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Old 12-29-2012, 10:37 PM   #1
meximan
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Default HELP....Nitrate Problems and Algae

Ive had my 55 gallon set up for a good 6 months now...Have had fish in there for about 3 months ...at the time the only Water monitoring stuff i had was API test strips..

I have
5 neons
5 Black Skirts
2 Cory cats

in there right now and i set up a 10 gal QT tank for all the new Fish to live in for a month before adding to my 55 gallon.

So far my big tank has been doing awesome...No fish deaths, they all seem healthy as can be...The only problem i have been having is with This brownish Algae thats, spreads pretty darn quick...

MY 10 gallon however has been set up for about 3 months now...Was used to cycle/ QT the fish i currently have in my 55 gallon....and now has a batch of 7 neons (small) and 5 lamp eye tetras...HOWEVER I cant seem to keep these dang neons alive...

So i broke down and bought the API master test kit and tested both tanks, and both of the water paramters were SUPER close to eachother...

about-
.15 Ammonia
0 Nitrite
80 ppm Nitrate
7.6-7.8 PH

Holy crap my Nitrate is high...Ive been consistently Keeping up with 25-35% water changes every week, I dont over feed i actually will sit there and hand feed them until they stop eating..

SO i tested my Tap water......40-50 PPM Nitrate...So seeing how my Water changes are getting me no where....What can i do to lower this nitrate problem.. I have some plants in each tank....

Also For PH, is the only STATIC change i can make to ph , by adding driftwood? Otherwise its best to leave the PH alone rather than add Disolvents as band aids right?
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Old 12-29-2012, 11:53 PM   #2
emc7
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first off, test the test. IME, nitrate is the test most likely to give false readings & need all new reagents to work right again. I have one kit that always reads 0 nitrate.

Peat works the same way driftwood does. Pretty much anything else has to be added every water change.

There are chemical ways to attack nitrate, most of them take nitrite too and mess w/the cycle, but they should all work fine in a no-fish, pre-treat container. Something like nitra-sorb, a box filter and a big bucket or rubbermaid trashcan..

Check gH, dH and/or kH. Never even consider changing pH w/o knowing something about your water's hardness.

Have you considered ditching the tetra? African cichlids are less nitrate-sensitive.
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Old 12-30-2012, 12:14 AM   #3
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how do i test the test?

and what would i use to test gh,kh ect? the Api test kit doesnt have those tests.

and can you clarify what you mean with the chemical method of treating?

Basically get a rubbermaid trash can from home depot...Fill it with water as a back up reservoir, Treat it with Nitro-zorb and have it on hand for water changes ect?
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Old 12-30-2012, 01:27 AM   #4
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test on another tank, with nitrates you MUST follow the instructions to the tee and a bit more, where it says shake for 30 seconds, shake it for 35-40 vigorously and where it says a minute do it for a minute 10 seconds,
a high nitrate in the tap is quite common, mine is 50ppm+, easy fix is to either buy r.o water from your local fish dealership or invest in an r.o filter and mix r.o/tap.
i do a 50 litre change once a week (190L tank) with 30L r.o and 20 dechlorionated tap and that will give me a 20ppm or thereabouts, i would stay away from the chems to battle the nitrates because you will lose, if you have a external cannister filter add seachems matrix as a bio filter (you will never have to change it) or de-nitrate if you have a slow flow filter, a high nitrate is not that much of a problem unless you are in the 80's+ and also lose the strips, get the liquid test and when you hold your glass up to the white card make sure you have no shadow directly behind glass on card as it will make it look darker

*edit* also research they whys and whatfors if you opt to buy an r.o filter... 3/4 of the water goes to waste and depending on the speed of the filter, it can take a long time.
recommend getting the filter, a shut off kit and a tank to fill so you have water on tap.
if you are on a water meter... you will need to do your math and see the best option if to get the filter or buy the water.
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Last edited by weedkiller; 12-30-2012 at 01:35 AM.
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Old 12-30-2012, 11:05 AM   #5
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ok so i decided to test the kit again....I actualy moved to another faucet in the house (the newest one) to try the tap water there, and it had much better lighting then the bathroom lights..

Sad to say it but...The test was the same around 40 ppm..

Our family buys water from one of those Water shops that use reverse osmosis to clean it all out...So i decided to test the kit itself on the Store bought Water....Sure enough...0ppm Nitrate.

So now knowing that my tap water is basically not getting me anywhere with water changes....Whats the next best route to take in order to get my nitrates down...

Nitra-zorb?
Plant a ****************-load of plants? (i really dont want to do this)
Buy the reverse osmosis water in 5 gallon jugs and do a 40% water change with it?
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Old 12-30-2012, 02:16 PM   #6
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nitra-zorb is an ion exchange resin sold in a pillow. It grabs nitrates and nitrites out of the water and you recharge with salt. You would need 2, one to use and one to be recharging. It is likely your lowest cost option, but would take space (for a water container) and time (likely 12-72 hrs).

There are some other additives that I tell people never to use with fish. Products that reduce the nitrate to nitrites and then ammonia before turning it into nitrogen gas. If fish are in the water when you turn 80 ppm nitrate to 80 ppm ammonia, they die. But such things should work in a pretreat. Just be careful adding treated water to the tank, lest residual product attack the nitrates in the tank. This stuff would cost you $ with every water change.

Plants do work, a "refugium" with plants and lights, wouldn't have to be in the main tank.

Diluting with RO, distilled or rainwater should take nitrates down, but not all the way to 0. Some other not-RO water-filters, may also do the trick to de-nitrate the water out of the tap.
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Old 12-30-2012, 03:53 PM   #7
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ok so, what ive done so far. in both tanks...

10 gallon tank-

drained 55% of the water, vacuumed ect...
Got RO water from the water store, it was cold out of their faucets, so i mixed pretty much one hot water CUP of AM PM BIG GULPS lol...Seriously... to 3 cups of the RO water. To match temps.

Been adding it about a gallon of water every hour or so...Fish seem to be handling it ok so far.

55 gallon-25% or so - 15 gallons worth, drained and vacuumed.
Same method as the 10 gallon with the Big gulp cups and filling 3 gallons an hour. These fish are my babies, and are the stronger fish. Seem ok so far.

I bought some of this Fluval Clearmax - Pretty much Peat in a bag. " traps phosphate, nitrite and nitrate"...I havent put it in yet , Anyone has any experience with it? seems just like the nitra-zorb....The only problem im seeing is that because im using Over the top Filters, theres not alot of room to squeeze them in behind the Carbon Filters...I might have to buy some seperate filter socks to slim them down.

I figure ill watch the fish today make sure they arent acting funny since i have the day off and then test water parameters again tommarrow?
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Old 12-31-2012, 02:58 PM   #8
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Ok i just tested the water parameters again...The only changes were that ph went down to about 7.6....

the PPM for nitrate is kind of hard for me to distinguish..I held the card up to the glass window in the house and the vial next to it, and it looks like 40ppm...but compared to holding it up to the white on the Color chart, it looks like 80ppm...

So it could...or could not have gotten any better overnight ...50% water change to RO water not enough?
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Old 12-31-2012, 03:20 PM   #9
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nitrate color readings are hard to read and they are sort of a log scale,10, 20 ,40, 80, 160. If you read 80, it could actually be 120, so 50% brings it down to 60, which can also read as 80. Unless you intervene by changing water or having nitrate-eating chems or substrate or plants, nitrate should continually go up.
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Old 12-31-2012, 03:50 PM   #10
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Substrate as in flourite?

What should i do? Keep doing RO water changes until it reads 20ppm or lower? If so how Often?

The lady at the LFS (owner) said that i could use that nitro-zorb stuff or Use seachems prime (which i have always used while adding new water (before adding it to the tank))...

I would much rather have a tank that Sustains itself rather than having to pour chemicals in everytime....but not sure if thats a possability due to the circumstances.
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Old 01-01-2013, 01:41 AM   #11
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nitrozorb is supposed to be good,you can recharge it but needs replacing eventually, seachem matrix or de-nitrate i would go for as you never have to replce it, ive battled a long time with high nitrates from my tap(50ppm+), so i invested in an r.o filter to produce my own and added matrix as a bio filter in the caninster and now i have a 0 or just above nitrate reading, takes about 6-8 weeks for the matrix to work properly and it also keeps your bacteria happy as it bonds to it,
use matrix if your filter is fast water or de-nitrate if it is slow.
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Old 01-01-2013, 12:04 PM   #12
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well my filter are the hang on the back ones, i dont have a canster filter.

Whats the difference between seachems matrix and their purigen product?

Is this basically a substitue for the carbon filter pads? and what do you do? Buy the filter bags themselves and stuff it in the bag?

Whats the purpose or functionality of it? Create more surface area for beneficial bacteria to grow, to help manage nitrate levels like bio balls?

Real questions by the way!
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Old 01-01-2013, 05:19 PM   #13
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matrix isnt a sub for carbon, you can use it to replace bio rings and it removed nitrates, you dont need to bag them but that depends on the filter you are using, the best thing to do is look on seachems site and have a read as to what they discribe that way you may get a better understanding of what they sell
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Old 01-01-2013, 10:04 PM   #14
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Im kind of curious if pulling the carbon filter out of the marineland over the top filter and using Bio filtration would help with the nitrate problem. But then ill have to recycle the tank again too ...

Tested the water today day 3 for nitrates...still at 80ppm...Im thinking another RO water change?

Last edited by meximan; 01-01-2013 at 10:06 PM.
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Old 01-01-2013, 11:16 PM   #15
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You could try the purigen in the HOB. If you do it with RO water changes, you will need to always use some RO in your water change. Get a box filter and an air-pump and try various stuff in it.
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