4" substrate, having major issues with nitrates rising and bubbles - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-05-2013, 02:03 AM Thread Starter
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4" substrate, having major issues with nitrates rising and bubbles

Basically what the title says, I have 1.5"-2" layer of soil with 2"-2.5" layer of sand on top. My nitrates are very high and today when I got home I saw 2 large bubbles rise from the sand. After examining the tank I saw 3-4 areas where it looks like the sand collapsed, I'm guessing from air being released?

Anyways, what is the best way to solve this? Looking back I wish I did a 1" layer of soil, with 1.5"-2" cap. I'd rather not tear down my tank but if its absolutely necessary I will

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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-05-2013, 02:13 AM
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push on the substrate to let the gas out. how long has the tank been up and running? its either air being released (new) or gas being released ( soil breaking down). you can use chop sticks or knitting needles to let out air/gas but just pushing with your hand is better i find
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-05-2013, 02:18 AM Thread Starter
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I first set it up about a month ago, but thursday I did a 90% water change and added more sand because I had a breach and my water column filled with dirt and wood chips. I believe this was the cause because I wasn't having any issues before
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-05-2013, 02:28 AM
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It is normal for newly dirted tanks to release excess nitrates in the beginning. Large 80-90% water changes should be performed until the tank begins to stabilize. Also, use something to poke around the substrate occasionally to release gas pockets before they become too large. As you have seen, if they get too large, they can destroy your substrate and make a real mess. As the tank matures, less attention will be needed. Hope this helps.

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Last edited by Gtdad2; 05-05-2013 at 02:34 AM. Reason: Typo
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-05-2013, 02:42 AM Thread Starter
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I appreciate both of your quick replies. I guess I freaked out when it wasn't needed. I've been planning this out and it bugs me when things still go wrong after a couple months of planning haha
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-05-2013, 02:52 AM
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Bamboo skewers are great for poking around in substrate. You mentioned wood chips, I thought with soil substrates you needed to sift out the wood, maybe that might be causing more gas build up.


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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-05-2013, 03:12 AM Thread Starter
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I sifted out all the large pieces. When I say wood chips I'm talking about pieces that are super small. I didn't notice them until I turned on my light fixture
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-05-2013, 04:38 AM
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I'd tell you to use a syphon hose to suck off some of the sand down to 1-1.5" of cap. Toss in some high grow rate floaters like HornWort or Water Lettuce, the plant it heavy and leave it alone for a while. When the growth rate diminishes with you floaters and your plants are growing well you can start to remove the floaters.

You can poke around if you are concerned. The gas will get out either way, I think there's way to much todo about nothing when it comes to Anerobic / Gas concerns.
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-05-2013, 09:20 PM
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Everyone already mentioned probing the soil periodically. My question is what type of sand are you using. If your sand is to fine, it will start to compact more and trap more. Pool filter sand vs play sand for example is one comparison in size. With that said adding more sand may add to the problem.

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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-12-2013, 10:08 PM
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Read Dogfish's ToxicTen. After you get done laughing your arse off at the idea of planting in dog poo, you will never worry about putting organics in your substrate again.
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post #11 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-14-2013, 07:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DogFish View Post
I'd tell you to use a syphon hose to suck off some of the sand down to 1-1.5" of cap. Toss in some high grow rate floaters like HornWort or Water Lettuce, the plant it heavy and leave it alone for a while. When the growth rate diminishes with you floaters and your plants are growing well you can start to remove the floaters.

You can poke around if you are concerned. The gas will get out either way, I think there's way to much todo about nothing when it comes to Anerobic / Gas concerns.

Thanks Dogfish for the insight. I have a good 3" of oversize "natural" gravel and I've been seeing bubbles come out of the substrate. I vac'd the gravel to the bottom and there was a ton of mulm. I am wondering what the bubbles are - Sulphur dioxide? Does it dissolve in the tank water? Doesn't really matter because I hope to get all of it out, but I'd like to know. Thanks, Steven

MY TANK: Planted 10g; 2 x 10W CFL; Fluval U2 internal filter; MGOCPM/black sand cap

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started April 18, 2012
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