2+ months in, super high nitrate. Help me sort this out. - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-18-2018, 12:21 AM Thread Starter
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2+ months in, super high nitrate. Help me sort this out.

You can see the API read out from the tubes on the bottom left. I just did a rescaped the tank figuring the nitrate was due to dead plant matted but after i have ran the siphon and 50% water change last weekend i still have high nitrate. i have started dosing less ferts and did a water change today and planned on another tomorrow(normal 50% water change day.)

Ferts EI Dosing+ Seachem excel and iron on micro days.

TDS-250
PH-6.8
Ammonia-0
Nitrite-0
Nitrate-80-160ppm
GH-9
KH-4
Pressurized CO2-not sure of BPS may 5-7

Stock
1 oto cat
3 amano shrimp
and a few bladder snails
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-18-2018, 12:33 AM
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What is the nitrate level of your tap water? With such a low stock, my guess would be either water source or a faulty test (or lack of shaking bottle #2 enough). Did you nuke any algae lately? What substrate are you using? A little more info can help us diagnose your issue.
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-18-2018, 12:44 AM Thread Starter
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Tap water looks to run in the 5-10ppm range.

I run the test per API's instructions, the high reading's has been the same for a about a month now.

I always clean algae prior to my water changes. this test was taken after the water change but usually if fill the test tube as step one.

Substrate-Eco-complete
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-18-2018, 12:51 AM
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You don't really have that much plant mass so a lot of the nitrate you're adding isn't being used.

How much light do you have and how long is your photoperiod? The plants don't look that happy so I'm wondering if you have too much light.
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-18-2018, 12:59 AM Thread Starter
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I have a current Current USA Satellite and a Beamswork DA 6500K pent

Photoperiod--6am-10am--4pm-9pm

The Rotala has been growing pretty fast, maybe 4-5inches a week. Nothing looks like it's going to die.
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-18-2018, 01:07 AM
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Okay, not too high out of the tap. I would skip dosing KNO3 until you need it. EI is just a rough guideline to follow. If you are getting high readings of any one of the macros, you can simply omit them until needed. That's the beauty of dry fertilizers. Continue to do a few more water changes until you are in the 10-20 ppm range with nitrates. I'd aim to keep phosphates at 1-2 ppm. Being as we can't test for potassium (without expensive testing equipment), try accounting for all potassium sources and get them roughly in the same range as nitrates, if not a bit more. Imbalances of macro nutrients can slow uptake or even lock up others.

A quick glance at your picture shows me that you have an insane amount of light for a somewhat lightly planted Iwagumi scape. I'd cut the intensity by half for starters. Either raise them or use a pwm dimmer (under $8). This will keep algae at bay until plants can catch up. You can always raise intensity as your plants get more mass. Keep the CO2 flow the same if you want. It won't hurt anything.

Hope this helps some.

Just noticed your photo period. No need for siesta when injecting CO2... unless you want them to run for viewing reasons. I'd cut photo period to 6-8 hours at most.

Last edited by madcrafted; 03-18-2018 at 01:12 AM. Reason: added info
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-18-2018, 01:21 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you for the advice.

One question i do have, how do i go about checking phosphate levels?

As for the light levels do you think just cutting the Current USA Satellite off will be sufficient?

You point to dosing as the issue. This is what i have been dosing @15ml mixed in 500ml in a 40B.

KNO3 84.868 gm (approximately 16 1/4 teaspoons)
KH2PO4 12.927 gm (approximately 2 1/4 teaspoons)
Plantex CSM+B 53.139 gm (approximately 12 1/4 teaspoons)
Optional: K2SO4 34.024 gm (approximately 5 1/4 teaspoons)

Last edited by quentin16564; 03-18-2018 at 01:44 AM. Reason: more info added
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-18-2018, 01:49 AM
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API makes a phosphate test kit. Cutting one light will only limit the spread. Most low to mid level LEDs have poor spread the further off center you go (like after 6 inches), especially when resting on the tank's rim . You'll have some plants getting blasted still while others are not receiving enough. You'll get better spread if you raise just one of them and center it over the tank, but your PAR levels will drop drastically. Best to use a dimmer for both lights to get a good spread but with less intensity. You would need to beef up the power supply if you went this route because you are using one power supply to power both lights. Still can be done easily and inexpensively. I understand if you don't want to bother with stripping wires and screwing them into the dimmer. Not everyone's cup of tea. That leaves one last option. Use of a screen of sorts. I have used some black crochet mesh between the light and tank with success. Just don't attach to light itself or it could very well melt.

As for dosing, if nitrates are that high, you are wasting your KNO3. Doesn't matter what calculators say to measure out... if you don't have the plant mass to utilize it, it will feed algae. EI is based on heavy plant mass along with high light and CO2 levels. You have two of those things. Changes need to be made in your particular case. Same with everyone. Nobody really follows the EI to the tee.
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-18-2018, 02:10 AM Thread Starter
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Great advice, i thank you for your input.

Should i continue the micro dosing+ the iron and excel?

Last edited by quentin16564; 03-18-2018 at 02:30 AM. Reason: info add
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-18-2018, 02:49 AM
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Your welcome.

Yes to the micros and no to the Excel. I reserve the Excel for spot treatments only. It's pretty nasty stuff, IMO. You'll have no need for Excel if you cut your light intensity. The algae won't have much chance of survival if plants are healthy and receive a proper balance of light, nutrients and CO2. It has been proven time and time again. It's getting that balance that can sometimes be tricky. Most of us have had that moment of impatience and want instant results. As you gain more experience, you'll realize that it is better to be proactive than reactive. I don't even fool with fertilizing during the first couple of weeks of starting a tank. My tap water itself is usually sufficient during this time. I keep my photo period and light intensity low at first. Plants need time to adapt to the change when being replanted into a new environment. I have plants sitting in a bowl of tap water in a window sill for months now (with water changes every few days). They are all healthy and vibrant green but receive indirect sunlight most of the day.
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post #11 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-18-2018, 03:03 AM Thread Starter
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i thank you for your advice.
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