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Nitrate level and Excel dosing - observation

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Nitrate level and Excel dosing - observation
Old 07-14-2011, 05:44 PM   #11
 
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Interesting, I thought municipal water had to be at, or close to, 7.0 pH?

One additional note relating to my nitrate level. My Eheim filter had a really weak outflow for about two weeks. I finally found the kink in the outflow hose this afternoon. My estimate is my 2215 filter's flow was down at 60-75% of normal for the past week. Even so, my nitrate stayed at zero, thank goodness for plants!
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Old 07-14-2011, 06:50 PM   #12
 
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Okay, just completed fish tank maintenance day, including running all the water tests. First, nitrates coming out of the tap register 5 ppm. As far as the tank in question, after shaking the #2 bottle like crazy for a couple of minutes, I'm calling the results 20 ppm. Shaking the regent longer did make a difference.

For the record, the other readings from the tank were ammonia at 0, nitrites at 0 and pH around 8.0. All these readings have been trending the same for the last year. We have high pH water coming from the tap, and I take that into consideration when stocking.
That makes a bit more sense. So with tap water at 5ppm, the tank is actually 15ppm on its own. Still high for a natural planted tank though not troublesome.

This is a case where a water conditoner like Prime that handles nitrates might be advisable. If the nitrates at 5ppm were the only issue, I wouldn't bother. I'm not fond of using Prime or any water conditioner that does so much, it is bound to have some effect on the natural balance.

Which brings me to the tank. Is it perhaps overstocked with fish? Or understocked with plants?
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Old 07-14-2011, 06:57 PM   #13
 
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Interesting, I thought municipal water had to be at, or close to, 7.0 pH?

One additional note relating to my nitrate level. My Eheim filter had a really weak outflow for about two weeks. I finally found the kink in the outflow hose this afternoon. My estimate is my 2215 filter's flow was down at 60-75% of normal for the past week. Even so, my nitrate stayed at zero, thank goodness for plants!
Municipal water pH is up to the water board to decide. Mine used to come out in the 5's, and in 2001 they started adding some sort of ash to the water so it is now 7 to 7.2. This was done because acidic water dissolves copper pipes faster, and hot water heating tanks, kettles, dishwashers, etc. Harder water with a higher pH does not, though it has other issues like corrosion from the lime deposits. The pH has no effect on the water with respect to health.

In a planted tank, provided it is balanced fish-wise, the filter should have no real impact on nitrates. If it did, I would caution that there is too much biological filtration [=the filter is oversized and thus over-competing with the plants for ammonia].
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Old 07-14-2011, 08:22 PM   #14
 
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That makes a bit more sense. So with tap water at 5ppm, the tank is actually 15ppm on its own. Still high for a natural planted tank though not troublesome.

This is a case where a water conditoner like Prime that handles nitrates might be advisable. If the nitrates at 5ppm were the only issue, I wouldn't bother. I'm not fond of using Prime or any water conditioner that does so much, it is bound to have some effect on the natural balance.

Which brings me to the tank. Is it perhaps overstocked with fish? Or understocked with plants?
Oh my, where to begin, lol.

As far as stocking, I learned long ago less is more. I've had tanks off and on since, the, uh, well, the mid seventies. Now I've dated myself. But I learned the hard way about stocking.

The water here in Vegas can be troublesome, to the extent it's eating up the zinc in the fittings and there are lawsuits right and left against the builders. But that's a whole different story and I don't think that's necessarily my problem either.

Which brings us to the planting. This tank had gradually gone from heavily to lightly planted until a few weeks ago, when I decided I needed to revamp it. It's now fairly heavily planted again, though the plants are far from being established. I replaced the 8000k tube that was in it with a 6500k tube at the same time to see if that makes any difference. So far, other than a couple of crypts that immediately melted, everything seems to be doing well. I'm hoping once the plants establish and start to grow, the nitrates will diminish. Until I give the plants a chance to get some growth, I'm a little hesitant to make any dramatic changes, especially since the water, while not optimum, isn't way over the limits of acceptability.

The plants that were originally in this tank did well when I used Excel, but seemed to suffer when I stopped using it. Leading me to replant it. And leading to my interest in this thread, and wondering if resuming it's use might help the plants and lessen the nitrates. Sigh.
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Old 07-14-2011, 08:35 PM   #15
 
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Oh my, where to begin, lol.

As far as stocking, I learned long ago less is more. I've had tanks off and on since, the, uh, well, the mid seventies. Now I've dated myself. But I learned the hard way about stocking.

The water here in Vegas can be troublesome, to the extent it's eating up the zinc in the fittings and there are lawsuits right and left against the builders. But that's a whole different story and I don't think that's necessarily my problem either.

Which brings us to the planting. This tank had gradually gone from heavily to lightly planted until a few weeks ago, when I decided I needed to revamp it. It's now fairly heavily planted again, though the plants are far from being established. I replaced the 8000k tube that was in it with a 6500k tube at the same time to see if that makes any difference. So far, other than a couple of crypts that immediately melted, everything seems to be doing well. I'm hoping once the plants establish and start to grow, the nitrates will diminish. Until I give the plants a chance to get some growth, I'm a little hesitant to make any dramatic changes, especially since the water, while not optimum, isn't way over the limits of acceptability.

The plants that were originally in this tank did well when I used Excel, but seemed to suffer when I stopped using it. Leading me to replant it. And leading to my interest in this thread, and wondering if resuming it's use might help the plants and lessen the nitrates. Sigh.
I really would not use Excel. That creates a very different "balance." Let the natural balance stabilize. And I do believe it will if given sufficient time. [Crypts will melt with every change such as Excel.] B.
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Old 07-14-2011, 09:56 PM   #16
 
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I really would not use Excel. That creates a very different "balance." Let the natural balance stabilize. And I do believe it will if given sufficient time. [Crypts will melt with every change such as Excel.] B.
Agree completely. I'll let things take their natural course, stick with Comprehensive twice a week and see how things play out.
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Old 07-15-2011, 01:02 PM   #17
 
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Agree completely. I'll let things take their natural course, stick with Comprehensive twice a week and see how things play out.
Good thinkking. Keep us posted on progress. It won't be overnight, but it will occur.
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Old 07-15-2011, 07:51 PM   #18
 
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Agree completely. I'll let things take their natural course, stick with Comprehensive twice a week and see how things play out.
Good luck with your tank! Fortunately the pH is one thing I don't have to worry about (at least when it's right out of the faucet). My local water sits right on 7.0 pH every time I have checked it, and in the annual water report, that's the water system's pH target. It's rather soft, so the pH shifts over time depending on which tank it goes into!
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Old 07-16-2011, 10:07 AM   #19
 
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Good luck with your tank! Fortunately the pH is one thing I don't have to worry about (at least when it's right out of the faucet). My local water sits right on 7.0 pH every time I have checked it, and in the annual water report, that's the water system's pH target. It's rather soft, so the pH shifts over time depending on which tank it goes into!
This is comparable to mine, very handy. My hardness is < 1 dGH and KH, with pH 7 to 7.2 so my tanks run at pH 5.5 up to 6.5 depending. I have one I keep around 7 with different substrate for the Emerald Dwarf Rasbora that need that.
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