High Nitrates What Can I Do - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-21-2014, 03:10 PM Thread Starter
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High Nitrates What Can I Do

Got a heavily planted 225 Gallon running C02. The Nitrates have been high since the tank cycled. I have done 2 major water changes. Once after the cycle and then a month later. In between these water changes I have water going in at about 20 gallons a day and 20 going out. This is a automatic water change system. Plants are growing and I have about 12 small fish in the tank. I dose Flourish, some Excel and Iron as liquid and then the 3 other dry ferts. K2SO4,KH2PO4 and one other forgot the name. My levels are about 80 on the API scale. Should I stop adding ferts? I rinsed out the 3 filter socks in tank water and put them back in. They were not really dirty but I thought it might help. Also is there a way to clean the substrate with plants there? Any help would be great. Thanks
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-21-2014, 03:19 PM
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Your Tank Water

Hello too...

Whoa! That's a lot of fertilizer going into the tank water and water changes will remove most of it. You can do a couple of things to lower the nitrates. Get some nitrate removing media like the stuff Acurel markets. It's a good product. A more natural approach would be to add some floating plants. Hornwort, Pond Weed and Pennywort are all good.

Your plants will likely do very well with a fraction of the ferts and large, frequent water changes.

Your call, though. You're the "Head Tank Keeper".

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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-21-2014, 03:30 PM
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Overstock doesn't seem like an issue. Maybe overfeeding could be an issue. If your dosing kno3 you might be dosing too much. Plant uptake is probably not enough to use it all. So you could cut that out.

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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-21-2014, 03:47 PM
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Don't believe your nitrate test kit unless you have calibrated it. You have to use the kit correctly, and you have to interpret the results correctly, or it won't give you an accurate reading. Also, the kits are just hobbyist quality, not lab quality, so they can't be assumed to always read correctly. Until you calibrate the kit, so you know exactly what the results you get mean, it is best to assume the results are highly questionable.

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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-21-2014, 04:06 PM
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What is your ammonia level? You shouldn't be seeing anything like that at all with roughly 10% water changes daily. Have you checked your nitrates in the water you are adding?
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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-21-2014, 05:00 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by loach guy View Post
What is your ammonia level? You shouldn't be seeing anything like that at all with roughly 10% water changes daily. Have you checked your nitrates in the water you are adding?
All levels are good Ammonia 0, Nitrites 0, A touch high for me on Phos. 4ppm. I will check that tonight but it wasn't a problem 2 months ago. PS the water going in is filtered using a sediment and carbon block so there is no chlorine going in.

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Originally Posted by Hoppy View Post
Don't believe your nitrate test kit unless you have calibrated it. You have to use the kit correctly, and you have to interpret the results correctly, or it won't give you an accurate reading. Also, the kits are just hobbyist quality, not lab quality, so they can't be assumed to always read correctly. Until you calibrate the kit, so you know exactly what the results you get mean, it is best to assume the results are highly questionable.
Can you suggest a better kit to use then API
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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-21-2014, 05:24 PM
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API is a great kit what members are saying is that it either has to be calibrated or make sure that you are using it right, like shake both bottles really well or I wack them on the counter 20 times or so.

I have had test kits tell me my nitrates were 40 when I just did a water change and they are usually 5 so I tested my tap and it was also 40, this test kit was working great and then it just failed miserably and it wasn't expired.


Used a new kit and my nitrates were 5 just like they always are after water change.

Also can you post a pic of your tank, or a list of plants. In other words what do you consider heavily planted.
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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-21-2014, 11:42 PM Thread Starter
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Tap water is at 0 Nitrates. Tank water is about 40 maybe 50 ppm now.

Funny thing I do notice. I am using socks in my sump and the outside of the sock builds up with something, not sure what it is. If I touch the sock the stuff falls off. It's brown in color and only shows on the outside not the inside of the sock. It almost looks like water logged decayed plants stuff. All water goes into the sock non overflows. It also resembles the brown stuff in your canisters that is on the walls not the floss. When you touch the stuff it melts into nothing. Also is there a way to to clean the gravel that won't up root plants. I have so many plants there is only a small section in the front that has substrate showing. I do agree I may be over doing the ferts so I stopped for now. I was adding KN03 twice a week for a total of 14 grams which might be to much and raising the nitrates. What are your thoughts? I stopped all dosing until the numbers are better. Just pumping C02 for now. Tank still looks good. If anyone has any suggestions on the sock issue I would be thankful
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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-21-2014, 11:51 PM
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Maybe diatoms on the sock? Is there any light in that area?

I think you were overdosing ferts, especially if both P and N were too high.
See what a week or so with not ferts does, then perhaps try half the dose you were doing before.
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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-22-2014, 12:25 AM
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https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/sh...ht=calibration


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post #11 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-22-2014, 12:38 AM
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I find the API test gives me a really high reading at any point past 25PPM. I say this because I did mix the test solutions so that I would have a known level. When we say calibrate the test set, it is not really the set but the way we read the colors that is calibrated. When I read a known sample of 25PPM, I get somewhat close to the color on the chart, but if I read any mix that is known to be higher, the colors appear to be blown off the scale. I would also suggest doing a mix of the test samples and check that what you see is really fitting the color chart. I have new test sets and have checked but for me, I get better answers on the test strips from Jungle. The API does not work for me on nitrate.
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post #12 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-22-2014, 02:34 AM
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I'd like to see a pic of the tank too. I'd like to know how much plants there are. Plants take up ammonia. This is not processed by the Nitrogen bacteria and results in lower Nitrates. (The word from left field) Good idea to test the tap too.

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

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post #13 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-22-2014, 05:21 PM Thread Starter
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Tap water has 0 Nitrates see above. Here is a link to my Youtube video of the tank. I think I am dosing too much. Also I am geting some filtered sunlight on the front sock where the brown stuff is showing up. I placed a board over the area last night until I get the doors on the stand. The link is masked so I can follow my traffic on the tube.

Last edited by toodo; 11-10-2014 at 03:14 PM. Reason: problem with link
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post #14 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-22-2014, 09:25 PM
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Ok I looked at the video twice, and your tank's plants look very good. You might try some root tabs under the sags or vals, whatever they are. But more plants is certainly not the answer. The answer is there is too much Nitrogen (read ammonia). You have got enough biofiltration to handle it and turn it into Nitrates but you have to find out where it's coming from, like overfeeding, a dead fish or something else, rotting leaves or junk on the floor, although I didn't see enough of that to be the culprit. It might be that brown junk in the sump. I would clean out the sump and see if the Nitrates go down. I might even remove some of the bio material and see if you get less nitrates or an increase in NH4 or NO2. I know that sounds risky.

You could also reduce the dose of KNO3, and add K2SO4 to make up for the Potassium. Use your test kit and see what happens.

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

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post #15 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-22-2014, 10:57 PM
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I went to ace hardward and grabbed a few feet of tubing. When I need to get detailed cleaning done, I will use the tubing and buckets to get under my plants and clean up the mulm and poop. I typically do this once every other month or when I notice a large build up.

I dealt with high (60+ppm) nitrates for a long time, keeping my sponges clean, adding floaters, reducing my kno3 dosing and replacing it with k2so4 followed by increased water changes over a few months brought my nitrates below 20ppm. It'll take time.


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