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Just checked my water today and discovered my nitrate is at 80ppm nitrite is 0 and ammonia is 0.

I'm guessing a water change is needed?

Why so much nitrate
 

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yes

Hello, I would say waterchange is needed. Nitrate is the end result of bio cycle of your aquqrium. Fish food and waste produces ammonia which is processed into nitrite by bacteria. Other bacteria process nitrite into nitrate. Nitrate is used by plants, but often accumulates faster than plants can take it up. You tank is working like it should because you have no ammonia or nitrite. Ammonia and nitrite are very toxic to fish and usualy only accumulate if somthing is wrong with your bacterial colonies. Nitrate can be expected to accumulate between water changes, especialy if you've been feeding a lot or your tank is densely stocked. Best way to keep nitrate low is regular scheduled waterchanges. Always use seachem prime to condition tapwater before refilling tank.
 

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Thanks guys. Things are slowly becoming more understandable.
 

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are your nitrates under control jonandjo?

I'm trying to learn as much as I can about what causes instability in estabished tanks. What do you think caused the spike- overfeeding? too many fish? not enough water change? somthing else? My tanks have been so stable for so long I can't really learn anything else from them unless I experiment with my fish- somthing I'm not willing to do, so its very valuable to me to beable to learn from other peoples experiences with instability.
Hope all is well with you and your fish. Thanks
 

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If the tank is planted a nitrate spike is simply a sign that plants of switched from consuming nitrate to consuming ammonia. Which happens when something gets a little out of balance. It is just the tank responding to and returning the tank back to normal operations.

If not planted then water changes are what limit nitrates. Bbut nitrates will never be unreadable in clean pristine plant (and alga) free tanks. But the water changes will limit the nitrate build up. Just not prevent it.

By contrast nitrates are unmeasurable in planted systems as long as that system has not received a recent shock. Like a fish dying, or over feeding etc etc etc.


my .02
 

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Thanks for your knowledge. Do you have any idea what causes spikes of nitrite? I know of a case where an established tank experience a problem of persistantly high nitrite and no nitrate being produced. I can't imagine what might cause that in a cycled tank except disruption of nitrite consuming bacteria. Any ideas?
 

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Thanks for your knowledge. Do you have any idea what causes spikes of nitrite? I know of a case where an established tank experience a problem of persistantly high nitrite and no nitrate being produced. I can't imagine what might cause that in a cycled tank except disruption of nitrite consuming bacteria. Any ideas?
Sometimes you can have a cycle started due to any shock. And in that process the increase in ammonia can cause a nitrItes spike as the nitrIte bacteria build up to create the nitrates. Just like in the initial cycle with no plants. but usually with extablished tanks those cycles are very small. Unless something has gone really really wrong.


my .02
 

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What is it do you think that goes really wrong. I've known of a few people who have gotten nitrite spikes in established tanks. I have three tanks that have been up for a long time and no problms. Just want to make sure I'm doing all I can to avoid a crash.
 

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As far as I know, you can't have a nitrite spike without it having been caused by ammonia-oxidizing bacteria. As bob said, it takes a while for the nitrite-oxidizers to catch up. If the ammonia source is not eliminated or attenuated, the AOB just keep putting out nitrite.

During a fishless cycle with high ammonia, the NOB can be stalled by too much ammonia.
 

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So besides water change and vacuuming, having live plants, mature bacteria colony , not overstocking or over feeding, is there any thing else to look out for as an aquarium ages. Do you reccommend disturbing the sand or gravel bed to clean or is it better to leave it lie?
 

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So besides water change and vacuuming, having live plants, mature bacteria colony , not overstocking or over feeding, is there any thing else to look out for as an aquarium ages. Do you reccommend disturbing the sand or gravel bed to clean or is it better to leave it lie?
Let it lie
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You can get some Malaysian trumpet snails and not ever worry about the substrate.
 

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No. They may take them into their mouth and spit them out though. But swallow? No.
 
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These snails sound like an excellent way to help control nitrate by preventing ammonia from being produced in the first place. Or maybe they're just for cleaning? I guess if they produce ammonia themselves the net results might be 0 as far as nitrate is concerned. They are on my shopping list as cleaners in any case. Thanks for the tip.
 

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These snails sound like an excellent way to help control nitrate by preventing ammonia from being produced in the first place. Or maybe they're just for cleaning? I guess if they produce ammonia themselves the net results might be 0 as far as nitrate is concerned. They are on my shopping list as cleaners in any case. Thanks for the tip.
The latter is correct :)
 

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These snails sound like an excellent way to help control nitrate by preventing ammonia from being produced in the first place. Or maybe they're just for cleaning? I guess if they produce ammonia themselves the net results might be 0 as far as nitrate is concerned. They are on my shopping list as cleaners in any case. Thanks for the tip.
IMHO food added to the aquarium will result in nitrates regardless of it if is eaten by snales, the fish, or rots on the bottom. That is assuming a balanced aquarium where aerobic bacteria is reducing the ammonia.

To prevent nitrates you need to consume the nitrates being generated.

Still that's just my .02
 
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