High levels in newly planted tank ... should I be concerned this early? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 24 (permalink) Old 02-14-2012, 12:29 AM Thread Starter
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Exclamation High levels in newly planted tank ... should I be concerned this early?

Howdy folks,

After my 5 months of assembling my equipment for my co2 pressurized tank I finally set it up last friday night. I set it up with ADA's penac P / W/ Tourmaline BC / Powersand S / Bacter 100 and Eco-Complete on top. I've been dosing the proper amount of ADA's Green Brighty daily as well. Lights are only on for 10 hours with the co2 and shut off every night. It's heavily planted, many Dwarf baby tears, dwarf hairgrass, giant hairgrass and micro swords.

I've started a google doc where I'm charting my levels to keep track, and my ammonia / nitrate and nitrite levels are pretty high ...

I did however run tests of my tap water before hand (I'm on well water). There are NO nitrate / ammonia / nitrite levels out of my tap (which is pH 7.8).

My pH however came down nicely from the tank setup and is at a solid 7.

Here's an image from my chart from the test I did after setting up my tank and this evening (the 13th).

http://bit.ly/zVeQRb

Should I not be waiting a full week for a water change? Should I just calm down a bit and wait for the tank to set in more? I obviously don't have fish yet in the tank but I do have snails.

Thanks!

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post #2 of 24 (permalink) Old 02-14-2012, 12:37 AM
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you may want to do a small water change to reduce nitrate a little bit but I am not experienced with ada products.

If you werent using ADA, and you had those readings i would do a large water change, regardless of the time your tank has been set up. that 80 ppm of nitrate is going nowhere fast.
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post #3 of 24 (permalink) Old 02-14-2012, 01:54 AM
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So you have no nitrite reading?

In any event it sounds like the tank is cycling - if there is no livestock other than snails (assuming they are pest snails) then I'd leave it be.
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post #4 of 24 (permalink) Old 02-14-2012, 02:23 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by wendyjo View Post
So you have no nitrite reading?

In any event it sounds like the tank is cycling - if there is no livestock other than snails (assuming they are pest snails) then I'd leave it be.
As of tonight my nitrite is at 5 PPM, up from 0 when I first started the tank. And yes, all I have is plants and just snails (they're just there to eat algae) ... should I still leave it be? I just assumed the tank is still cycling.

Thanks!

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post #5 of 24 (permalink) Old 02-14-2012, 02:27 AM
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Originally Posted by webdevbrian View Post
As of tonight my nitrite is at 5 PPM, up from 0 when I first started the tank. And yes, all I have is plants and just snails (they're just there to eat algae) ... should I still leave it be? I just assumed the tank is still cycling.

Thanks!
Hmm.. I know aquasoil has ammonia in it - it's possible that bacter whatever has ammonia in it as bacteria food, and powersand might also have ammonia.
If not, then I'm not sure what the heck started your cycle.


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post #6 of 24 (permalink) Old 02-14-2012, 02:51 AM Thread Starter
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Hmm.. I know aquasoil has ammonia in it - it's possible that bacter whatever has ammonia in it as bacteria food, and powersand might also have ammonia.
If not, then I'm not sure what the heck started your cycle.
It's definitely odd for sure, I can't put my finger on it but I'm assuming it's the pre-substrate ADA concoction. The plants look great, the water is crystal clear ... it's just my levels I thought were alarming. Beats me!

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post #7 of 24 (permalink) Old 02-14-2012, 03:19 AM
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Since you're hitting Nitrites at 5PPM, you're half way there with your cycle. They'll soon start to decrease and you'll be good to go. Though, depending upon your setup, it could take anywhere from a week to 14 days after the Nitrate spike for the "cycle" to be complete. (Guestimating)


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post #8 of 24 (permalink) Old 02-14-2012, 03:40 AM
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so is 80 ppm nitrate OK for plants? definitely not ok for fish. I know nitrates are food for plants but is there a level that is too high?

Sorry for the hijack, trying to learn somethin...
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post #9 of 24 (permalink) Old 02-14-2012, 03:54 AM
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You probably don't have 80 ppm of nitrates. Unless you calibrate your nitrate test kit you can't be sure what the readings mean. It could be a technique error, a bad batch of test kits, an aging issue with the test kit, etc. Calibrating will show you what the results really mean.

You didn't mention how much light you have. That is the most significant parameter, because it is light that determines how fast the plants can grow, therefore how fast they use up nitrates, CO2, and other nutrients.

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post #10 of 24 (permalink) Old 02-14-2012, 04:17 AM Thread Starter
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You probably don't have 80 ppm of nitrates. Unless you calibrate your nitrate test kit you can't be sure what the readings mean. It could be a technique error, a bad batch of test kits, an aging issue with the test kit, etc. Calibrating will show you what the results really mean.

You didn't mention how much light you have. That is the most significant parameter, because it is light that determines how fast the plants can grow, therefore how fast they use up nitrates, CO2, and other nutrients.
Thank you for the reply, sorry I didn't add that. I'm running 4 24watt T5HO's (96 watts). My tank is 29 gallons.

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post #11 of 24 (permalink) Old 02-14-2012, 04:19 AM
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Since you're hitting Nitrites at 5PPM, you're half way there with your cycle. They'll soon start to decrease and you'll be good to go. Though, depending upon your setup, it could take anywhere from a week to 14 days after the Nitrate spike for the "cycle" to be complete. (Guestimating)
I agree.
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post #12 of 24 (permalink) Old 02-14-2012, 04:24 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by somewhatshocked View Post
Since you're hitting Nitrites at 5PPM, you're half way there with your cycle. They'll soon start to decrease and you'll be good to go. Though, depending upon your setup, it could take anywhere from a week to 14 days after the Nitrate spike for the "cycle" to be complete. (Guestimating)
Thanks for the sigh of relief! I'm hoping that starts dropping, I thought my snails would have been dead by now for sure with this and the other levels going nuts like this.

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post #13 of 24 (permalink) Old 02-14-2012, 04:26 AM
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I've had snails and stealth/sneaky Cherry Shrimp survive insane levels of Ammonia and Nitrites. You'd be surprised what they can take. Though, I would never purposefully subject either to those high levels I'm talking about.


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post #14 of 24 (permalink) Old 02-14-2012, 08:18 AM
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My snails have oddly enough been VERY active in high ammonia!
When cycling my tanks the snails are just truckin and happy looking.
Then they get all lazy when it goes back to normal.
It's interesting to thing about given that marine snails absorb chemicals and turn them into poisons in their bodies for self defense - maybe snails aren't bothered by ammonia - as I said, mine always seem happier in it.


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post #15 of 24 (permalink) Old 02-15-2012, 12:38 AM Thread Starter
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Looks like my snails may be happy, but I just noticed a bit of algae growing...
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