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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Last weekend I finally took the plunge and switched from all gravel with fake plants to a dirted/ planted set up! I'm super happy with the look (except for the tanins from the driftwood used... despite having soaked it for a month ahead of time--- but that's another issue)

I have been testing for an ammonia spike constantly and so far (thankfully) nothing. But today I did another test on the other levels and the Nitrates were really high (around 80). To remedy that I did a large water change (40%) and checked again. The Nitrates went down to around 40 (I only have the test strips not the drops so there's a little more guess work involved) but the Nitrites were slightly higher (from 0.8 to 1.0)! So then tested my tap water (with declorinater in it) and it tested @ 1.

So obviously my tap water has nitrites in it. I wondered if it's the home filtration system we use but I still don't know what to do about it. Help Please!!!
 

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Welcome to the Planted Tank!

One way to get rid of Nitrites and other N-compounds is to stuff your tank full of fast-growing, healthy plants. They love to eat Nitrates and Ammonium, and will get rid of any Nitrites in the process.

Seachem Prime should also help to lower the impact on your lifestock.

Obviously you would want to wait stocking your tank until this is resolved, and, maybe not so obvious, you would want to prefer smaller, more frequent water changes over the 50% WC that are normally not a problem.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Awesome! Can you tell me some good plants to add? I have fairly low lighting and right now I have several bunches of Staurogyne Repens, 1 Amazon Compacta (Echinodorus bleheri), about 7 stems of Water Wisteria (Hygrophila difformis)
and 1 Anubias Nana. Are these fast growing or is there something I should add.

I don't plan on adding any new fish until this is fully sorted out. Right now I have 2 albino Corys and 4 tetras.

Thanks!
 

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The Water Wisteria (Hygro difformis) would fall into the (potentially) fast-growing category. The others not so much.

Low lighting = slow growing. So the whole idea about using plants to eat up Nitrates and Ammonium may not work that well.

I am a bit afraid to ask the question, o mejor dicho, hear the answer, but... how much light are we talking about here? Most of the pet shop fixtures are unfortunately not suited for growing plants, it's just not enough brightness for plants to build substance.
 

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Nitrites are also very bad for people- I hope you are not drinking this water.
Nitrites are worst for infants- Really! do not use this water for babies' formula or other food or drink.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
So after reading that nitrites are bad for people too, I went and checked on my home purification system.... turns out it was out of softener pellets. Once I got that fixed the water is back to 0 nitrites! YAY!!

On the lighting.... I know I have very low light. I have one 15W T8 Floramax bulb for my 20gal tank. I want to upgrade but the money just isn't there yet.
 

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Float a lot of Hornwort in tank. It's not a numero uno plant but for a temporary fix (it can be removed) it will stabilize your water and remove bad goodies fast.
 

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So after reading that nitrites are bad for people too, I went and checked on my home purification system.... turns out it was out of softener pellets. Once I got that fixed the water is back to 0 nitrites! YAY!!

On the lighting.... I know I have very low light. I have one 15W T8 Floramax bulb for my 20gal tank. I want to upgrade but the money just isn't there yet.
Yay!

That 15W bulb isn't enough to really grow plants. It will maintain them for a little while. As for money, you can buy some (two?) of those clip-on reflectors and some daylight CFL bulbs, all for less than $20.

Here is some good inspiration from someone who went that way.
Of course, don't go overboard either. Two 13W bulbs should be a good start.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Yay!

That 15W bulb isn't enough to really grow plants. It will maintain them for a little while. As for money, you can buy some (two?) of those clip-on reflectors and some daylight CFL bulbs, all for less than $20.

Here is some good inspiration from someone who went that way.
Of course, don't go overboard either. Two 13W bulbs should be a good start.

That's a great idea! When you say two 13W bulbs, do you mean 13W CFL bulbs? I want to be sure I get the right thing.

I know I need to do this because my water wisteria has already died (though surprisingly, my amazon sword is doing great... putting out new leaves and everything)

Thanks for all the help!
 

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That's a great idea! When you say two 13W bulbs, do you mean 13W CFL bulbs? I want to be sure I get the right thing.

I know I need to do this because my water wisteria has already died (though surprisingly, my amazon sword is doing great... putting out new leaves and everything)

Thanks for all the help!
Yes, I was referring to CFL screw-in bulbs. However, there are also cheap Phillips or TCP LED bulbs that may work just as well, have longer life, slightly lower wattage, and are less fragile. Some are even directional, which reduces the need for the reflector.
 
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