Question Water Test Results

nightowl

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I set up a planted 29 gal back in December. Eco complete substrate, adding Thrive all in one fert twice weekly. Just added Thrivecaps a few days ago. Been doing 25-30% water changes weekly. I've been testing water with API test kit usually a day or so after water changes and PH has been 7.6, Ammonia 0, Nitrite 0, Nitrate 10-20, GH and KH 2-3.
I use RO water and PH is 6.0.
I tested today, haven't done a water change for a week and PH is 8.8, ammonia and nitrite are 0, I can't tell if nitrate is 40, 80 or 160 according to the card. GH 3, KH 2.
What's causing PH and Nitrate jump?
Fish are OK, cardinal and rummy nose tetras, julI and otocinclus cats. Feed every other day.
Thanks for any help
 

Asomeone

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I was suggested to purchase a different test kit for nitrates. Its varying feedback as some people swear by the apI test kits but I have had much better results testing using the Salifert Nitrate kit. Its gives more specific numbers and the colors are easier to read in my opinion.
I would wonder why in a well planted tank with adequate filtration the nitrates are getting that high after just a week of no water change. Do you have enough area for bacteria to form in the filtration?
 

kallililly1973

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Possibly not doing the water change and adding Thrive is elevating the Nitrates. I believe thrive suggests you do weekly water changes to avoid raised nitrate levels. please don't quote me i'm just making suggestions.
 
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nightowl

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Asomeone said:
I was suggested to purchase a different test kit for nitrates. Its varying feedback as some people swear by the apI test kits but I have had much better results testing using the Salifert Nitrate kit. Its gives more specific numbers and the colors are easier to read in my opinion.
I would wonder why in a well planted tank with adequate filtration the nitrates are getting that high after just a week of no water change. Do you have enough area for bacteria to form in the filtration?
I have a aquaclear 50 and a fluval c2, one since the start of the tank, the other for a couple months.

kallililly1973 said:
most likely not doing a water change has caused the Nitrates to elevate. Do a water change add prime and retest the following day
I'll do a water change tomorrow and retest Mon or Tue.
 

kallililly1973

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Don't hold me to it but you may be able to do your water change then test the nitrates shortly after. if nothing else it could be used to compare results from a few hours to a day or so
 
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nightowl

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What would be causing the PH to go from 7.6 to 8.8? I using RO water that is 6.0.
 

Asomeone

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Things in the tank would change the PH. Did you happen to get the cichlid eco complete substrate instead of the regular one? The normal eco complete has also been reported to sometimes raise ph (from a google search). Things like certain types of rock and crushed coral can lead to increases in ph as well.
I don't know anything about thrive so I can't speak to it altering PH but if you used RO water and nothing to alter PH then it should still be around 6.0....that makes sense to everyone else right?
Doesn't ammonium directly correlate with PH in regards to concentration? As PH rises the concentration of ammonium also does. Once you get a high enough PH the ammonium converts into ammonia. At least that's what I understand, someone correct me if I'm way off.
 
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nightowl

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2 days after water change PH is down to 7.6 and Nitrates are 20-40. I'll test again next weekend before a water change and see if numbers have spiked again.
 

abarb

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Do you remineralize the ro water?
 
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nightowl

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abarb said:
Do you remineralize the ro water?
No, It is a old 3 stage R.O. system I rebuilt a few years ago. I tested the ph from it and it is at 6.0. It has newer membrane and filters
 

abarb

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nightowl said:
No, It is a old 3 stage R.O. system I rebuilt a few years ago. I tested the ph from it and it is at 6.0. It has newer membrane and filters
The ph should be 7 after ro. Either your test kit is wrong, the membrane is not working correctly, or you leave the water out and it gets co2 in it. 0 kh makes ph unstable
 

toosie

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Asomeone said:
Doesn't ammonium directly correlate with PH in regards to concentration? As PH rises the concentration of ammonium also does. Once you get a high enough PH the ammonium converts into ammonia. At least that's what I understand, someone correct me if I'm way off.
Almost but not quite Asomeone. The concentration of ammonium doesn't rise with pH. They are two independent things, however... I think what you are referring to is toxicicity. Ammonia and ammonium are in a bit of a balancing act according to the pH of the water. Ammonia is highly toxic but ammonium is much less toxic. When ammonia is present, there will be some ammonium present as well, but to what ratio (and therefore the toxicity) depends on the pH. At a pH of 8.0 the ratio leans heavily towards the nitrogen products being mostly ammonia and very low amounts of ammonium. So this scenario is highly toxic. But as you slide down the pH scale, more ammonia becomes ammonium, so by the time the water gets to a pH of 6.0 the nitrogen products lean heavily to the ammonium side with a very low ammonia concentration, making this scenario much less toxic. So... it's the toxicity of ammonia that increases as you go up the pH scale...or the ratio of ammonia to ammonium that changes. The concentration would refer to how much ammonia/ammonium was present.

nightowl Thrive will give you high nitrate test results because it supplies that macro nutrient when you dose it. If you don't require a nitrate supplement, you can use something like Seachem Flourish which doesn't supply any degree of this macro nutrient, or you may just want to alter your Thrive dosage. I haven't been able to determine what might be going on with your pH with the info provided, but ruling out the substrate and rocks and such is a good start. If its heavily planted, the time of day may also have a bearing because the plants may use up the CO2 in the water while contributing to O2 during the day, and this can raise pH. At night when plants may be giving off CO2 and using O2, the pH may go down. It is common to have a lower pH in the morning in a planted tank, and higher in the evening, which in part is why some people provide CO2 in the day.

Edit: Ooops. Missed the RO part. RO water should always be remineralized before doing a water change. Fish and plants need the minerals typically found in water and you can send the fish into osmotic shock by using straight RO water.
 

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