Can waer changes make nitrates go up? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-01-2014, 11:17 PM Thread Starter
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Can waer changes make nitrates go up?

I went thru a mini cycle due to a course of meds. Cycle seems to be back to normal but I can't get my nitrates down. Each day I'm testing and it's at about 40, I do a 50% w/c and the next day it's back at 40. Hell, Sunday I changed out about 75% of the water through out the day with multiple w/c. I'm not overfeeding - I' barely feeding at all. Not overstocked.

I'm wondering if my nitirates could be increasing because of the ammonia in the chloramines? I use Prime. Perhaps I'm adding back as much ammonia as I'm removing when I do w/c and it's converting into nitrates overnight? Is that possible?
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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-01-2014, 11:28 PM
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Any nitrates in your tap?

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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-02-2014, 12:03 AM Thread Starter
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I haven't tested recently - there didn't used to be. I'll test in about half an hour and see. Should I test is straight out the tap or should I treat it first, or will it matter? I'm thinking it won't matter?
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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-02-2014, 12:13 AM
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Yes it can. My tap water is 40 ppm nitrates. Something I have to live with (and my fish and plants). So far nobody's showed any ill effects. But I routinely test my tap water as the nitrates vary, from 20-40. Ammonia & nitrites = 0.
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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-02-2014, 12:26 AM Thread Starter
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OK nitrates on untreated tap water are 5. Not enough to explain what's going on.
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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-02-2014, 12:32 AM
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Yes it can. My tap water is 40 ppm nitrates. Something I have to live with (and my fish and plants). So far nobody's showed any ill effects. But I routinely test my tap water as the nitrates vary, from 20-40. Ammonia & nitrites = 0.
Same issue here in AZ.

I am sick of it, too. Yes, majority of my plants would suck it up - but it was a nightmare for fish and shrimp health, not to mention, if the plants aren't sucking it up, it would SKY ROCKET.

Now going forward, RO water.

My 25 gallon cube garden:

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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-02-2014, 12:48 AM Thread Starter
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So does anyone think it could be from the chloramines?

I just added a bag of BiochemZorb. And a bottle of Dr. Tims One & Only to keep my cycle stable since I've been doing these massive water changes. Ugh - so annoyed.
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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-02-2014, 02:22 AM
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My api nitrate test kit shows tap water coming out at 10/20 ppm (same color on chart for both). My 20g long has no fauna (except snails) and until this Sunday a lot of plants so i actually got nitrates down to 0ppm (first time I've ever seen this in a tank) so doing a water change actually added nitrates back in.

Due to photobuckets new bs cost for use of images on forums I have deleted all photobucket accounts. I apologize if you enjoyed or found my photos helpful.
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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-02-2014, 02:35 AM
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I use RO water for my heavily planted aquarium. I practice very good tank maintenace. My 'high nitrate' levels really weren't high at all. The problem was with my API Nitrate test kit. I bought a Seachem Nitrate test kit and nitrates tested much lower.

I confirmed the results from the Seachem kit using their reference solution. As a second test for accuracy, I mixed up additional reference solutions using instructions posted by Hoppy ,under a sticky on this website, under the 'Fertilizers and Water Parameters' section. Once again, it proved my API Nitrate test kit to be inaccurate and matched the Seachem test results.
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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-02-2014, 03:25 AM
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Chloramines are rarely more than about 2 ppm, so, no, massive water changes with water that has chloramines will not result in rising nitrates like you are describing.

If the tap water has 5 pppm, and the chloramines contribute 1-2 ppm, then a 100% water change should show no more than 10 ppm or a bit lighter color.

Here is what I have seen a few times:
There is some source of nitrates in the substrate.
When I do a carefully measured water change (whatever that means) of 50% I would expect the NO3 to be cut in half. But it is not, quite.
When I do the same volume of water change, but take the water from the substrate (such as a gravel vac, or a more complex method with a planted tank) then I do see the NO3 cut in half.

I still do not think this is the only cause of such quickly rising NO3, but you might start by trying this:
Dig a corner out down to the bottom of the tank and take the water change water from there, hopefully pulling it through the substrate rather than from the water column. If you can dig more holes and take water from several locations this would help.

Have you added any fertilizer tablets that might be escaping from the substrate?
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post #11 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-02-2014, 04:04 AM
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40ppm of nitrates out of the tap? I hope you don't drink that stuff!


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post #12 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-02-2014, 03:02 PM
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40ppm of nitrates out of the tap? I hope you don't drink that stuff!
Actually I do a lot of the time I'll have someone notify you if I croak
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post #13 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-02-2014, 05:33 PM
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Good thing nitrate poisoning is easy to fix. If you notice yourself easily tired or you have brown blood, all you need is an IV with saline and methaline blue and you'll be right as rain in a day or so.


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post #14 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-02-2014, 08:42 PM
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Good thing nitrate poisoning is easy to fix. If you notice yourself easily tired or you have brown blood, all you need is an IV with saline and methaline blue and you'll be right as rain in a day or so.
And you'll be a blue blood?
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post #15 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-03-2014, 12:17 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the replies.

I also have the Seachem Multi Test kits and as well as the API, and I'm getting the same readings on both (used API to test the tap tho). So I don't think my tests are off.

I've been hesitant to vac the gravel because I'm recovering from a mini cycle after medicating the tank. I've added some Dr. Tims One & Only and I don't wanna suck it back up. But now I'm also wondering if the product might be causing the problem? I figured I'd do a small gravel vac this weekend, hoping the product has had time to work it's way into and adhere to the filter media.
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