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-23-2017, 12:22 AM Thread Starter
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I use the Nutrafin liquid test. It's the test I have always used and I really like the product. I have also been using Prime as a conditioner and Nite-Out II as a boost for the beneficial bacteria.

Edit: The tank has been running for nearly 3 months and has been planted for just over a month. I added the ottos 5 days ago when I started noticing a few diatoms and soft green algae. I have been watching the parameters like a hawk as I know they are sensitive fish.

Last edited by Trinny; 09-23-2017 at 12:27 AM. Reason: Clarity
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-23-2017, 02:11 AM
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Don't need to boost beneficial bacteria if you have media that's well established, if you have cartridge filters I'd look into modifying them with media (cheapest route) or save up and get a good filter as you should not have to add the nite-out.

Yes you can over clean a tank, multiple water changes back to back can also kill fish because of all the fluctuations in water chemistry, you sure you don't have a dead fish in the tank somewhere, or rotting plants? What about excess buildup of uneaten food

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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-23-2017, 02:36 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by p0tluck View Post
Don't need to boost beneficial bacteria if you have media that's well established, if you have cartridge filters I'd look into modifying them with media (cheapest route) or save up and get a good filter as you should not have to add the nite-out.

Yes you can over clean a tank, multiple water changes back to back can also kill fish because of all the fluctuations in water chemistry, you sure you don't have a dead fish in the tank somewhere, or rotting plants? What about excess buildup of uneaten food

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Thank you for the reply!

I have an Eheim 2217, which should be plenty of filtration for a 65 gallon. There may, however, be a dead nerite snail. I've been doing a sniff test on him every other day, but so far haven't had that HORRIBLE smell they emit after dying. I also gave him a little shake this morning to see if he would fall out of his shell, but he's locked in tight. I'm reluctant to take him out of the tank if he's still alive.

Also, uneaten food is unlikely since the only food I've put in is blanched veggies and I promptly remove the uneaten pieces.

Rotting plants may be the culprit. I put some Nymphoides hydrophylla 'Taiwan' into the tank last weekend and they melted back a bit. I was going to give them time to adjust to the tank, but maybe for the sake of my fish I will need to pull them.

I guess I'm just confused why the nitrites always seem to be 0.3 ppm, but the ammonia never goes above 0 ppm. If I'm testing every day shouldn't I see ammonia go up and then nitrite? And if I changed 80% of the water (50% one day and 30% the next) shouldn't I see at least a small change in nitrite reading?

And thanks for the advice regarding the water changes. I'll hold off until the morning to give them a break and test again. I don't want another otto death.
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-23-2017, 04:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trinny View Post
Thank you for the reply!

I have an Eheim 2217, which should be plenty of filtration for a 65 gallon. There may, however, be a dead nerite snail. I've been doing a sniff test on him every other day, but so far haven't had that HORRIBLE smell they emit after dying. I also gave him a little shake this morning to see if he would fall out of his shell, but he's locked in tight. I'm reluctant to take him out of the tank if he's still alive.

Also, uneaten food is unlikely since the only food I've put in is blanched veggies and I promptly remove the uneaten pieces.

Rotting plants may be the culprit. I put some Nymphoides hydrophylla 'Taiwan' into the tank last weekend and they melted back a bit. I was going to give them time to adjust to the tank, but maybe for the sake of my fish I will need to pull them.

I guess I'm just confused why the nitrites always seem to be 0.3 ppm, but the ammonia never goes above 0 ppm. If I'm testing every day shouldn't I see ammonia go up and then nitrite? And if I changed 80% of the water (50% one day and 30% the next) shouldn't I see at least a small change in nitrite reading?

And thanks for the advice regarding the water changes. I'll hold off until the morning to give them a break and test again. I don't want another otto death.
No need to pull the plants as most pants will melt at first just trim the melt off and let the plant adjust and grow, Cause plants actually benefit the tank. You should never change 80% of the water unless there's a huge catastrophic event I do 30% every 10 days and my tank never spikes, maybe a bad test kit, if you have no ammonia, 0.3 nitrite and 5ppm nitrate your tank is cycled, it could be still mini cycling from the huge water changes you perform, you only need to do 30% weekly, well let me rephrase that "I" only need to do 30% should never have to go over that but sometimes 50%, and it should be weekly not every day.

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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-23-2017, 11:46 AM Thread Starter
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That's relieving. I guess I just panicked when I noticed the presence of nitrates, especially with ottos in the tank. I didn't perform a water change last night and the 0.3 ppm reading stayed constant until this morning. But I also tested my tap water and it read 0 ppm, so there must be SOMETHING in the tank that is raising it a bit. Instead of a water change I'll trim the melted plant.

On a happier note: I woke up this morning to my ottos FINALLY eating and FINALLY pooping. I never thought I would be so excited over poop in my fish tank! Things must not be too bad if they are showing good signs like that. The pooper had a nice fat belly and was munching on a bit of soft algae on the glass. The poo was dark coloured too, which is a good sign. The other was chowing down on a cucumber. The third is hiding in the back corner. Not sure if he will make it. He was one of the weaker ones that I got and might have a slightly bent spine

The plan was to get 4 more today (one week after adding the first) for a group of 7, but maybe I should wait for better nitrite readings.
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-23-2017, 06:29 PM
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I always tend to let a new tank settle more to get bacteria in/on everything before cleaning too much. but something to keep in mind is that a large filter does convert more ammonia as it has more housing and therefore tends to have more bacteria.
But that large filter can't actually remove the pollution but may in fact be hiding a big pile of junk! So as a way to remove and reduce nitrate, we change water but then it may not make a great deal of difference if we have a nitrate factory hidden in the filter. Done carefully so that lots of good bacteria is not killed, a filter cleaning can make a big dent in the nitrate readings.
But before advising that , I also like to mention not doing too many things at the same time to cure any problem. While high nitrate may not be good, it is certainly better than fighting it so hard that we cause a loss of lots of bacteria. If we do too many things too close together it is kind of rocking the boat and we can create a situation where we lose track of what is going on and get into a bit of a death spiral.
I read that oto dying is a pretty common thing and the tank may not be all that much to blame.
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-23-2017, 09:21 PM
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5ppm nitrate is Not high, 0.3 nitrite is kinda odd, nitrates above I'd say 25 - 40 ppm is what i would worry about but I don't have Ottos, ammonia /nitrite is what you worry about while keeping nitrate at 5-20 ppm

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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-26-2017, 12:49 AM Thread Starter
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Update: I left the tank alone for a few days and the new readings are 0 Ammonia, 0 Nitrite and 0 Nitrate. What gives? I did notice that my plants had a growth spurt over the past few days. Especially my Althernanthera reineckii and Ceratopteris thalictroides. The Alternanthera reineckii looks like it grew 1/2" in less than 24 hours! Maybe it's time to up the bioload or dosing Nitrogen?
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post #11 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-11-2017, 06:12 PM
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Burst of growth could cause the plants to consume a large portion of Nirtrate especially considering your levels were fairly low to begin with at 5ppm. Any update on the tank?


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