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Old 03-11-2013, 06:31 PM   #1 
Otterfun
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Nitrate issues

Hi,

My 5g tanks has been showing 0 ammonia and nitrites for a month. Only thing is I am not seeing 0 nitrates. It has been 20-40 for nitrate with 50% WC every week. I have 1 Golden Mystery Snail, 4 Amano, and 9 RCS, with 53gph Fluval stock filter (Fred died not fish in it for now). Do I need certain plants or more to get to 0 nitrates?

I have :
a number of hygrophilia, a crypt and wisteria (that are not growing much), anacharia, marimo moss ball.

This is the tank in mid-January, all the plants have doubled and I had to replant the hygrophilia, so it is denser with plants now.

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Old 03-11-2013, 08:29 PM   #2 
jaysee
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Plants are not my thing, but I don't believe you want to get to 0 nitrates. I'm sure someone else will be able to provide better help.
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Old 03-11-2013, 08:42 PM   #3 
Tikibirds
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I can be wrong about this but I dont think your gonna get 0 nitrAtes. The safe level is anything under 40. Its ammonia and nitrItes that you want to be 0.
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Old 03-11-2013, 09:01 PM   #4 
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My tank is full of plants (as in, completely, very little room for the fish) and I still have 5 nitrates. :)
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Old 03-12-2013, 02:14 AM   #5 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bombalurina View Post
My tank is full of plants (as in, completely, very little room for the fish) and I still have 5 nitrates. :)
I was hoping for a 5-20 nitrate but I guess it is the way of life for a 5g which is consistent with OFL's info on WC, 50% once a week w/vacuum...
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Old 03-12-2013, 08:39 AM   #6 
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Did you check your source water for nitrates?
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Old 03-12-2013, 11:09 AM   #7 
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Yes, 0 nitrate with and without PRIME & liquid fert.
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Old 03-12-2013, 02:16 PM   #8 
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Your nitrate reading might be due to the plant ferts themselves-since plant ferts are a nitrogen base to start with. As well as the soil itself that can be the nitrate source.

Its not uncommon for a heavy planted tank in active growth to take a long time if ever to see a nitrate reading-But some can and will have a nitrate reading, however, often it will be low. Depending of species of plants, if they are thriving, plant ferts, other additives, source water, fish/invert foods and livestock-you may or may not see nitrate or the actual nitrate reading could be a false reading due to other things (as listed) that cause either a interaction or skewed results.

Since your wisteria is not doing well-this could be a cause of nitrate too-as they decomp they make ferts in the sense.

Fish/invert food are one of the best plant fert for your natural soil based tanks and these can cause nitrate results.

Since you have shrimp-you will need to watch the nitrate reading and not let it get too high-some shrimp are more sensitive than others to nitrate. Usually, this is more in the 60+ppm and higher range of true nitrate.

Test results in general can vary due to the time of day of the test, if done before or after a water change or death, disturbance of the soil, feeding timeline....etc.....If you start a test log you can compare all this info and see what cause what and when...etc.....It can be interesting....lol...

What kind of floating plants do you keep-these types of plants usually will work better for nitrate issues-Water lettuce, frogbit, duckweed and hornwort

Your tank looks great by the way....
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Old 03-12-2013, 04:01 PM   #9 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oldfishlady View Post
Your nitrate reading might be due to the plant ferts themselves-since plant ferts are a nitrogen base to start with. As well as the soil itself that can be the nitrate source.

Its not uncommon for a heavy planted tank in active growth to take a long time if ever to see a nitrate reading-But some can and will have a nitrate reading, however, often it will be low. Depending of species of plants, if they are thriving, plant ferts, other additives, source water, fish/invert foods and livestock-you may or may not see nitrate or the actual nitrate reading could be a false reading due to other things (as listed) that cause either a interaction or skewed results.

Since your wisteria is not doing well-this could be a cause of nitrate too-as they decomp they make ferts in the sense.

Fish/invert food are one of the best plant fert for your natural soil based tanks and these can cause nitrate results.

Since you have shrimp-you will need to watch the nitrate reading and not let it get too high-some shrimp are more sensitive than others to nitrate. Usually, this is more in the 60+ppm and higher range of true nitrate.

Test results in general can vary due to the time of day of the test, if done before or after a water change or death, disturbance of the soil, feeding timeline....etc.....If you start a test log you can compare all this info and see what cause what and when...etc.....It can be interesting....lol...

What kind of floating plants do you keep-these types of plants usually will work better for nitrate issues-Water lettuce, frogbit, duckweed and hornwort

Your tank looks great by the way....
Thanks, floaters are anacharis, couple of not so great lookig wisteria, and uprooted hygrophilia.
I think I did not disconnect the runners for my pygymy chain sword and so parent and runner plants are disintegrating and the shrimps and snails are feasting on them. I will see if I can salvage that....

Will be planting some italian visalia and hair grass after the QT (they came with pond snails, treating with alum and cucumber)


Baseline:
Tap water: 0 ammonia, nitrite, nitrate
Added Prime & liquid fert : 0 ammonia, nitrite, nitrate
test time: around 10pm at night

Liquid ferts:
M/W/F, alternate with T/R/Sat 5cc Aqueon Plant Food
Once a week on Sat. : 1 pump of Potassium, and 1 pump of Micro by Pfertz.

My test log trend (since 2/15/15), usually goes like this for my currently 5g (1 Golden Mystery Snail, 4 Amano, 9 RCS):

Day 1: 40-80 nitrate triggers a 40% (2g) WC
drops back to 10-20 nitrate immediately
Day 2: test color 10-20 nitrate, closer to 20 in color
Day 3 : test color between 20-40 nitrate
Day 4: Closer to 40 nitrate, optional WC 20% or 1g
Day 5: 40-80 nitrate, probably triggers my WC again.

GMS, 5 baby RCS, and 4 Amano are free to roam in the tank, the 5 parent RCS are in breeder box.

I have kept light on every other day to control my hair algae, maybe adding a fish in it later will help with that so I can keep the lights on regularly?? Only light is the sun but I draw the blinds in the room, so it is relatively darker than the outside.

I think this is consistent with the WC/vacuum schedule that you recommend for a cycled planted 5g.

It's just that I am concerned and not sure if I need to achieve 0-10 nitrate. But if I do not need to worry, I will just be content with my current setup.

Last edited by Otterfun; 03-12-2013 at 04:03 PM.
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Old 03-12-2013, 05:18 PM   #10 
JessJesting
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Dont worry. I had this problem with my 2.5 planted tank. My tank always reads 0-0-0 now. I never have any problems. As long as your nitrites and ammonia stay down at zero you'll be okay. I top off everyday and with all my plants I only need to do a water change once a week if that.
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