Nitrates in planted tank?! - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 24 Old 12-05-2013, 01:57 PM Thread Starter
Nitrates in planted tank?!

Im posting a pic of my tank. This is a 75 gallon community tank. In it is 3 angels, 11 candy cane tetras, 8 black striped tetras, 2 sunset gouramis, 1 blue dwarf gouramis, 4 bolivian rams, and 2 platys. This tank is well established and has been running over a year. I am having issues with nitrates. They stay between 20-40 with api liquid test. The rest of the params are this ( all liquid api)

Ph 7.4 ( stable)
Gh 4
Amm 0
Nitrite 0
Dkh 7

My fish are healthy and my tall plants have been growing well. I replaced my t10 fixture with an marineland led about 2 weeks ago and they exploded. But i noticed dark spots and my short plants have been browning since ive had them in the tank about 6 months ago. They are alive but not triving. I added another marineland led fixture just now. I feel like the tank is well planted ( i wouldnt say dense, but well). I have been doin 20 gallon pwc every week to try to keep them low. Ive Never seen the nitrates over 40 no matter how long i go btwn changes but i cant figure out why the plants arent consuming them. I quit dosing ferts about 2 months ago. Any suggestions?
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4 gallon betta tank
75 gallon FW community
20 gallon SAP tank
10 gallon snails
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post #2 of 24 Old 12-05-2013, 02:08 PM Thread Starter
Okay so, i did a comparison and tested it with a salifert nitrate tester that i use for my saltwater tank it and came in at 10. I feel salifert is a lil more accurate so maybe im paranoid, but still what gives with the brown spots and crappy growth with the substrate plants?

4 gallon betta tank
75 gallon FW community
20 gallon SAP tank
10 gallon snails
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post #3 of 24 Old 12-05-2013, 02:19 PM
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either you don't have enough plants or the tank has not fully established itself yet. In the later case the plants are consuming ammonia instead of nitrates.

I would add more plants but that's just me.

you could also just let it go. The plants will expand and eventually nitrates will drop down.


my .02

maintain Fw and marine system with a strong emphasis on balanced, stabilized system that as much as possible are self substaning.

have maintained FW systems for up to 9 years with descendants from original fish and marine aquariums for up to 8 years.

With no water changes, untreated tap water, inexpensive lighting by first starting the tank with live plants (FW) or macro algae( marine)

see: http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/a...-build-295530/
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post #4 of 24 Old 12-05-2013, 02:29 PM Thread Starter
Beaslbob- its definitely not the later. This tank has been established for well over a year, was cycled via fishless cycling, and fish were added slowly. It has been stable every since, just thought that with 18 plants i wouldnt ever see nitrates very high. And the browning. What gives? Is it algae? ( i dont like putting my hands in the tank. The angels bite :/) im placing a close up of one of the plants

4 gallon betta tank
75 gallon FW community
20 gallon SAP tank
10 gallon snails
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post #5 of 24 Old 12-05-2013, 02:30 PM Thread Starter
Forgot the pic lol
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20 gallon SAP tank
10 gallon snails
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post #6 of 24 Old 12-05-2013, 02:32 PM Thread Starter
sad lil anubias
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20 gallon SAP tank
10 gallon snails
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post #7 of 24 Old 12-05-2013, 02:45 PM
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Since your tank is fairly lightly planted, it is likely the plants dont take up ammonia fast enough, leaving enough ammonia for the Nitrifying Bacteria to process into nitrates.

It does seem like your plants are consuming the nitrates as you are claiming that they do not go over 40ppm. As long as you have fish in the tank, the cycle will be producing nitrates. In a regular cycled tank, the nitrates will build up. However, seeing your nitrate levels never go above 40ppm, it is highly likely the plants are consuming the nitrates as well. To get your levels down to zero i recommend panting the tank with more fast growing stems. Slow growers like anubias do not take up nutrients fast enough to make much of an impact on water quality :)


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post #8 of 24 Old 12-05-2013, 02:50 PM Thread Starter
Okay so the gist is, I really don't have enough plants to worry about it. Everything is normal. But why are my plants brown?

4 gallon betta tank
75 gallon FW community
20 gallon SAP tank
10 gallon snails
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post #9 of 24 Old 12-05-2013, 02:58 PM
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well the last pic is a sword od some description, not an anubias :P The brown stuff looks like diatoms to me, are you able to rub it off?

swords are also a root feeder. They usually do better with root tabs, but i'm not too confident about putting root tabs in gravel as the gravel is not compact enough and may allow the ferts to leech into the water column


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post #10 of 24 Old 12-05-2013, 03:06 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by aokashi View Post
well the last pic is a sword od some description, not an anubias :P The brown stuff looks like diatoms to me, are you able to rub it off?

swords are also a root feeder. They usually do better with root tabs, but i'm not too confident about putting root tabs in gravel as the gravel is not compact enough and may allow the ferts to leech into the water column


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I'm sorry I knew that was a sword, took a lot of pics and posted the wrong one but the answer is still the same lol. We have regretted that gravel since we put it in. It's just such a pain to change it out :(

4 gallon betta tank
75 gallon FW community
20 gallon SAP tank
10 gallon snails
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