Just checked my water today and discovered my nitrate is at 80ppm nitrite is 0 and ammonia is 0.
I'm guessing a water change is needed?
Why so much nitrate
Hello, I would say waterchange is needed. Nitrate is the end result of bio cycle of your aquqrium. Fish food and waste produces ammonia which is processed into nitrite by bacteria. Other bacteria process nitrite into nitrate. Nitrate is used by plants, but often accumulates faster than plants can take it up. You tank is working like it should because you have no ammonia or nitrite. Ammonia and nitrite are very toxic to fish and usualy only accumulate if somthing is wrong with your bacterial colonies. Nitrate can be expected to accumulate between water changes, especialy if you've been feeding a lot or your tank is densely stocked. Best way to keep nitrate low is regular scheduled waterchanges. Always use seachem prime to condition tapwater before refilling tank.
Other reasons for regular large water changes are to remove dissolved solid waste, and to replace minerals used by the livestock and plants.
Thanks guys. Things are slowly becoming more understandable.
are your nitrates under control jonandjo?
I'm trying to learn as much as I can about what causes instability in estabished tanks. What do you think caused the spike- overfeeding? too many fish? not enough water change? somthing else? My tanks have been so stable for so long I can't really learn anything else from them unless I experiment with my fish- somthing I'm not willing to do, so its very valuable to me to beable to learn from other peoples experiences with instability.
Hope all is well with you and your fish. Thanks
If the tank is planted a nitrate spike is simply a sign that plants of switched from consuming nitrate to consuming ammonia. Which happens when something gets a little out of balance. It is just the tank responding to and returning the tank back to normal operations.
If not planted then water changes are what limit nitrates. Bbut nitrates will never be unreadable in clean pristine plant (and alga) free tanks. But the water changes will limit the nitrate build up. Just not prevent it.
By contrast nitrates are unmeasurable in planted systems as long as that system has not received a recent shock. Like a fish dying, or over feeding etc etc etc.
Thanks for your knowledge. Do you have any idea what causes spikes of nitrite? I know of a case where an established tank experience a problem of persistantly high nitrite and no nitrate being produced. I can't imagine what might cause that in a cycled tank except disruption of nitrite consuming bacteria. Any ideas?
What is it do you think that goes really wrong. I've known of a few people who have gotten nitrite spikes in established tanks. I have three tanks that have been up for a long time and no problms. Just want to make sure I'm doing all I can to avoid a crash.
As far as I know, you can't have a nitrite spike without it having been caused by ammonia-oxidizing bacteria. As bob said, it takes a while for the nitrite-oxidizers to catch up. If the ammonia source is not eliminated or attenuated, the AOB just keep putting out nitrite.
During a fishless cycle with high ammonia, the NOB can be stalled by too much ammonia.
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