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Last weekend I finally took the plunge and switched from all gravel with fake plants to a dirted/ planted set up! I'm super happy with the look (except for the tanins from the driftwood used... despite having soaked it for a month ahead of time--- but that's another issue :))

I have been testing for an ammonia spike constantly and so far (thankfully) nothing. But today I did another test on the other levels and the Nitrates were really high (around 80). To remedy that I did a large water change (40%) and checked again. The Nitrates went down to around 40 (I only have the test strips not the drops so there's a little more guess work involved) but the Nitrites were the same (right about 10), if not slightly higher (they might have been 0.8 the first test)! So then tested my tap water (with declorinater in it) and it tested @ 1.

So obviously my tap water has nitrites in it. I wondered if it's the home filtration system we use but I still don't know what to do about it. Help Please!!! :cry:
 

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Last weekend I finally took the plunge and switched from all gravel with fake plants to a dirted/ planted set up! I'm super happy with the look (except for the tanins from the driftwood used... despite having soaked it for a month ahead of time--- but that's another issue :))

I have been testing for an ammonia spike constantly and so far (thankfully) nothing. But today I did another test on the other levels and the Nitrates were really high (around 80). To remedy that I did a large water change (40%) and checked again. The Nitrates went down to around 40 (I only have the test strips not the drops so there's a little more guess work involved) but the Nitrites were the same (right about 10), if not slightly higher (they might have been 0.8 the first test)! So then tested my tap water (with declorinater in it) and it tested @ 1.

So obviously my tap water has nitrites in it. I wondered if it's the home filtration system we use but I still don't know what to do about it. Help Please!!! :cry:
live plants will consume any ammonia first then nitrates second. Therefore no ammonia is due to the plant action. It is also very common to have an initial nitrate bump especially with organics like your soil providing nitrates which the plants ignore while consuming ammonia for nitrogen. As the tank matures the nitrates will jump down because the bacterial has built up and is then consuming the ammonia and the plants the nitrates.

On nitrItes, my solution is to stop adding any food until they jump down to unmeasureable levels. In fact I don't and any food for the first week because when I used to feed that single first fish, it would die on the 5th day just like clockwork. But with no food being added it has always lived.

my .02
 

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live plants will consume any ammonia first then nitrates second. Therefore no ammonia is due to the plant action. It is also very common to have an initial nitrate bump especially with organics like your soil providing nitrates which the plants ignore while consuming ammonia for nitrogen. As the tank matures the nitrates will jump down because the bacterial has built up and is then consuming the ammonia and the plants the nitrates.

On nitrItes, my solution is to stop adding any food until they jump down to unmeasureable levels. In fact I don't and any food for the first week because when I used to feed that single first fish, it would die on the 5th day just like clockwork. But with no food being added it has always lived.

my .02

Thanks. I can definitely stop feeding them for a while. I'm just concerned that each water change will make the problem worse since I have the Nitrites in my tap water. Any advice on that?
 

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Thanks. I can definitely stop feeding them for a while. I'm just concerned that each water change will make the problem worse since I have the Nitrites in my tap water. Any advice on that?
IME any potable water is suitable for a planted aquarium.

Your nitrItes come from your bioload with very little input from the replacement water (unless your changing like 100% of the water every hour. :lol:). For instance , if nitrItes are increasing a 1ppm/day and you change 10% of the water every 10 days, the nitrItes just before a water change will wind up at 100ppm plus whatever is in the replacement water. (then down to 90ppm and back up to 100 ppm before the next water change). And ditto for everything in the system which is measured with a linear measure (unlike ph which is a log measurement).

After all that, my advice is to stop changing the water, just replace evaporative, let the plants grow, and stop feedings. In a few days nitrItes will drop to unmeasureable levels in 2 days.

Still that's just my .02

Ps don't forget to restart low level feedings after nitrItes drop down. :shock:
 
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