nitrate...CANT GET THEM DOWN

  1. s

    scissorchik New Member Member

    have a est.55gal tank. hand full of guppies 1 lg pleco use a 70gal three stage filter w charcoal ..ammonia rounds and sponge i also add some fiberfill to catch the poop.have a fairly good idea about beni bacteria change filter in stages..have been doing 50%water changes weekly if not bi weekly for 3mo with little success. I have a underground filter system which isn't hooked up ..i vac. the gravel with each change.recently vac one side of filter underneath.. lots of yuk came up..unsure if yuk was beneficial or not .could the underground filter be the problem?did have it hooked up for a short while but my air pump didn't seem to handle it well.have air strip entire length of tank.i have been using the strips to test water..have hardwater 0 nitrites ph 6ish kh is 40 feed1x day with2 algae tabs..I change filter 5 to 6 week intervals 1 stage at a time and add water cond. with water change..guessing why the hardness..SOOO FRUSTRATED has only dropped to @160..getting rid of underground filter do the trick..and would I have to start as a new tank from square one?? I added a couple of sword plants and another plant which is kinda pointy in a pot.
     
  2. kinezumi89

    kinezumi89 Fishlore VIP Member

    I'm not sure there is a such thing as beneficial yuck! ;) I don't use undergravel filters; I was told that they simply pull all the detritus underneath the gravel where it collects and decomposes.

    Have you tried testing your tapwater? The only way to remove nitrates (besides plants) is with water changes; if you do a heavy water change there are still high nitrates, your tap water may be to blame.
     
  3. MatildaLjungberg

    MatildaLjungberg Valued Member Member

    Undergravel filters can be a source of nitrates due to the decomposing matter underneath the plates. That & possibly not rinsing the sponge filter media. I wouldn't think Nitrates would be that high with only guppies & a pleco unless the pleco is ginormous.

    I would recommend getting yourself a liquid test kit. I have never found a test strip that worked well for nitrates. Your actual nitrate # may be significantly different.
     


  4. Wendy Lubianetsky

    Wendy Lubianetsky Well Known Member Member

    I believe it is the debree decomposing underneath your gravel that is causing your nitrates of climb. Can you once and foreall just clean the bottom of the tank, change all the water and see if that does not make a differance. Because I had a 40 gallon fish tank with 20 cichlids in it (they are now in a 60) and I did not have the nitrate problem you are having. It has to be all the trapped "yuck".
     
  5. Jaysee

    Jaysee Fishlore Legend Member

    Welcome to the forum

    You say you can't get your nitrates down, but you never say what they are at....
     
  6. Fall River

    Fall River Valued Member Member

    Jaysee, she's using test strips so there's no actual number. Just a "danger zone". I'd definitely remove the UGF. It's just a debris trap. As mentioned above, a liquid test kit is a must. First thing to do with it is test nitrate in the tank, then test the clean water source.
     
  7. Jaysee

    Jaysee Fishlore Legend Member

    Oh okay - I thought that test strips had values as well.
     
  8. escapay

    escapay Well Known Member Member

    ^ They should... I haven't come across one that doesn't, though I've only seen 2-3 different types.

    I think in the very first post it says 160, but not sure if that is the hardness instead.

    I find doing constant water changes on a daily basis can help... I'm having this issue with my 10 gallon and my relatives 3 tanks (20, 75, and 125 gallons).

    Maybe try feeding a little less? And I definitely second, third, or whatever number we are on for removing the UGF if it isn't being used... that is probably a big source of the nitrate issue.
     
  9. Jaysee

    Jaysee Fishlore Legend Member

    I understood 160 to be the hardness.
     
  10. c

    catsma_97504 Fishlore Legend Member

    I agree with the above. Remove the UGF plate as it isn't doing anything to help your situation. Complete deep gravel vacs. Do not move the tubing until all debris has been lifted, and then reinsert only an inch away. Increase water changes to daily. And definitely test untreated tap water for nitrates.
     
  11. pirahnah3

    pirahnah3 Fishlore VIP Member

    I would personally just start with the daily water changes and go from there, sometimes it is just a buildup of materials.

    I have a couple of tanks with UGFs and I can say that they do create some pockets under the gravel that just collect "yuk" as you might say. I don't think most of that was beneficial as the bacteria really needs something to hold onto to survive.

    A gravel vac is also never a bad thing, I would get a good DEEP one going on with the plates still in the tank. You might also try setting a power head onto one of the riser tubes from the UGF And use it in reverse flow to help you out during a vac.

    Without having your actual Nitrate (NO3) number it is hard to say how far you need to go. Your nitrates "should" be below 20, but that would be a perfect world. Typically if you can keep them below 50 if you are not doing daily water changes and your source water isn't nitrate laden then you are doing a good job of things.

    As to the filter changes, why are you changing out the filter media? or is this just the pads that collect the initial stuff and you are leaving the bio media alone? If it is a pad for the bio media there is no need to change it at all unless it is in pieces (and even then leave it in there to help get the bacteria to move on over to its new home) I have a few filters that have been running for almost a year with the same media in them.

    You are off to a good start with this tank and I think with a little adjustment you will be just fine without having to restart the entire process.

    Also if you could, fill out your aquarium info in your profile, it will greatly help us in assisting you.