Understanding Nitrate levels Help

Discussion in 'Aquarium Water' started by ITSADOGSLIFE, Nov 25, 2009.

  1. ITSADOGSLIFENew MemberMember

    Hi. Firstly a quick intro and a thank you...
    1) Intro: I am finally near the end of my cylcle (prolonged by the usual newbie ignorance - I over cleaned the filter and started using chemicals instead of regular 50% water changes etc)
    2) Thank you: This forum has been the knowledge bank that has prevented the death of the fish is my son's (yes, I know) over stocked tank (which will be resolved upon house move after Christmas, until when I will make as many water changes as needed). Unlike other forums I discovered when looking for help, this site has provided constructive, understanding advice, rather than the critical and sometimes almost nasty remarks on others.
    3) My position: I am now 'getting there'. Ammonia is almost 0 and I am doing almost 50% water canges twice a day to dilute the Nitrite levels which are 1.0 before each water change. At the same time, Nitrate has now risen from 0 to 40, which I know is all part of the cycling and an OK level for the fish I have, but I am concerned that it is going to rise (I read likely to be caused by overstocking/overfeeding- ie, I assume, too much Ammonia), which I will not be able to help with water changes as my tap water is also reading 40.
    4) What I don't understand: If the Nitrate of my tap water has been 40 all along, how did it get REDUCED to 0 throughout cycling when Ammonia levels were high? And now knowing that water changes are not going to help if the Nitrates do rise too high, is there anything elsae that I can do (I have TeraAqua NitrateMinus, but am lead to be sceptical with regards the effect of such chemicals)
    Sorry that it's a long one, but have tried to explain my specific query, which I couldn't find answered elsewhere.
  2. Lucy

    LucyModeratorModerator Member

    Welcome to FishLore :)
    I know other members use water besides their tap. Wish I could remember what kind, I'm sure they'll chime in.
    Otherwise I'd suggest a planted tank. Plants use the nitrates as nutrients.
    :p Not the best answer but I'm sure the other members can help you further.

    We're glad you found the forum helpful and decided to join. :)
  3. MizRamzi

    MizRamziWell Known MemberMember

    Hi IADL, welcome to FL. First question: What test kit are you using to test your water? Second question: Have you tried treating your replacement water with Amquel+ Not only will it remove chlorine/chloramines it also removes ammonia/nitrites/nitrates. If your *tap water* is reading 40 nitrate it should be treated. Suggested method: Obtain a 5g bucket fill to about 2/3 full~add 2ml of Amqual+ and mix very well (Amquel+ smells really bad but it goes away)

    Also, you may want to cut down on the amount of water your changing to about 20-25% 2x weekly. I believe your high ammonia levels may be caused by the amount/frequency of you WC's. Feed every other day (no they wont starve) and only what the fish will eat. Your ammonia will be broken down by your bio-load/water changes as your tank matures.

    As for using different types of water, these are your choices. You could try RO/DI. (reverse osmosis/de-ionized) My personal experience with using this type of water has only been with a reef tank. Ask your local LFS if they sell RO water, they may even give it to you since you'll only be needing small amounts. However, I think by treating your water as I've suggested will suffice.

    Remember only bad things happen quickly~Good things come from patients and taking our time.

  4. harpua2002

    harpua2002Fishlore VIPMember

    To add to what she said, if you are using RO/DI water for a FW tank you will need an RO buffer to add trace elements back into the water. I don't have experience with this so I can't recommend a product. In a marine tank, the trace elements are included in the salt mix so it isn't necessary; that's why I can't help you out there lol.

  5. MizRamzi

    MizRamziWell Known MemberMember

    Ummmmm it's MizRamzi to you Miz Harpua ;):;rl
  6. harpua2002

    harpua2002Fishlore VIPMember

    LOLOL yes ma'am!!! :p
  7. Meenu

    MeenuFishlore VIPMember

    mizramzi, why amelquel plus? OP already uses prime, which is a great product. And if she switches to amelquel plus, she'll have to get their test kit, if I am remembering a post by aquarist48 correctly.
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2009
  8. harpua2002

    harpua2002Fishlore VIPMember

    MizRamzi recommend Amquel plus to detoxify the nitrate already present in the OP's tap water. Prime only detoxifies ammonia and nitrite, if I'm not mistaken.
  9. Beth1965

    Beth1965Well Known MemberMember

  10. harpua2002

    harpua2002Fishlore VIPMember

    Nice catch Beth! :D
    It's been awhile since I looked at the bottle. In addition to nitrite and nitrate, Prime also claims to detoxify ammonia.
  11. Lucy

    LucyModeratorModerator Member

    Interesting. I thought so too. I looked at the bottle of Prime and checked seachem's website. It says Prime removes ammonia :shock: and as said above, detox's nitrite and nitrate.

    Sorry to go off topic.
  12. jdhef

    jdhefModeratorModerator Member

    Welcome to FishLore!:;balloons

    You could use bottled water. It would be a little expensive, but since your tank is only 10 gallons, maybe not prohibitivly expensive.

    Additionally, Fluval does make some kind of product that you can put into your filter and it will remove nitrates. If you search on Drsforsterandsmith.com you should be able to find more info on it.

    Also, if I'm not mistaken (but I might be) I believe Amquel+ will detox higher concentrations of nitrates than Prime will. (And to think I thought I had it bad with my tap water containing 10ppm nitrates!)
  13. OP

    ITSADOGSLIFENew MemberMember

    Many thanks for all of these replies. I am reassured that my Prime will be detoxifying Nitrate even if it is present (but isn't this just for 24 hours) AND that Aquel+ will be probably do this even better - but if I switch, may need to buy different test kits (I have all API ones-bottle not test strips). I shall also switch to live plants which should help. AND if all else fails, can buy bottled water - plenty to go at there!
    Can anyone explain (just out of curiosity/interest) how my tap water of Nitrate 40, got reduced to 0 during throughout earlier stages of cycling? Kate
  14. Nate McFin

    Nate McFinWell Known MemberMember

  15. Lucy

    LucyModeratorModerator Member

    Great question. Sorry, I don't know the answer, I hope someone else can explain.
  16. jdhef

    jdhefModeratorModerator Member

    The only reason for the zero reading I can think of is that bottle #2 of the API test kit really, really, really needs to be shaken well. It is a good idea to bang it against your hand while shaking. The reason being, bottle #2 contains crystals suspeneded in solution. These crystals will seperate from the liquid, and unless mixed up well enough that they go completely back into the solution, you will get a false reading.
  17. Nate McFin

    Nate McFinWell Known MemberMember

    Ditto...it is possible to get false reading even with proper shaking. It is also possible the tap water changed as well but most likely would be incorrect readings. I always do two test sometimes three if I get an odd reading.

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