Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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sprmankalel 03-28-2014 08:00 PM

Plants and NitrAtes
At what point do plants start to consume nitrates? I asks because I had a bit of sadness today. While I have been dosing daily with Brightwell Aquatics FlourinMulti and FlourinAxis at 6 drops per day each I had been holding off of water changes. Last night I had noticed my favorite angel hiding in pants. Not abnormal but she barely came up to eat. She always comes to eat. Since I had been planning on doing a WC today I thought nothing of it. I found her sucked onto the filter intake. I quickly turned the filter off and she floated to the top. She had found herself resting in one of the crypts and I had tested the water. I came up with 0 nitrIte, .5 ammonia (tested 2 more times and both subsequent tests were 0) and 60 nitrAte. I did about 45%-50% water change. It had been 3 weeks and 1 day since the last. I know 60ppm of nitrAte is not low but it is not exactly deadly either. The reason I had extended the time between water changes is because I had been having difficulty with my plants growing and I was trying to keep as many nutrients in the tank as possible. I had since remedied that situation. I know that this could be an isolated incident as all other inhabitants seem normal. My understanding was that the plants would use the nitrAtes in the water thus lowering the concentration. Is this not true? I am very sad because my angel died and she was my favorite. I just don't want to make a mistake again. Please don't be harsh at my 3 week wait between WCs. I usually don't go more than 7-10 days.

bob reed 03-29-2014 08:36 AM

My first question would be, how old was she? I just went through this. I check my levels every day. Added some fish 2 weeks ago on a Friday. All went well, or so I thought. Was monitoring the levels with no spikes. Got Up Sunday and went out for brunch and when I cam back I had lost a Black Skirt Tetra. Immediately did a level check and all was well. All the rest of the fish looked fine. Of course for the next several days I was a little on edge but I did not lose any more. So I lost 1 new fish out of 6. Just one of those things so it does sometimes happen. If all tests well and the rest of your fish appear to be ok, then everything is probably fine.

sprmankalel 03-29-2014 08:39 AM

I had her for about 2 months. She was very strung and didn't gave me no reason to suspect anything.
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Austin 03-29-2014 10:20 AM

I'm sorry that you lost your angel. :( in my experience plants don't really have a giant impact on nitrates usually, unless you have really fast growing plants like stem plants or water lettuce/duckweed/frogbit etc.

sprmankalel 04-03-2014 04:26 PM


After last week's water change I noticed new beautiful growth on rotalas. I love these plants because the new growth looks like flowers at the top. Yay!!!
I dosed last week only the weekly suggestion of the FlourinMulti and FlourinAxis. Both are 5ml/50gallons. I stopped daily dosing though the daily dosing at the end of a week is 5ml.

I noticed stringy algae growing on my plants!!! Not happy about this. From reading I know that it'll eventually go away. Others say use Excel. I checked it out today. Excel is a bioavailable carbon source. The same as the FlourinAxis. I did not pick it up. I did small water change today but since I use an Aqueon siphon that hooks up to the sink I don't know exactly how many gallons I removed. This leads to guesstimating how much water conditioner to use. As I turn the siphon in reverse after adjusting temperature I use a syringe to drip the water conditioner into the tank before I start refilling. I hold the hose above the water and move it back and forth to mix with the conditioner while filling. I can use the siphon to remove water and a bucket and measure the conditioner per gallon and refill if a potential cause of algae is maybe using too much water conditioner.

I'm a little baffled because my research told me that this type of algae is also cause by too much nutrients. I checked before the WC and nitrates were at 10-20ppm. Since I had no plant growth in a few weeks I got some hornwort to help choke out the algae. It was also time to get some new plants.

Is this type of algae dangerous to my fish? I often catch my angles grazing on the plants. I wouldn't mind if they ate it but there's too much for them to clean it up. Are there any other ways to get rid of it? I wouldn't mind picking the stuff off but, again, there's so much and I would have to take the plants out to really get it. I think for me the easier thing is to wait it out until it goes away itself.

A quick about my tank

50 gallons
5 Angels (I got a new one)
3 Albino Cories
8 Black Neon Tetras
1 Cat Shark (Columbian Shark)
3 (but I can only see 2) Otocinclus

I feed everyday with TetraColor Tropical Crisps. I probably feed a little too much because I do let some go down for the cories and the cat shark. I feed every 3rd day 1 Aqueon bottom feeder tablet for the cories and cat shark. The angels pig out on this too. I also feed with some freeze dried bloodworms 1 a week and tubifex worms 1 a weeks or so.

Any insight would be appreciated.

sprmankalel 04-04-2014 02:11 PM

Thinking about c02. Any thoughts?

bob reed 04-05-2014 07:45 AM

I am not to that point in the new tank yet.

edman2012 04-05-2014 08:16 AM

How many plants do you have in your tank? If you don't have many plants the ones you have may not be enough to absorb ammonia & nitrates. I'm not an expert, but plants don't reduce nitrate too much but they do seem (in my experience) to shield nicely from deadly ammonia. I say this because the last tank I set up I added fish without cycling first, and I never had any measurable amount of ammonia.
By the way, I recommend you try Excel. I began using it 2 weeks ago and I've already had a huge reduction in algae and improved plant health.

sprmankalel 04-06-2014 08:07 AM

I have a considerable amount of plants. I don't have any other decorations. I love the look of live plants. I really want them to grow to be fill up the tank.

corina savin 04-23-2014 11:28 AM

Plants will not use nitrates if they have ammonia available. Plants and bacteria are competing for the little ammonia produced daily by the fish. A plant, just because is there, will not consume ammonia (or nitrate). If it is not growing, it means that it will not need nitrogen to make plant mass. Nitrogen (in the form of ammonia, nitrite or nitrate) is no longer in the water column, it's in the plant. Wait for the plant to rot and the nitrogen is back in the water column.

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