55 Gallon Tank Cant get nitrates under control

D2G

Member
hopefully someone can help me out. recently my nitrates and nitrites are skyrocketing. i recently had an issue with my KH and pH tanking so i started treating with Seachem Alkilinty Buffer. A few days after i started treating my tank my Nitrates shot up to 40ppm and nitrites to 1ppm. amonia still reads 0. i did a 90% water change and changes the subtrate as well and within an hour my nitrates we back up to 20ppm and nitrites at 0.5ppm. this was yesterday, today im back up to 40ppm nitrate and 0.5ppm nitrites. im assuming this has something to do with the seachem but i dont understand how the water change didnt bring the leves down more. has anyone experienced this or anything like it before and know what i can do to fix it. pH is at 6.8 ~7.0, KH is at 5 drops <api KH and GH test kit> and GH is 6 drops.Temp is at 79.8.
and i only have 4 beta 1 angel and 1 mollie in the tank
 

Cherryshrimp420

Member
D2G said:
hopefully someone can help me out. recently my nitrates and nitrites are skyrocketing. i recently had an issue with my KH and pH tanking so i started treating with Seachem Alkilinty Buffer. A few days after i started treating my tank my Nitrates shot up to 40ppm and nitrites to 1ppm. amonia still reads 0. i did a 90% water change and changes the subtrate as well and within an hour my nitrates we back up to 20ppm and nitrites at 0.5ppm. this was yesterday, today im back up to 40ppm nitrate and 0.5ppm nitrites. im assuming this has something to do with the seachem but i dont understand how the water change didnt bring the leves down more. has anyone experienced this or anything like it before and know what i can do to fix it. pH is at 6.8 ~7.0, KH is at 5 drops <api KH and GH test kit> and GH is 6 drops.Temp is at 79.8.
and i only have 4 beta 1 angel and 1 mollie in the tank
Nitrates are constantly being produced from waste in the tank. So if there's a lot of poop, decay, food, organic matter etc, you'll see the level come back up after 24 hours.
 

Dunk2

Member
D2G said:
hopefully someone can help me out. recently my nitrates and nitrites are skyrocketing. i recently had an issue with my KH and pH tanking so i started treating with Seachem Alkilinty Buffer. A few days after i started treating my tank my Nitrates shot up to 40ppm and nitrites to 1ppm. amonia still reads 0. i did a 90% water change and changes the subtrate as well and within an hour my nitrates we back up to 20ppm and nitrites at 0.5ppm. this was yesterday, today im back up to 40ppm nitrate and 0.5ppm nitrites. im assuming this has something to do with the seachem but i dont understand how the water change didnt bring the leves down more. has anyone experienced this or anything like it before and know what i can do to fix it. pH is at 6.8 ~7.0, KH is at 5 drops <api KH and GH test kit> and GH is 6 drops.Temp is at 79.8.
and i only have 4 beta 1 angel and 1 mollie in the tank
If you haven’t already, I’d suggest testing your tap water.

Was your tank fully cycled? If you changed the substrate, that could have created a mini-cycle?

When you say your pH tanked, what exactly does that mean?
 

Broggy

Member
this happened to me when my sponge filter got too dirty. like Cherryshrimp420 said, it started decaying.
 
  • Thread Starter

D2G

Member
Broggy said:
this happened to me when my sponge filter got too dirty. like Cherryshrimp420 said, it started decaying.
i change my sponges every 2 months alternating between the 2 sponges in my filter but i will have to check that.Wouldnt that also casue an amonia spike first
Dunk2 said:
If you haven’t already, I’d suggest testing your tap water.

Was your tank fully cycled? If you changed the substrate, that could have created a mini-cycle?

When you say your pH tanked, what exactly does that mean?
yes the tank is fully cycled and there is no amonia building up in the tank. My pH kept dropping down below 6 and KH was almost nonexistent when i tested the water thats why im treating with the Alkalinity Buffer. Now that the pH stabilized i run into this. whats confusing me is that within an hr of a 90% water change the nitrates were back up to 40ppm and it seems to stabilize there.
Cherryshrimp420 said:
Nitrates are constantly being produced from waste in the tank. So if there's a lot of poop, decay, food, organic matter etc, you'll see the level come back up after 24 hours.
there is no waste in the tank i changed all the subtrate in it with brand new sand. my plants are healthy and i have been only feeding every 3 days while i try to figire this out.
 

Andres391

Member
How many gallons is your tank, how long has it been running and cycled, how many inches deep of substrate do you have, which type of water conditioner are you using and what type of filter device are you using hang back or canister?
 

mattgirl

Member
Are you feeding your plants? If so, what are you feeding them? Some ferts will spike the nitrate levels.
 
  • Thread Starter

D2G

Member
mattgirl said:
Are you feeding your plants? If so, what are you feeding them? Some ferts will spike the nitrate levels.
API root tabs, i honestly didnt even think about that until now, ill check the package when i get home and see what it contains
Andres391 said:
How many gallons is your tank, how long has it been running and cycled, how many inches deep of substrate do you have, which type of water conditioner are you using and what type of filter device are you using hang back or canister?
55Gal, running about 3 months, cycled for about 2, subtrate is only about 1" deep, API quick start, Fluval 307 Canister filter.
 

mattgirl

Member
D2G said:
API root tabs, i honestly didnt even think about that until now, ill check the package when i get home and see what it contains
When I first added Thrive liquid fert I was surprised by the nitrate level in my tank. Your root tabs could very well be where some of these nitrates are coming from.
 

Andres391

Member
D2G said:
API root tabs, i honestly didnt even think about that until now, ill check the package when i get home and see what it contains

55Gal, running about 3 months, cycled for about 2, subtrate is only about 1" deep, API quick start, Fluval 307 Canister filter.
I would add 3inches of gravel to help colonize more of anerobic and aerobic denitrifying bacteria that likes low to none oxygen levels. I assume that the pump flow is on top and not hitting towards the sand. I would use Prime as your water conditioner because not only does it detoxify chlorine and ammonia but can also be used as an emergency for nitrites or nitrates with a 5 to 6x dose this also can detoxify nitrates and nitrites as stated in the front of the bottle in smaller letters. I had the same issue before and this helped to lower them to a safe amount. I have a hang back power filter I also decreased the flow to low since I had a small airstone to provide plenty of oxygen and stopping water flow from going deep into my gravel and added several small red lava rocks from home depot which I use as mulch for my plants since they last longer and provide trace minerals. The 3inch gravel has been done by people who has experimented and who never done water changes nor have any electrical filter in it since the gravel is the filter and if you have plenty of plants and a good light they will provide the oxygen for you I personally think u should always have a airstone to provide not enough but plenty and not over doing it the fish are more active! Check out Father aquarium in YouTube on deep gravel and the experiment of Jay's aquarium on how much deep gravel can remove nitrates.
I also recommend seeding your tank with Seachem Stability to boost those denitrifying bacteria and the most stable bacteria in the market but after you add those 3 inches of gravel. For fertilizer I'm using api leaf zone for it has whats usually missing from tank which is potassium and Iron. My lava rocks since they are porous not only do they help with denitrifying bacteria but also provides trace minerals as already mentioned.
 

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