High nitrates - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-15-2018, 10:08 PM Thread Starter
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High nitrates

Hi all. I need some help. I have 5 tanks-55 gal, 36 gal, 12 gal, 5 gal, 2.5 gal. I do regular water changes on all of them. Three have CO2- one is on a ph regulated system, one is pressurized CO2 and one has a DYI CO2 system. All of my parameters are within relatively normal range except the nitrates. All of my tanks have super high nitrates. I tested my GH and it is very high. Here's my question. Do I need to start adding RO to my water changes? If I start with 25% will this change my ph? I want to plan ahead and maybe reduce the CO2 to make sure my ph doesn't drop too low. I guess I'm not really sure about the relationship of RO to other parameters. Also if I add RO to my water changes do I have to start adding other supplements? Or do you have to do that when using pure RO? Thanks for your expertise.
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-15-2018, 11:23 PM
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Lets go like Jack the Ripper, part by part...

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Originally Posted by crazyforaquariums View Post
All of my tanks have super high nitrates.
Do you know the font of those nitrates? Does it comes from high fish load/food waste, fertilizers or it's already present in your tap water? And how much are your nitrate levels in the tanks (or in your tap water)?

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Originally Posted by crazyforaquariums View Post
I tested my GH and it is very high.
Again, how much high? You may share as much as you know about your water parameters for us to see more of the whole picture to help you better. Also, GH doesn't interfere with pH drop by CO2.

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Originally Posted by crazyforaquariums View Post
Do I need to start adding RO to my water changes?
If you see that your high nitrates come from your tap water, yes. RO water, deionized water or even distilled water should help decreasing those nitrate levels.

If your high nitrates come from fish load/food waste (and not from your tap water), you should do more water changes or a higher volume each time, or feed less your fish, or do a better maintenance on your tanks to remove fish feces, dying leafs etc, or all of it together. It will depend on how high is your nitrates. Again, how much is it?

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Originally Posted by crazyforaquariums View Post
If I start with 25% will this change my ph? I want to plan ahead and maybe reduce the CO2 to make sure my ph doesn't drop too low.
It will depend on the KH level (and not GH level) of your tap water and, consequently, of your tank. If it is already very very low (0~0.5) °dH, DO water will almost not change at all the pH drop. But if your KH is 1 or more, adding 25% DO water or more will impact the pH drop. But we need to know what is your KH right now to help you plan ahead.

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Originally Posted by crazyforaquariums View Post
I guess I'm not really sure about the relationship of RO to other parameters. Also if I add RO to my water changes do I have to start adding other supplements? Or do you have to do that when using pure RO? Thanks for your expertise.
RO/DI water will loose almost all ions and other stuff dissolved into it. So the GH will drop (calcium and magnesium concentrations), KH will drop (bicarbonates), nitrates, phosphates and all other ions will be very very low in concentration (or even zero). So when using RO/DI water, you should know the GH KH nitrates phosphates from your tap water and from your RO/DI water in order to know how much to use of each of them, and if necessary, to add Calcium, Magnesium, carbonates/bicarbonates and other ions to restore some important properties of the water.

I hope I could clarify things a little bit and help you.
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-16-2018, 01:17 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks so much. My KH is 71.6 ppm and my KH is > 214 ppm. My ph is around 6.8 if I have CO2 and 7.6 without. Ammonia between 0 and .25 ppm, nitrites are 0, nitrates are 80-160. I do weekly 30% water changes which does not seem to affect my nitrate level. One thing I need to do is check my canister filters. I also need to check my tap water parameters. I have not done that. I became aware of my nitrates because I'm not seeing any growth in my plants despite adequate lighting, CO2, etc. I read somewhere that high nitrates levels can stunt your plants. Thanks for the great information. I will check my tap water and get back to you tomorrow. I'm at work right now.
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-16-2018, 05:58 PM
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In for an answer concerning high nitrates causing stunting/uptake inhibition as well. Mine are consistently 80+ even with water changes and I don't think my plants are growing as well as my planted tanks from years ago that didn't have the nitrate issue I'm having today.

My tank journal.

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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-16-2018, 09:25 PM Thread Starter
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Hi again. Checked my tap water and here are the parameters: GH is . 214 ppm, KH is 107 ppm and ph is 7.6. Thanks
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-17-2018, 04:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crazyforaquariums View Post
Hi again. Checked my tap water and here are the parameters: GH is . 214 ppm, KH is 107 ppm and ph is 7.6. Thanks
The main question: do you have nitrates in your tap water?
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-18-2018, 05:05 PM Thread Starter
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No nitrates in tap water. Cleaned out my canister filters really good. Nitrates are now below 20 ppm. Thanks. Learned a lot from your help. Hopefully my plants will grow now.
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