What's causing these elevated parameters? - The Planted Tank Forum
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-08-2014, 10:15 PM Thread Starter
Planted Tank Obsessed
 
bigblueallday's Avatar
 
PTrader: (1/100%)
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: New Jersey
Posts: 331
What's causing these elevated parameters?

I've had my tank up running for about 8 months like now and have suffered my share of fish loss just like I'm sure everyone else has. All of a sudden over the past month or so it seems I'm losing a fish a week. At first it was some of my smaller fish. Harlequin rasboras, German blue rams, Tiger barb. I attributed it to the addition of larger territorial predators I've added such as my red texas, firemouth and 2 jewels. Last week I lost a jewel and just now my firemouth out of nowhere. I didn't notice any signs of stress in the fish (except for the jewel, she seemed bloated and was just laying on the bottom the night she went). I realized I hadn't tested my water in quite some time seeing as how the tanks been running for some time. I just tested and was very surprised at the results. Ammonia .50, Nitrite 0 and Nitrate at a whopping 160! Being on Ei dosing and doing 50% water changes weekly I would never have imagined there was an issue with water quality. So my question is what in Gods name could be causing this and how do I fix it? Thanks in advance.
bigblueallday is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-08-2014, 10:36 PM
Wannabe Guru
 
greaser84's Avatar
 
PTrader: (11/100%)
Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: NC
Posts: 1,424
Adjust the amount of KNO3 in your dosing, some of my tanks that have a lot of fish I don't dose any nitrates as the fish supply them. The ammonia suggest there's either something dead or rotting in the tank or your feeding too much. The fish are probably adding more ammonia than the bacteria can handle. Keep doing water changes till the nitrates are around 20ppm, ammonia at 0ppm, then adjust your dosing. If your going to lower or eliminate your KNO3 add some extra potassium as you will lose some when you cut the KNO3. 50% water change is just a guideline you can do more if the fish can handle it.


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
greaser84 is offline  
post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-08-2014, 10:41 PM Thread Starter
Planted Tank Obsessed
 
bigblueallday's Avatar
 
PTrader: (1/100%)
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: New Jersey
Posts: 331
Greaser could the dead firemouth I scooped out 5 minutes prior to testing cause the ammonia spike? Although he was floating which suggests he wasn't dead for long.
bigblueallday is offline  
 
post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-08-2014, 11:54 PM
Wannabe Guru
 
greaser84's Avatar
 
PTrader: (11/100%)
Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: NC
Posts: 1,424
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigblueallday View Post
Greaser could the dead firemouth I scooped out 5 minutes prior to testing cause the ammonia spike? Although he was floating which suggests he wasn't dead for long.
Ya he's the source of ammonia.


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
greaser84 is offline  
post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-09-2014, 12:32 AM Thread Starter
Planted Tank Obsessed
 
bigblueallday's Avatar
 
PTrader: (1/100%)
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: New Jersey
Posts: 331
I did an emergency to percent water change and that took care of the ammonia but nitrates are still reading around 80. Why is it still so high?
bigblueallday is offline  
post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-09-2014, 03:02 AM
Planted Tank Guru
 
PTrader: (3/100%)
Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: Maryland, USA
Posts: 2,339
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigblueallday View Post
I did an emergency to percent water change and that took care of the ammonia but nitrates are still reading around 80. Why is it still so high?
Did you do a 50% water change?

50% of 160 is 80...
mattinmd is offline  
post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-09-2014, 03:19 AM Thread Starter
Planted Tank Obsessed
 
bigblueallday's Avatar
 
PTrader: (1/100%)
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: New Jersey
Posts: 331
Quote:
Originally Posted by mattinmd View Post
Did you do a 50% water change?

50% of 160 is 80...
Well that makes perfect sense lol
bigblueallday is offline  
post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-09-2014, 05:19 AM
Algae Grower
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: Australia
Posts: 19
Hi Bigblueallday

Not knowing exactly when the larger fish were added, I believe the tank may be suffering a version of old tank syndrome.

The .5 Ammonia and the sky high 160, now (after the 50% water change) 80PPM Nitrate tend to confirm this. This observation would be dependant on your weekly gravel vac regime, current PH, GH and KH readings in tank though. If you can post, that would help.

50% weekly water changes are great, but without more attention to gravel vac, due to the extra fish and their waste, this could be the cause.

You obviously need to get Nitrate below 40PPM now and this will only occur with water changes. I suggest a deep vac of 1/3 of substrate surface area now removing 50% of water again, and another 50% change within 24 hours. This should get Nitrate down to 20PPM, and also remove some of the (possibly) decaying fish waste that has contributed to this rise in Ammonia and Nitrate.

Hope this helps and makes sense.

Last edited by WaterKeeper; 11-09-2014 at 05:34 AM. Reason: spelling
WaterKeeper is offline  
post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-09-2014, 10:13 AM
Wannabe Guru
 
greaser84's Avatar
 
PTrader: (11/100%)
Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: NC
Posts: 1,424
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigblueallday View Post
I did an emergency to percent water change and that took care of the ammonia but nitrates are still reading around 80. Why is it still so high?
That sounds about right, keep doing water changes until your nitrates are around 20ppm. The fish you have will most likely supply all the nitrates your plants will need, especially ciclids they are pooping machines.


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
greaser84 is offline  
post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-09-2014, 02:50 PM
Planted Tank Guru
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Contra Costa CA
Posts: 11,721
Ditto: I would get the tank back to 20 ppm NO3, then not dose NO3 for a week, and see what happens. Here are the possibilities:

a) NO3 drops through the week = plants are using more N than the fish food is adding, so begin dosing KNO3 (but maybe half or a third of what you were doing before).

b) NO3 stays stable through the week = plants are using just about what the fish food is adding. When you do a big water change it will drop, though, so maybe you will need to dose a very low level of KNO3 though the week.

c) NO3 continues rising, even if you are not dosing.
1) Rises, but not too much. Corrected with 50% once a week water changes. This is just about perfect. Do not dose any KNO3.
2) Rises more than the 50% water changes can handle. Too many fish, too much food, not enough water changes. I would separate out all the smaller fish, if you want to keep aggressive Jewels and Firemouths in this tank. Put the Tetras, Rams and so on in a different tank.

Of course, monitor the ammonia, but I also think it was the recent deaths (especially a large fish like the FM), and the water change will probably have taken care of it.

Alternate idea: I have seen a lot of posts recently about malfunctioning tests. Whether it is an actual problem with the test kit, a user error, or some other problem, quite a few people are asking about positive ammonia tests that turn out to be something else.
Calibrate the test kits to be sure that the results you are seeing really reflect something going on in the tank.
I have seen this, too. Just a trace of green instead of pure yellow in the API ammonia test. I suspect I am testing too soon after a water change. The ammonia is from the tap water (Chloramine) and the dechlor (Prime or Chloramine Buster) is dealing with it, but it still shows up in the test.
Diana is offline  
post #11 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-10-2014, 06:27 AM
Algae Grower
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: Australia
Posts: 19
I find the best way to get a accurate Ammonia reading using the API liquid test kit, is to take the vial and test colour card outside in sunshine. Place card in shadow of your own body, and then roll vial over colour card. The true reading will be the colour on the card that seems to disappear.

Hope this helps.
WaterKeeper is offline  
post #12 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-11-2014, 02:24 AM Thread Starter
Planted Tank Obsessed
 
bigblueallday's Avatar
 
PTrader: (1/100%)
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: New Jersey
Posts: 331
After 3 consecutive nights of 50% water changes, nitrates are back to 20 ppm. I'll continue to monitor it throughout the week. The KS for the advice everyone.
bigblueallday is offline  
post #13 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-11-2014, 02:29 AM
Wannabe Guru
 
brooksie321's Avatar
 
PTrader: (1/100%)
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: Mass
Posts: 1,041
Guys... this is craziness.. what size tank?? What's the stock? A firemouth could kill a lot of things.. you put night vision on that tank after lights out?
brooksie321 is offline  
post #14 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-11-2014, 02:34 AM Thread Starter
Planted Tank Obsessed
 
bigblueallday's Avatar
 
PTrader: (1/100%)
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: New Jersey
Posts: 331
Yea Im well aware of the consequences of keeping aggressive fish but clearly 160 ppm nitrates is a problem as well
bigblueallday is offline  
post #15 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-11-2014, 12:59 PM
Wannabe Guru
 
brooksie321's Avatar
 
PTrader: (1/100%)
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: Mass
Posts: 1,041
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigblueallday View Post
Yea Im well aware of the consequences of keeping aggressive fish but clearly 160 ppm nitrates is a problem as well
If you're tank is overstocked than the nitrates will be a by product of the massive fish load..
brooksie321 is offline  
Reply

Tags
None

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now



In order to be able to post messages on the The Planted Tank Forum forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.

Password:


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:
OR

Log-in










Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page
Display Modes
Linear Mode Linear Mode



Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

 
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome