Are my Nitrates too high - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 07-14-2012, 12:34 PM Thread Starter
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Are my Nitrates too high

Hi there, just a quick question.

Last weekend I did a 'spring clean' of my planted tank (trimmed some plants, vacummed around the substrate and in-between roots, cleaned the filter and media etc).

I cleaned the filter using the water that I removed from the tank in order not to kill all my bacteria.

I did a 50% water change, and generally gave it a tidy up.

Just now I decided to test the water prams to see how things were looking and I got the following results:

ph - 7.6 (has been this since day 1)
High Range ph - 8
Ammonia - 0.25
No2 - 0 ppm
No3 - can't quite work out the colour/number (somewhere between red and purple - so between 40 and 80ppm) - so lets call it 60ppm

This is much higher that I usually get - generally it's around 20/30ppm.

Is this expected after doing quite a major clean up, and big water change? Have I done something major wrong, and killed the filter bacteria?

Should I be worried and do a 25% water change now, and also tomorrow - or is it nothing to worry about and it will decrease back to normal in a few days time.

Many thanks

edit: my tank details if this helps:

Tank - Aqua One Eurostyle bow front 80
Dims - width 42cms, length 80cms, height 64cms
Volume - 185L
Lighting - 2 x 24w T5
Filtration - Advance 750

Last edited by re_hashed; 07-14-2012 at 12:37 PM. Reason: ,
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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 07-14-2012, 12:59 PM
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Reading ammonia on a valid test you upset things cleaning so yes it's a concern.
Not huge but something to learn from.

Doing any WC to effect parameters less than a big one starts (imo) @50% doesn't do much. I would change 50% seeing NH3/NH4.

I recommend in the future consider doing 'big' tank cleanings differently.
Do all the in tank work in a day and even change some water to remove debris. I do in tank work and a major WC on the same day.
Wait a week then do the filter cleaning. That's my routine and things tend to stay stable. Good bio coats every surface in the tank not just the filter so I divide my cleaning duties not to disturb it all at once.


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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 07-14-2012, 03:57 PM
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Sometimes we do get too aggressive at cleaning. The ammonia indicates to me that you have lost lots of bacteria. The high nitrate indicates a lack of adequate, regular water changing. I would think the nitrate might have been high before the work. Maybe more water changing or more frequently?
For now, I would do major water changes until the bacteria regrow and can handle it. The new water will dilute both the ammonia and the nitrate. You don't mention fish but they will be better with less of both.
I also try to avoid changing too many things at once. Less danger of a major bacteria die off.
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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 07-14-2012, 09:48 PM
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There may have been much higher ammonia in the day of the major cleaning. The nitrifying bacteria have been converting it to nitrate, which is why you are seeing higher than normal nitrate.

I would be very concerned about that level of ammonia at that high pH. The dechlor is probably also an ammonia locking product, and is protecting the fish.

Keep up the water changes to keep the ammonia under .25 and the nitrate under 20 (I usually keep the NO3 between 5-10 ppm) and use a product that locks up ammonia. Read the label to be sure the dose is enough.
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