Nitrates at 40 ppm????? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-10-2014, 06:36 PM Thread Starter
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Nitrates at 40 ppm?????

I tested my invert tank water to see what my params were like before doing my water change so I know what to do with the ro water before adding it.

Consequently my nitrates are abnormally high. And have been all along I'm thinking the test is no good.

Params include
Ph7.0
Ammonia 0
Nitrite 0
Gh 8
Kh 4 (ro water will fix these)
Nitrate 40ppm

The top of the tank is literally covered in rrf salvinia cucullata, as well as duckweed, granted the light isn't high enough to sustain salvinia.

Filtration is one marina s20 half with biomedia other half with the ceramatik and carbon cartridges I change out every three weeks. As well as one year seasoned sponge filter.

Nothing is decaying in the tank, there is no dead fish or shrimp or snails to my knowledge ( I just combed through the whole tank to make sure) so wht is going on. It seems like my nitrates are never below 20 ppm in this tank.

I never dose ferts in the tank or co2, I just did a spot treating for staghorn algae, and now I'm thinking that the staghorn was caused by the nitrate being so high.

Ideas or suggestions guys?

Btw this is a ten gallon tank. Lighting is a fugeray 16" and a single bright 16" marineland.

must....have.....more....moss n shrimp!!!!!!!!!!


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post #2 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-10-2014, 06:52 PM
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I agree with you about the test possibly being inaccurate. Maybe try Hoppy's calibration procedure to make sure. If it's not that then there is something organic decaying. That's what I would do.
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post #3 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-10-2014, 07:13 PM Thread Starter
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That's a great tool to use, I'll try that today.

Even if there was decaying organic matter it should be that high at most 20ppm because of the sheer volume of floaters on the top and moss ball in the tank as well as the moss. It's almost detouring to have the tank still. I love my shrimp and wish I could start the tank over from scratch but that would entail a thorough cleaning and rehousing of the shrimp and I don't have an extra tank for that.

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post #4 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-10-2014, 07:21 PM
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Many chain petstores that deal in fish and LFS offer free testing of basic water parameters, including nitrate. Taking a sample in would be a quick verification.
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post #5 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-10-2014, 07:22 PM
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I just can't see it being organics especially with the salvinia. I have a 10G shrimp tank that I dose (no CO2). Basically just all moss and some pearl weed, pellia, and a couple of small java ferns. Two 13W CFLS. If I didn't dose there would be 0 of everything pretty quick. I dose 1.75ppm of NO3 three times a week and frequently see nitrate of less than 5.
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post #6 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-10-2014, 07:50 PM Thread Starter
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Yeah I don't dose anything in the tank, the substrate is supposed to give the most nutrients to the plants.

I would take it into my work, petsmart, but all chain stores use test strips which are highly inaccurate. I took my ph test in yesterday the liquid kind, and a customer came in to test his water. So I used the strip compared to the liquid, and he went and bought the liquid tests because it proves the strips are inaccurate.

But now I'm wondering if the liquid tests are even any good. Myne still has a shelf life of about a year in a half left before I need to replace it.

I'm going to do the hoppy calib test first and then see if the tests kit is no good or good still. And then do a 50% w.c. N follow tomorrow or the next day with another 25% one.

It just doesn't add up to me why the nitrate would be so high with the plants there. To me if the nitrates are high, the ammonia should be present as well as nitrites.

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post #7 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-10-2014, 08:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Subtletanks91 View Post
Yeah I don't dose anything in the tank, the substrate is supposed to give the most nutrients to the plants.
What type of substrate and how old? If it's dirt who knows what is in it. The controls are lacking in that department lol.

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It just doesn't add up to me why the nitrate would be so high with the plants there. To me if the nitrates are high, the ammonia should be present as well as nitrites.
Not necessarily. Your bacterial population is most likely processing the ammonia fast enough to never see ammonia or nitrite.
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post #8 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-10-2014, 08:09 PM Thread Starter
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It's azoo plant grower bed. The buffering has wore off though because when I first set the tank up I was using solely tap water and was having trouble so I switched over to ro water.

I wanted to do a dirt tank, but it would rather use another substrate for re doing my shrimp tank. But it's hard as I said I don't have another tank or room to temporarily home my shrimp.

That's true, and there's not many shrimp in the tank to put off that much ammonia and waste to begin with.

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post #9 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-10-2014, 08:22 PM
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I'm not that familiar with azoo plant grower bed. I don't think it's suppose to raise ammonia like ADA although the composition is similar. Maybe they don't add nutrients like the ADA, dunno. If the buffering has worn off I would think any leaching of nutrients would have as well. Really sounds like a bad test to me.
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post #10 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-10-2014, 08:46 PM
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I don't see what the problem is. It's a non-issue and 40+ppm of NO3 isn't abnormal.

If you're wondering where it came from: food or from the tap. Test the tap.
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post #11 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-10-2014, 09:37 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Solcielo lawrencia View Post
I don't see what the problem is. It's a non-issue and 40+ppm of NO3 isn't abnormal.

If you're wondering where it came from: food or from the tap. Test the tap.
In a tNk were the nitrates stay below 20 ppm having them upwards of 40ppm is definatly abnormal. I don't use tap water anymore. I use strictly ro water so I know what's going into my tank and I can mineralize to the gh or tds I find fit for my stocking.

I'm thinking its a bad test as well. I'm going to test it again as I just did a 50% w.c.

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post #12 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-10-2014, 10:20 PM Thread Starter
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It's definatly the test kit, I tested twice before and twice after a water change using pure ro water. 50% water change and the results are the same at 40ppm. After a water change that big they should have dropped down to 20-10ppm

Even the ph is reading the same. 7.0 the only thing that read different was the gh and kh wich were at 6gh and 1-2kh.

What test kits do you guys use.

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post #13 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-11-2014, 12:12 AM
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I use API test kits. The nitrate test has worked fine for me, even well past the expiration date it shows no signs of failure when tested against calibration solutions. As long as you shake bottle #2 very well that is. The active ingredient is solid crystals in liquid suspension, which tend to settle and clump together over time, and if they're not well mixed you'll get bad tests. Rapping the bottle on a hard surface helps break up clumps too, prior to shaking.

I tried upgrading to a fancier and more expensive Red Sea nitrate test once. Which always produced a result of zero. It was replaced by the manufacturer, but the new one had the same problem. At which point I got to speak directly to a chemist working for Red Sea, and during troubleshooting I learned about all the ways nitrate tests can go wrong. None of which got the Red Sea test working, but ironically the technique he gave me (described above) got my API test working perfectly. So I went back to API.
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post #14 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-11-2014, 02:12 AM Thread Starter
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I followed the directions exactly as it sais in the booklet. And out of all four tests I did today they all came out with the same reading. The same thing with the ph test. 7.2 before and 7.2 afterwards. The only tests that actually were useful and showed a difference were the gh kh tests. And of course the tds pen.

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post #15 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-11-2014, 02:17 AM Thread Starter
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Aside from Red Sea what about the sera tests?

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