Help Can I do a very high% water chng Nitrates TOO high - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 58 (permalink) Old 03-10-2019, 09:43 PM Thread Starter
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Exclamation Help Can I do a very high% water chng Nitrates TOO high

I have a 20 g long planted low tech tank that has way to high nitrates right now. I am not looking to fix the cause of the High NO3. I uderstand what causes high levels. Right now I urgently just need to reduce the nitrate levels as quick as possible. I have lost a few cardinal tetras in the last few days and was too busy to tend to the issue. I just did a 50% water change and the levels are still around the 40-80 PPM color range (according to my API test kit).

Tank has been fully cycled since last April.
Ammonia is between 0 and .25ppms

What other options do I have to get the Nitrate levels down to safer level TODAY before I awake to another dead fish?

Can I do another 50% immediately?

Would raising or lowering the temperature temporarily help lower my chances of attrition?
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post #2 of 58 (permalink) Old 03-10-2019, 10:14 PM
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I doubt elevated nitrate levels is killing fish that quickly, Is the nitrate from bioload or fertilisers? Are you sure that there is 0.25ppm ammonia, or could this be a test kit problem?

You should be fine to do another large water change, don't bother changing the temperature of the tank.

The API nitrate test kit is notoriously inaccurate, make sure you shake the hell out of the second test bottle before using it to avoid false readings.

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post #3 of 58 (permalink) Old 03-10-2019, 10:20 PM
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Originally Posted by rosssurf View Post
I have a 20 g long planted low tech tank that has way to high nitrates right now. I am not looking to fix the cause of the High NO3. I uderstand what causes high levels. Right now I urgently just need to reduce the nitrate levels as quick as possible. I have lost a few cardinal tetras in the last few days and was too busy to tend to the issue. I just did a 50% water change and the levels are still around the 40-80 PPM color range (according to my API test kit).

Tank has been fully cycled since last April.
Ammonia is between 0 and .25ppms

What other options do I have to get the Nitrate levels down to safer level TODAY before I awake to another dead fish?

Can I do another 50% immediately?

Would raising or lowering the temperature temporarily help lower my chances of attrition?
API nitrate test is not very accurate from 40+ ppm I can't tell shades of red from 40 - 80 you may be misled.
You can dilute your sample down to 10 and 5 ppm to get a little more accuracy.

If your tank really is very high in nitrates just do 3 successive 50% water changes.
If you do 3X 50% water changes that is the same as a 87.5% water change and should be more than enough.
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post #4 of 58 (permalink) Old 03-11-2019, 04:29 AM
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I don't have a solution for this problem and no expert.

I am running into the same issue right now. And yes high nitrates are killing my neon tetras. I am aware that nitrates are not toxic, however they reduce the oxygen in water and all fishes start gasping. Tetras are the ones that didn't bother gasping and died.
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post #5 of 58 (permalink) Old 03-11-2019, 06:01 AM
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@rosssurf
Check the nitrates in your tap water. Knowing what you are starting with will help. I was struggling with nitrates and decided to check my tap water only to find that I have somewhere between 5 and 10 ppm before it even gets into the tank. This kind of put a kink in things and I had to really accelerate my water changes. As this is a 180 gallon tank, it was becoming a huge chore and I had to resort to a pretty agressive continuous water change system. A 20g tank is much more manageable. Regardless of whether you have nitrates in your tap, you should be able to get it under control with more water changes. At the very least; knowing what you are starting with will help you to narrow down the cause of your excess nitrates.
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Last edited by AguaScape; 03-11-2019 at 06:12 AM. Reason: edit
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post #6 of 58 (permalink) Old 03-11-2019, 01:37 PM
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post #7 of 58 (permalink) Old 03-11-2019, 04:30 PM
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Back to back water changes to get to desired ppm of nitrates and no ammonia.

High nitrates do not directly kill, but (across time) from continuous exposure contribute to stress of fish which weakens the immunity and puts the fish at risk of disease. The level of stress depends on tolerance level of the fish. Some fish species have a higher threshold of tolerance for dissolved organics than others- neon tetras aren't one of them. Neon tetras come from waters very low in organics and are not genetically equipped to tolerate high levels. Their requirements for low dissolved organics are much higher then other fish.
Most fish in the aquarium die from environmental stressors, the most prevalent being declining water quality ( which includes more than rising nitrates, ammonia, or nitrite).
The solution is consistent water changes- weekly, with the volume of change dependent on bio-load.
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post #8 of 58 (permalink) Old 03-11-2019, 04:39 PM
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Is the nitrate from bioload or fertilisers?
Yep, that's the key question. If it's from bioload/feeding etc then you can add carbon or purigen to the filter which will remove organics before they breakdown. Either way as mentioned, consistent regular water changes are always a good idea.
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post #9 of 58 (permalink) Old 03-11-2019, 11:15 PM
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What is more harmful, x ppm NO3 from organics or x ppm NO3 from fertilizer?

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post #10 of 58 (permalink) Old 03-12-2019, 02:02 AM
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What is more harmful, x ppm NO3 from organics or x ppm NO3 from fertilizer?
Organics.

At least that what Tom Barr has always said!!

And his tanks are pretty darn beautiful. And lots of healthy fish too!


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post #11 of 58 (permalink) Old 03-12-2019, 02:21 AM
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Organics.
At least that what Tom Barr has always said!!
Isnít it a good time to get more ďEIĒ tattoos?
How many do you have?

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post #12 of 58 (permalink) Old 03-12-2019, 02:27 AM
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Isn’t it a good time to get more “EI” tattoos?
How many do you have?
I keep looking and looking but don't see any other methods that work around here.

And to the OP, I don't think you can ever change too much water.

I'm guessing lack of water changes led to your high Nitrates?

In general, large water changes are the single best thing you can do for both fish and plant health.

Good luck and I hope you get it solved.
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post #13 of 58 (permalink) Old 03-12-2019, 02:37 AM
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I keep looking and looking but don't see any other methods that work around here.
What is 20/20 Vision?

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post #14 of 58 (permalink) Old 03-12-2019, 01:10 PM
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I have the same issue. My take is a 75G planted very heavy. I am changing maybe 30% of the water, already did it twice. I did loose all the guppies and amano shrimp and some neon tetra. The levels dont seem to go down only right after I make the water change, in a week the levels are high again. I noticed that my snails tend to get white and then die. Is there something I am missing?
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post #15 of 58 (permalink) Old 03-12-2019, 02:48 PM
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I have the same issue. My take is a 75G planted very heavy. I am changing maybe 30% of the water, already did it twice. I did loose all the guppies and amano shrimp and some neon tetra. The levels dont seem to go down only right after I make the water change, in a week the levels are high again. I noticed that my snails tend to get white and then die. Is there something I am missing?
High NO3 is slowly killing your fauna.
The only option is to flush it with large water changes until you reach manageable levels. Are you dosing NO3?

ADA Aqua Design Amano recommended NO3 levels are up to 5 ppm in the water column. Anything higher should be remedied by water changes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Edward View Post
All in all, considering the circumstances, maybe I can help some by sharing this information.

NO3 Evaluation
< 2 ppm
Good

5 - 10 ppm
Over-nourished. Nitrate is accumulating. If the condition does not improve after water change, there may be too many fish.

20 Ė 45 ppm
Excessively over-nourish. Nitrate has accumulated considerably and is obstructing the growth of the aquatic plants or the health of the fish.

> 45 ppm
Abnormal. The result is unrealistic.


PO4 Evaluation
0.05 ppm
Number of fish and conditions for plant cultivation are well balanced.

0.1 Ė 0.5 ppm
Indicates a slight abundance of nutrients. Make sure you donít have too many fish.

1 ppm
Indicates overabundance of nutrients. There is an excess accumulation of phosphate. If your plants arenít absorbing enough nutrients, increase the number of plants and supply potassium and other trace elements to promote the absorption of your plants.


TH Evaluation (Total Hardness CaCO3)
< 50 ppm (2.8 dGH)
Acceptable limits (Favorable water conditions for most aquatic plants.)

50 - 100 ppm (2.8 Ė 5.6 dGH)
Hardness is mildly high. Terminal buds of stemmed plants such as Hemianthus Micranthemoides and Glossostigma will turn white, leaves will grow smaller and the growth of plants will be disrupted.

>100 ppm (5.6 dGH)
Hardness is abnormally high.


---
References:
Aqua Design Amano Co., Ltd.
The Art & Science of Aquatic Gardening

ADA Water Parameter Evaluation
Pack Checker series | ADA - PRODUCT - WATER CONDITION & TERATMENT

ADA_NO3_Evaluation
http://www.adana.co.jp/en/contents/s...ls/NO3_WEB.pdf

ADA_PO4_Evaluation
http://www.adana.co.jp/en/contents/s...ls/PO4_WEB.pdf

ADA_Total_Hardness_Evaluation
http://www.adana.co.jp/en/contents/s...als/TH_WEB.pdf

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