06-02-2010, 12:07 PM
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I concur with iamntbatman on the ammonia.
To your earlier question on vacuuming the gravel, normally yes, but in planted tanks the detrius in the gravel gets broken down by bacteria into nutrients for the plants, so most of us with planted tanks do little or no gravel cleaning. If you look at the photos of my tanks, you will see open gravel areas along the front, these I run the vacuum over only because the corys feed from these areas and I like to keep them clean. The other areas where there are plants never see the vacuum.
I'm still puzzled by your "high" nitrate number; in a planted tank this is rare. I would do some 50% water changes (using Prime) maybe twice a day apart, vacuuming the open gravel areas well this time, and see if the nitrate drops. Remember to shake the regent #2 for 2 minutes minimum before adding the drops, otherwise you will likely get a higher than accurate reading. Check the nitrate the day after each water change, it will give a better result.