High nitrate level - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 10-18-2012, 11:03 PM Thread Starter
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High nitrate level

Hello everybody,
Got a 55 gal high tech, 3.9 WPG, ph 6.5, MTS capped with Eco complete, Modified EI dosing. My nitrate level consistently stays at 20-25 ppm even after weekly wc. I just started modifying my dosing to 1/2 of the recommended levels each day instead ie.. Half of iron and traces at night and half of phosphates in the morning and not dosing the nitrate at all. I have no bio load to speak of, two corys. Where are these nitrates coming from. I use RO/DI and there are no nitrates in it. I am using an FX-5 with matrix and sponges. Can someone help. I was under the impression that the optimum nitrate level is 15 ppm. Any recommendations would be helpful.
Thanks,
Tim
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 10-19-2012, 01:36 AM
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Are you getting similar readings from a 6-in-1 strip, or is this solely based on MasterKit measurements?
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 10-19-2012, 01:43 AM Thread Starter
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Sera test kit. All of my other tanks (expensive shrimp) read 0 ppm. Test strips are not trustworthy.
Thanks,
Tim
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 10-19-2012, 04:28 AM
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Nitrate in an aquarium can come from 2 main sources:
Organic, such as fish food, or dying plants
Inorganic, such as fertilizer, KNO3 for example.

Stop feeding for a few days. Protein in the food contains nitrogen, and this is turned into nitrates through a series of organisms including the fish, decomposer bacteria and nitrifying bacteria. Thoroughly clean the tank and filter. Debris trapped by the filter is still in the system, and decomposing to form, among other things, nitrate.

Read the labels on all the fertilizer and water treatments you are using. Make sure none of them are adding nitrogen in any form to the system.

NO3 levels in a planted tank will vary according to how fast the plants are using whatever nitrogen (in any form) that is present.
In a tank with fast growing plants they can remove all the nitrogen pretty fast, and the NO3 will test zero. This is not good. Suggests the plants are right at the edge of deficiency.
Dosing KNO3 can raise the NO3 level, but the fish do not seem to be bothered by high NO3 from this source. Plants can then remove this pretty fast.

I generally allow the NO3 to vary from 5-10 ppm, and dose if it gets lower, or do a water change if it gets over 20 ppm. I think high tech tanks are dosed to a higher level, but the plants grab the NO3 so fast that I do not think those tanks will test very high, except right after dosing.
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 10-24-2012, 03:33 AM
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The use of fast growing terrestrial or emersed plants can do wonders for high nitrate levels too. A few cuttings of sweet potato vine (absolute best for sucking up nitrate, grows very fast) or pothos (more manageable, longer lived) could be stuck out of the tank somewhere and the roots let grow down into the water. That way the plants pull the nitrogen compounds up and out of the tank and even if a leaf then dies and falls off, it won't decompose and release that nitrogen back into the tank because it is out of the water.
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 10-24-2012, 03:34 AM
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Your tap water could also contain nitrates.
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 10-24-2012, 04:05 AM
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There isn't a thing wrong with having 20-25 ppm of nitrate in a planted tank, unless you have some of the sensitive shrimp, which I understand can't tolerate it. If you aren't dosing nitrates, and have good plant growth, your test kit is probably not giving you good readings. Growing plants will use up that much nitrate if you aren't dosing it.

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