Join Date: May 2015
Location: Las Cruces, New Mexico
I'm new here so I'm not sure if this is the right place to post this. Please correct me if I'm wrong
I'm new to planted aquariums, trying my first 20 gallon tall. I started it in January. Form everything I've read (and plenty!), it's fully cycled. All water parameters after cycling have been stable until yesterday. I noticed the 20 gallon had jumped from 0 nitrates to 20. My 2 gallon QT was at 40. Surprise! My first weird nitrate experience.
On the 20 gallon, I immediately performed a partial water change and substrate vac, where I could get in-between the plants and hardscape. I took out the two weeks old charcoal and added a new Purigen pouch to the HOB filter system. As an aside, the Purigen was added mostly to clear the tannins from Mopani wood. Today the nitrates are down to .25 in the 20 gallon. The fish are doing great. Plants are great too.
On the small QT, I did an immediate partial water change and substrate vac. After a second partial water change today, it's down to 5.0 nitrates. The two newest guppies who appear to being getting red gills are now in the QT being treated for possible gill flukes with AngelsPlus Deworming II food (helps eliminate Gill flukes), saltwater, etc. I have not had an ammonia problem at all.
So, being new to all of this I'm wondering if someone can help me understand what's going on with the nitrates? I do have very hard water here in the desert. The Kh is 161.1 for both tanks. The Gh is off the charts. But I wanted to try to work with the water I have for now. I know about RO/DI water, but still really want to try to learn to work with what I have. Oh, and I always properly treat the tap water before adding to the tanks. Lastly, I tested my tap water. It has 0 nitrates.
Here's the set up and the water parameters. I'm not sure if you need all of this, but it seems to be what forums ask for. So sorry if its too much info, but maybe something in the set up is causing the situation with the nitrates. Thanks for bearing with me:
20 GALLON TALL
-low light, for now. I plan to upgrade as soon as I can.
-HOB filtration modified with medium and fine filter pads cut to fit, Biohome Ultimate Media that was started with beneficial bacteria starter balls (both sold by Great Waves Engineering), and a course sponge on water intake. Flow rate is what one would expect for an average HOB.
-heater, 75-76 F.
-Hydro Koralia water circulator
-pressurized CO2, 2-3bps; 5 hours on, 1hour siesta, 5 hours on. Lights on same schedule.
-CO2 Drop checker takes about an hour to turn green each morning.
-Air stone at night plus during siesta.
-Plants are what were suggested for low-medium light. Lots of new growth except the the hair grass. I know now that they do best in high light. API Root Tabs (replaced when needed) and API Leaf Zone added once weekly.
-Ecocomplete substrate with pretreated Mopani wood x3, and boiled to death river rocks.
-Partial water change weekly, about 30%.
2 GALLON QT
-Airstone in center tube with Biohome, originally seeded with the above bacteria balls.
-under gravel filter
-substrate is gravel
-basic hood light
Current water parameters:
20 G PH= 7.6
2G QT PH= 7.8
Amm.=0 for both
Nitrites=0 for both
2G QT Nitrates=5.0
Kh=161.1 for both
Gh=Off the charts.