Water Test-PH, NO2, NO3, NH3, KH - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-04-2014, 01:51 PM Thread Starter
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Water Test-PH, NO2, NO3, NH3, KH

Hi everybody, im newbie and would like to get some advice. Attached is a latest result from my 3weeks tank. It seem that Nitrite is very high. How to reduce it? Pls help

KH= 5 drops.
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Last edited by Toyaracing; 11-05-2014 at 03:03 AM. Reason: add more information
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-04-2014, 02:11 PM
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Reduce nitrite by doing water changes until your tank cycles... Prime can also help detoxify it.

Eventually your gravel bed, filter media, etc will get populated with bacteria that turn the nitrite into nitrate, but this takes time. You can speed this up somewhat with Tetra SafeStart, or Dr. Tim's one and only, which will seed the tank with bacteria. However, there are the proper bacteria on everything so they will eventually establish on their own.

Since you presumably already have fish, I strongly suggest reading the fish-in cycling guide (from the general forum beginner sticky and navigating down a bit)

https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/sh...06&postcount=4

edit:

Also, posting a picture of the KH test doesn't tell us anything.. That test is all about how many drops it takes to make the color change from blue to yellow, not what color you end up with. So how many drops did you need?

Last edited by mattinmd; 11-04-2014 at 02:14 PM. Reason: added note on KH
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-04-2014, 04:02 PM
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And until your nitrite goes down, your nitrate test is meaningless. As your topic indicates, worry about nitrites, and when they read zero, pay attention to nitrates.

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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-05-2014, 03:00 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mattinmd View Post
Reduce nitrite by doing water changes until your tank cycles... Prime can also help detoxify it.

Eventually your gravel bed, filter media, etc will get populated with bacteria that turn the nitrite into nitrate, but this takes time. You can speed this up somewhat with Tetra SafeStart, or Dr. Tim's one and only, which will seed the tank with bacteria. However, there are the proper bacteria on everything so they will eventually establish on their own.

Since you presumably already have fish, I strongly suggest reading the fish-in cycling guide (from the general forum beginner sticky and navigating down a bit)

https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/sh...06&postcount=4

edit:

Also, posting a picture of the KH test doesn't tell us anything.. That test is all about how many drops it takes to make the color change from blue to yellow, not what color you end up with. So how many drops did you need?

Hi,

Thanks for your sharing. Sorry i forgot to tell how many drop for KH..actually it takes me 5 drop to turned to yellow.

Bump:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Linwood View Post
And until your nitrite goes down, your nitrate test is meaningless. As your topic indicates, worry about nitrites, and when they read zero, pay attention to nitrates.
Thank you
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-05-2014, 11:55 AM
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Ok, so that KH is pretty "average", and high enough that your pH will be fairly stable.

So at this point, all you need to worry about is getting the nitrites down. You are currently up around 2.0, which is quite dangerously high... If you haven't already, do at least a couple 50-75% water changes to get it down. You are aiming for 0.25...
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-06-2014, 01:42 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mattinmd View Post
Ok, so that KH is pretty "average", and high enough that your pH will be fairly stable.

So at this point, all you need to worry about is getting the nitrites down. You are currently up around 2.0, which is quite dangerously high... If you haven't already, do at least a couple 50-75% water changes to get it down. You are aiming for 0.25...
Hi mattinmd,

Sure i will do a water changes to get the nitrites down. But is it going to increase the Ammonia back?
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-06-2014, 01:45 AM
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Nitrites are the first step of the breakdown products of ammonia. You should have the initial bacteria present in your tank which are converting ammonia to nitrites, the second wave of bacteria (how I understand it) haven't fully set up to their full extent yet.

The answer is ammonia shouldn't go back up, and water changes should not bring ammonia up ever. Water changes should be adding 0/0/0 water across the board.
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-06-2014, 01:53 AM
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Here is what is going on:
Fish produce ammonia from digesting food. Other things decompose and some become ammonia.

Beneficial microorganisms use the ammonia and product nitrite. When a tank is first set up there are none of these organisms, they take a few weeks to grow. Within a week some are there, turning ammonia into nitrite. The population grows over several weeks.

There are other microorganisms (Nitrospira species of bacteria is a major player) that use nitrite, and produce nitrate.
These are very slow growing, and do not even get started until after the first group has produced some nitrite for them.
Then the first group races ahead, population growing pretty fast, and producing more and more nitrite. The slower growing Nitrospira has a hard time catching up.

Finally, the ammonia removing species have grown to the point that you are seeing now: They are numerous enough to remove all the ammonia.
But the nitrite removing groups are not populous enough yet to deal with all the nitrite being produced.

If you have fish in this tank do enough water changes to keep the nitrite under 1 ppm, and add 1 teaspoon of salt per 20 gallons.
Nitrite causes Brown Blood Disease. The chloride from the salt prevents the nitrite from entering the blood. When you do water changes add that much salt to the new water (ie: a 5 gallon water change would get 1/4 tsp salt)
When the nitrite tests zero then quit adding salt. Regular water changes will gradually remove it.
This is a low dose of salt, well tolerated by plants and fish.

Once the microorganisms are established in the tank they do not go away spontaneously. They live on surfaces, attached to things like filter media, the substrate, and pretty much all surfaces that meet their needs. They cannot be removed by water changes, very few live in the water.

Bump: Here is the fishless cycle which explains more about these organisms, what they like, and how to grow them before you add fish, so fish are not exposed to toxins.

Cycle: To grow the beneficial bacteria that remove ammonia and nitrite from the aquarium.

Fish-In Cycle: To expose fish to toxins while using them as the source of ammonia to grow nitrogen cycle bacteria. Exposure to ammonia burns the gills and other soft tissue, stresses the fish and lowers their immunity. Exposure to nitrite makes the blood unable to carry oxygen. Research methemglobinemia for details.

Fishless Cycle: The safe way to grow more bacteria, faster, in an aquarium, pond or riparium.

The method I give here was developed by 2 scientists who wanted to quickly grow enough bacteria to fully stock a tank all at one time, with no plants helping, and overstock it as is common with Rift Lake Cichlid tanks.

1a) Set up the tank and all the equipment. You can plant if you want. Include the proper dose of dechlorinator with the water.
Optimum water chemistry:
GH and KH above 3 German degrees of hardness. A lot harder is just fine.
pH above 7, and into the mid 8s is just fine.
Temperature in the upper 70s F (mid 20s C) is good. Higher is OK if the water is well aerated.
A trace of other minerals may help. Usually this comes in with the water, but if you have a pinch of KH2PO4, that may be helpful.
High oxygen level. Make sure the filter and power heads are running well. Plenty of water circulation.
No toxins in the tank. If you washed the tank, or any part of the system with any sort of cleanser, soap, detergent, bleach or anything else make sure it is well rinsed. Do not put your hands in the tank when you are wearing any sort of cosmetics, perfume or hand lotion. No fish medicines of any sort.
A trace of salt (sodium chloride) is OK, but not required.
This method of growing bacteria will work in a marine system, too. The species of bacteria are different.

1b) Optional: Add any source of the bacteria that you are growing to seed the tank. Cycled media from a healthy tank is good. Decor or some gravel from a cycled tank is OK. Live plants or plastic are OK. Bottled bacteria is great, but only if it contains Nitrospira species of bacteria. Read the label and do not waste your money on anything else.
At the time this was written the right species could be found in:
Dr. Tims One and Only
Tetra Safe Start
Microbe Lift Nite Out II
...and perhaps others.
You do not have to jump start the cycle. The right species of bacteria are all around, and will find the tank pretty fast.

2) Add ammonia until the test reads 5 ppm. This ammonia is the cheapest you can find. No surfactants, no perfumes. Read the fine print. This is often found at discount stores like Dollar Tree, or hardware stores like Ace. You could also use a dead shrimp form the grocery store, or fish food. Protein breaks down to become ammonia. You do not have good control over the ammonia level, though.
Some substrates release ammonia when they are submerged for the first time. Monitor the level and do enough water changes to keep the ammonia at the levels detailed below.

3) Test daily. For the first few days not much will happen, but the bacteria that remove ammonia are getting started. Finally the ammonia starts to drop. Add a little more, once a day, to test 5 ppm.

4) Test for nitrite. A day or so after the ammonia starts to drop the nitrite will show up. When it does allow the ammonia to drop to 3 ppm.

5) Test daily. Add ammonia to 3 ppm once a day. If the nitrite or ammonia go to 5 ppm do a water change to get these lower. The ammonia removing species and the nitrite removing species (Nitrospira) do not do well when the ammonia or nitrite are over 5 ppm.

6) When the ammonia and nitrite both hit zero 24 hours after you have added the ammonia the cycle is done. You can challenge the bacteria by adding a bit more than 3 ppm ammonia, and it should be able to handle that, too, within 24 hours.

7) Now test the nitrate. Probably sky high!
Do as big a water change as needed to lower the nitrate until it is safe for fish. Certainly well under 20, and a lot lower is better. This may call for more than one water change, and up to 100% water change is not a problem. Remember the dechlor!
If you will be stocking right away (within 24 hours) no need to add more ammonia. If stocking will be delayed keep feeding the bacteria by adding ammonia to 3 ppm once a day. You will need to do another water change right before adding the fish.
__________________________

Helpful hints:

A) You can run a fishless cycle in a bucket to grow bacteria on almost any filter media like bio balls, sponges, ceramic bio noodles, lava rock or Matala mats. Simply set up any sort of water circulation such as a fountain pump or air bubbler and add the media to the bucket. Follow the directions for the fishless cycle. When the cycle is done add the media to the filter. I have run a canister filter in a bucket and done the fishless cycle.

B) The nitrogen cycle bacteria will live under a wide range of conditions and bounce back from minor set backs. By following the set up suggestions in part 1b) you are setting up optimum conditions for fastest reproduction and growth.
GH and KH can be as low as 1 degree, but watch it! These bacteria use the carbon in carbonates, and if it is all used up (KH = 0) the bacteria may die off.
pH as low as 6.5 is OK, but by 6.0 the bacteria are not going to be doing very well. They are still there, and will recover pretty well when conditions get better.
Temperature almost to freezing is OK, but they must not freeze, and they are not very active at all. They do survive in a pond, but they are slow to warm up and get going in the spring. This is where you might need to grow some in a bucket in a warm place and supplement the pond population. Too warm is not good, either. Tropical or room temperature tank temperatures are best. (68 to 85*F or 20 to 28*C)
Moderate oxygen can be tolerated for a while. However, to remove lots of ammonia and nitrite these bacteria must have oxygen. They turn one into the other by adding oxygen. If you must stop running the filter for an hour or so, no problem. If longer, remove the media and keep it where it will get more oxygen.
Once the bacteria are established they can tolerate some fish medicines. This is because they live in a complex film called Bio film on all the surfaces in the filter and the tank. Medicines do not enter the bio film well.
These bacteria do not need to live under water. They do just fine in a humid location. They live in healthy garden soil, as well as wet locations.

C) Planted tanks may not tolerate 3 ppm or 5 ppm ammonia. It is possible to cycle the tank at lower levels of ammonia so the plants do not get ammonia burn. Add ammonia to only 1 ppm, but test twice a day, and add ammonia as needed to keep it at 1 ppm. The plants are also part of the bio filter, and you may be able to add the fish sooner, if the plants are thriving.
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-07-2014, 02:30 PM Thread Starter
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Hi Everybody

Thank you for all the info sharing..Today after another water test, my Ammonia-0, Nitrites-0.25, Nitrates-40. PH at 7.5..KH is 5 drops..




So, what's next? How frequent should I do water changes?
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-07-2014, 02:44 PM
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Keep doing water changes as needed to keep the nitrites low, at least .5 to 1.0 at the most. Don't worry about nitrates until nitrites are zero. If you get it to 0.25 and it takes only a day to hit .5, do them daily. If it takes 5 days, you can wait about that long (other issues such as crud on the bottom being ok). You can let it creep up near 1ppm, but you need to anticipate, so don't see at test at 0.5 and find it is 2 the next day.

If I recall you have fish in there, so your goal is to let the nitrites stay in the water at high enough levels for bacteria to grow, but low enough so as not to harm the fish. And nitrite is pretty toxic.

That the ammonia is zero indicates good bacteria growth, those that eat ammonia always come before those for nitrites, and those for nitrites take longer to grow so be patient.

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post #11 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-08-2014, 02:21 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Linwood View Post
Keep doing water changes as needed to keep the nitrites low, at least .5 to 1.0 at the most. Don't worry about nitrates until nitrites are zero. If you get it to 0.25 and it takes only a day to hit .5, do them daily. If it takes 5 days, you can wait about that long (other issues such as crud on the bottom being ok). You can let it creep up near 1ppm, but you need to anticipate, so don't see at test at 0.5 and find it is 2 the next day.

If I recall you have fish in there, so your goal is to let the nitrites stay in the water at high enough levels for bacteria to grow, but low enough so as not to harm the fish. And nitrite is pretty toxic.

That the ammonia is zero indicates good bacteria growth, those that eat ammonia always come before those for nitrites, and those for nitrites take longer to grow so be patient.

Thank you Linwood..
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