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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
One Oto Cat is looking pale, and two shrimp were laying on their sides but not dead this morning.

Gh 13 degrees
Kh 8 degrees

Ammonia 0
Nitrite 0
Nitrate 60-100??
Well there is the problem!
(It's hard to tell with that color chart in the drop kits)

50% water change

Nitrate now 50?? (still kind of a guess)

I reduced my lighting because of some thread algae. It helped, but I forgot this would reduce the amount of work my plants were doing. I continued dosing potassium nitrate as per usual after reducing lights and didn't think to test for nitrate uptake. Now it may be too late.

SO HERE IS THE QUESTION:

If my Nitrates are somewhere between 50 and 70, and I already cut them in half, should I do so again?
I would do another 50% change but I have heard that rapid changes in nitrate can kill fish/inverts.
Should I wait 12-24 hours before doing another water change?
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
After doing some research, what I recalled was correct. Rapid Nitrate change, even reduction, is harmful. I should wait at least 24 hours to do another water change, and when I do, it should be smaller and if possible, every few hours instead of one 50% change a day.
 

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If do another 50% the next day, and if they still aren't low enough do another one the day after. Water changes are the way of the future!
 

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How does the testing normally go with you? Have you been getting good readings with the test you are using or is this a pretty new test setup for you? Reason for asking is that it can be easy to get really high readings from the API test in certain setups. I can't get a good read on nitrate in my tanks if it gets any where above about 20PPM. I was thinking I was getting really high nitrate. Even to the point that I had to ask why my fish were healthy with that much.
I did the work of setting up known PPM in water samples to check and I can read 5 and 10 but anything above the 25PPM sample goes high and higher. Several have mentioned the same so be aware that not all tests are true tests.
Do some more checking before trying to right something--IF this might be your case.
When you do a 50% water change and don't get a 50% reduction and the new water is not full of nitrate, suspect the test!
 

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Also you can still get all of the Potassium that is had by the listed dosing amount of
the KNO3 on your list, but without adding more nitrates by substituting K2SO4 for the KNO3 in a percent like 50/50.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Why were your nitrates so high?

Are you dosing nitrate, or just have a heavily stocked tank, or...?
As stated above, I had previously reduced lighting but forgot to adjust dosing and test to see if my dosing was correct. A month went by and when the shrimp and oto looked ill I tested the water and discovered my mistake.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
How does the testing normally go with you? Have you been getting good readings with the test you are using or is this a pretty new test setup for you? Reason for asking is that it can be easy to get really high readings from the API test in certain setups. I can't get a good read on nitrate in my tanks if it gets any where above about 20PPM. I was thinking I was getting really high nitrate. Even to the point that I had to ask why my fish were healthy with that much.
I did the work of setting up known PPM in water samples to check and I can read 5 and 10 but anything above the 25PPM sample goes high and higher. Several have mentioned the same so be aware that not all tests are true tests.
Do some more checking before trying to right something--IF this might be your case.
When you do a 50% water change and don't get a 50% reduction and the new water is not full of nitrate, suspect the test!
I know what you mean. The API drop test kit is pretty much useless past 20ppm. I guessed the numbers based on the fact that after using 0ppm water to do a 50% water change I saw no change in color, which means I was someplace in the 80-100 range and now I'm in the 40-50 range.

UPDATE:
This morning the shrimp that were catatonic yesterday aren't to be found. I have enough cherry shrimp that may mean the others simply went cannibalistic on them, but for whatever reason my fish occupants never touch the shrimp, even babies (somewhat to my trouble, baby boom may mean an RAOK in the future). The Oto is still a tich pale, but not quite so much. I'll be performing another 50% change today, and re-testing, which I'm almost positive will confirm that my Nitrate readings listed above are correct, despite the inaccuracy of high level Nitrate readings with the API drop test kit. (but really, if you're testing for Nitrates, a simple test really should just include "some" and "too much" with the "too much" starting around 30 or 40ppm. 20 Is plenty for plants, and 40 is too much for some very sensitive fish. So I can't complain against API much. The test does the needed work.)

Bump:
Also you can still get all of the Potassium that is had by the listed dosing amount of
the KNO3 on your list, but without adding more nitrates by substituting K2SO4 for the KNO3 in a percent like 50/50.
Thank you Raymond.
I suspected these two ferts could be adjusted like that, but I wasn't sure. As I stated this was the result of my adjusting my plant's uptake speed, without changing my dosing regimen. Shame on me.
In the future if I see Potassium deficiencies, but no Nitrate deficiency, I'll now know I can just use more of the K2SO4. Thanks for the tip! :smile2:
 
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