30 Gallon Tank Consistent high nitrates?

Ir3land

Hi fish friends! I have a bit of a problem with my 36 Gallon tank. For some reason, even after 40-50% water changes weekly my test kit still says I have around 80-160 ppm Nitrates. Meanwhile, my Ammonia and Nitrites read 0 ppm. This tank has been through the Nitrogen Cycle. I’m really stumped on what to do so advice would be greatly appreciated! :)
 

carsonsgjs

Have you tested your tap water to see if there are nitrates in that?
is your nitrate test kit still in date?
Do you carry out the test according to the instructions (leave for 5 mins, shake like mad etc)

sure theres some other troubleshooting questions I’ve missed!
 
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WRWAquarium

Hi

As above your tap water could be the cause.

I've been trying to lower my nitrates from around 20 or 30 and have learnt that regular filter maintenance and gravel vaccing doesn't help as I thought it would. I think overfeeding is an issue for me.

Ive got floating salvinia plants in my tanks now and nitrates have started dropping.
 
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mattgirl

Hi fish friends! I have a bit of a problem with my 36 Gallon tank. For some reason, even after 40-50% water changes weekly my test kit still says I have around 80-160 ppm Nitrates. Meanwhile, my Ammonia and Nitrites read 0 ppm. This tank has been through the Nitrogen Cycle. I’m really stumped on what to do so advice would be greatly appreciated! :)
If you don't have nitrates in your tap water then I have to ask. Do your have plants in this tank? If you do are you adding some form of fertilizer? If so that could be where the high nitrate reading is coming from.
 
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Rose of Sharon

Hi fish friends! I have a bit of a problem with my 36 Gallon tank. For some reason, even after 40-50% water changes weekly my test kit still says I have around 80-160 ppm Nitrates. Meanwhile, my Ammonia and Nitrites read 0 ppm. This tank has been through the Nitrogen Cycle. I’m really stumped on what to do so advice would be greatly appreciated! :)
Hi,

How long has your tank been cycled? When my nitrates skyrocketed, I did 50% water changes for 2 days in a row. I also added plants that were good for sucking up extra nitrates, and that took care of my problem. Pothos love nitrates, if that's any help.... :)
 
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Ir3land

Have you tested your tap water to see if there are nitrates in that?
is your nitrate test kit still in date?
Do you carry out the test according to the instructions (leave for 5 mins, shake like mad etc)

sure theres some other troubleshooting questions I’ve missed!
I actually haven’t yet! I’ll go see what’s up with it. My test kit is still in date and I’ve done multiple tests at times and read the instructions tons of times so I hope it isn’t my silliness at this point.
Hi

As above your tap water could be the cause.

I've been trying to lower my nitrates from around 20 or 30 and have learnt that regular filter maintenance and gravel vaccing doesn't help as I thought it would. I think overfeeding is an issue for me.

Ive got floating salvinia plants in my tanks now and nitrates have started dropping.
I’ve got some plants in my tank too! I’m hoping they’ll help a bit more!
If you don't have nitrates in your tap water then I have to ask. Do your have plants in this tank? If you do are you adding some form of fertilizer? If so that could be where the high nitrate reading is coming from.
I do have live plants, a ton actually. I used to add some of aquarium co-ops fertilizer but I haven’t in a while.
Hi,

How long has your tank been cycled? When my nitrates skyrocketed, I did 50% water changes for 2 days in a row. I also added plants that were good for sucking up extra nitrates, and that took care of my problem. Pothos love nitrates, if that's any help.... :)
Hello! My tank’s been cycle I think for 3 months. I’ve got a bunch of plants in my tank but I definitely would be willing to add more :). I’ll look into Pothos! Thank you
 
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MasterPython

How long has it been set up and what kind substrate?
 
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mattgirl

I actually haven’t yet! I’ll go see what’s up with it. My test kit is still in date and I’ve done multiple tests at times and read the instructions tons of times so I hope it isn’t my silliness at this point.
Normally if the nitrate test isn't done correctly you will see less nitrate, not more. :)

I’ve got some plants in my tank too! I’m hoping they’ll help a bit more!

I do have live plants, a ton actually. I used to add some of aquarium co-ops fertilizer but I haven’t in a while.
Did you add root tabs at any point after adding your plants? Could they still be in there leaching nitrates?
 
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Ir3land

How long has it been set up and what kind substrate?
It’s been set up for about 4 months and it’s imagariums black gravel substrate
Normally if the nitrate test isn't done correctly you will see less nitrate, not more. :)


Did you add root tabs at any point after adding your plants? Could they still be in there leaching nitrates?
That’s good to here! And I haven’t added any root tabs
 
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mattgirl

It’s been set up for about 4 months and it’s imagariums black gravel substrate

That’s good to here! And I haven’t added any root tabs
Ferts aren't spiking it then. Did you run the test on your tap water?
 
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Ir3land

Ferts aren't spiking it then. Did you run the test on your tap water?
Yes! And I found the culprit was it like you all said! It’s reading 80 ppm! Fortunately Ph is around 7.4, Ammonia at 0.25 ppm, and Nitrite at 0 ppm. Any ideas on what to do?
 
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Motherlovebetta

Your tap nitrates are 80ppm?! That seems really high. I get RO buckets from the LFS because my well water ph is high you could try something like that till you find a better water source.
 
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Ir3land

Your tap nitrates are 80ppm?! That seems really high. I get RO buckets from the LFS because my well water ph is high you could try something like that till you find a better water source.
That’s the reading. I heard about Reverse Osmosis so I’ll look and see more of how it works. And I’ll see if I can find a better water source!
 
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FishDin

The legal nitrate limit in the U.S. for public drinking water is 10ppm.
 
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Ir3land

The legal nitrate limit in the U.S. for public drinking water is 10ppm.
[/QUOTE
I should check again then, unless Utah be really like that
 
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mattgirl

Yes! And I found the culprit was it like you all said! It’s reading 80 ppm! Fortunately Ph is around 7.4, Ammonia at 0.25 ppm, and Nitrite at 0 ppm. Any ideas on what to do?

You could set up a RO system but if you find setting it up to be a problem to get set up I can recommend a way to remove the nitrates before adding the water to your tank. You will need a container big enough to hold all the water you need for a water change, an extra HOB filter, a pouch of nitra-zorb and aquarium salt to recharge the nitra-zorb.

The nitra-zorb will pull the nitrates out of the water.
 
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Ir3land

You could set up a RO system but if you find setting it up to be a problem to get set up I can recommend a way to remove the nitrates before adding the water to your tank. You will need a container big enough to hold all the water you need for a water change, an extra HOB filter, a pouch of nitra-zorb and aquarium salt to recharge the nitra-zorb.

The nitra-zorb will pull the nitrates out of the water.
Interesting! Thanks so much, I’ll definitely look into it
 
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Motherlovebetta

I dont know if it was already mentioned before, but have you thought about taking your tap water and aquarium water to your LFS or somewhere to get tested just to make sure your test kit is accurate?
 
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Ir3land

I dont know if it was already mentioned before, but have you thought about taking your tap water and aquarium water to your LFS or somewhere to get tested just to make sure your test kit is accurate?
That’s a great idea actually! I’ll definitely do that whenever I get the chance :)
 
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Ir3land

Hi everyone, I did another test on my tap water, this time I read the instructions while doing it and even timed me shaking the vile and still similar results. Took a photo but definitely looks off, I’m reading it around 30 ppm but on the photo it looks way worse. So today I’ll be making a trip to dah fish store to get the water tested and probably another kit, I’ll keep y’all updated!
 

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mattgirl

Hi everyone, I did another test on my tap water, this time I read the instructions while doing it and even timed me shaking the vile and still similar results. Took a photo but definitely looks off, I’m reading it around 30 ppm but on the photo it looks way worse. So today I’ll be making a trip to dah fish store to get the water tested and probably another kit, I’ll keep y’all updated!
Before buying another test kit run the test on some water that should be nitrate free such a bottled water. I suspect your nitrate test is telling you the truth but it is ever a bad idea to get a second opinion so having them test your water isn't a bad idea. Be sure to take both tank and tap water to be tested.
 
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Ir3land

Hi everyone, I did another test on my tap water, this time I read the instructions while doing it and even timed me shaking the vile and still similar results. Took a photo but definitely looks off, I’m reading it around 30 ppm but on the photo it looks way worse. So today I’ll be making a trip to dah fish store to get the water tested and probably another kit, I’ll keep y’all updated!
Before buying another test kit run the test on some water that should be nitrate free such a bottled water. I suspect your nitrate test is telling you the truth but it is ever a bad idea to get a second opinion so having them test your water isn't a bad idea. Be sure to take both tank and tap water to be tested.
good thinking! My mom has a ton a bottled water so I’ll run a test! Thanks everyone for your help by the way :D
You guys were absolutely right. The difference is literally night and day. 0 ppm on the bottled water which has been treated with RO. I plan to look into it today :D
 

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Motherlovebetta

Well glad your test kit is working……I’d have someone look into your tap water if the nitrates are that high! I do half tap half RO for my water changes otherwise the water is depleted of nutrients. Maybe find a post about that.
 
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mattgirl

Hi everyone, I did another test on my tap water, this time I read the instructions while doing it and even timed me shaking the vile and still similar results. Took a photo but definitely looks off, I’m reading it around 30 ppm but on the photo it looks way worse. So today I’ll be making a trip to dah fish store to get the water tested and probably another kit, I’ll keep y’all updated!

good thinking! My mom has a ton a bottled water so I’ll run a test! Thanks everyone for your help by the way :D
You guys were absolutely right. The difference is literally night and day. 0 ppm on the bottled water which has been treated with RO. I plan to look into it today :D
I have to wonder if your water source has had run off from fertilized pastures or crop fields and that is why your nitrates are so high. I have been reading that the water table is getting pretty low in some of the western states. If that is the case, where your tap water comes from the nitrates may be more concentrated if not diluted with the normal amount of water.
 
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Ir3land

Well glad your test kit is working……I’d have someone look into your tap water if the nitrates are that high! I do half tap half RO for my water changes otherwise the water is depleted of nutrients. Maybe find a post about that.
I’m glad it is too! And yeah, I think about all the times I would drink out of it as a kid, yikes. And I shall do that :)
I have to wonder if your water source has had run off from fertilized pastures or crop fields and that is why your nitrates are so high. I have been reading that the water table is getting pretty low in some of the western states. If that is the case, where your tap water comes from the nitrates may be more concentrated if not diluted with the normal amount of water.
Yeah Utah’s been having a big drought this summer, so it could be a possibility. I talked with my dad and he said we do have another water source from the hose in our backyard so I plan to test it out tomorrow after I get off work. :)
 
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Ir3land

Finally good news! An update! I enerv though literally the hose water would be cleaner then our tap but literally around 0-5 ppm Nitrates, isn’t ideal but way better then the 80 ppm readings I was getting. I plan to do a pretty big water change once I figure out how to warm up the water. Around a 40-50%? I plan to do a least around a 20% though. I still need to do some research of what I need to put in the tank to replenish some minerals lost by this process. Thanks everyone for all your wisdom, I would’ve been stuck without all y’all’s! :D
Also knowing this I may invest in one of those really long siphons, all I’ve got is a 5 gallon bucket and that’s gonna be quite and adventure
 

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Motherlovebetta

Oh good! You could get a submersible pump and a hose. I just got one for $35. I pump my water to the upstairs with a long hose.
 
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mattgirl

Finally good news! An update! I enerv though literally the hose water would be cleaner then our tap but literally around 0-5 ppm Nitrates, isn’t ideal but way better then the 80 ppm readings I was getting. I plan to do a pretty big water change once I figure out how to warm up the water. Around a 40-50%? I plan to do a least around a 20% though. I still need to do some research of what I need to put in the tank to replenish some minerals lost by this process. Thanks everyone for all your wisdom, I would’ve been stuck without all y’all’s! :D
Also knowing this I may invest in one of those really long siphons, all I’ve got is a 5 gallon bucket and that’s gonna be quite and adventure
Is the water coming from the hose the same water coming from the faucet meaning it all comes from the same water company? If so then I don't know what you mean about replenishing the minerals lost by getting the water from the hose. I have to wonder if the nitrates coming from the faucet are coming from the plumbing in the house if there are nitrates coming from the faucet but not from the hose.

Please don't start replenishing anything until you know whether it is necessary and if necessary which ones need to be added. Adding things when you don't understand how they are going to affect things or if they are even needed can cause more harm than good.
 
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Ir3land

Is the water coming from the hose the same water coming from the faucet meaning it all comes from the same water company? If so then I don't know what you mean about replenishing the minerals lost by getting the water from the hose. I have to wonder if the nitrates coming from the faucet are coming from the plumbing in the house if there are nitrates coming from the faucet but not from the hose.

Please don't start replenishing anything until you know whether it is necessary and if necessary which ones need to be added. Adding things when you don't understand how they are going to affect things or if they are even needed can cause more harm than good.
You have a really good point. From what I understand about RO it takes out some of the minerals out that is essential for fish, but I’ve thought about it since I last posted and there being little Nitrates shows it should still have those essential minerals. The water coming from the hose is a different source then the water coming from the tap. Thanks for helping me with my second thoughts. :)
 
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mattgirl

You have a really good point. From what I understand about RO it takes out some of the minerals out that is essential for fish, but I’ve thought about it since I last posted and there being little Nitrates shows it should still have those essential minerals. The water coming from the hose is a different source then the water coming from the tap. Thanks for helping me with my second thoughts. :)
You have thoroughly confused me. Is the water coming from the hose RO water? RO water is water that has been run through some kind of special filtration that pulls everything out of it. In that case if this is what you are talking about then yes, you do have to add minerals to it.
 
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Ir3land

You have thoroughly confused me. Is the water coming from the hose RO water? RO water is water that has been run through some kind of special filtration that pulls everything out of it. In that case if this is what you are talking about then yes, you do have to add minerals to it.
Sorry I do that sometime, I get it from my mom ;). What I mean is that I though the hose water would be RO water but it cannot be with some Nitrates being detected in the water, this nothing would be added to the tank.
 
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Motherlovebetta

Sorry I do that sometime, I get it from my mom ;). What I mean is that I though the hose water would be RO water but it cannot be with some Nitrates being detected in the water, this nothing would be added to the tank.
RO goes through a filter. Unless you have a reverse osmosis filter on your house (which I doubt you do) you won’t need to do anything to your hose water unless it’s been treated and has chlorine/chloramine like a city water system as opposed to if you house is on a well.
 
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Ir3land

T
RO goes through a filter. Unless you have a reverse osmosis filter on your house (which I doubt you do) you won’t need to do anything to your hose water unless it’s been treated and has chlorine/chloramine like a city water system as opposed to if you house is on a well.
Gotcha! I don’t know why I though there was a filter, whoops. Also update! I’ve been filling up some buckets, letting the heat warming them up and it’s been working :). I’m planning to do small water changes over the course of a few days to test for parameters.
 
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