Nitrate Spike - Help!

Discussion in 'More Freshwater Aquarium Topics' started by sofasurfa, Jan 1, 2013.

  1. sofasurfaNew MemberMember

    Hi Guys

    Its nice to know I can come back to hear after a few years when something completely foxes me like it has just recently.

    I was down to 1 guppy after my others had died so I got him 2 ladies on Christmas Eve, to live out his retirement happily. I know I should have 6 but didnt want to overload the tank and I figure 3 is better than 1 lonely one. And they all play with the Platy's happy enough as a shoal. I did partial waterchange as usual. Aqua safe and a glug of sure start as I was adding the 6 platys at the same time. I also added some new plants.

    By boxing day, 1st wift is gone - no sign of a corpse - but not unusual in my tank - I think the upside down catfish did a midnight clean up mission. Tested water - Ammonia 0, Nitrite 0, Nitrate - cant remember exactly but about 25ppm. I think its usually about 10. Did another partial waterchange - not too much - about 10%. I didnt want to shock the critters.

    Then I realised night before last wife 2 croaked. She must have only just died so i scopped her out - she was preggers when I got her so wondered if there was some child birth complications or some such as I have some baby fry in there now.
    Tested water - Ammonia still 0, Nitrite 0 nitrates 50!!!

    I dont understand how i got a Nitrate Spike - without the others going up first - whats more - a 50% water change didnt seam to bring it down much. I am doing lots of Partials but it would be good to know what I did to get it to spike Like that. Also, do you think the spike killed the guppy ladies or the deaths caused the spikes and very rapidly went from Ammonia through to Nitrates?!

    The Neons and Corys are all fine - and they are always first to tell me if something is not right?!
  2. AquaristFishlore LegendMember

    Good morning,

    I would increase your gravel/substrate cleaning and increase your water changes to at least 50% per week. You can change larger amounts of water with no issues to your cycle. Go as high as 75% if you want. Nothing beats fresh water for your fish. Too much waste in the tank (in the substrate) can lead to high nitrates and decrease your pH levels.

    Adding Prime or Amquel + water conditioners will detox your Nitrates for 24 hours, as a quick fix but this should not be used in place of substrate vacuuming and water changes.

    Be careful not to over feed your fish.

    The female may well have died during or after birth. Can't say exactly what the cause was.

    Check your tap water for nitrates.

    Adding live plants will also help to keep the nitrates under control. Nitrates are best under 20 but under 40, not so bad.

    Hate to hear about your fish loss. I know it isn't easy.

    Best wishes for your tank and fish and keep us posted.

  3. pirahnah3Fishlore VIPMember

    I think Ken has covered all the bases here on this one. Great advice as always ken.

    Good sized gravel vac and a healthy 50+% water change and things should start coming back in quickly. If not you can do back to back water changes without harm. Just try to make sure the temps are somewhat close to each other when doing that.
  4. sofasurfaNew MemberMember

    Thanks Ken & Pirahnah. We dont have Prime here much - but Tetra Aqua start for dechlorination & Tetra Safe Start seams to be well recommended on here, which is the bacteria boost for filters i usually add a glug when I add new fish to give the bacteria a boost to cope with any new loadings. I will keep doing the water changes as I have been doing then. I just dont understand what caused it?

    I do have a bottle of Tetra Aqua Balance I was going to try but I think I will manually get the levels under control before I mess with the chemistry any more....
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2013
  5. pirahnah3Fishlore VIPMember

    You dont need to add safe start with each addition the bacteria will pick up on their own.
  6. sofasurfaNew MemberMember

    I only do it when I add a lot of fish at a time like I had (9, now 7) , as otherwise I tend to get an ammonia spike.
  7. MagooFishlore VIPMember

    Hello :) whereabouts in the uk are you?

    I have managed to get prime, amquel + and garlic guard from one of my LFS maybe if you contacted them they may send you some or if your close to one of their outlets you could get some that way.

    I would never go back to using a different water conditioner since using prime :)

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