What could be causing very high nitrate?

Lucas35

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Location
British Columbia, Canada
Aquarium Details  
Gender
Male
Quarantine?
No
List any water conditioners and test kits used:
Nutrafin aqua+, API master test kit
Do you know of and understand the Aquarium Nitrogen Cycle?
Yes
Aquarium Size
10 gallons divided
Aquarium Type
Freshwater Fish Only
Fish, Plants, Inverts, etc.
2 Male Betta fish, 4 assassin snails, coontail, dwarf water lettuce, parrotfeather, Canadian pondweed.
Aquarium Start Date
July 2019
Ammonia
0
Nitrite
0
Nitrate
20
Temperature
78°F
pH
7.4
Aquarium Filter Type
Whisper 2-10i
Aquarium #2 Size
35 gallons
Tank #2 Type
Freshwater Planted Tank
Tank #2 Fish, Plants, Inverts, etc.
3 guppies, 13 neon tetras, 4 honey gourami's, 4 amano shrimp, 1 female Betta, 5 red cherry shrimp, snails (Trumpet, apple, FW limpets, Mini ramshorn, ramshorn, bladder, Nerites, Japanese trapdoor, Spike tail trumpet, big ear radix, nautilus ramshorn(?), two-ridged ramshorn, rabbits, radix peregra)
Tank #2 Start Date
September 2020
Tank #2 Ammonia
0
Tank #2 Nitrite
0
Tank #2 Nitrate
20
Tank #2 Temperature
77°F
Tank #2 pH
7.4
Tank #2 Lighting
NICREW N9221
Tank #2 Filter Type
Whisper 10-30i
Tank #2 Skimmer
Plants(I ran out of room in Fish, Plants, Inverts, etc.): parrotfeather, coontail, duckweed.
I have had a constant problem with water quality in this tank since December. At first the pH got very low causing the cycle to crash and ammonium to build up to an unbelievable amount. I drained and refilled the tank and it took a few moths to cycle again because the pH kept going down. Currently the pH is normal and the cycle is good but the nitrate is super high. I have tried everything to try and lower nitrate but I don't know what is causing it. The tank is not overstocked. I am going to give away the fish to a good home if I can't fix this because I have been trying to fix it since December but it has not gotten better.

Tank

What is the water volume of the tank? 35 gallons
How long has the tank been running? Since September 2020
Does it have a filter? Yes
Does it have a heater? Yes
What is the water temperature? 77.5° F
What is the entire stocking of this tank? (Please list all fish and inverts.)

1 guppy (sadly the other 2 died and I don't want to get more until the water quality is fixed)
11 neon Tetras
1 female Betta
4 honey gourami
Lots of rams horn snails (I am trying to get rid of them)
Bladder snails (physa)
About 5 Japanese trapdoor snails
4 baby rabbit snails
5 Amano shrimp
2 pond snails (lymnaeidae)
1 tiger nerite snail

Maintenance

How often do you change the water? Once a week
How much of the water do you change? About 70%
What do you use to treat your water? Nutrafin aqua plus
Do you vacuum the substrate or just the water? Sometimes both sometimes just water but the gravel still stays very clean.
*Parameters - Very Important

Did you cycle your tank before adding fish? Yes
What do you use to test the water?
API master test kit
What are your parameters? We need to know the exact numbers, not just “fine” or “safe”.

Ammonia: 0 ppm
Nitrite: 0 ppm
Nitrate: over 160 ppm
pH: 7.5 (7.4 on normal range pH and 7.6 on high range pH)

Feeding

How often do you feed your fish? Twice a day
How much do you feed your fish? Enough for them to eat in about 4 minutes on the morning and enough for them to eat in about 1 minute at night.
What brand of food do you feed your fish? Tetramin tropical flakes in the morning and fluval bug bites at night.
Do you feed frozen or freeze-dried foods? No

Illness & Symptoms

How long have you had these fish? Since late October
How long ago did you first notice these symptoms? December 2020
In a few words, can you explain the symptoms? High nitrate with no obvious cause
Have you started any treatment for the illness? I have tried lots of things but none of it was worked
Was your fish physically ill or injured upon purchase? No except that the pet store was overfeeding the Betta
How has its behavior and appearance changed, if at all? Yes. Some fish have slight fungal infections and the guppy has fin rot.

Explain your emergency situation in detail. (Please give a clear explanation of what is going on, include details from the beginning of the illness leading up to now)
See the beginning of the post.
 

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awilkinson871

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Location
New Mexico
Aquarium Details  
Gender
Female
Nickname
Angela
Do you know of and understand the Aquarium Nitrogen Cycle?
Yes
Aquarium Size
55 gallon
Aquarium Type
Freshwater Planted Tank
Fish, Plants, Inverts, etc.
Turquoise jewel cichlid, convict cichlids, electric blue jack dempsey, giant danios, albino rainbow shark, rubberlip pleco
Aquarium Start Date
March 2021
Aquarium #2 Size
37 gallon
Tank #2 Type
Freshwater Planted Tank
Tank #2 Fish, Plants, Inverts, etc.
Harlequin rasboras, peppered corydoras, nerite snails, amano shrimp
Tank #2 Start Date
May 2021
I think the first step should be vacuuming the gravel every week. Snails poop alot and with that amount of bioload you need to remove as much poop/uneaten food, decaying leaves as possible. The higher the ammonia output the more BB and nitrates. You can also add more plants. Plants use nitrates in order to grow. Have you tested your source water to see what the nitrates are in it?
 
OP
Lucas35

Lucas35

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Member
Messages
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133
Location
British Columbia, Canada
Aquarium Details  
Gender
Male
Quarantine?
No
List any water conditioners and test kits used:
Nutrafin aqua+, API master test kit
Do you know of and understand the Aquarium Nitrogen Cycle?
Yes
Aquarium Size
10 gallons divided
Aquarium Type
Freshwater Fish Only
Fish, Plants, Inverts, etc.
2 Male Betta fish, 4 assassin snails, coontail, dwarf water lettuce, parrotfeather, Canadian pondweed.
Aquarium Start Date
July 2019
Ammonia
0
Nitrite
0
Nitrate
20
Temperature
78°F
pH
7.4
Aquarium Filter Type
Whisper 2-10i
Aquarium #2 Size
35 gallons
Tank #2 Type
Freshwater Planted Tank
Tank #2 Fish, Plants, Inverts, etc.
3 guppies, 13 neon tetras, 4 honey gourami's, 4 amano shrimp, 1 female Betta, 5 red cherry shrimp, snails (Trumpet, apple, FW limpets, Mini ramshorn, ramshorn, bladder, Nerites, Japanese trapdoor, Spike tail trumpet, big ear radix, nautilus ramshorn(?), two-ridged ramshorn, rabbits, radix peregra)
Tank #2 Start Date
September 2020
Tank #2 Ammonia
0
Tank #2 Nitrite
0
Tank #2 Nitrate
20
Tank #2 Temperature
77°F
Tank #2 pH
7.4
Tank #2 Lighting
NICREW N9221
Tank #2 Filter Type
Whisper 10-30i
Tank #2 Skimmer
Plants(I ran out of room in Fish, Plants, Inverts, etc.): parrotfeather, coontail, duckweed.
Yes. This picture is of the test I did today.
 

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RayClem

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Chicago Suburbs
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Male
Experience
More than 10 years
Do you know of and understand the Aquarium Nitrogen Cycle?
Yes
Aquarium Size
multiple
Aquarium Type
Freshwater Planted Tank
Have you tested the tap water you use for water changes? It may be that your tap water contains ammonia, nitrite or nitrate. My tap water is treated with chloramine, so it contains ammonia along with chlorine. Because of this, I decided to use RO water for topping off the tanks and for water changes. I have to remineralize the water before using it for water changes as purified water is not suitable for fish, snails, shrimp, etc.

Most species will tolerate higher levels of nitrates that we consider desirable. However, a buildup of nitrate may indicate a buildup of other chemicals in the tank.

If you tap water does not contain ammonia, nitrite, or nitrate, the changing 70% of the water should bring the nitrate down. Thus, I suspect you will find something in the tap water. Let us know the test results.
 

Fisch

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Location
Salt Lake City
Aquarium Details  
Gender
Female
Nickname
Smalls
Occupation
Verification Lead
Quarantine?
Yes
List any water conditioners and test kits used:
Test Kit: API Freshwater test kit
Water Conditioner: Seachem Prime
Stress : Seachem Stress Guard, IAL
Fertilizer: Niloq ThriveC
Experience
1 year
Do you know of and understand the Aquarium Nitrogen Cycle?
Yes
Aquarium Size
55gl
Aquarium Type
Freshwater Planted Tank
Fish, Plants, Inverts, etc.
4 peppered Cory Catfish
1 Bristlenose Pleco
29 Neon Tetras
2 Zebra Nerites
2 Tiger Nerites
1 Assassin
Aquarium Start Date
May 2020
Ammonia
0 - 0.25ppm
Nitrite
0ppm
Nitrate
30ppm
Temperature
72°
pH
8.0
Lighting
Finnex 24/7
Skimmer
No
Aquarium Filter Type
Fluval 306 Canister + Sponge
Live Rock Amount
n/a
Salinity or Specific Gravity
n/a
Aquarium #2 Size
20gl
Tank #2 Type
Freshwater Planted Tank
Tank #2 Fish, Plants, Inverts, etc.
Male Betta
1 Zebra Nerite
1 Red Racer Nerite
1 Zebra Nerite
Tank #2 Start Date
11. December 2020
Tank #2 Ammonia
.0ppm
Tank #2 Nitrite
.0ppm
Tank #2 Nitrate
20ppm
Tank #2 Temperature
80°
Tank #2 pH
8.0
Tank #2 Lighting
Finnex 24/7
Tank #2 Filter Type
HMF
It does not look like 160. Can you take a picture in better lighting?
If you know the Nitrates in your tap water, you may have to do more water changes to keep it at a lower level.
 

MacZ

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Location
Germany
Aquarium Details  
Occupation
teacher
Experience
More than 10 years
Do you know of and understand the Aquarium Nitrogen Cycle?
Yes
Aquarium Size
80l
Fish, Plants, Inverts, etc.
1,0 Apistogramma hongsloi
15x Nannostomus eques
Aquarium Start Date
September 2019
Aquarium Filter Type
internal filter (biological and mechanical)
Either the Nitrates are from the tap or I'd check if the test liquid is still good. I find the latter more likely, actually.
 

Dechi

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1,266
Location
Canada
Aquarium Details  
Quarantine?
No
List any water conditioners and test kits used:
Prime, Nutrafin cycle, Nutrafin Aqua +, API test kit
Experience
More than 10 years
Do you know of and understand the Aquarium Nitrogen Cycle?
Yes
Aquarium Size
75 gallons freshwater and 13.5 gallons reef tank
Aquarium Type
Freshwater Fish Only
Fish, Plants, Inverts, etc.
Different Mbunas in freshwater and 2 x oscellaris clown, 1 tailspot blenny, 1 trochus snail, 3 cerith snails and 1 nassarius snail in saltwater.
Aquarium Start Date
27 mai 2019
Ammonia
0,1
Nitrite
0
Nitrate
5
Temperature
26 C (79F-80F) both tanks
pH
7.8 freshwater
Lighting
Fluval 3.0 freshwater and AI Prime 16 HD reef tank
Aquarium Filter Type
FX4 on freshwater and built-in sump in reef tank
Salinity or Specific Gravity
1.0265
How are your fish acting ? If your nitrates were 160 ppm, your fish would be suffering.
 

MacZ

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Location
Germany
Aquarium Details  
Occupation
teacher
Experience
More than 10 years
Do you know of and understand the Aquarium Nitrogen Cycle?
Yes
Aquarium Size
80l
Fish, Plants, Inverts, etc.
1,0 Apistogramma hongsloi
15x Nannostomus eques
Aquarium Start Date
September 2019
Aquarium Filter Type
internal filter (biological and mechanical)
How are your fish acting ? If your nitrates were 160 ppm, your fish would be suffering.

It can take months until they show acute Nitrate poisoning. But there could have been some unexplained sudden deaths.
 
OP
Lucas35

Lucas35

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Messages
210
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133
Location
British Columbia, Canada
Aquarium Details  
Gender
Male
Quarantine?
No
List any water conditioners and test kits used:
Nutrafin aqua+, API master test kit
Do you know of and understand the Aquarium Nitrogen Cycle?
Yes
Aquarium Size
10 gallons divided
Aquarium Type
Freshwater Fish Only
Fish, Plants, Inverts, etc.
2 Male Betta fish, 4 assassin snails, coontail, dwarf water lettuce, parrotfeather, Canadian pondweed.
Aquarium Start Date
July 2019
Ammonia
0
Nitrite
0
Nitrate
20
Temperature
78°F
pH
7.4
Aquarium Filter Type
Whisper 2-10i
Aquarium #2 Size
35 gallons
Tank #2 Type
Freshwater Planted Tank
Tank #2 Fish, Plants, Inverts, etc.
3 guppies, 13 neon tetras, 4 honey gourami's, 4 amano shrimp, 1 female Betta, 5 red cherry shrimp, snails (Trumpet, apple, FW limpets, Mini ramshorn, ramshorn, bladder, Nerites, Japanese trapdoor, Spike tail trumpet, big ear radix, nautilus ramshorn(?), two-ridged ramshorn, rabbits, radix peregra)
Tank #2 Start Date
September 2020
Tank #2 Ammonia
0
Tank #2 Nitrite
0
Tank #2 Nitrate
20
Tank #2 Temperature
77°F
Tank #2 pH
7.4
Tank #2 Lighting
NICREW N9221
Tank #2 Filter Type
Whisper 10-30i
Tank #2 Skimmer
Plants(I ran out of room in Fish, Plants, Inverts, etc.): parrotfeather, coontail, duckweed.
Here is a picture under better lighting. It looks like it might be closer to 80 ppm. The parameters in the tap water are 0, 0, 0.
 

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mattgirl

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Closer to Heaven every day but for now-Arkansas
Aquarium Details  
Gender
Female
Gallery
Yes
Occupation
retired
Quarantine?
5 gallon with sponge filter
List any water conditioners and test kits used:
prime for my water conditioner and the API Freshwater Master Test Kit for testing the health of my tank now have a gh/kh liquid test kit---
tank water tested 2/15/2016
gh-5 drops
kh-3 drops
Experience
More than 10 years
Do you know of and understand the Aquarium Nitrogen Cycle?
Yes
Aquarium Size
55 gallon 48x12x21
Aquarium Type
Freshwater Fish Only
Fish, Plants, Inverts, etc.
5 Long Finned Black Skirt tetras
2 False Julii Corys
2 Albino Corys
3 bronze Corys to start with but now have more than I can count
10 Neon tetras
1 albino bristlenose pleco
8 Bloodfin tetras
1 Siamese Algae Eater
1 Mystery snail
Aquarium Start Date
December 14th, 2015
Ammonia
0
Nitrite
0
Nitrate
20/40
Temperature
76
pH
7.2
Lighting
led
Skimmer
No
Aquarium Filter Type
2 cascade 300 HOB's & 2 dual sponge sponge filters
Aquarium #2 Size
5.5 gallon hospital tank
Tank #2 Type
Freshwater Fish Only
Aquarium #3 Size
12 gallon grow out tank
Tank #3 Type
Freshwater Fish Only
Tank #3 Fish, Plants, Inverts, etc.
super red pleco fry
Assassin snails
I don't see many plants in your tank but will still ask if you are adding any kind of fertilizers to the tank? If not and you can't get and keep the nitrates down with water changes it might help to run some nitra-zorb in your filter. It would be better to figure out why they are getting so high but while you are figuring it out the nitra-zorb should help lower them.

BTW: I am seeing 40 or possibly 80 in the last test. It definitely doesn't look like any where close to 160 to me.
 
OP
Lucas35

Lucas35

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Member
Messages
210
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133
Location
British Columbia, Canada
Aquarium Details  
Gender
Male
Quarantine?
No
List any water conditioners and test kits used:
Nutrafin aqua+, API master test kit
Do you know of and understand the Aquarium Nitrogen Cycle?
Yes
Aquarium Size
10 gallons divided
Aquarium Type
Freshwater Fish Only
Fish, Plants, Inverts, etc.
2 Male Betta fish, 4 assassin snails, coontail, dwarf water lettuce, parrotfeather, Canadian pondweed.
Aquarium Start Date
July 2019
Ammonia
0
Nitrite
0
Nitrate
20
Temperature
78°F
pH
7.4
Aquarium Filter Type
Whisper 2-10i
Aquarium #2 Size
35 gallons
Tank #2 Type
Freshwater Planted Tank
Tank #2 Fish, Plants, Inverts, etc.
3 guppies, 13 neon tetras, 4 honey gourami's, 4 amano shrimp, 1 female Betta, 5 red cherry shrimp, snails (Trumpet, apple, FW limpets, Mini ramshorn, ramshorn, bladder, Nerites, Japanese trapdoor, Spike tail trumpet, big ear radix, nautilus ramshorn(?), two-ridged ramshorn, rabbits, radix peregra)
Tank #2 Start Date
September 2020
Tank #2 Ammonia
0
Tank #2 Nitrite
0
Tank #2 Nitrate
20
Tank #2 Temperature
77°F
Tank #2 pH
7.4
Tank #2 Lighting
NICREW N9221
Tank #2 Filter Type
Whisper 10-30i
Tank #2 Skimmer
Plants(I ran out of room in Fish, Plants, Inverts, etc.): parrotfeather, coontail, duckweed.
I don't add fertilizers because the copper could kill the snails I want to keep. There used to be tons of plants but I took them out to try to illuminate the ramshorn snails and they died of when I put them back. I am going to and grow them back as soon as possible.
 

mattgirl

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Messages
18,942
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19,593
Location
Closer to Heaven every day but for now-Arkansas
Aquarium Details  
Gender
Female
Gallery
Yes
Occupation
retired
Quarantine?
5 gallon with sponge filter
List any water conditioners and test kits used:
prime for my water conditioner and the API Freshwater Master Test Kit for testing the health of my tank now have a gh/kh liquid test kit---
tank water tested 2/15/2016
gh-5 drops
kh-3 drops
Experience
More than 10 years
Do you know of and understand the Aquarium Nitrogen Cycle?
Yes
Aquarium Size
55 gallon 48x12x21
Aquarium Type
Freshwater Fish Only
Fish, Plants, Inverts, etc.
5 Long Finned Black Skirt tetras
2 False Julii Corys
2 Albino Corys
3 bronze Corys to start with but now have more than I can count
10 Neon tetras
1 albino bristlenose pleco
8 Bloodfin tetras
1 Siamese Algae Eater
1 Mystery snail
Aquarium Start Date
December 14th, 2015
Ammonia
0
Nitrite
0
Nitrate
20/40
Temperature
76
pH
7.2
Lighting
led
Skimmer
No
Aquarium Filter Type
2 cascade 300 HOB's & 2 dual sponge sponge filters
Aquarium #2 Size
5.5 gallon hospital tank
Tank #2 Type
Freshwater Fish Only
Aquarium #3 Size
12 gallon grow out tank
Tank #3 Type
Freshwater Fish Only
Tank #3 Fish, Plants, Inverts, etc.
super red pleco fry
Assassin snails
I don't add fertilizers because the copper could kill the snails I want to keep. There used to be tons of plants but I took them out to try to illuminate the ramshorn snails and they died of when I put them back. I am going to and grow them back as soon as possible.
Should you decide to replant your tank I can recommend the all in one liquid fertilizer Thrive or Thrive C. Both will raise your nitrates so weekly water changes must be done to keep them down. I use the Thrive C in my planted tanks. The tanks have mystery, rabbit and ramshorn snails in them. One tank also has both ramshorn and assassin snails in it. There normally isn't enough copper in liquid ferts designed to be used in our tank to affect our snails. I even use it in very low amounts in my shrimp bowl.

Lots of times plants don't fare well when being uprooted and replanted but given time they should settle back in and start growing again.
 

Bruinfishkeeper1

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Member
Messages
640
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414
Aquarium Details  
Gender
Male
Quarantine?
Sometimes
List any water conditioners and test kits used:
SeaChem Prime and Stress Coat
Experience
3 years
Do you know of and understand the Aquarium Nitrogen Cycle?
Yes
Aquarium Size
10g
Aquarium Type
Freshwater Planted Tank
Fish, Plants, Inverts, etc.
2 Golden Honey Gouramis, 5 Celestial Pearl Danios, 4 Hillstream Loaches, 3 Corydoras, 2 Bengal Tiger Endlers, 1 African Dwarf Frog, Nerite Snail, Malaysian Trumpet Snail
Plants: Jungle Vallsneria, Amazon Sword, Frogbit, Houseplants
Aquarium Start Date
December 24th 2020
Ammonia
0ppm
Nitrite
0ppm
Nitrate
5-10ppm
Temperature
74 F
pH
7.4
Lighting
Nicrew Skyled Plus Planted Let (50% White 10% Blue 12 Hours)
Skimmer
No
Aquarium Filter Type
AquaClear 30 HOB and Sponge Filter
Aquarium #2 Size
5g
Tank #2 Type
Freshwater Planted Tank
Tank #2 Fish, Plants, Inverts, etc.
Female Galaxy Koi Plakat Betta
Plants: Rotala indica, Ludwigia Super Red, Cubamba, Unkown plant, Frogbit, pothos, Dwarf hairgrass
Tank #2 Start Date
Feb 27 2021
Tank #2 Ammonia
0
Tank #2 Nitrite
0
Tank #2 Nitrate
0
Tank #2 Temperature
78F
Tank #2 pH
7.4
Tank #2 Lighting
not known (Planted light)
Tank #2 Filter Type
Plant Filtration (Walstad)
Aquarium #3 Size
3g
Tank #3 Type
Freshwater Planted Tank
Tank #3 Fish, Plants, Inverts, etc.
Malabar Pufferfish (Pea Puffer)
Plants: Annubias
Tank #3 Start Date
May 18th 2021
Tank #3 Ammonia
0
Tank #3 Nitrite
0
Tank #3 Nitrate
5
Tank #3 Temperature
78 F
Tank #3 pH
7.4 (Blackwater, high KH)
Tank #3 Lighting
Aqueon Planted light
Tank #3 Filter Type
Sponge Filter
I personally use houseplants such as pothos for my overstocked tank. Check out my article below on houseplants in your tank (well the roots are in ur tank, i explain in the article)
 

Flyfisha

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Location
East coast Australia
Aquarium Details  
Gender
Male
Occupation
Retired
Quarantine?
Yes
Experience
4 years
Do you know of and understand the Aquarium Nitrogen Cycle?
Yes
Aquarium Size
As of December 2020 I am changing 1100 litres per week in 30 smaller sized aquariums
As you have been feeding twice a day with NO fry in the tank that would be a good place to start . Feeding for 5 minutes eating every day seems like WAY to much from what I have seen?
Uneaten food ends up in the filter. Over eating and over pooping ends up in the filter or substrate.

I would suggest feeding once per day 5 or 6 days a week, but only enough so that it’s all gone in one minute or less.

( edit as you did not mention fry )
 

Wouldratherwatchaquarium

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Location
England
Aquarium Details  
Gender
Male
Occupation
Mobile plant operator
List any water conditioners and test kits used:
Seachem prime, api master
Experience
1 year
Do you know of and understand the Aquarium Nitrogen Cycle?
Yes
Aquarium Size
44g, 200 litre
Aquarium Type
Freshwater Fish Only
Fish, Plants, Inverts, etc.
4 angelfish
7 peppered corys
1 sterbai Cory
1 BN pleco

Java fern
Amazon sword
Brazillian pond weed
Ammonia
0
Nitrite
0
Nitrate
15ppm
Temperature
27
pH
8
Lighting
Juwel built in
Aquarium Filter Type
Cannister and jumbo sponge
Aquarium #2 Size
16g
Tank #2 Type
Freshwater Fish Only
Tank #2 Fish, Plants, Inverts, etc.
Axolotl wild type
Tank #2 Ammonia
0
Tank #2 Nitrite
0
Tank #2 Nitrate
20ppm
Tank #2 Temperature
Unheated
Tank #2 pH
8
Tank #2 Lighting
Adjustable led
Tank #2 Filter Type
Internal hob, DIY hob/sponge
Aquarium #3 Size
24 gallon
Tank #3 Type
Freshwater Fish Only
Tank #3 Fish, Plants, Inverts, etc.
1 kribensis
9 Black Ruby barbs
1 orange BN pleco

Java fern
Amazon sword
Brazillian pond weed
Tank #3 Ammonia
0
Tank #3 Nitrite
0
Tank #3 Nitrate
>5
Tank #3 Temperature
24
Tank #3 pH
8.0
Tank #3 Lighting
Interpet led, ciano led
Tank #3 Filter Type
Internal hob, DIY hob sponge
I've had trouble getting nitrates down with just water changes. I think a good place to start if you haven't allready is the filter and really good rinsing out of sponges and media with aquarium water. As others suggest, vac the gravel, feed less and more plants are going to help.
 

Flyfisha

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Location
East coast Australia
Aquarium Details  
Gender
Male
Occupation
Retired
Quarantine?
Yes
Experience
4 years
Do you know of and understand the Aquarium Nitrogen Cycle?
Yes
Aquarium Size
As of December 2020 I am changing 1100 litres per week in 30 smaller sized aquariums
Hey Wouldratherwatchaquarium and Andystanks I agree that cleaning out filters is always a good idea when there is some kind of issue with high nitrates BUT.

Have you guys tested the brown water that fills a bucket of old tank water when you clean multiple dirty ( very dirty ) filters? The liquid test kit is not going to work with a chocolate treacle of brown sludge but the paper test strips gives an idea.
This is a snapshot I took today of the dark brown change water that I had cleaned two sponges and a box filter in. It is my opinion that in this case the brown water has the same minimal nitrates as the tank water. Just saying it’s something I have been looking at for a while and only the paper strips help answer my question or perhaps lead me to more questions ?036F3E18-E852-4E97-9905-AA685757C926.jpeg
 

Wouldratherwatchaquarium

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Mobile plant operator
List any water conditioners and test kits used:
Seachem prime, api master
Experience
1 year
Do you know of and understand the Aquarium Nitrogen Cycle?
Yes
Aquarium Size
44g, 200 litre
Aquarium Type
Freshwater Fish Only
Fish, Plants, Inverts, etc.
4 angelfish
7 peppered corys
1 sterbai Cory
1 BN pleco

Java fern
Amazon sword
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Ammonia
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Nitrate
15ppm
Temperature
27
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8
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Juwel built in
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Cannister and jumbo sponge
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16g
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Axolotl wild type
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0
Tank #2 Nitrite
0
Tank #2 Nitrate
20ppm
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Unheated
Tank #2 pH
8
Tank #2 Lighting
Adjustable led
Tank #2 Filter Type
Internal hob, DIY hob/sponge
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24 gallon
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Freshwater Fish Only
Tank #3 Fish, Plants, Inverts, etc.
1 kribensis
9 Black Ruby barbs
1 orange BN pleco

Java fern
Amazon sword
Brazillian pond weed
Tank #3 Ammonia
0
Tank #3 Nitrite
0
Tank #3 Nitrate
>5
Tank #3 Temperature
24
Tank #3 pH
8.0
Tank #3 Lighting
Interpet led, ciano led
Tank #3 Filter Type
Internal hob, DIY hob sponge
Interesting question and nope I've never tested the dirty filter water. I assumed it would be the same as the aquarium water itself.

I have always thought that cleaning a filter is going to directly remove a good amount of the BB colony and thus lower the amount of nitrate they are producing. Unless I'm way out with that thinking haha.

Of course the colony will re establish to meet the bio load so its not gunna be a permanent fix.
 

mattgirl

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prime for my water conditioner and the API Freshwater Master Test Kit for testing the health of my tank now have a gh/kh liquid test kit---
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led
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Freshwater Fish Only
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12 gallon grow out tank
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super red pleco fry
Assassin snails
Interesting question and nope I've never tested the dirty filter water. I assumed it would be the same as the aquarium water itself.

I have always thought that cleaning a filter is going to directly remove a good amount of the BB colony and thus lower the amount of nitrate they are producing. Unless I'm way out with that thinking haha.

Of course the colony will re establish to meet the bio load so its not gunna be a permanent fix.
Lesson for the day.

The amount of bacteria doesn't cause the nitrate spike so removing some bacteria isn't going to help.

The amount of ammonia being produced causes the high nitrates. Lower the amount of food fed and the amount of ammonia being produced (the bio-load) will be lowered and in turn less nitrites being produced leading to less nitrates.

It truly does go in an endless circle thus the reason it is called a nitrogen cycle. :)
 

MacZ

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1,0 Apistogramma hongsloi
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September 2019
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internal filter (biological and mechanical)
Lesson for the day.

The amount of bacteria doesn't cause the nitrate spike so removing some bacteria isn't going to help.

The amount of ammonia being produced causes the high nitrates. Lower the amount of food fed and the amount of ammonia being produced (the bio-load) will be lowered and in turn less nitrites being produced leading to less nitrates.

It truly does go in an endless circle thus the reason it is called a nitrogen cycle. :)

I agree. Cleaning orgies like recommended above only bring the cycle in danger and can cause even more dangerous imbalances. And cleaning the filter in such instances should only be to remove rotting surplus food that's in there.
 

Wouldratherwatchaquarium

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List any water conditioners and test kits used:
Seachem prime, api master
Experience
1 year
Do you know of and understand the Aquarium Nitrogen Cycle?
Yes
Aquarium Size
44g, 200 litre
Aquarium Type
Freshwater Fish Only
Fish, Plants, Inverts, etc.
4 angelfish
7 peppered corys
1 sterbai Cory
1 BN pleco

Java fern
Amazon sword
Brazillian pond weed
Ammonia
0
Nitrite
0
Nitrate
15ppm
Temperature
27
pH
8
Lighting
Juwel built in
Aquarium Filter Type
Cannister and jumbo sponge
Aquarium #2 Size
16g
Tank #2 Type
Freshwater Fish Only
Tank #2 Fish, Plants, Inverts, etc.
Axolotl wild type
Tank #2 Ammonia
0
Tank #2 Nitrite
0
Tank #2 Nitrate
20ppm
Tank #2 Temperature
Unheated
Tank #2 pH
8
Tank #2 Lighting
Adjustable led
Tank #2 Filter Type
Internal hob, DIY hob/sponge
Aquarium #3 Size
24 gallon
Tank #3 Type
Freshwater Fish Only
Tank #3 Fish, Plants, Inverts, etc.
1 kribensis
9 Black Ruby barbs
1 orange BN pleco

Java fern
Amazon sword
Brazillian pond weed
Tank #3 Ammonia
0
Tank #3 Nitrite
0
Tank #3 Nitrate
>5
Tank #3 Temperature
24
Tank #3 pH
8.0
Tank #3 Lighting
Interpet led, ciano led
Tank #3 Filter Type
Internal hob, DIY hob sponge
I'm learning :)
 

RayClem

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I'm learning :)

Don't ever stop learning.

I have been keeping fish for over 60 years and I still learn new things every time I visit the forum. The accumulated knowledge and experience of forum members is phenomenal.
 
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