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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I always do my testing before the water change now that the tank is pretty well established so I know where things are at and mainly out of curiosity rather than concern for the levels.

Today is my first zero nitrate test... YAY! I've always had less than 5ppm so this was just a matter of time in coming.

I've included a recent shot of the tank for plant reference as I am sure that the plants are the main reason why the nitrates are disappearing. I know that the root tabs that are in there are gone by now and due for replacement so I am curious if adding them again will allow the nitrates to ride back up again.

Jeff.
 

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congrates

It does seem to take forever for nitrates to drop down especially compared to ammonia/nitrItes. Phosphates take even longer.

And I'm sure nitrates would jump up again with the root tabs or any other fertz which may add some ammonia.

meanwhile here comes the cyano. :lol:


But in the mean time just enjoy.

my .02
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
congrates

It does seem to take forever for nitrates to drop down especially compared to ammonia/nitrItes. Phosphates take even longer.

And I'm sure nitrates would jump up again with the root tabs or any other fertz which may add some ammonia.

meanwhile here comes the cyano. :lol:


But in the mean time just enjoy.

my .02
You wishin' cyano on me now? I don't think so as if it were going to appear I would have already seen it as I believe that zero nitrates is a symptom, not a cause. I'll let it ride for another week or two before putting root tabs back in to see if this is a consistent thing. As far as dead water spots (anouther suggested cyano factor) my spraybar is vertically oriented with exhaust holes on both sides that provides some water movement throughout the column.

You'll love this BBob. I stopped vacuuming at least a month ago... maybe two. There was nothing worth noting coming off the bottom so now I just siphon from mid water and leave the bottom alone. Certainly speeds up the change process. 10 mins for water out, 10 mins for water in and 10 mins for prep and cleanup.

I've no intention of dropping the water changes, although I might be able to based on testable toxins, I am not fond of the climbing GH that you experience in your tanks... mine is already hard enough that I tend to be in the top range for the fish and I would expect that some of the trace metals could become problematic without being obvious once they start building up. Having said that, my evaporative loss is next to nothing so it would be a very slow buildup.

Jeff.
 

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Your tank looks fabulous, Jeff! This is exactly the type of plant growth I wish for. I can't believe it only took your four months! Your betta is a mirror image of mine. Did you have any problems with him and other fish? Can you share in which order you stocked your tank fishwise? Thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks.

Betta first as we only had him (Oscar). Cherry Barbs next, emerald catfish next then more barbs (16 in total) then cherry shrimp. All these additions were spaced about two weeks apart other than the bettas and first group of barbs... they were within days.

No signs of aggression, fin nipping or even anything more than curiosity toward the shrimp. I got almost fully grown shrimp though, I am certain smaller ones would have become sushi.

I added plants all along and still buy one here and there. I pulled most stems out and transferred them to the office tank, added more crypts and assorted other stuff.

The only issue that showed was the betta took a 30 day fast recently... he's fine now but I wasn't sure what was up... never know I guess. Oh, I lost a couple emerald cats, they were wild caught so may have just been super sensitive to environmentals. Even though the water has been fine they may have been stressed by something else, maybe even the betta even with no obvious signs.

Oh, I added four pepper corys recently too. One rescue and three new little ones to bring the group op a bit.

Jeff.
 

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I was always under the impression you wanted some small level of nitrates for the plants since the bacteria does most of the work on the ammonia and nitrites. I guess with enough plants though and small bio load it makes sense for them to bottom out.
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I was always under the impression you wanted some small level of nitrates for the plants since the bacteria does most of the work on the ammonia and nitrites. I guess with enough plants though and small bio load it makes sense for them to bottom out.
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I don't consider it a small fish load and the number of plants are using up the vast majority of the ammonia, not the micro organisms. Any nitrite is probably dealt with by the bugs though. I wasn't initially thinking that I would hit zero but seeing as its been riding under 5, I figured that it might. I have plans to introduce one more group of fish now so we'll see what happens then.

Jeff
 

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Which plants had the substrate tabs? I would only use one for that sword at the back. But if you were using them for the crypts, not adding them might cause a melt, hence the question.

Byron.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I had one for the sword and tried one for the vals and crypts out of curiosity.

The swords benefited. The crypts started to wilt (pre-melt) so I removed it and put it with the vals, I couldn't really tell if there were a difference or not with them.

Crypts are doing fine without, sprouts, green (or brown/red where expected)... seems normal.

Jeff.
 

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I had one for the sword and tried one for the vals and crypts out of curiosity.

The swords benefited. The crypts started to wilt (pre-melt) so I removed it and put it with the vals, I couldn't really tell if there were a difference or not with them.

Crypts are doing fine without, sprouts, green (or brown/red where expected)... seems normal.

Jeff.
Then I would stay with just one for the sword; these do make quite a difference with the larger species (non-chain).

Valls should be OK without tabs, providing you are using liquid.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Then I would stay with just one for the sword; these do make quite a difference with the larger species (non-chain).

Valls should be OK without tabs, providing you are using liquid.
Liquid flourish and really hard water. Although this reminds me that they are showing a little bit of algae on them here and there. It almost looks like some little dead spot on the plant develops short hairs that don't rub off. The dead spots are very few so I wasn't concerned about them, the plants in general are growing well. I have been watching these hairs for any sign of further propagation and there has been none yet. I'll have to look closer later today... now I am curious.

Jeff.
 

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Liquid flourish and really hard water. Although this reminds me that they are showing a little bit of algae on them here and there. It almost looks like some little dead spot on the plant develops short hairs that don't rub off. The dead spots are very few so I wasn't concerned about them, the plants in general are growing well. I have been watching these hairs for any sign of further propagation and there has been none yet. I'll have to look closer later today... now I am curious.

Jeff.
I have observed a relationship between dead leaves and brush algae. When I see this algae increasing on a particular leaf, if I remove the leaf I always observe the base (at the crown) to be browning, which of course indicates a dying leaf because nutrients are no longer traveling up and down from plant to leaf. Thinking swords here. But this always is the case. I don't know if the leaf begins decaying (naturally) and the algae takes advantage, or if the algae attacks it and the leaf begins dying. I suspect the former, i.e., the algae is simply taking advantage of a dying leaf.
 

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What do you mean by 'non-chain'? Do chain swords need tabs?
No, the reverse. The larger swords, meaning the true swords (Echinodorus) but not the chain species in Helanthium, benefit a lot from tabs.
 

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Ah, okay, thank you for clearing that up! :) I just got some kind of small chain sword, (that actually ended up being two plants). One of them has already sent off 3 runners, but the other one hasn't done a thing. I'm wondering what's up with it :(

Anyways, congrats on zero nitrates Jeff! Do you think it's just from having lots of plants? I have nitrates of 10 in my tap, and I haven't been able to get it lower than that in my tank.
 

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Ah, okay, thank you for clearing that up! :) I just got some kind of small chain sword, (that actually ended up being two plants). One of them has already sent off 3 runners, but the other one hasn't done a thing. I'm wondering what's up with it
All plants have a rest phase alternating with growth phases. This can vary depending upon the plant and the environment. I find my chain swords and pygmy chain swords will send out runners say now, during May, but will then not during June/July, or whatever. Same with the Echinodorus swords sending out an inflorescence. Once established in an aquarium, they tend to be fairly simultaneous in this, though there are still some that do and some that don't.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Ah, okay, thank you for clearing that up! :) I just got some kind of small chain sword, (that actually ended up being two plants). One of them has already sent off 3 runners, but the other one hasn't done a thing. I'm wondering what's up with it :(

Anyways, congrats on zero nitrates Jeff! Do you think it's just from having lots of plants? I have nitrates of 10 in my tap, and I haven't been able to get it lower than that in my tank.
Thanks.

I am not certain about lots of plants but seeing as my nitrates have been historically low all along I can't see that it's been anything other than the plants. I do attribute it to a variety of plants though. I am not certain how many I have now but over 20. If I had gone with 3 or 4 I might not have the same result unless I happened to have the 3 or 4 that like nitrates.

Having 10 in the tap is tough as every time that you do a water change you almost have to start all over again... all you can hope for is that it doesn't go any higher than 10 in your tank... and that would be the same as my zero... sort of.

Jeff.
 
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