nitrates are up...still

Discussion in 'Freshwater Beginners' started by clark12, Jun 26, 2016.

  1. clark12

    clark12Valued MemberMember

    10 gal- aquaclear 20 HOB with sponge, ceramic bio, purigen, and polishing pad -sand substrate -rocks and shells -2 brichardi shell dweller cichlids. never had a problem with nitrates and now they are staying high. 0-0-30 maybe more towards 35. i do weekly 50% water changes and turkey baster vacuums. i am going to swap my purigen for a new one, i have 2 for each tank, maybe its exhausted. i have it in a cut off piece of stockings because the original bag didn't fit. i split 1 original bag into 2 bags. should i keep doing wage changes till its down? maybe wait a day in between each? oh... diatoms are here again. not pretty on the white sand either. anyways would they cause a constant high nitrate? i know they are not a big deal but just making sure all info is included. thanks
  2. oldsalt777Well Known MemberMember

    Hello clark...

    You have a very small tank. Water changes should be 50 percent a couple of times a week, if you want the fish to stay healthy. The water in small tanks is difficult to keep stable, because even small amounts of dissolved fish waste can suddenly change the chemistry. There's not enough water in there to dilute mistakes in tank management.

    Nitrates are the end product of the nitrogen cycle and have to get much higher then the level you have to harm the fish.

    Start a more aggressive water change routine and make plans for a larger tank, at least 30 gallons. The larger the tank, the better your chances are for success in the water keeping hobby.

  3. omordn

    omordnValued MemberMember

    I don't think the size of the tank is what the issue at hand is here. I owned a 10g tank, and in my opinion, as long as you are a responsible owner and do not mind checking your water parameters on a more regular basis then this truly isn't a problem. At least, it wasn't a problem for me personally. Yes, this leaves you vulnerable to radical spikes if anything were to occur, but in this case... his tank is cycled and can lower the nitrate levels by a simple WC.

    What I recommend @clark12 is to look into a small syphon to use in your 10g to clean the gravel with. I owned one and it worked wonderfully. It's a lot easier than a turkey baster. This could assist you with some leftover particles that you may not be removing by using the turkey baster and are converted from ammonia into nitrates.

    A healthy range of nitrates in an established tank is 5ppm ~ 20 ppm. Since you believe your nitrates are at a 35ppm range... perform another large water change to lower these levels. Also, make sure you are shaking the bottles vigorously when testing.

    Keep us posted and good luck.
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2016
  4. el337

    el337Fishlore LegendMember

    Have you ever tested your tap for nitrates?
  5. Xander

    XanderWell Known MemberMember

    So, how long ago did the problem start? What were your usual nitrate readings before? Was it a very sudden change into the 30's, or did the number get slightly higher and higher each week? Are your cichlids fully mature, or still growing?

    Continuous high nitrates mean there is an ammonia source somewhere to cause it, be it the corpse of a tankmate that was never discovered, excess food that's rotting away, or just a larger bioload than belongs in the volume of water you're dealing with.

    Have you done a deep clean of the substrate or the filter media while trying to search for the cause of the problem? If something isn't stuck somewhere and polluting the tank, and if the nitrate increase was gradual, I could only guess that it's your bioload that's the problem.

    I'm not knowledgeable about cichlids, and so I'm unaware how the mature brichardi can handle being in a 10g.
    As el337 brought up, you could also have nitrates (or even ammonia or nitrite that are getting converted) in your tapwater, so that you would be effectively adding nitrates when you are doing your water changes.
  6. OP

    clark12Valued MemberMember

    i guess i should've been a little more clear on vacuums. i do have a python and use it too, but the fine sandy bottom is easier to clean with the baster. i just change the water on this tank with the python and not vacuum the sand. i was just making it clear that i was getting all or as much of everything up with the baster. as i said my parameters have been 0-0-5 or 10 max. so i stuck with the 50% as i started with. i only have the 2 fish which are well suited for a 10 gallon as they only take up a few square inches each due to territorial habits. which is why i chose them. my sponge was quite filthy, but i just rinsed it a little over a week ago. how often should i do that?

    i have, should not be a problem at all. i also have a 75 gal 0-0-5. very stable.

    i always check my water before i do a change. and change it whether it needs it or not. this tank as well as my 75 gal have been a consistent 0-0-5 or 10 max. this happened in a weeks time. i just did another 50%, changed my purigen and added an anubia. never had plants, figured it may help. also rinsed media... my sponge was quite dirty but i just did that over a week ago. these 2 shellies have plenty of room and are the only fish in there since it was set up. they only occupy small spaces due to there territorial habits. as for there mature age, I'm not really sure but they don't get much bigger at about 2.5''. thanks. I'm hoping it was the sponge
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 26, 2016
  7. Xander

    XanderWell Known MemberMember

    It could have been the filth in the sponge. I know when I grabbed my 75g off a buddy, the first few weeks had monsterous nitrate spikes despite only housing a rainbow shark and 5 tiger barbs. There was just SO much filth in the gravel and in the filter from his old common pleco, that even after 80% water changes the nitrates would be up to 40 ppm in one week.

    Diligent cleaning and rinsing of the filter media brought my weekly nitrates back down to about 5 ppm.

    As far as scheduling your filter media cleanings, once a month should more than do the trick. If you find it gets clogged up earlier than that, then by all mean shake it out even more frequently.

    Additionally, with your python, assuming it's not a huge one with a very strong gravity draw, you ought to be able to hover over your sand and pull up waste without losing the sand. I have the direct-to-tap Python which I use for my graveled 75g, but I also have a small Python-brand siphon that I use for my sanded 20g.

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice