High Nitrate for over a month... - Paw Talk - Pet Forums
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-31-2010, 04:47 PM Thread Starter
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High Nitrate for over a month...

backround...
Have a 100gal freshwater community tank.
Includes: Botias, horseface loach, harlequin rasboras, hatchetfish, and 2 bushynose plecos.
I have seen every fish except the horseface loach, which is common.
Have been feeding frozen homemade food to botias, and flakes/brine shrimp/bloodworms etc to others.
They fast once a week.
Water change - every 2-4 weeks ~10-25%
Have all live plants, with eco-complete substrate. Rena canister filter (4boxes).
Clean parts of the filter out every couple months. (usually the mechanical filtration. will sometimes rinse SOME of the biological. change out carbon.... maybe every 6-8 months. have never had any problems with the tank till now. did change the carbon about 2-3 months ago, and recently added biozorb to the filter)
tank has been up and running for 1.5 years.
Every week i take away dead plant matter from the bottom (that i can see).
nitrate has been high for about a month now, ammonia and nitrite 0.



-the beginning of the week the nitrate was at 40ppm. i have done 3 water changes, 2 with gravel vac, in the past two weeks to clean out the plant bed.
The nitrate now sits around 20ppm


any ideas why it suddenly got so high? and how to fix the problem? I know water changes, but anything else?

Last edited by nik8806; 10-31-2010 at 04:49 PM.
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-31-2010, 04:51 PM
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A water change every 2-4 weeks isn't frequent enough, I would be doing water changes on a weekly basis. You won't see an instant change, it'll be gradual.

What is in the homemade food? Are you removing uneaten food immediately?

How often do you clean out your filter? As great as canister filters can be, they're often called "nitrate factories" by marine aquarium owners! Most people don't clean them out enough and debris starts to break down inside the box. Also make sure you're replacing any filter media on a regular basis--some types of media will begin leeching stuff back into the water after a while.




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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-31-2010, 04:57 PM Thread Starter
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okay, ill clean out the filter again. just to make sure thats not the problem. i just dont want to clean it so often that all the good bact. is gone. i do add stability when i do water changed or filter cleanings.
so keep doing water cahnges. how often and how much until nitrate is down? 20% every few days???
I usually do water changes every week, but the last 4 months it has been more inconsistent. I do remove uneaten food, if there is any, those botias eat it up pretty fast.
The food consists of..... (cant find the paper at moment) shrimp, i think some clam, beef liver, spinach, spirulina...and a few other things, cant remember, been a while since i made it.
they also get frozen bloodworms, brine shrimp, beef heart, daphnia, and other frozen foods about once a week instead of the home made stuff.
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-31-2010, 04:59 PM Thread Starter
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I have been feeding them less since the problem with nitrate started, not sure they are too happy about that though

-Also, how often do you recommend i clean out the filter?

Last edited by nik8806; 10-31-2010 at 05:05 PM.
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-31-2010, 05:09 PM
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I can't say I'd recommend feeding beef. I know that's not really what this is about but one issue is that it's kinda messy (polluting).

Anyways, the inconsistent water changes are probably what caused this (along with inconsistent filter maintenance)...which means that if you get back on a schedule, the nitrate should go back down .

I would do maybe two water changes a week until it goes back down. As for the filter, what do you have in it? I'm not sure what types of media you have.




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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-31-2010, 05:14 PM Thread Starter
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I have...
starting from bottom box
box 4: 4 layers of mechanical filter pads.
box 3: ceramic rings and bio-chem stars.
box 2: more ceramic rings
box 1: carbon and bio-zorb.
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-31-2010, 05:19 PM
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Ok, this is what I would be doing.

Once a week (for now--after everything is stable again, you could get away with doing it every other week), I would take apart the filter and wash it. I would especially wash out the filter pads. If you're worried about killing off beneficial bacteria (I actually don't think this is a concern based on the age of the aquarium, the substrate you use, and the fact that you have live plants to help keep things stable), wash the pads with dechlorinated water. Also, activated carbon should be replaced every couple of weeks in a freshwater aquarium (to be perfectly honest, carbon isn't even that useful in freshwater tanks except as an occasional "polish" for the water). I don't know how often the bio-zorb is supposed to be replaced, check the packaging. I've never used it before.




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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-31-2010, 05:28 PM Thread Starter
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The bio-zorb i got free from my old work, so i just put it in there cause i figured it couldnt hurt.
it is supposed to...remove organic waste and toixic gas...
anyways. cleaning it now, the filter flow seemed great in the aquarium, but not much was passing the filter pads! could be the problem. live plants like to clog things.
Thank you so much for your quick help!
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-31-2010, 05:29 PM
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No problem, good luck!

Yeah, live planted aquariums can certainly do that.




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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-31-2010, 05:37 PM Thread Starter
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another quick q.
the eco-complete substrate - do i need to change any of that out after a certain amount of time?
can it harm the aquarium?
someone at a fish store said it may leech things into the aquarium once its "out dated"
??????
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post #11 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-31-2010, 06:00 PM
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Technically, over time the plants may "use up" a lot of the added minerals. But it shouldn't be leeching anything. I don't see a need to totally switch out the substrate--if anything, change some of it. But that should all take years to happen so don't worry about it .




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post #12 of 12 (permalink) Old 12-13-2010, 11:57 AM
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Everyone dose things different.
I have a 210 gal fresh aquarium.
I do 1/3 weekly water changes, and wash out filter sponges in buckets filled with water from the tank.
I have giant fish and next to no Nitrates.
Ditch the biozorb,cut back on amount of food, and do WEEKLY water changes forever. You will notice a major difference.
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