nitrates thru the roof in a 36" 7 gal. only plants - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-19-2015, 12:49 PM Thread Starter
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nitrates thru the roof in a 36" 7 gal. only plants

I have set up a new tank using a flourite substrate (carib sea) approx 10 plants and 1 cycled filter and 1 new filter (media I mean. Nothing else except driftwood from a stocked tank (discus). Ph 7.4 no ammonia no nitrites but very high nitrates and its been several weeks at least 5 growing brown algea by the hour. Never had this happen before. Too much bio media? Using two Tom mini canisters (rapids) use them on several other tanks without this issue.....ideas suggestions....thanks in advance...Joe

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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-19-2015, 12:56 PM
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Increase CO2, phosphates etc or lower light and do water changes. Plants only shouldn't worry about nitrates so up the phosphate and get the plants going


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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-19-2015, 04:44 PM
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If you are asking where it came from -- did you dose with some under-substrate fertilizers, or are you adding nitrogen in anything you are dosing?

The brown algae I assume is diatoms, and normal in a newish tank; as it rots it probably generates the nitrates. Your other plants are not taking it up fast enough, as mentioned probably due to some other limitation.

Depending on your long term desire (they are hard to remove) you can also add a few ramshorn snails, they love to eat diatoms and will help clean the leaves a bit (they won't do anything to solve the overall issue of course, it's cosmetic).

If it's diatoms, it will eventually get better, but only after it depresses you thoroughly.

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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-19-2015, 05:12 PM
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I do have to ask one thing...

Are you *SURE* your nitrates are actually high? Have you tested your test to make sure it is actually accurate?

Nitrate test kits are notorious for reading considerably higher than actual levels... Mine is off by a factor of 6. (ie: tap water at 3ppm reads at about 20, calibration solution at 10ppm reads at 60, etc.)

Also what is "very high nitrates"? ie: about how many ppm are we really talking.. "very high" is a subjective thing. To some folks "very high" means 20ppm and others it means 200ppm.

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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-19-2015, 06:03 PM Thread Starter
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Wow! Thanks for quick responses all
First yea, I guess all things considered it's still pretty new so maybe it needs time. My checker is still reading low co2 but you know how long they take and I have only been dosing for a 2 weeks at about 1 bubble/2 sec. for 6 hours right after the lights go on with a simple glass diffuser right under the mini rainbar returns
Second I have 15 new but small plants coming to fill the tank better as I am wanting crs and red etc. shrimp as livestock with blue rams as a second choice.
Third No I am not sure about the calibration. I have read a really good calibration post for the api test (the brand I use) but haven't done it yet. I am at work now. But last I checked the test was red before I was done shaking!! Five min.later I would say its near the top of the card last two reds I'd say. I am doing 40-50% changes twice after I get home for the last three days. Using bottled RO with seachem equilibrium and flourish and neutral regulator (to make sure I keep the ph around 7 ish).
Maybe the added stuff is doing it? All but one of the plants are showing new growth some are actually doubling I just got some shrimp I wanted to put in but I don't want to have em suffer or die...I really never had a tank cycle like this when using old filters/media maybe I should change the oldest?
With more plants another water change and new pads maybe next week...

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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-24-2015, 12:45 PM Thread Starter
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update

the water changes have helped.... sitting at around 20 on the (still uncalibrated) api nitrate test. Not sure what's up or if I can stop water changes....put in a few German blue rams from another tank and they ate when I fed em on the second day (keeping food way down for now 1 time every day or less) putting in all the new plants after work....maybe the bacteria in the new substrate started this? It's my first time using a substrate specifically for planted aquariums so maybe it cycles differently... is that what they call an active substrate that shrimp like crs and bee shrimp love? Off to work....

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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-24-2015, 02:00 PM
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jobonhaln,

Quick suggestion -

Use the nitrate test on some of the water you are changing with Pre-mixed with a dose of flourish, equilibrium and neutral regulator in it. Let it stand for a few minutes and test it. If that tests out at 20ppm... Well, we know your test is probably over-sensitive (unless you're dosing enough flourish to be 20ppm of nitrate, which seems unlikely unless you're using an awful lot).

In theory you should be able to use something like http://calc.petalphile.com/ to compute what the nitrate level is, given the volume of water and amount of flourish added.

Just put in the total volume of RO you used (be sure to check the right units)
select premixed ferts
select flourish comprehensive from the drop-down
select you are calculating for "the result of my dose"
enter the amount of flourish and units
hit "gimme".
Look at the NO3 in the result table, which will probably be very low.

From there you can use that water in a water change, and you've at least got one point of reference for how accurate your test is.

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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-25-2015, 12:48 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks I will do that. Since my tanks mostly fall into the nano catagory, 4-8 gallons, I am using 1/16- 1/8 teaspoons of the dry adjusters (Equilibrium etc). and literally drops (1/4 - 1/2 ml) of flourish as I rarely end with more than a gallon or so per change ( except for this recent worry)
Another thing since I have you... my checker (little glass ball with 4dkh water) is very dark with the 3 drops of ph test solution, can I use less and still be OK? I use my ph test solution as I have read it's the same as the 7.99+ stuff they sell.
Results to follow....

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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-25-2015, 02:40 PM
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Yes, you can use as few or as many drops in your drop checker as you like. Really all adding more drops does is make the color more intense.

If you were trying to get an exact readings by comparing against a color chart, particularly in the far ranges, concentration would matter. But in a drop checker it is really "is it blue, green or yellow", so concentration matters little.

And yes, the regular API pH test solution is bromothymol blue, and will work just as well as any other brand. Some brands may be more or less concentrated than the common 0.04%, but in this application that only changes the number of drops you need.

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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-26-2015, 12:15 AM
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I really think we are over thinking it by calibrating nitrate tests for a plant only test kit.

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Originally Posted by Okedokey View Post
Increase CO2, phosphates etc or lower light and do water changes. Plants only shouldn't worry about nitrates so up the phosphate and get the plants going


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post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-26-2015, 03:40 AM
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Yeah, I introduced the idea more from the perspective of "are your nitrates really as high as you think they are?" and not so much from a "you need to calibrate" perspective. Nitrate levels in a planted-only tank generally aren't a concern.

That said without calibration, the test could be off by a factor of 10x, so maxing out the test scale might only be 16ppm, not 160ppm.... ie: huge grain of salt is needed before concern, or even curiosity is raised.

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post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-26-2015, 06:43 AM
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Sorry Matt, wasnt meaning to undervalue your point.


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post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-26-2015, 12:05 PM
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No offense taken... It probably needed better context anyway.

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post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-26-2015, 01:54 PM
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nitrates

I dont know if you are adding ferts or not, but be sure to test for nitrates before youadd add the ferts for the day. 20ppm nitrates are not all that high for a fairly well planted tank. I know that was after a water change. If you will do some investigating , I think you will find that nitrates , for for the most part , arent really a big problem. As far as the brown diatoms , well thats just part of a new tank cycling. They will go away just as they appeared. In time. clean out what you can , and give it a little time.


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Last edited by rick dale; 03-26-2015 at 01:59 PM. Reason: add
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