The Planted Tank Forum banner

1 - 14 of 14 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
89 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi guys!

Story short. I took some of my tank's water for testing to a reputable fish store were they tested for phosphates. The color from the test results was so dark that it was way off chart. The guys at the fish store told me that there's no natural way to get that amount of phosphates in my water, that is has to be something chemical.
I haven't used any additives other than Excel and Flourish comprehensive for the plants, and aquarium salt, blackwater extract and Seachem Prime for my Betta.
The guys at the fish store suspect the Tetra's BettaSafe water conditioner that I used to use before I found Prime, and the Petco gravel that I have as substrate.

Any ideas?
 

·
Children Boogie
Joined
·
16,743 Posts
the test kit is either wrong or your waterworks add phosphate chemicals in the water system to help combat pipe erosion.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
89 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
the test kit is either wrong or your waterworks add phosphate chemicals in the water system to help combat pipe erosion.
I thought about that too, but the store has good reputation. The changes of them using bad tests or doing them wrong are very small. Regarding the water, I live in LA California, has anyone from this area have had the same problem? I don't think that my building treats its water after getting it from the system, but I'll ask my manager...

Any other suggestions?
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
11,976 Posts
It would be best to check your city water reports, as your building manager will likely not know.

Of course, there could be human errors when testing the water kits; everyone makes mistakes. I would purchase a test kit and try to test the water myself as well.
 

·
Plant Whisperer
Joined
·
2,550 Posts
Take them a sample of the fresh water you use for water changes and have them test that.

Also, don't use aquarium salt if you have aquatic plants as it will either stress them severely with time, or outright kill them.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
89 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
It would be best to check your city water reports, as your building manager will likely not know.

Of course, there could be human errors when testing the water kits; everyone makes mistakes. I would purchase a test kit and try to test the water myself as well.
I will check the reports. I had not thought of that, thank you.

Take them a sample of the fresh water you use for water changes and have them test that.

Also, don't use aquarium salt if you have aquatic plants as it will either stress them severely with time, or outright kill them.
I didn't know that (my noobness is showing :redface:). Thanks!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
405 Posts
Yes, test your water source before it goes into the tank, and also be sure that no one else is (over)feeding the fish in the tank when you aren't looking.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,628 Posts
First off, back up...

Are you having issues in your tank? What triggered this impulse to "test the water"???

If you are not having issues,.... I am of the philosophy, if it ain't broke, don't fix it. Why ruin whats working???? You may end up chasing your tail trying to reduce something that is not necessary. Add more plants if you want. If you really want to trace it, you need to do alot more than just bring one sample to the LFS.

Now... if I had to throw one guess at you as to the culprit.... Fish Food.

But again high P is not a make or break thing.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
89 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Yeah :(. My plants were loosing leaves like crazy... Specially my last addition, a Bacopa. The wisteria and bacopa shrank to a 1/3 of their original size, because of leaves issues. Yellowing and getting translucent was all they did. The Bacopa stems were rotting from the substrate up at a rapid pace. Algae mas growing on my Java Fern's leaves and the rest of the tank while some brown spots (and then holes) started showing too. My Red Cabomba the only one that was doing ok stopped growing.

It seems that my nitrates were too low, so to make sure that my tests (or my interpretation) were accurate I took the sample to the FS.

Regarding the fish food... I only give my Betta 3 Hikary Bio-gold pellets in the morning and 3 at night. I haven't bought any other type of food for him, and he eats all three while I'm watching. No one else feeds him, just me.

What I was told at the FS is that since I have a low nitrate situation, the high Phosphates are fueling the algae, while my plants are not doing well because some of them (possible the Cabomba) take all the nitrates and leave the others with none.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
405 Posts
It seems that my nitrates were too low, so to make sure that my tests (or my interpretation) were accurate I took the sample to the FS.

Regarding the fish food... I only give my Betta 3 Hikary Bio-gold pellets in the morning and 3 at night. I haven't bought any other type of food for him, and he eats all three while I'm watching. No one else feeds him, just me.

What I was told at the FS is that since I have a low nitrate situation, the high Phosphates are fueling the algae, while my plants are not doing well because some of them (possible the Cabomba) take all the nitrates and leave the others with none.
Well..there ya go. If I had known about the Cabamba, it wouldn't have been a theory...they suck up nitrates like crazy and are among the first to show the nitrate shortfall. Get the nitrates up to about 15ppm and keep testing to see that they stay at that level. If you do, and you keep the CO2 consistent and the lighting consistent, too, and it'll all get back into shape.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
89 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Well..there ya go. If I had known about the Cabamba, it wouldn't have been a theory...they suck up nitrates like crazy and are among the first to show the nitrate shortfall. Get the nitrates up to about 15ppm and keep testing to see that they stay at that level. If you do, and you keep the CO2 consistent and the lighting consistent, too, and it'll all get back into shape.
I use Excel for CO2 daily, and have my lights on for 8 hours (20w CF).
Considering that I only have one fish. Is there any natural alternative way to increase the Nitrates? Or should I just start dosing them like any other additive? The reason I ask is because I've read that it is easy to take the nitrates over the 20ppm limit and start killing fish.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
13,609 Posts
I use Excel for CO2 daily, and have my lights on for 8 hours (20w CF).
Considering that I only have one fish. Is there any natural alternative way to increase the Nitrates? Or should I just start dosing them like any other additive? The reason I ask is because I've read that it is easy to take the nitrates over the 20ppm limit and start killing fish.
I have altums/Cardinals, you name it, CRS's, lots o shrimps at this level:icon_cool

NO3 is different than fish waste that starts out as waste, then NH4 which is a lot more toxic, then NO2, which is also toxic......to NO3, which is pretty much non toxic.

This is very different than adding say KNO3 as a source of NO3 for plants.

You have 1 fish, not likely it's the PO4.
Test kits work only as good as the person using them and checking their accuracy against a known standard reference. This is why researchers use calibration standards when using 10,000$ lab machines, they do not "just guess"..........

Now it's not that difficult to calibration and make standard reference solutions for test kits checking here at our level either. I have never been to a single fish store that does this.

Yet you are basing the entire thing here on their (Guessing)testing.
It's been shown that for NO3 and PO4, hobby test kits tend to be pretty poor and can way way off in many cases.

It might be right, or it might be way off. No way of knowing with confirmation and using a calibration test kit.

If the plants are looking bad, something is wrong.
But it might not have anything to do with NO3 or PO4.

You have not said anything about your tank too much here.
Size, % water changes, filter, age, 5 plant biomass, etc. We know you add Excel and have some species of plants etc. 20W of CF so it's a relatively small tank.

A simple way to ensure plenty of nutrients for all of them would be using EI dosing. Since you are using Excel, I'd cut the dosing by about 1/2.

50% water change a week prevents anything from running out, adding 3-4 items 1-2x a week prevents anything from running out, small aquarium, water changes are very easy, fast and painless. You might make a stock solution if the tank is small also instead. Makes smaller tank dosing easy.

Not hard either nor cost much.
www.aquariumfertilizer.com

Get 2lbs of KNO3
1 lb KH2PO4
1 lb CMS+B
GH booster 2lbs

That's it.
Dose those and water changes, Excel, filter cleaning etc
This way you do not need any test kits and know the levels are within a good range for plant demand/growth.


Regards,
Tom Barr
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
89 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I have altums/Cardinals, you name it, CRS's, lots o shrimps at this level:icon_cool

NO3 is different than fish waste that starts out as waste, then NH4 which is a lot more toxic, then NO2, which is also toxic......to NO3, which is pretty much non toxic.

This is very different than adding say KNO3 as a source of NO3 for plants.

You have 1 fish, not likely it's the PO4.
Test kits work only as good as the person using them and checking their accuracy against a known standard reference. This is why researchers use calibration standards when using 10,000$ lab machines, they do not "just guess"..........

Now it's not that difficult to calibration and make standard reference solutions for test kits checking here at our level either. I have never been to a single fish store that does this.

Yet you are basing the entire thing here on their (Guessing)testing.
It's been shown that for NO3 and PO4, hobby test kits tend to be pretty poor and can way way off in many cases.

It might be right, or it might be way off. No way of knowing with confirmation and using a calibration test kit.

If the plants are looking bad, something is wrong.
But it might not have anything to do with NO3 or PO4.

You have not said anything about your tank too much here.
Size, % water changes, filter, age, 5 plant biomass, etc. We know you add Excel and have some species of plants etc. 20W of CF so it's a relatively small tank.

A simple way to ensure plenty of nutrients for all of them would be using EI dosing. Since you are using Excel, I'd cut the dosing by about 1/2.

50% water change a week prevents anything from running out, adding 3-4 items 1-2x a week prevents anything from running out, small aquarium, water changes are very easy, fast and painless. You might make a stock solution if the tank is small also instead. Makes smaller tank dosing easy.

Not hard either nor cost much.
www.aquariumfertilizer.com

Get 2lbs of KNO3
1 lb KH2PO4
1 lb CMS+B
GH booster 2lbs

That's it.
Dose those and water changes, Excel, filter cleaning etc
This way you do not need any test kits and know the levels are within a good range for plant demand/growth.


Regards,
Tom Barr
Thank you!!!! I'm going to start reading on the EI dosing, and get the ferts as soon as possible!

My tank is 5Gs
1G water change weekly
The filter is a Penguin 100
With not that many plants any more

I just created a tank profile.

Thank you again =)!!!!
 
1 - 14 of 14 Posts
Top