Unexpected Nitrate Level 60 Gallon Tank

  1. josephdurnal Member Member

    I generally do about a 30% water change every other week, and my nitrate level never really went over 15 ppm or so.

    About six weeks ago, I had some fish die but couldn't figure out why. All my PH, ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates were still in their normal ranges. After last weekends water change, I bought some new female guppies since the there were no more larger fish to eat them (monday). Two were dead the next morning (tuesday). It happes, I exchanged them, and another died the next day (wednesday). When I tested the water that day, PH, ammonia, & nitrites were all perfect, but nitrates were up to 80+ ppm.

    I did a 2/3 water change last night and I'll probably do at least a 50% tonight and keep an eye things, hopefully everything will be back to normal by my next regular water change cycle on Dec 5 or 6.

    What might be at work here that I didn't see coming?

  2. Shawnie Fishlore Legend Member

    Hi joe...im sorry for the losses you are having :(
    did you have a missing fish that you didnt find? decay of one that passes, will send the nitrates up..have you tested your tap water for nitrates? have you had any live plants die lately? what were the readings for ammonia/nitrites? what test kit are you using?
  3. josephdurnal Member Member

    ammonia and nitrites are 0 on my API test kits. I had a few dead parts of a java fern plant. The angel fish that I had before had killed several neons (yeah, I was warned, they finally figured out that they were a lot bigger than the neons) a while back, I didn't find them all, I'm pretty sure I vacuum up some fish bones sometimes.

    There are no nitrates in the tap water, well, that I know of, does that sort of thing change often in a public water system. I had tested it a while back and my 2/3 water change really brought the nitrates down, so, I guess that is a good sign.
  4. Shawnie Fishlore Legend Member

    other than upping your water changes to weekly, maybe over feeding? you certainly arent overstocked but maybe stocked enough where weekly changes are needed now as the fish mature more...are you reallly banging that number 2 nitrate bottle on a hard surface? those crystals are a pain to mix up sometimes and can give a false reading if not mixed properly...just some of my suggestions..maybe others have more ;) good luck!
  5. josephdurnal Member Member

    My 7 year old has the siphon hose right now, 30 gal of water out the front door :)

    I'll test a little more often for a while, hopefully it will get back to what I call normal.
  6. Shawnie Fishlore Legend Member

    gotta love kids! but do i dare ask why does the 7 year old have it? LOL
    doing a water change without doing a gravel vac, might not change it much..so be prepared...
  7. Elvishswimmer Member Member

  8. josephdurnal Member Member

    The gravel has had two good vacs this week, so, he just had the vac about 1/2 way down the tank. Moving it occatioaly to avoid catching a curious guppy fry.

    Taking care of pets is part of his regular chores. Mainly, he feeds the cats, but he is in charge of feeding the fish when I travel.
  9. Shawnie Fishlore Legend Member

    wow thats awesome a 7 year old does your water changes !!! (assuming thats why he has the hose )

    I dont let anyone near my tanks...guess im too picky...and too many scares from my "helpers" ;D
  10. josephdurnal Member Member

    He just held the hose while I started the siphon. The hose goes out the front door and down the steps, good siphon and gravity action but it is a two person job. If my 7 year old isn't around, I even found a way for my 4 year old to help, he holds the hose while sitting on the floor. Keeps it from moving just enough for me to get back inside to take over.