Old tank Syndrome- Extremely High NITRATES - Page 2 - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #16 of 36 (permalink) Old 08-15-2020, 07:04 PM Thread Starter
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just a bump making sure I can still post. having issues
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post #17 of 36 (permalink) Old 08-16-2020, 10:33 AM
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Here's my take from what you've said. If your P levels are always at 0 then your plants will not uptake that nitrate. Plants require all nutrients in order to photosynthesize if you are missing one of the macro nutrients the plants will stop taking up the other two. If you are at 0 P then plants will not uptake any K or N.

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post #18 of 36 (permalink) Old 08-16-2020, 05:46 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by nothreat33 View Post
Here's my take from what you've said. If your P levels are always at 0 then your plants will not uptake that nitrate. Plants require all nutrients in order to photosynthesize if you are missing one of the macro nutrients the plants will stop taking up the other two. If you are at 0 P then plants will not uptake any K or N.

Thank you for the suggestion and you're right, which prompted me to test for phosphates. Over the years I have tested my P, was always 0, 6 weeks ago, I tested again, was 0. I just tested and was 10.0 ppm, the highest on the chart (API). Yesterday I tested my Nitrates at 40.0 ppm (API). Lights are off now, CO2 started at 10 AM, lights on at Noon, it's 10:18 my time MST, if that makes any difference. I have not dosed any ferts (PPS or E.I) since Thursday.
So, I'm scratching my head. I'm going to do a 50% WC here shortly and plan to not dose any fertilizer for quite some time, maybe 2 weeks.
Suggestions? and Thank you.
Brian

Bump: So decided to test again, for the phosphates and the nitrates, one before a WC and one after for both nitrates and phosphates. In the picture, the left is before and the right is after the WC
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post #19 of 36 (permalink) Old 08-16-2020, 06:23 PM
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Nitrate levels are looking good.

P is too high though unfortunately. It's commonly agreed upon that an aquarium with a P level consistently above 3ppm is at a high risk for an algae problem.

I dose 3ppm a few times a week so on average my heavily planted 20g long probably hovers around a consistent 1.5-2ppm on average. What I can say is that at a consistent 1.5-2ppm of P over the week it seems that is sufficient so that my plants grow well and P is never the limiting nutrient and algae (from too much P) isn't an issue. The amount reading here is more than plants need, and if there's too much of a nutrient that the plants can't use we know algae happily will.

The range of 1.5-2ppm of P is best for me and is the recommended "ideal" amount for planted tanks in general.

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post #20 of 36 (permalink) Old 08-16-2020, 07:24 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by nothreat33 View Post
Nitrate levels are looking good.

P is too high though unfortunately. It's commonly agreed upon that an aquarium with a P level consistently above 3ppm is at a high risk for an algae problem.

I dose 3ppm a few times a week so on average my heavily planted 20g long probably hovers around a consistent 1.5-2ppm on average. What I can say is that at a consistent 1.5-2ppm of P over the week it seems that is sufficient so that my plants grow well and P is never the limiting nutrient and algae (from too much P) isn't an issue. The amount reading here is more than plants need, and if there's too much of a nutrient that the plants can't use we know algae happily will.

The range of 1.5-2ppm of P is best for me and is the recommended "ideal" amount for planted tanks in general.
So, would you recommend that I should use some phosphate and nitrate reducing media in the canister filter?
I did a 50% WC today and will continue every 4 days, feed sparingly, no dosing of anything. This is a starting point, if nothing happens in the next 2-4 weeks, I'll add the media as well and see what that does. What are your thoughts? BTW, I also tested the tap water today and 0 phosphates and 0 nitrates. Thank you.
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post #21 of 36 (permalink) Old 08-16-2020, 08:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nothreat33 View Post
Here's my take from what you've said. If your P levels are always at 0 then your plants will not uptake that nitrate. Plants require all nutrients in order to photosynthesize if you are missing one of the macro nutrients the plants will stop taking up the other two. If you are at 0 P then plants will not uptake any K or N.
This seems like a side issue to the problem at hand. Even healthy growing plants are not going to be able to uptake enough nitrates to offset the rate of accumulation reported.
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post #22 of 36 (permalink) Old 08-16-2020, 09:03 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by ElleDee View Post
This seems like a side issue to the problem at hand. Even healthy growing plants are not going to be able to uptake enough nitrates to offset the rate of accumulation reported.
Trying to determine what the side issue could be, I have light bioload. I'm just going to chill on the fertilizers, I'll try some carbon, and let the aquarium "reset" itself. Diligent on the WC's, do this for 10-12 days. At that time, possibly slowly reintroduce the ferts, we'll see what happens.

Although I'm already looking into media to reduce the P&N.
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post #23 of 36 (permalink) Old 08-17-2020, 12:58 AM
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@BrianD I have a question for you. How are the plants doing?

Any pictures?

If the plants are doing well, I would not make any changes based on the readings.

If things are going poorly, may or may not have something to do with nutrient levels. Better to take a holistic approach and look at everything going on in the tank. Very rarely does a fert dosing change do much for solving problems.

And if you really want to be sure of your readings, make a reference solution so that you be sure your readings are correct. I can't tell you how many times there have been conversations like this and then turns out the premise was false.

I have directions on how to make reference solutions in a shared drive linked in my signature.
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post #24 of 36 (permalink) Old 08-17-2020, 04:25 AM
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Originally Posted by BrianD View Post
I just tested and was 10.0 ppm, the highest on the chart (API).
The reading could be 10ppm, but it could also be 20, 30 or 100ppm! That's the problem when you reach the range limits on the liquid test kits, there's no way of telling how out-of-range you are. So worth bearing in mind that you could do multiple 50% water changes and still seemingly be at 10ppm (e.g. if you actually had 40ppm, 1st 50% w/c would bring it to 20ppm, 2nd to 10ppm and only the 3rd would bring it down below 10ppm and within the range of the test kit). Just to rule out a possible source of confusion in case you were to find that water changes didn't seem to be doing anything.


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post #25 of 36 (permalink) Old 08-17-2020, 07:31 AM
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You probably have contaminated tap water. Can you measure your tap water for nitrates before you put it in the tank? Does your water supplier use chloramines to treat/purify water supplied to you?

yeah this really helped me in my situation! thank u for sharing this info!
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post #26 of 36 (permalink) Old 08-17-2020, 04:57 PM
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I have had similar problems with my tank even though fertilizer is measured. Turns out most of it was coming from Osmocote. If you're using Osmocote root tabs, you may be experiencing nitrate dump from them.
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post #27 of 36 (permalink) Old 08-17-2020, 06:32 PM
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A lot of great info here, but a few things I want to add.

1.) You need to make sure youíre using the test kit properly. This means shaking the absolute living bejeesus out of them. When that little instruction card says to shake it, it really means it!!

2.) If youíre nearing the high end of the scale, mix your tank water with an equal part of distilled or RO water. This will effectively half whatever youíre testing for. Once, I thought I was at 10ppm Phosphate until I mixed a sample with 4 parts RO water. This should have reduced my reading from 10ppm to 2ppm. Instead, it stayed at 10ppm. So, I then mixed it with 9 parts RO water, and only then did my reading come down to 5. I spent the longest time thinking I was at 10ppm Phosphate, when I was actually more like 50.

3.) Changing biological media wonít do anything to lower Nitrate, but changing mechanical filter media will. Changing out that floss and taking detritus out of the water column is never a bad thing. You could also add a prefilter somewhere thatís easy to get to, and rinse it every day to remove any mulm you can.

4.) You had mentioned adding carbon to remove nutrients, but carbon doesnít do too well at that. You can try to add Purigen instead, that stuff is incredible at removing dissolved organics.
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post #28 of 36 (permalink) Old 08-18-2020, 10:05 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Leaky Filter View Post
I have had similar problems with my tank even though fertilizer is measured. Turns out most of it was coming from Osmocote. If you're using Osmocote root tabs, you may be experiencing nitrate dump from them.
stopped the root tabs for awhile, in fact I fairly ever use them. I have Osmocote in caplets and Seachem root tabs as well.

Bump:
Quote:
Originally Posted by jellopuddinpop View Post
A lot of great info here, but a few things I want to add.

1.) You need to make sure youíre using the test kit properly. This means shaking the absolute living bejeesus out of them. When that little instruction card says to shake it, it really means it!!
Yes, I have done experiments with shaking just a little and shaking a lot, and it made a difference.
2.) If youíre nearing the high end of the scale, mix your tank water with an equal part of distilled or RO water. This will effectively half whatever youíre testing for. Once, I thought I was at 10ppm Phosphate until I mixed a sample with 4 parts RO water. This should have reduced my reading from 10ppm to 2ppm. Instead, it stayed at 10ppm. So, I then mixed it with 9 parts RO water, and only then did my reading come down to 5. I spent the longest time thinking I was at 10ppm Phosphate, when I was actually more like 50.
That is a great idea, I will do that.
3.) Changing biological media wonít do anything to lower Nitrate, but changing mechanical filter media will. Changing out that floss and taking detritus out of the water column is never a bad thing. You could also add a prefilter somewhere thatís easy to get to, and rinse it every day to remove any mulm you can.
Yep, that dense floss can get nasty and I throw it out more often than I rinse and save it, especially lately. Glad we've ruled out changing the biological filtration, I did not want to do it anyway. Even though I have been in this hobby for years, I struggle sometimes with the nitrogen cycle and when to change out the filtration medias.
4.) You had mentioned adding carbon to remove nutrients, but carbon doesnít do too well at that. You can try to add Purigen instead, that stuff is incredible at removing dissolved organics.
I have been looking into Purigen, I'll probably give it a try. thanks

Bump:
Quote:
Originally Posted by jellopuddinpop View Post
A lot of great info here, but a few things I want to add.

1.) You need to make sure youíre using the test kit properly. This means shaking the absolute living bejeesus out of them. When that little instruction card says to shake it, it really means it!!

2.) If youíre nearing the high end of the scale, mix your tank water with an equal part of distilled or RO water. This will effectively half whatever youíre testing for. Once, I thought I was at 10ppm Phosphate until I mixed a sample with 4 parts RO water. This should have reduced my reading from 10ppm to 2ppm. Instead, it stayed at 10ppm. So, I then mixed it with 9 parts RO water, and only then did my reading come down to 5. I spent the longest time thinking I was at 10ppm Phosphate, when I was actually more like 50.
That is a great idea, I will do that.
3.) Changing biological media wonít do anything to lower Nitrate, but changing mechanical filter media will. Changing out that floss and taking detritus out of the water column is never a bad thing. You could also add a prefilter somewhere thatís easy to get to, and rinse it every day to remove any mulm you can.
Yep, that dense floss can get nasty and I throw it out more often than I rinse and save it, especially lately. Glad we've ruled out changing the biological filtration, I did not want to do it anyway. Even though I have been in this hobby for years, I struggle sometimes with the nitrogen cycle and when to change out the filtration medias.
4.) You had mentioned adding carbon to remove nutrients, but carbon doesnít do too well at that. You can try to add Purigen instead, that stuff is incredible at removing dissolved organics.

1)Yes, I have done experiments with shaking just a little and shaking a lot, and it made a difference.
2)That is a great idea, I will do that.
3)Yep, that dense floss can get nasty and I throw it out more often than I rinse and save it, especially lately. Glad we've ruled out changing the biological filtration, I did not want to do it anyway. Even though I have been in this hobby for years, I struggle sometimes with the nitrogen cycle and when to change out the filtration medias.
4)I have been looking into Purigen, I'll probably give it a try. thanks
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post #29 of 36 (permalink) Old 08-18-2020, 10:17 PM Thread Starter
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I have been testing the N and P daily and the values are dropping. One interesting thing to note is that the P was very high when the lights were out. When I retested about 4 hours later when lights were on, it was lower, about 20 PPM if I remember correctly.
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post #30 of 36 (permalink) Old 08-20-2020, 02:18 AM
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Originally Posted by ElleDee View Post
I would not make the assumption that your tap water is fine because nitrate contamination is not that uncommon. If you test it and it's 0 you can rule it out as a source.
Post #4 He tested it.

Bump: I was a lot more comfortable with the results of my API nitrate test after calibrating it. Kind of a pain but it was helpful. I was also dealing with high nitrates so I quit dosing it. Dropped the potassium nitrate in my EI dosage and starting using potassium sulfate.
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