Need Nitrate Advice

stang7606
  • #1
I have a 29 gallon tank with 2 aquaclear 50s. Media was cycled for a year in the old 13 gallon, been running in the new tank for about a month. The tank is moderately planted (18" Amazon sword, and 6" java fern, some anarachris, and 6 marimos). There are 7 zebra Danios, 4 guppies, 5 nerites, and 3 black devils. I feed them every morning, and feed enough where the food that stays on top is eaten and I allow some to get pushed to the bottom for the shrimp and snails.

Anyway, I change about 9 gallons of water every 4 days or so. Everytime I go to change it, the Nitrate is at 40 or 80 (so hard to tell the difference on the API kit). I just lost another Nerite today, and am guessing it was from Nitrate, since I know they are sensitive. I never had this problem in the old tank with almost the same stocking. My ammonia is at 0-0.25 (again hard to tell the difference, it isn't perfect yellow, but isn't as green as 0.25). Nitrate is 0.

I thought my plants would help lower the nitrates better, and it baffles me why I didnt have this problem in the smaller tank, it seems like it would take longer the build up with more water. The only other difference is I used to run Purigen, but have carbon in their now since it came with the Aquaclear.
 
Puck44
  • #2
You should check if there’s nitrates in your tap water. Good luck !
 
TexasDomer
  • #3
What are the black devils? Snails?

I would also check your tap - your tank has a pretty low bioload.
 
stang7606
  • Thread Starter
  • #4
I just checked my tap water, it is somewhere between 0-5ppm, closer to yellow. So at least that isn't the issue. I just can figure out the difference, other than more water, using carbon instead of purigen, and the black devil snails, all is the same as the old tank. Same decorations, same media (but a lot more filtration), partly the same substrate.
 
TexasDomer
  • #5
Do a few larger water changes in a week to get nitrates down to 10 pm. Once you get it down, it should be easier to keep it down.
 
stang7606
  • Thread Starter
  • #6
Ok, yes, I was just thinking that. I think I will do a full 3 buckets (14 gallons or so) tomorrow instead of my usual 2, I did 2 today. Then I will follow it up on Saturday with another. Hopefully I can get back to my old schedule after that.

Another thing I thought of. I started using Bacter AE to promote biofilm for the shrimp and snails. I read a couple of place that it could raise nitrates, but I only use about 1/2 a measuring spoon full every week and a half or so. Does anyone have experience with that?
 
TexasDomer
  • #7
Sorry, I don't. You're not adding much, so it seems like it may not be fully responsible, if at all.
 
stang7606
  • Thread Starter
  • #8
To answer your earlier question I missed, black devils are like black trumpet snails, but a little different. The move pretty quick (when they are awake) and clean up pretty good. Not sure if I can post links, but I got them from Aquatic Arts.
 
logqnty
  • #9
Plants lower ammonia and nitrite, but don't have too big of an effect on nitrates.
 
stang7606
  • Thread Starter
  • #10
Thanks, but if the plants are using the ammonia and nitrites before the BB does, shouldn't there be less covereted to nitrates, indirectly keeping them lower? Or an I missing something
 
logqnty
  • #11
Thanks, but if the plants are using the ammonia and nitrites before the BB does, shouldn't there be less covereted to nitrates, indirectly keeping them lower? Or an I missing something
Some times animals just die, but I would keep nitrite under 40 ppm by doing frequent water changes. Other than that you will be fine. I have 4 plants in my overstocked 20 gallon and they do a great job at removing ammonia and nitrite> Marmio balls are not real plants, and have little effect on removing ammonia and nitrite.
 
stang7606
  • Thread Starter
  • #12
Ok thanks, hopefully it settles down after a while.
 
logqnty
  • #13
I would remove a bucket of water (at least 3 gallons) and replace it every day.

Public Service Announcement: Fish poo and dead bacteria dissolve into "dissolved organic matter".
There are no test kits for this and it is best to keep it as low as possible. Doing frequent water changes will remove this matter and keep your fish healthy.
 
Kingofnon
  • #14
The only way to get rid of Nitrates is water changes (unless using a chemical).
Ammonia > Nitrite > Nitrate (water change)

I would get that water change increased, do a 50% water change, and test in the morning, if still high do another lower change until you have filtered out all the nitrate, well down to a safe level. Your filters won't get rid of Nitrates.

The water in the tap is adding possibly 5.0 every time, so you may want to change water supply? I forget the name of the water people use.

Also, (correct me if I am wrong people) you said you are over feeding so the shrimp can eat? Shrimp don't need help eating, they literally eat anything and everything they find of the bottom, even each other when they die. So extra food for them really isn't needed and may cause a little rise in ammonia which will result in a higher nitrate, which in turn, boom puts more nitrate.

Just my initial thoughts, I hope you get it figured out
 
stang7606
  • Thread Starter
  • #15
Thank, I was more trying to figure out if something could have been different with my new setup up. I successfully kept Nitrate in check for the past year in the 13 gallon with a 4.5 gallon change every 6-8 days. This one is twice as big, and I am changing twice the water every time, but have to do it every 3-4 days. The only addition to the tank is the black devil snails, the change from Purigen to Carbon, the the use of the Bacter AE for Biofilm. It seems the larger tank should have been more stable with almost the same stocking, but I find it is creating more nitrate. It may settle down over time, we will see. The water supply is definetly closer to 0 than 5 in color, and it also has not changed since the old tank. Thanks for all the input
 
TexasDomer
  • #16
Plants will take up nitrates as well (lowering them) - some are better than others though. Anacharis is the only one you have that should suck up nitrates quickly, but if you don't have much, they won't take up much.
 
stang7606
  • Thread Starter
  • #17
I have probably 40-50 stalks of anacharis. I would have had a lot more, not the old aquarium was to small and have away a bunch. I guess it will eventually get there again.
 
logqnty
  • #18
The only way to get rid of Nitrates is water changes (unless using a chemical).
Ammonia > Nitrite > Nitrate (water change)

I would get that water change increased, do a 50% water change, and test in the morning, if still high do another lower change until you have filtered out all the nitrate, well down to a safe level. Your filters won't get rid of Nitrates.

The water in the tap is adding possibly 5.0 every time, so you may want to change water supply? I forget the name of the water people use.

Also, (correct me if I am wrong people) you said you are over feeding so the shrimp can eat? Shrimp don't need help eating, they literally eat anything and everything they find of the bottom, even each other when they die. So extra food for them really isn't needed and may cause a little rise in ammonia which will result in a higher nitrate, which in turn, boom puts more nitrate.

Just my initial thoughts, I hope you get it figured out
I think the name of the water you are looking for is called distilled water.
 
logqnty
  • #19
(Totally unrelated side note)
It must be cold In Grand Blanc. I was just there on spring break to visit family.
 
86 ssinit
  • #20
Nerites die there life span is about a year. Have any other fish died? Also I don’t think the apI test kits are reliable for nitrates. The shaking the color chart just bad. If your fish are good odds are you have no problem.
 
TexasDomer
  • #21
Nerites can live much longer than one year. I've had mine for around 4 years, and there's another member on here who has had her nerites for around a decade.
 
86 ssinit
  • #22
Wow I had no idea. Mine are all under a year. Just going by what the lfs told me. I keep buying new ones thinking the old won’t be around much longer.
 
TexasDomer
  • #23
LFS don't often give good advice (often through not knowing, but still), and of course they're trying to get you to buy things.
 
Snailwhisperer
  • #24
I wondered if the dying snails might be adding to the ammonia which was then adding to the nitrates? Perhaps some Nerites were old and the deaths were causing an ammonia spike.
 
logqnty
  • #25
Nerites die there life span is about a year. Have any other fish died? Also I don’t think the apI test kits are reliable for nitrates. The shaking the color chart just bad. If your fish are good odds are you have no problem.
I have to disagree. If follow the instructions CAREFULLY they are the most reliable test kit out there.
 
stang7606
  • Thread Starter
  • #26
(Totally unrelated side note)
It must be cold In Grand Blanc. I was just there on spring break to visit family.

Yes, it is still cold up here. We are on about January 99th or something, definitely ready for spring.....still snowing today

I wondered if the dying snails might be adding to the ammonia which was then adding to the nitrates? Perhaps some Nerites were old and the deaths were causing an ammonia spike.

It is possible I suppose, but I was battling the nitrates before the Nerite died. The 2 that passed in a 2 week period were both newer, about a month old from aquatic arts. The other 3 and the 2 I had previously seem to be doing fine now. I have the nitrates under control to around 20 now, but am doing every 2-3 day WC. Hopefully once everything settles in, it will all calm down. I do agree that the API kit is semI reliable when used correctly, but it is very easy to mess up that correctness.
 

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