High Nitrate Help? :/

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High Nitrate Help? :/

Postby AlexC » Fri Jul 18, 2014 11:43 am

Hi there,
I haven't been on here for a long time :(
I am having some trouble with high nitrates, I have a juwel 180 tank, planted with 15 juvenile java ferns and a few other plants im unsure of there names. The lights werent working for 6week so I have replaced the starter unit 2 days ago. Upon doing so I have found that out of 10 dwarf rainbow fish 1 golden gourami and a stone sucker. Only the golden, stone sucker and 1 dwarf rainbow is still there. Alot of algea over the glass and after testing the water I found 0 ammonia 0 nitrite but offethe card's nitrate. So 2 days ago I did a 30litre water change and had no result, I then did a 50liter change yesterday with not much results, this morning I have done a large 50% 90liter change and had a small result, ill post the picture from my phone, I was wondering what would be your next call of action? im hoping to restock the tank but need this problem under control before doing so, all help will be great appreciated,
thanks alex :)
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Re: High Nitrate Help? :/

Postby Rob W » Fri Jul 18, 2014 8:51 pm

Six weeks without lights? In a planted tank? Your nitrates are high because of all the dead fish and the plants weren't able to use any of the nitrates due to no lighting. Be a while before I'd consider restocking. High nitrates aren't too much of an issue but the tank needs time to stabilise and infrequent large water changes won't help. A small daily water change is better, maybe 10 litres a day for a few days then 10 litres twice a week then normal regular water changes and restock gradually. Keep feeding to small quantities maybe once daily for a while, try not to add to the nitrate levels too much by over feeding. And feed your plants! :wink:
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Re: High Nitrate Help? :/

Postby Carylnz » Sun Jul 20, 2014 8:55 am

Even with no artificial lighting I can't see how you could not notice so many fish dying in such a short time, unless you are implying the view was poor due to all the algae. Was there all that algae before the lighting died?
Fish do not need light but plants do. Are there any fish remains anywhere or do you have 3 very fat and happy survivors?
Did you give the substrate a good siphon when you did the water changes?
Make sure your filter is working correcting and add some bacteria cycling stuff for that extra boost.
I would not worry too much about the nitrates as test kits are not very accurate and nitrates are not that toxic (compared to other things) in the short term.
Do you have any idea why the fish died? That would be of more concern.
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Re: High Nitrate Help? :/

Postby AlexC » Mon Jul 21, 2014 10:24 am

hi there
firstly thanks for your replies :)
where my tank is situated it is difficult to see any fish with the lights off. there was never an algea problem before the light problem. the substrate in the tank is sand. when doing the water changes i have syphoned the top and mixed it up where possible not to disturbe the plants and then removed any dirt, there wasnt alot. both filters have been cleaned out (using tank water!) one other question...should the sponges and media be replaced the pet shop said they should be every few months, as i have always belived this should not be done unless its active like carbon or if its falling apart?
no fish bodies have been found and the remaining fish are all looking fine. the pet shop said that a problem may be down to new fish keeping laws that where they are breed and then in the shops new regulations are tougher on the water quilities so if they then go into a tank with slightly poorer water this can cause deaths? after testing aswell i found my ph to be very low at 6, they suggested adjusting it to around 7. upon researching i found the rainbows like 6.5 so i maybe thought my ph was just to low for them. im not keen on starting to play around with the ph and would rather stock with fish that are happy with a low ph. with the golden gourami liking these conditions id prefere to stock tank mates to suit, possible other gourami? and scissor tail rosbara??

thanks for any other help yous can offer
alex
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Re: High Nitrate Help? :/

Postby Rockfish » Tue Jul 22, 2014 12:24 am

What the pet shop said about "new fish keeping laws" sounds a bit strange to say the least, but the point about water quality being a problem is valid. pH often drops as waste levels increase, so the larger water changes should help lower nitrates and stabilise pH. It would be useful to know what your local tap water pH is, so that you will know if it's dropping in the tank. Try testing a sample of tap water after it's been left standing a few hours.

The nitrates might take a while to come down once they've gone "off the chart", a series of larger water changes will probably be required over a few weeks, then you can return to a more normal routine once it's under control.

Normal foam/sponge media only really needs replacing if it's gone out of shape and might allow water bypass, or if it's very clogged and the flow isn't restored after cleaning (in tank water). However, if you use carbon, then that does need replacing regularly as you said.
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Re: High Nitrate Help? :/

Postby TropicalRex » Wed Jul 23, 2014 3:04 pm

The key here is to really get that water under control and back to normal before you think about getting anymore fish etc. Need to make sure you have a sable environment so regular water changes to get the nitrate level down
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Re: High Nitrate Help? :/

Postby AlexC » Thu Jul 24, 2014 12:08 pm

hi there, thanks for the help.
i havent had a chance to test tap water yet, i will do that today, we are just outside edinburgh, scotland and i think we have low ph im sure my friend checked it online last week and she said ours is 6.4 that is also what the pet shop said theres was only 20 mins from my house. the nitrates are slowly coming down now reading about 40ppm, although i think a new digital test kit would be a great new invention as it can be difficult too tell between some with the colours being so similiar unless its a clear red or orange :/

i did think that about the sponges, they said it was now advised to change filter sponges/media ever 2/3 months as per manufacture guidlines but i thought well obviously they are going to say that so they get more sales! i have a whole load of different sponges from different filters all in my big one partly to give more filtration and partly i thought if i ever set up another tank i have fully ready filter to get up and go. i also have some sort of rock i cannot remember the name of it but on a terrapin site they suggested using some as it gives a larger surface area for the bacteria. so in the big filter i have a few layers of sponges. then rocks then thinner sponges on top, and also an additional fluval filter from my old 100l tank.

does anybody have suggestions what to keep with my golden gourami and stone sucker i think he is a ceylon stone sucker :/ the shop said they woud take the rainbow back although i love them i cant face losing more, unless you think they will be ok now :) although the 1 seems to be ok so its making me think it was just the poor water quality killing them off. the shop suggested getting a few more gourami so he can have them to annoy if he does and the other fish can have peace although i havent seen him chase others! i think he is a male as his dorsal fin is about and inch long and pointed rather than short and rounded. instead of the rainbows i had thought of maybe scissortail rosbara? i would also like to add some cory and maybe some shrimp and apple snails. maybe even a aquatic frog but maybe thats going to far haha. i will not be stocking the tank for a while yet until the tank has stabilised and then it will be gradual.
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Re: High Nitrate Help? :/

Postby Rockfish » Thu Jul 24, 2014 11:54 pm

Once your water quality is under control, Scissortail rasboras would be a good choice, and Cory's are ideal community fish. The small algae eating shrimp will often get eaten even by fairly small fish - gouramies would likely pick them off. Aquatic frogs don't generally do well in mixed community tanks as they struggle to compete for food.

You might be better starting a new thread in the Freshwater forum for suggestions, as others might not realise your "Help" thread has changed direction! :)
Sean


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Re: High Nitrate Help? :/

Postby AlexC » Fri Jul 25, 2014 10:35 am

hi there
thanks for all your help, i will post in there now :) testing nitrates daily and they look to be about 20ppm today as its a clear orange :)

thanks again
Alex
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