High Nitrate spike - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
 
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post #1 of 4 Old 02-11-2015, 12:43 PM Thread Starter
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High Nitrate spike

I have a 15 gal Fw aquarium. I have the following fish in it:
2 black mollies
5 Neon tetras
5 Tiger Barbs
1 Red tail Shark

The tank is heavily planted and they are thriving.

Yesterday I did a Ammonia test and found that it read .25. This is the first increase in Ammonia I've had since I cycled this tank in December. I added some Prime.
Today; I tested for Ammonia and it read 0. I also did a Nitrite test; it read .25; a Ph test; it read 7.4 and a Nitrate test; it read 40. My Nitrite and Ammonia have always been at 0. However; this past Sunday I did a 30% WC and I started to add some "Flourish Excel" ( Organic Carbon for the Planted Aquarium). I dosed Sunday and Monday. Haven't since.
I am about to do another major water change in an attempt to get these Nitrate/Nitrite readings back down where they should be.
My question is; what caused this? The addition of the Flourish Excel??? No where in my research about this product did it mention the possibility of it contaminating the water!

"Old and Grumpy; and Proud of it"
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post #2 of 4 Old 02-11-2015, 03:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Slaz View Post
I have a 15 gal Fw aquarium. I have the following fish in it:
2 black mollies
5 Neon tetras
5 Tiger Barbs
1 Red tail Shark

The tank is heavily planted and they are thriving.

Yesterday I did a Ammonia test and found that it read .25. This is the first increase in Ammonia I've had since I cycled this tank in December. I added some Prime.
Today; I tested for Ammonia and it read 0. I also did a Nitrite test; it read .25; a Ph test; it read 7.4 and a Nitrate test; it read 40. My Nitrite and Ammonia have always been at 0. However; this past Sunday I did a 30% WC and I started to add some "Flourish Excel" ( Organic Carbon for the Planted Aquarium). I dosed Sunday and Monday. Haven't since.
I am about to do another major water change in an attempt to get these Nitrate/Nitrite readings back down where they should be.
My question is; what caused this? The addition of the Flourish Excel??? No where in my research about this product did it mention the possibility of it contaminating the water!
I could be the plants were consuming ammonia from the tank and when you added the flourish the plants consume that instead of the ammonia from the bioload.

Be careful with prime as it does lock the ammonia but most test kits like the api ammonia test kit still test positive from ammonia. They can't read the difference between locked and free ammonia.

(this is also true of most ammonia locks/dechlors)

Fortunately your ammonia went down. What can happen is people add prime, still test ammonia, add more prime, and so on. Even though the first dose locked up all the ammonia. The problem is that prime also locks up oxygen as well as ammonia and the fish can suffocate. With the same symptoms as ammonia poisoning.

I would let the plants condition the tank. An initial nitrate spike does happen when the plants are consuming ammonia and not getting their nitrogen from nitrates. After a few weeks the aerobic bacteria build up and the plants are forced to reluctantly consume nitrates. At that point the nitrates drop down. Some time before that you can also have very high pH readings because the plants are consuming co2 and returning oxygen. For that reason I always test pH just before lights out. A high reading at that time indicates the tank is basically becoming a net consume of co2 and producer of oxygen each 24 hour period. and I never, never "adjust" the pH. I have kept fish reportedly requiring low pH readings (7 and less) for years and years with a pH the is purple (84.-8.8) with the high range api pH test kit. Seems that a low co2 environment even with a high pH does nothing but provide a healthy environment for any fish.


my .02

maintain Fw and marine system with a strong emphasis on balanced, stabilized system that as much as possible are self substaning.

have maintained FW systems for up to 9 years with descendants from original fish and marine aquariums for up to 8 years.

With no water changes, untreated tap water, inexpensive lighting by first starting the tank with live plants (FW) or macro algae( marine)

see: https://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/a...-build-295530/
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post #3 of 4 Old 02-11-2015, 04:51 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for your prompt reply. I think I will lay of the "Flourish Excel" for now. I have a DIY CO2 system on order; and I will wait till that arrives. I will try that. I did a 30% WC and all tests look good at this time. I'll check in the morning again and go fro there.

Whilst I got your attention. Is there such a thing as over filtration? Right now I'm running a small 15 gal aquarium and I have two filter systems running. a C 3 Fluval and a older canister system that I had laying around from years ago. The reason I ask; is because in reading some comments on this site; someone casually mentioned over filtration; and that it could remove too much ammonia.

"Old and Grumpy; and Proud of it"
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post #4 of 4 Old 02-11-2015, 05:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Slaz View Post
Thanks for your prompt reply. I think I will lay of the "Flourish Excel" for now. I have a DIY CO2 system on order; and I will wait till that arrives. I will try that. I did a 30% WC and all tests look good at this time. I'll check in the morning again and go fro there.

Whilst I got your attention. Is there such a thing as over filtration? Right now I'm running a small 15 gal aquarium and I have two filter systems running. a C 3 Fluval and a older canister system that I had laying around from years ago. The reason I ask; is because in reading some comments on this site; someone casually mentioned over filtration; and that it could remove too much ammonia.
To me any mechanical filtration on my Fw tanks is "over" filtration because I use none and just let the plants condition the tank. But that is actually filtration just not mechanical.

I hear comments on removing too much ammonia all the time. That is bunk!. Say your tank is producing say 3ppm ammonia per day. And your plants are consuming that ammonia. So we have a safe environment for the fish with no measureable ammonia.

The comments I get are that the lack of ammonia will prevent the aerobic bacteria from growing. That simply is not true. While the bacteria may grow a little (if any) slower, it does still grow. The bacteria is physically between the ammonia and the plants consuming it. Plus the plants are oxygenating the water as well which encourages the bacteria. Not to mention the plants you added had aerobic bacteria on them as well. So the bacteria will still consume ammonia and start growing. Consuming more and more of the ammonia while the plants will consume more and more nitrates for their nitrogen.

So eventually the bacteria gets most the ammonia and the plants consume the resulting nitrates.

Adding filter material to consume ammonia directly would IMHO be detrimental. But that point is moot with plants in the system. Or aerobic bacteria for that matter as well.

Of course, you could use some super filtering system which strips the water of everything. I would not consider the desirable.

On a lesser scale, In my system balanced and stabilized systems with plants, any mechanical filtration could be detrimental.

While I do occasionally suck out the crud (mulm) at the bottom I only do that annually or so. But most would do that just for appearances sake on a more frequent basis.

my .02


And a general P. S.


You should hear the saltwater (and reef) people scream when I recommend $5 of macro algaes. I can't blame them as some of those systems are $10,000+.

maintain Fw and marine system with a strong emphasis on balanced, stabilized system that as much as possible are self substaning.

have maintained FW systems for up to 9 years with descendants from original fish and marine aquariums for up to 8 years.

With no water changes, untreated tap water, inexpensive lighting by first starting the tank with live plants (FW) or macro algae( marine)

see: https://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/a...-build-295530/
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