Cause of high nitrates? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 12-19-2006, 08:36 PM Thread Starter
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Cause of high nitrates?

I'm in the middle of turning a 30 gallon fish-only tank into a planted tank. I removed the fish, substrate, almost all of the water - basically everything but the filter. Put Aquasoil Amazonia substrate in, on top of a layer of Power Sand, and added a couple pieces of Malaysian driftwood. I have not put the plants in yet. After letting it sit for 48 hours, I tested the water. The water is tea-colored, which I expected from the driftwood. Well, before I switched the substrate out and took out all the fish, the nitrates had never measured about 10 ppm. Now they're about 30! Nitrites and ammonia are 0, though I suppose that's not surprising since there haven't been any fish in it for two days.

I've never used either driftwood or Aquasoil before. Are either of these the cause of the nitrates, and if so, will it go down with water changes? Has anyone else experienced this?
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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 12-19-2006, 10:12 PM
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We have experienced lots of things...
Why are you waiting on putting the plants in? put some water in the tank, fill it will plants, fill the tank and give it a few weeks to stabilize, if you have enough plants, you can add fish immediately.


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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 12-23-2006, 03:51 PM Thread Starter
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The only reason why I'm waiting to put in the plants is because I ordered them from Aquabotanic (there isn't a good selection of plants locally). I thought that I had ordered them at a time where they would have arrived within a day or two of putting the new substrate in. I would have just waited until the plants came, but I expected the water to be cloudy when I first put in the substrate (which it was) and I was hoping it would clear a bit so I could see what I was doing better. Unfortunately, it appears that my plant order was put back a week, so I still haven't recieved them.
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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 12-23-2006, 05:40 PM
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Nitrate is plant food. The level of nitrate you mentioned is not excessive, and the plants will remove it pretty rapidly if you provide the rest of the nutrients they need. However, one of the mistakes most of us make is to rely on test kits that we have not calibrated to tell us what is in the water. If you want to rely on test kits, calibrate them first.

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