Cycled 55 gallon - Where Are The Nitrates Coming From?

Snailwhisperer
  • #1
I have a 55 gal. I believe it is cycled. 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites but it has lots of nitrates. I keep changing water but it is coming back. 50% water change every few days to keep up. When I was cycling I did put in plants. Some are looking ragged (pale and loosing leaves). I put in two Seacham nourish tabs. Otherwise there are 5 mystery snails in the tank (+ some pond snails) . Could the plants be causing the nitrates? How do I know if a plant just needs time, or should be removed?
 
DuaneV
  • #2
A lot of times new plants melt. That can add to the nitrates for sure. What exactly is "lots"?
 
Snailwhisperer
  • Thread Starter
  • #3
Here are some pictures. Can you tell from that? These are the two clumps which are yellow/clear.

IMG_1550.JPG
IMG_1551.JPG
 
DuaneV
  • #4
You said you had LOTS of nitrates. What is the reading?
 
Snailwhisperer
  • Thread Starter
  • #5
It was 40-80 after a 50% water change it is 10-20. I can't tell the difference in the numbers.

So Probably closer to 40 three days after a 50% water change resulting in 10-20.
 
Jenoli42
  • #6
It was 40-80 after a 50% water change it is 10-20. I can't tell the difference in the numbers.

So Probably closer to 40 three days after a 50% water change resulting in 10-20.

if you're pretty sure that right after a 50% change it's a max of 20, that means it's 40 prior, right?

so that's not awful, but they are rising quickly.

have you tested your source water directly from the tap for nitrates?
 
DuaneV
  • #7
That's not a lot. Check your water source. If its zero, get the tank to zero and test it daily to see how many you're getting a day.
 
sfsamm
  • #8
What did you use as an Ammonia source while cycling and when is the last time you cleaned your filter? What filter and media do you currently have?
 
Mom2some
  • #9
Okay to clarify:
Right now it is stocked with mystery snails & plants.
You are getting 20 units of nitrates in 3 days?
1. Test your source water. 2. Do back to back 50% water changes, (maybe 3), let it sit for a couple hours then test your tank water.
 
trainandfishguy
  • #10
I'm facing the same dilemma in a planted tank. I transferred my fish over to a larger planted tank 4 weeks ago. My ammonia and nitrites has been consistent at 0 ppm but my nitrates have been really high. I have gotten them down to 40ppm with consistent water changes but no luck getting them down any further. My fish are fine, healthy and active but I'm a bit concerned. My next steps are to remove the filter from my old tank, replace carbon with purigen and do another water change. I will let you know if that works.
 
DuaneV
  • #11
Guys, nitrates are a by-product of the cycle. This is what water changes are for, to get rid of nitrates. The bigger the bioload, the higher the nitrates. Decaying plants, pooping fish and snails all add to the bioload. The only way to have 0 nitrates is to have no tank.
 
trainandfishguy
  • #12
Agreed and I have done water changes weekly. They have not gone down to the levels I want. Maybe this isn't that big of an issue but I would like to get under 40ppm. I'm not expecting them to be zero as even my tap water is not nitrate free. Just want to keep them under control.
 
DuaneV
  • #13
If your tap has nitrates that's going to be an issue. Youll have to do larger and/or more frequent water changes. The "norm" is 25-50% a week.
 
trainandfishguy
  • #14
I have a 55 gal. I believe it is cycled. 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites but it has lots of nitrates. I keep changing water but it is coming back. 50% water change every few days to keep up. When I was cycling I did put in plants. Some are looking ragged (pale and loosing leaves). I put in two Seacham nourish tabs. Otherwise there are 5 mystery snails in the tank (+ some pond snails) . Could the plants be causing the nitrates? How do I know if a plant just needs time, or should be removed?

Just wanted to give you an update on my tank. On Sunday, I did about a 50% water change and added Purigen. I noticed reduced nitrates but still not where I wanted to be. I let the tank run a few more days and yesterday did another 50 water change. I finally got to about 20 ppm. Think the difference for me was the Purigen. Oh I also cleaned the old filter pads (the old filter I used to instantly cycle my tank) so maybe its a combination of the 3 that did the job. Purigen is cheap so definitely worth a try.
 
DuaneV
  • #15
If you have a big bioload, that will contribute to high nitrates. Also not doing regular water changes. If you get behind once, it can take a while to catch back up. Good luck.
 
Hunter1
  • #16
The
Agreed and I have done water changes weekly. They have not gone down to the levels I want. Maybe this isn't that big of an issue but I would like to get under 40ppm. I'm not expecting them to be zero as even my tap water is not nitrate free. Just want to keep them under control.
Then do 50% WCs on back to back days.
 

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