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post #41 of 51 Old 02-17-2013, 08:46 PM Thread Starter
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http://www.atlasbooks.com/marktplc/00388Shrimp.pdf


Here is where I got it. I guess that Diana is unaware that Miracle Grow Organic potting soil is primarily sphagnum peatmoss, sourced from either Premier (whom I do testing for) or Sungro.
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post #42 of 51 Old 03-30-2013, 02:17 PM Thread Starter
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Update

Well, I've had life and death taking place in the aquarium. I suspect that I was the cause when I decided to try feeding some frozen brine shrimp to the discus. Once thawed and floating in the water they were quite large looking. A day or so following this, all but 3 discus developed what appeared bloat (although it could have been parasitic) They had puffy white discharge. Unfortunately they succumbed.

I've still been unable to control the nitrates at a level at or around 5 ppm (according to the tests) so continue the water changes. The pH suddenly stopped swinging so I'm able to do 28% changes every second day. The pH has stabilized around 6.2 which I think is great. I don't know what's up with the nitrates. Perhaps just needs more time.

Does anyone know whether adding plant micronutrients contributes to nitrates or does it assist plants to uptake it?

The three survivor discus are now doing great. They are growing and playing. My jullii are doing great and laying up eggs continuously. I have at least 2 baby survivors.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2qpZPfbA_II

This is very exciting. I did not expect this.
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post #43 of 51 Old 03-30-2013, 02:24 PM Thread Starter
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I forgot to mention that the city (Chilliwack) where I live was forced by the health department to chlorinate the water. Fortunately it is only chlorine and we are the second house from the end of the line so it is very weak at this point. We installed a household filter anyway.
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post #44 of 51 Old 03-30-2013, 02:27 PM
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Does anyone know whether adding plant micronutrients contributes to nitrates or does it assist plants to uptake it?
First question is, are the nitrates occurring in the source water, or in the tank?

Assuming for the moment the latter, in the tank, then a nitrate of < 5 ppm is fine. One of my tanks reads < 10 ppm. Using the API nitrate liquid test. And I have lots of plants, and do 50% weekly water changes. There is zero nitrate in my tap water.

It is possible to get nitrates at or very close to zero. More plants and fewer fish (as a balance) is the way to do this; the fewer fish, the less waste, and the more plants, the more they need ammonia/ammonium.

Adding plant fertilizer high in nitrate will obviously add nitrate. I don't know what you are using; I use Seachem's Flourish Comprehensive Supplement which has minimal nitrogen derived from ammonium and nitrate (so they say). From my experience and tests, this is not adding any detectable nitrate. If you follow the method some use of over-fertilizing the tank (the EI method, etc) you would be adding considerably more nitrate. Some of these folks aim for 20-30 ppm.

Byron.

Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]
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post #45 of 51 Old 03-30-2013, 02:40 PM Thread Starter
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First question is, are the nitrates occurring in the source water, or in the tank?

Assuming for the moment the latter, in the tank, then a nitrate of < 5 ppm is fine. One of my tanks reads < 10 ppm. Using the API nitrate liquid test. And I have lots of plants, and do 50% weekly water changes. There is zero nitrate in my tap water.

It is possible to get nitrates at or very close to zero. More plants and fewer fish (as a balance) is the way to do this; the fewer fish, the less waste, and the more plants, the more they need ammonia/ammonium.

Adding plant fertilizer high in nitrate will obviously add nitrate. I don't know what you are using; I use Seachem's Flourish Comprehensive Supplement which has minimal nitrogen derived from ammonium and nitrate (so they say). From my experience and tests, this is not adding any detectable nitrate. If you follow the method some use of over-fertilizing the tank (the EI method, etc) you would be adding considerably more nitrate. Some of these folks aim for 20-30 ppm.

Byron.
My tap water tests a zero nitrates. I've got lots of plants and 3 discus (juveniles) 2 bristlenose (2" & 3"), 5 cories and 2 (at least) babies. I do have a very large snail population.

My TDS has levelled out around 60 to 65 PPM

I also use the Seachem Flourish but maybe once every two weeks. (one cap). After actually measuring my tank, it is 45 gallons, not 55.

The nitrate test I use is from Hagen. I hate it because of the judgement required with the shades of purple/pink.
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post #46 of 51 Old 03-30-2013, 07:04 PM
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My tap water tests a zero nitrates. I've got lots of plants and 3 discus (juveniles) 2 bristlenose (2" & 3"), 5 cories and 2 (at least) babies. I do have a very large snail population.

My TDS has levelled out around 60 to 65 PPM

I also use the Seachem Flourish but maybe once every two weeks. (one cap). After actually measuring my tank, it is 45 gallons, not 55.

The nitrate test I use is from Hagen. I hate it because of the judgement required with the shades of purple/pink.
This sounds fine (the numbers, I mean).

Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]
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post #47 of 51 Old 03-30-2013, 10:55 PM
Welcome to TFK!

If/when you have nitrates around 5ppm or so, I call it a win. You might find value in gravel siphoning unplanted areas. Also, pea gravel seems a bit coarse to me (allowing uneaten food and waste to drop below and decay) and perhaps a finer substrate on the surface would be better.
Also with respect to nitrogenous waste, the food quality makes a big difference (you already have this somewhat covered). Some fish foods use lower quality fish meal in their 'recipes' requiring copious amounts of starch (wheat, oat, soy, rice flours) binders and to increase crude proteins. But much of this just passes through the fish. I discovered when I switched to Omega One and Ed's Almost Natural (both use fresh, whole fish) that my fish suddenly produced less waste ... believe it or not.
And...it goes without mentioning to ensure your not over feeding.

Now I don't really buy into the (video) need for a sump/refugium as I'm seeing success with a simpler bio-filter...
I have two Aquaclear 70 HOB filters on my 60g. The first is a dedicated bio-filter. It uses an AC20 impeller for reduced flow. It has a thin, coarse pad and is filled to the rim with a packed mixture of Seachem Matrix and De*Nitrate bio-media. I rarely touch this filter to ensure the stability of the media/colony. The other filter is strictly mechanical with a sponge and tightly packed polyester fiber. I clean this filter often. I've also been using Seachem Purigen, a synthetic scaveger resin that adsorbs dissolved organic compounds and is regenerated with a 50/50 mix of chlorine bleach and water.
I have a [pool filter] sand substrate, no rooted plants yet, but a good mass of floating Aanacharis. I've been doing a 10g weekly water change (about to drop to 5g) and maintain tank nitrates of 5ppm. (I have very high nitrates in my source well water so have to pre-filter to remove).

I also go back to the 60's and 70's when I suffered from multiple tank syndrome. However, since I'm just a kid about to turn 59, I'm glad I'm not an ole fuddy-duddy like you and Byron!!!

AD

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Last edited by AbbeysDad; 03-31-2013 at 11:51 AM.
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post #48 of 51 Old 08-17-2013, 08:04 PM Thread Starter
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I'm still continuing my strange battle with nitrates.

To review; 45 gallons (true; called a 55) - planted fairly heavy; 2 HOB filters converted to sort of refugiums with Pothos and a foam filter; recently upgraded to 54 watt T5 10,000K single 4 ft fluorescent; Six Discus ranging from 3.5 to 5 inches, 2 small bristlenose, 5 Jullii Cories, lots of malaysion & pond snails; substrate pea gravel over central pocket of sphagnum peatmoss mixed with washed sand.

I really want to keep my nitrates at or under 5 PPM but if I do not change 30 to 40% of the water every 2 to 3 days it goes up as high as 40 PPM. The Discus really do not like it. The average pH is 6.7. I feed dried black worms with spinach. I'm getting quite a lot of black hair algae, another sign of high nitrates. There are zero nitrates in my source water and I use no chemicals or water treatments outside of flourish. My phosphates are 0.5 to <1.0 PPM.

I occaisionally trap out excess snails. There is not a lot of degrading plant tissue.

I added the HOB 'planted filters' in an effort to beat this and upgraded the lighting as mentioned from 2 T8 Life-Glos.

Any ideas?

PS. I tried Purigen, with no readable effect.
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post #49 of 51 Old 08-18-2013, 01:34 PM
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Just a guess here but perhaps your snail population is out of control and creating too much waste creating your nitrate battle. How bad is your snail infestation? Pond snails are the devil..too much reproduction. 1 accidentally made it into my kids 16g and turned into hundreds within a month taking the nitrates to 20ppm with their weekly 75%water changes. Got assassin snails to take care of it and back to 0 for nitrates unless the kids wait 2 weeks for water change then it's 5ppm.
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post #50 of 51 Old 08-18-2013, 01:42 PM Thread Starter
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Just a guess here but perhaps your snail population is out of control and creating too much waste creating your nitrate battle. How bad is your snail infestation? Pond snails are the devil..too much reproduction. 1 accidentally made it into my kids 16g and turned into hundreds within a month taking the nitrates to 20ppm with their weekly 75%water changes. Got assassin snails to take care of it and back to 0 for nitrates unless the kids wait 2 weeks for water change then it's 5ppm.
Thank you. I had considered this and you may be quite correct. What happens with the assassin snails when the clean out the others?
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