High nitrate - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 25 Old 05-02-2013, 12:40 AM Thread Starter
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High nitrate

I have two fish tanks, a 20 and a 29. They have the exact same readins for everything.
Ph:7.6+
Nitrite:0
Nitrate:160!!!!!
Ammonia:.25
Obviously... My nitrate is pretty terrible... Many of my community fish have been dying and my goldfish are sulky.
They still all deffenatly have a great appetite and the guppies tend to stay at the top while the goldfish on the bottom, glofish bottom, and the others are supposed to be on the bottom.
I have 3 Cory catfish in there to help with the recent addition of sand in the 20 gallon.
My bristlenose pleco in goldfish tank seems to have some discoloration... Kind of looks like burns but I'm not sure.


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post #2 of 25 Old 05-02-2013, 03:02 AM
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Have you tested your tap water to see if there is any nitrates in it?? I would personally get a conditioner like Prime that detoxifies the nitrates. Prime will do so for 48hrs or up then. So atleast every 48 I would do water changes until you can figure out where/what's causing the nitrates to be soo high??
What fish are in what tank??

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post #3 of 25 Old 05-02-2013, 11:46 AM
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Boredomb has posted some good suggestions / questions. Goldfish are big waste producers and it is easy to over feed them as they seem to be constantly hungry. Between their waste and the possibility of over feeding, your readings are very understandable. Goldfish aren't really suited to either of your tanks. I would think that ammonia burns could be a very real issue with your plecostomus (also not suited to your tanks). If you must keep everything as is, frequent partial water changes of 30-50% as Boredom suggested are vital. Live stem / floating plants will be very helpful in stabilizing the ammonia and nitrates. Your readings also suggest that your cycle is not completed and the plants will help improve that issue also. I love goldfish; however, I have come to believe that they are a pond fish unless you have a very large tank to support their needs. If it is possible for you to rehome the goldfish and plecostomus, that will open up a lot of room for very interesting and beautiful fish for you to enjoy. Best of luck.

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post #4 of 25 Old 05-02-2013, 10:34 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Boredomb View Post
Have you tested your tap water to see if there is any nitrates in it?? I would personally get a conditioner like Prime that detoxifies the nitrates. Prime will do so for 48hrs or up then. So atleast every 48 I would do water changes until you can figure out where/what's causing the nitrates to be soo high??
What fish are in what tank??
The thing is, I do not use tap water. I use spring drinking water that my family all drinks from a water store.

In my 29 gallon I have 2 goldfish and a bristlenose pleco.
In my 20 gallon
3 Cory catfish
3 glofish
2 lyretail guppies
1 unknown
The rest are guppies
1 otto


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post #5 of 25 Old 05-02-2013, 10:42 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by fish monger View Post
Boredomb has posted some good suggestions / questions. Goldfish are big waste producers and it is easy to over feed them as they seem to be constantly hungry. Between their waste and the possibility of over feeding, your readings are very understandable. Goldfish aren't really suited to either of your tanks. I would think that ammonia burns could be a very real issue with your plecostomus (also not suited to your tanks). If you must keep everything as is, frequent partial water changes of 30-50% as Boredom suggested are vital. Live stem / floating plants will be very helpful in stabilizing the ammonia and nitrates. Your readings also suggest that your cycle is not completed and the plants will help improve that issue also. I love goldfish; however, I have come to believe that they are a pond fish unless you have a very large tank to support their needs. If it is possible for you to rehome the goldfish and plecostomus, that will open up a lot of room for very interesting and beautiful fish for you to enjoy. Best of luck.
My pleco is fine, because he is a bristlenose therefore doesn't get too big. I have reformed 2 of my previous 4 goldfish, for their health, I have a persons ho has a beautiful pong who tanks them :) however the two I have now, since they are social I have to have more than 1, and they other was my very first fish ever. Had him for 7 years.

I have had the 20 gallon running for 5 years now, how could it be uncycled? The 29 gallon is about 302 months old. The only thing I can think of is that I recently switched ther substrates, about a month ago. Now the 20 has sand, and the 29 has gravel.


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post #6 of 25 Old 05-02-2013, 10:58 PM
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I would seriously test the spring water and see. Another thing is that spring water might be too soft for Goldfish. Changing the substrate could have caused an issue but you would have seen nitrites before the nitrates. I would personally up the water changes volume and frequencies.

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post #7 of 25 Old 05-03-2013, 07:57 AM
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Cycles can be upset and at least need to partially re-establish. You would probably have nitrites though, so you're most likely right. Boredomb's suggestions sound like the way to go.

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post #8 of 25 Old 05-03-2013, 08:43 AM
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I've always heard that you should not use bottled water for water changes. That's got to be extremely expensive, unless you are only changing out like 10%, in which case it makes sense that your nitrates are so high. Small water changes really don't do anything. Perhaps you have old tank syndrome.

125 - BGK, chanchito cichlid, pictus cats, silver dollars, palmas bichir
125 - cichlids (severums, bolivian rams, chocolate), rainbows ( turquoise, red), loaches (angelicus, zebra, kuhli and horseface), plecos (BN, RL and clown), denison barbs, tiretrack eel, pearl gouramis, betta
90 - Congo tetras, african knife, upside down cats, spotted ctenopoma, kribensis, delhezzi bichir
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post #9 of 25 Old 05-03-2013, 09:20 AM
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There is a spring not far from here where people used to pull off the side of the road and collect jugs of water. It is in a rural / farming area. I can't help but think that it was loaded with nitrates due to the agricultural runoff. This is an example of why it would be a good idea to test it. Of course, since this is a new issue, Jaysee's thought regarding old tank syndrome is something to consider. In any event, the water changes and finding the source of the nitrate can't do anything but help. Conditioned tap water may well be better for your tanks than your drinking water. You should test you tap water also to see how it compares. Your water company can give you info on GH and KH, etc. I sent an email to ours and received a very complete and friendly reply.

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post #10 of 25 Old 05-03-2013, 10:08 AM Thread Starter
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Old tank syndrome sounds right for the 20 gallon. But it's hard for me go to the water store more than once a week to accumulate all that water, I'd have to buy another jug. My jugs are 3 gallons, and I have 3.

What is the highest amount of water you can change for it to be safe?


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