nitrates high - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-22-2015, 03:22 AM Thread Starter
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nitrates high

So I just got my test kits for my tank and found some worrying results. This is for my 75g that has been running for at least 2 years. The ph is between 7.0 and 7.2, the ammonia tested at .25, nitrites at 0 and nitrates between 80 and 160. First off what makes the nitrates that high and will any of this cause or contribute to my current algae problem. I tested this about 6 hours after doing a 25% water change. I have been playing with different lighting setups and trying to dial in my co2 yet.

75g planted, 100 watts light, co2
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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-22-2015, 03:32 AM
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Any fish in there ?

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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-22-2015, 04:06 AM Thread Starter
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7 hand sized angels, 3 Buenos Aires tetras about 1.5", 1 pictus catfish close to 2", and I think 2 plecos around 3" and a bunch of snails. I just today added 2 turquoise rainbows.
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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-22-2015, 04:17 AM
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Nitrates are the end product of the nitrogen cycle.
If heavily planted NO3 can be consumed by plants.
Otherwise water changes are your friend.
How often do you perform a water change?

If it were me I would change 25% every other day.
Maintain this schedule until 10-20ppm of NO3 is observed.
Too much at once may disturb your acclimated fish.

.25 for NH3 I would not be concerned since NO2=0.


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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-22-2015, 04:22 AM
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If you have already checked the tap water for nitrates before you put it in the tank then
next I'd check your stocking out on the Aqadvisor.
Won't know till you put it in there but not enough water changes seems likely here.

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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-22-2015, 04:41 AM
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Have you calibrated the test kit?
Do the fish seem healthy?
I'm also willing to bet it's an API test kit.
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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-22-2015, 05:27 AM Thread Starter
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Yes it's an API master test kit for freshwater and I live on catchment water so it's just rainwater going in. I have not tested the rainwater yet. Should I be concerned with the rainwater? Here it is. Pic is about a week old. The left side is much taller now as well as the middle.

The grass on the right seems stunted and the plants in the back right seem to be withering away. I did start putting fertilizers last week. Got the EI micros and macros from Nilocg

Fish seem happy and are eating like crazy.

75g planted, 100 watts light, co2

Last edited by lee250; 11-22-2015 at 05:37 AM. Reason: pic
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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-22-2015, 06:01 AM
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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-22-2015, 07:32 AM Thread Starter
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I will have to order the potassium nitrate but even after calibrating the test kit if it is still high what does that mean? I do a 25% water change once a week.

75g planted, 100 watts light, co2
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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-22-2015, 08:46 AM
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If your fish are showing no signs of stress I wouldn't be overly concerned at this point. I wouldn't bother calibrating the test kit too. You have high nitrates, simple.

Nitrate poisoning varies massively between species, size, age etc. most studies show nitrate poisoning in many different species of fish to be in the several hundreds and some in the thousand parts per million. That being said, there is no doubt that the closer to 0ppm nitrates the better and there is no reason why this cannot be achieved. Test the water you are adding to the tank. Up the water change quantity slowly, remove some fish, vacuum the gravel more often, clean the filters in tank water more often, feed less or add fast growing stem or floating plants that consume nitrogen rapidly.

Good luck
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post #11 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-22-2015, 10:25 AM
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You said you just got ferts. If you did then the plants likely were not growing much before then. You need to check the water before you put it in there. So you can tell if the nitrates are from whatever's happening in the tank or you are putting them in there to begin/w.
If you read the directions for EI ferts it states that you must change 50% of the water each week. This cuts the amount of ferts so that it doesn't build up in the tank.
But it also cuts any nitrates in half. Then you also need to check the stocking level on Aqadvisor. It really doesn't seem as if you have too many fish. But if you check you will know. AqAdvisor - Intelligent Freshwater Tropical Fish Aquarium Stocking Calculator and Aquarium Tank/Filter Advisor
Plants also use nitrates, so having some is what they need. But you don't have enough plants to use as much ferts as EI is putting in there. You should probably only use two doses instead of three each week till you get better growth and/or add more plants.
Most of the time high nitrates are caused by not enough water change. Either in
percent or how often you do them. Low stocking level tanks can use up most or all
of the nitrates if the tank has a good amount of plants in it. But if your stocking level is
over 75% then nitrates are going in faster than a low percent water change will remove them.

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post #12 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-22-2015, 11:27 AM
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What is your dosing schedule with these new ferts?


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post #13 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-22-2015, 03:26 PM
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That is not a lot of plants. They won't do much for you about nitrogen removal. If the plants are growing really fast, they can help some. When the plants are so dense you can barely see the back of the tank, that is a good amount of plants.

NO3 could be from ferts or from fish food. At this point, likely a combination.

The trace of ammonia: Are you using Prime? I have seen quite a few posts that show a trace of ammonia when Prime is the dechlorinator and API is the test kit.

To get the NO3 lower do more water changes. If you are currently doing only one per week, then do 3 per week until you figure out where the NO3 is coming from, and get the level lower.

------------------------------------------------------------------

If the NO3 is mostly from fish food:
Fish food is fairly high in N, P and most traces. If the NO3 is from fish food, reduce the amount of fertilizer you are adding that contains nitrogen, and also reduce the phosphate and traces in the same ratio.

Fish food is fairly low in K, Ca, Mg and Fe.
Water with a GH of at least 3 German degrees of hardness will usually supply enough Ca and Mg. If you are using rain water that has not passed through rock or soil with calcium and magnesium (mostly limestone related rocks) then your GH might be very low. Supplement with Seachem Equilibrium or other GH booster. For soft water fish (Angels) I would target a GH of about 3-5 German degrees of hardness.
Add potassium and iron fertilizers.

-------------------------------------------------------------------

If the NO3 is mostly from fertilizers:
You can alter your fertilizer dosing until it matches the way you keep the tank.
Optimum goal:
NO3 between 5-20 ppm is a reasonable range.
I would alter all the fertilizers in the same ratio. That is, if you cut the KNO3 dosing in half, then cut the other ferts in half, too.
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post #14 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-22-2015, 03:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lee250 View Post
I did start putting fertilizers last week. Got the EI micros and macros from Nilocg
Quote:
Originally Posted by lee250 View Post
I will have to order the potassium nitrate but even after calibrating the test kit if it is still high what does that mean? I do a 25% water change once a week.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Diana View Post
If the NO3 is mostly from fertilizers:
I would alter all the fertilizers in the same ratio. That is, if you cut the KNO3 dosing in half, then cut the other ferts in half, too.
Sounds like pre-mixed two bottle EI solutions?
If needing KNO3 for a calibration of test kit.


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post #15 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-22-2015, 05:21 PM Thread Starter
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I do not add anything to the water when doing a water change like prime and the fertilizer was the dry packs that came with the bottles to mix it in. I have not checked the water hardness. I need to get a test kit for that yet. I was dosing the fertilizer twice a week instead of the full 3 mostly so I wouldn't have to do such a large water change.
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