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Old 09-11-2013, 12:30 AM   #1 
Graceful
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Why are my nitrates so high, and how can I lower them?

My nitrates read at about 20-40 ppm any day of the week. I say 20-40 because I can not tell the difference between the two on the color chart.

My betta fish is currently sick and I don't know why. Could it be the high nitrates? His fins are ragged and very thin, and he's lost a lot of color. He is starting to be a little lethargic, as well. I have another thread about it running asking for help, nobody has answered yet.

I have many plants in my tank. Aren't they supposed to help keep water params in check?
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Old 09-11-2013, 07:59 AM   #2 
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That isn't too many nitrates thankfully, it's not enough to cause a Betta to get sick though. To remedy this you just need to do more water changes more frequently. Nitrates are only taken out with water changes. Even if you have live plants, it's very common to see nitrates in a planted tank. Plants only eat ammonia and give off ammonia, your BB is still what converts everything.

So basically just do water changes, take out as much dead plant matter as you have to ensure a healthy tank and hopefully that will help your boy as well.
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Old 09-11-2013, 08:41 AM   #3 
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Perhaps it might be better stated, if oversimplified: Plants use the nitrogen from ammonia as fuel in combination with light to help them extract the carbon from CO2 to use as plant mass--- leaves, stems and such. But only if they're actively growing.

But Lil's right. First improve your water quality by changing water more. What are you feeding him. How much?

Last edited by Hallyx; 09-11-2013 at 08:56 AM.
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Old 09-11-2013, 09:21 AM   #4 
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curious to know if it's heated. and do you have pics
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Old 09-11-2013, 04:02 PM   #5 
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It is not heated. I was planning on buying a heater when the seasons changed.



Would a 30% water change each Tuesday and Friday be sufficient?

I feed Dragon either one bloodworm or one pellet a day. I feed the harlequin rasboras 9 or 10 pellets. Is that too much?

Last edited by Graceful; 09-11-2013 at 04:08 PM.
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Old 09-11-2013, 06:33 PM   #6 
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Actually he definitely looks malnourished in the picture. What pellet brand are you feeding?

Freeze-dried bloodworms are really bad and can cause constipation, they're okay for like once a week but no more than that. Frozen Bloodworms you can do twice a week though. I use New Life Spectrum Betta Pellets and Omega One Betta Buffet Pellets, both are the highest quality at the moment and really not expensive (4 dollars something and 3 dollars something respectively). I feed both to get a nice variety and usually feed the boy's anywhere from 5-8 and sometimes up to 10 pellets if they look like they need it.

When I feed my fish I tend to go by how big their stomach get's, once I see that they're starting to look a little stuffed, I stop feeding which is generally around 6 NLS pellets for most of my boy's. My older boy's get a bit less and my constipated boy (birth defect) get's only about 4 a day. So I think you really should bump up feedings for sure.

Since you don't live in a very warm area, or either that your A/C is on....you really should get a heater. 73 is too low, also Beneficial Bacteria don't like the lower temps much, they'll survive but they just won't like it much.

So, do you have a filter and is your tank cycled?
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Old 09-11-2013, 06:43 PM   #7 
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I feed Hikari brand pellets... are those not good quality? And the bloodworms are not freeze-dried, they are frozen in blister packs.

I thought I should only be feeding him one pellet a day, max?? Don't they get bloated if you feed more than that?

What kind of heater should I get? The tank is at 78 constantly, we don't keep the house super cold. I will buy a heater, though.

Will aquarium salt help him? He is in a 1-gallon QT bowl at the moment. Daily water changes, 100%.
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Old 09-11-2013, 07:35 PM   #8 
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whoopsie, sorry I mixed up the threads; you're fine without the heater >.< my bad!

But you can totally feed him more than one pellet. Many people think that their stomach is the size of their eye, which is is but it expands much as ours does and they should look nice and plump, not skinny. So I think part of the reason he's not feeling so well is that he just doesn't have the energy to really fight or swim so hence a lazy/stressed Betta.

It depends on when you got the Hikari pellets, look at the first 3 ingredients and tell me what they are. If they have any fillers in it; i.e. Wheat, Corn or Soybean then it's not great. NLS does have ONE filler in it's first three ingredients but it makes up for it because it contains both garlic and spirulina, both great for Betta's! Garlic is a natural anti-parasitic food, it won't totally prevent internal parasites, but a Betta fed NLS as opposed to other lower quality brands has a higher chance of defending him/herself against internal parasites
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Old 09-11-2013, 08:17 PM   #9 
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Don't use any kind of salt unless you're treating some illness and you know what you're treating for.

Get him back into your large tank and get it cycled. That's the best way to ensure good water quality with minimal stress.
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Old 09-11-2013, 10:43 PM   #10 
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My tank IS cycled. Ammonia is at 0, nitrite is at 0, but nitrates are at 20/40.
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