How to control Nitrates?

Discussion in 'Cleaning and Maintenance' started by Cantra, Dec 7, 2012.

  1. CantraValued MemberMember

    Ok so my 155 gallon tank is constantly running with nitrates some where between 40-80 ppm. I normally do a 20% water change weekly and lately with the rearranging of the plastic plants and adding some live plants I've been having to do 50% water changes so that I can reach the bottom of the tank. My tank has always had around this many nitrates and it's never really crossed my mind that it might not really be a good thing. I use the API freshwater test kit if you need to know that. But my main question is what do I need to do to keep the nitrates down? do more frequent water changes or add more plants or just increase how much water that is removed when I do the water change? I'm at a loss the tank is under stocked and I don't feed more than a small pinch of flake food everyday or the couple cubes of either freeze dried brine shrimp or tubifex worms once a week. What should I do or is it fine for it to be as it is?
  2. iZaO JnrWell Known MemberMember

    40-80ppm is still handle-able by SOME fish, it depends on your stock.

    Have you ever tested your tap water or source water for nitrates? If this has nitrates then this is your problem from the start, so even changing water wont lower your nitrates.

    I would recommend testing your tap water's parameters fully and then we can take it from there.
  3. JDcichlidloverWell Known MemberMember

    Have you tested your tap water yet?
    Plants always help :) java moss grows really fast, so do java fern. My sword is doing great:) already shot out a runner and I've only had it a week :D and its planted in gravel lol.
    Its not too bad. But its not good either. More frequent water changes might help
  4. CantraValued MemberMember

    I have tested my water and it comes out at 0 ppm
  5. iZaO JnrWell Known MemberMember

    What filter are you running? When last have you cleaned it out a bit?
  6. JDcichlidloverWell Known MemberMember

    Well. Hmmm. Do water changes twice a week. At least 50% each time. And more plants. Your species like cover. Most fish enjoy some plants. Just go for low care plants that grow fast. Javas and swords grow well for me and they're planted in gravel with a florasun bulb from petco. If I can grow plants anyone can lol.
  7. CantraValued MemberMember

    it's a Reaction 4-Stage Canister Filter I got it on Drs Foster and Smith its for up 175 gals. I cleaned it the week before I got the plants so around a week and a half ago
  8. CantraValued MemberMember

    so far I only have a few plants I have two Amazon Swords, a bunch of hornwort, java fern, java moss, and anubias nana. I would love to add more plants but unfortunetly the buget is real tight with christmas so close but I think I could swing to get a few more plants. any plants that you can suggest that are pretty easy? I'll try doing more water changes as well but with a one year old and work and school it's already hard to do the one a week i do
  9. TerraWell Known MemberMember

    Any of the super fast growing stuff will use up more nitrates than the slower stuff. The fastest growers in my tanks are the rotala indica (medium-high light) and brazilian pennywort (low-medium light). My pygmy chain sword is also growing like a weed, it'd be a medium-high light plant too. Swords, hygrophilia, and anacharis are supposedly fast too... although most of my swords are kinda slow... I think they need more of something I haven't figured out yet.

    If you're starting at 0 nitrates from the tap and understocked and not overfeeding, there's gotta be some reason for the high nitrates. Are you doing a vacuum gravel when you do your water changes? If you have fake plants/toys/wood/rock structures in there try lifting them up and getting under those, maybe a bunch of waste has collected below.

    Once a month or so I take my filters apart and rinse the media in the tank water I just took out... and super hot water rinse/wipe out the rest of the insides of the filter in my sink to remove all the slime and gunk in it. I'm sure this is killing some beneficial bacteria, but I've never had a problem doing that as long as the media itself is safe.

    If any of your live plants are dying or "melting" you need to clip them off and remove them, as they're releasing ammonia into the water which is converted to nitrites -> nitrates.
  10. matsungitWell Known MemberMember

  11. SiggiWell Known MemberMember

    Little by little exchange your plastic plants for real ones.
    Plastic is inert, while live plants release oxygen during day, which is good for the fish and also incorporate nitrogen is their tissue by assimilating nitrate from the water. To take out 'nitrogen', you just trim the plants...
    Heavily planted tanks rarely have nitrate problems.
  12. CantraValued MemberMember

    That's what I'm trying to do is switch the plastic for live plants but I'm still not sure on what plants to add that will do well with the tank it's alot taller than long so if I'm thinking right there's less light at the bottom and I only have a light that only allows me to have low light plants as far as I know. as well as trying to find a plant that will reach from the bottom all the way to the top.
    I'll start a thread in the plant section about all this so that I'm not changing the whole reason for this one and I'll add the different specs on that one.