High Nitrates in Planted Tank

  1. garikapc Member Member

    Hello All. In my "main tank" (in profile with the Odessa Barbs and Cories) I have some solid readings [Have not updated yet but as of testing on 6/30/14 it was PH of 7.5 (Split the difference on the high and regular PH API tests!), Ammonia of 0, nitrites solid at zero, temp of 78 F but nitrates are persistently high like 40 ppm.. I even got the angry red of the 60s and 80s one time! Even with water changes it stays down there eve

    The fish do not show any signs of stressing or the like. Could this be from my tap water? I have two other tanks and nitrates tend to be in 30 ppms.

    I'm worried because this tank is heavily planted and I hoped the plants would help in lowering the nitrate levels. Any suggestions are appreciated!
  2. celizabethh3 Member Member

    Have you tested your tap water for nitrates?

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  3. Adam55 Well Known Member Member

    The plants should indeed help. Do you happen to have an undergravel filter on the tank? How much and how often do you feed, and are the plants all alive and well?
  4. garikapc Member Member

    Thanks for response. No, not yet. Looks like that will be necessary but have not noticed high nitrates in my other tanks but this tank in question is the longest running one so maybe they had time to build up?

    Anyone have best ways to test for nitrates in tap water? Should i let it sit overnight like with testing PH in tap water?
  5. garikapc Member Member

    I have an HOB Aqueon 30. I used to have an HOB Aqueon 30 and then a Top Fin 10 running on this tank but then moved the smaller HOB to my betta 10 gallon tank. Plants are doing very well. I just added some anacharis two weeks ago and it has grown to the surface levels and both the "swords" are doing great. I have one plant that was called "Maysa" at the store that is growing but does not as green as did when I left the store with it a month ago.
  6. Adam55 Well Known Member Member

    OK. The UGF was a long shot but I thought I would give it a shot. Those things are nitrate assembly lines. Generally, decaying plants, decaying food and waste in general are the normal nitrate sources most of the time. Have you had an algae bloom yet? You might if the nitrates stay elevated like that.
  7. garikapc Member Member

    Thanks. I did suspect some dying plants so I removed the Java Fern from it that was looking pretty rough and spitting out plantlets left and right. I left the healthy plantlets and got the mother plant out of there. I have not had a big bloom but after a few weeks I do get brown algae at the bottom edges of the tank that I scrape off.

    There are a lot of plants in there so leaves could be sloughing off that I miss. Sounds like the plan is to get that much better at that and test the tap water for nitrates.
  8. Dolfan Fishlore VIP Member

    A few things...

    Are you overfeeding? This could contribute to higher then normal nitrates.

    Are you doing regular water changes and what percentage? Try doing weekly water changes of 75% or so until you get the numbers down. After that, the plants should help keep the numbers down.

    Also, if you are removing plants and possibly stirring up the substrate that could be spiking the nitrates due to the disturbance.
  9. garikapc Member Member

    Dolfan, thanks! To answer your points, I don't think I am overfeeding but I am going to experiment with a bit less now. Could be the case.

    I do a weekly 30% water change but will try a bigger one moving forward.

    Never thought about your third point! Will try a steady hand from now on.
  10. celizabethh3 Member Member

    I think it's best to let the water sit for at least 24 hours before testing it. I personally have not had to test my tap water yet so I'm hoping someone a little more knowledgeable will be able to help you out with how long is best. :)

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