Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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LADY K 08-25-2012 08:43 AM

High nitrate help
finally got api master test kit nitrate was red did not look like 80ppm or 160ppm.doing my water change today. should i check again today or wait till tomorrow? ph 7.6 ph high 7.4 ammonia 0 nitrite 0 also i shook the bottle for what seemed forever.

sidluckman 08-25-2012 08:57 AM

If I remember correctly, with the API test, you should time how long the water is agitated with the re-agents. You can over-do it, which would lead to a test showing nitrate in much higher concentration than is actually the case. If you shook the vial for what seemed like forever, you may have made this error. The API ammonia and nitrite tests instruct you to make sure the tablet has dissolved, but I don't think this is necessary for nitrate.
Read your instructions regarding this point and re-test.

LADY K 08-25-2012 09:34 AM

i dont have tablets i have drops

AbbeysDad 08-25-2012 09:36 AM

(Sidluckman) There are no tablets in the API Master Freshwater (liquid) test kit. Regent #2 has an element that separates requiring extra shaking and/or rapping on a table to ensure it's well mixed. False readings are usually low rather than high.

Lady K - It seems a good bet that in fact you do have very high nitrates in your tank. Have you been doing weekly water changes???

Even assuming that your source water has no/low nitrates, you will likely need several water changes up to 50% to get back down. You might also consider either Fluval Lab Series Nitrate Remover or API Nitra-Zorb. These are synthetic resins in pouches for your filter that adsorb nitrates. They can be recharged in salt water and reused. Once nitrates are lowered, weekly water changes (again assuming no/low nitrates in source water) should keep nitrates in check.

I also suggest you test your source (tap) water. As I talk (whine) about here often, I have very high nitrates in my well water (I believe resulting from a well fertilized 95 acre farmers field across the road).

Footnote: I have seen a lot of 'folk lore' opinions about nitrates. Some suggest that nitrates even at 200ppm+ are not a problem. NOT TRUE. Although far less toxic then ammonia and nitrites, high nitrates over time are very detrimental to fish health. High nitrates reduces immunity to illness and disease and shorten life spans. High nitrates can be especially lethal to growing fry.
Bear in mind that in nature, with the exception of polluted waters, nitrate levels are so low they can not be measured. We need to strive for very low nitrates in the aquarium.

Olympia 08-25-2012 09:46 AM

I agree with AbbeysDad on this one. It's a good idea to test your source. If you have a well stocked tank with little/no live plants, nitrates are likely to build up pretty quickly. Feel free to test your tank again today, hopefully the levels have gone down. If your tap is clear, I'd keep doing water changes until you can get it under 20ppm, at most under 40ppm. I know it can be hard to maintain nitrate without live plants in the tank. :-)
At that level (different fish have different tolerances to nitrate), your fish are probably starting to feel it.
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sidluckman 08-25-2012 09:54 AM

Sorry gang. . I was remembering the individual API Nitrate test with the "pills." Good point about Nitrogen run off. Even in Chicago, our Lake water has a certain amount of Nitrate straight out of the tap. I have not personally had to use the Nitrate removers yet, but I think that time is nearing. . .

Yes. If nitrates are high and regular water changes have not been done, it is essential to lower it, but do not try to do it as quickly as possible with one huge water change.

I would do daily or even twice daily small water changes of maybe 5-10%, gradually increasing the percentage changed. Many people who hope to remedy an algae problem or nitrate problem fail to realize that a long-neglected tank can have water very different in chemistry than what is likely to replace it. Over time, the water degrades and may become softer and less acidic, resulting in a pH shock to the fish when the owner does start changing the water again.

So go slowly and steadily at first monitoring the nitrate with your test kit. Increase to a volume that is reasonable for the tank size and stocking level you have, and then be as faithful as you possibly can to keeping the maintenance schedule.

re: folklore: look at any ill-kept oscar or discuss if you don't think excess nitrate does damage. HLLE is highly associated with poor maintenance and high nitrate.

LADY K 08-25-2012 10:27 AM

i have a 29 gal i have plants but dont think it is heavly planted still working on that. used one of my test strips and my nitrate 20-40ppm. changing water now .will test tap water

Olympia 08-25-2012 10:30 AM

Try with your master test kit again too, and compare. Follow instructions carefully. In my experience if the nitrate bottle doesn't get shaken properly the test remains basically white (hehe) so I doubt your test kit is wrong, more likely the strips are.
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LADY K 08-25-2012 10:41 AM

not sure if it means anything i just finished a week treatment of melafix

Reefing Madness 08-25-2012 10:43 AM


Originally Posted by LADY K (Post 1213273)
i have a 29 gal i have plants but dont think it is heavly planted still working on that. used one of my test strips and my nitrate 20-40ppm. changing water now .will test tap water

Nothing wrong with 40ppm Nitrates. That isn't giong to hurt anything, if anything thats good for your plants. But 50% water changes every other day will bring them down in a hurry, unless of course, the water that you are using has Trates in it.

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