Nitrates Though the roof!!!! - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 14 Old 12-30-2008, 09:27 AM Thread Starter
JohnnyD44's Avatar
Angry Nitrates Though the roof!!!!

Hey Everyone,

I have 30G Long tank, just about 2 weeks ago I saw a incredible spike in the Nitrates, it's literally off the charts. I have not changed anything in my tank, I do a weekly 15% water change, feed them once a day. Since the spike I have done a water change every other day...what could be causing this and what can I do to fix it:

Fish in Tank:

3 black skirt tetras
1 silver dollar
2 Sail Fin Mollys
2 Pink Guarmis

I don't think the tank is over populated, I could be wrong tho

please help!
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post #2 of 14 Old 12-30-2008, 10:18 AM
Twistersmom's Avatar
What was your nitrates reading? What is it now? Maybe 25% water changes every week will help keep nitrates lower. Could also add some plants, may help keep your nitates down some, but would still need to do the water changes.
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post #3 of 14 Old 12-30-2008, 10:35 AM
check your test kit, do you have a lfs that will test a sample for you?, test your replacement water. what your are stating is not realistic. keep in touch with us. please
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post #4 of 14 Old 12-30-2008, 11:14 AM Thread Starter
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I took it to the LFS last night after I have done some water changes, the color of the liquid test kit was a still a darker red than anything on the yellow to light red range. My only thought could be that every other time i have taken it to the LFS they never checked it before and it's been a building problem. They suggested plenty of water changes and cut back on feeding. I don't know what to do....

Is the stock a problem?

I appreciate your help!
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post #5 of 14 Old 12-30-2008, 01:41 PM
You should test the params of the source of the water you use. There might be nitrates in that.
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post #6 of 14 Old 12-30-2008, 02:24 PM
Tyyrlym's Avatar
For volume of fish I don't think stocking is a problem unless that silver dollar is full grown.

My first instinct would be to say it was an inaccurate test. What were your readings before this? Also, how long has the tank been established? If the tank was cycling all the ammonia and nitrites working through the system would have hit your tank with a big slug of nitrates as the cycle ended. If the test is accurate its time to reassess your maintenance habits.

First off, one of the big goals of water changes is to keep nitrates under control. Your change schedule should be often enough and large enough that nitrates stay consistently below 40ppm. If your changes are too infrequent or small then the equilibrium point will be much higher. If nitrates are that high then you need to pick up the pace or volume of water changes, maybe both. I wouldn't advise more than a 50% water change at a time. If it takes more than that do more water changes with a smaller volume, like bi-weekly 30% changes. You're going to have to toy with it to see what it takes to keep your particular aquarium in check.

Second, nitrates are the end result of decomp in the tank. Either your fish eating the food and pooping or uneaten food decomposing. Its also possible that a fish might have died and led to a spike in nitrogenous substances. If you have no dead fish then you will want too look at how much you feed them. First off, ignore what it says on the fish food bottle. Most read "as much food as the fish eat in 2 to 3 minutes." Remember, these people have a vested interest in selling you more fish food and the best way to do that is work you through your current supply as quickly as possible. Look to feed your fish as much as they'll take in about 30 seconds. If food is falling to the floor of the aquarium feed less or feed in one or two individual pinches after another instead of one big glop. If the fish lose interest feed them a little less. Only feed twice a day.

If nitrates are really though the roof temporarily cut back to one feeding a day along with once a day 50% water changes until the nitrates are under 40ppm again.

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post #7 of 14 Old 12-30-2008, 05:19 PM
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do you vac your substrate when you do water changes?
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post #8 of 14 Old 12-31-2008, 05:43 AM Thread Starter
JohnnyD44's Avatar
Thanks for all the help so far guys!!!! The silver dollar is no where near full grown. I did a 30% water change last night, making it the second one in 5 days.

I do vaccum the subtrate when I do water changes.

Regarding the water that I change my tank with, I do know that is a little bit harder than most water, as I have noticed a calcium build up on my hood/lights, I moved recently.

Here's my plan: going to do a 30% water changes on monday and thursday. i am also going to start using some RO water rather than the tap water I use now for water changes and continue my feeding once a day.

Hopefully this will work! let me know what you think

thanks for all the help!
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post #9 of 14 Old 12-31-2008, 07:28 AM
Tyyrlym's Avatar
Are you going to RO water because of the scaling? That's a pretty expensive solution to the problem.

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Watch my tank progress from Craigslist salvage to fishy habitat: Aaron's Tank
The only things that happen quickly in an aquarium are bad things.
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post #10 of 14 Old 12-31-2008, 07:50 AM Thread Starter
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well if it's my tap water which is the source of my problem, it might be worth it till it gets back under control? any other ideas you would try? again, thanks for the help
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