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PEZ
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9 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Do these additives give me a reading that isn't exactly true?
API test kit:
Nitrate 40 to 80 (the red gets hard to decifer) Nitrite 0, Ammonia 0 to 15, PH 6.6 to 6.8, Water is very hard.
20 gallon heavily planted heavily stocked tank. 10% water (tap) added per week. 10-15% water change and vaccum per week. fish fed 2x daily with flakes and it all gets eaten before reaching the bottom.
Addatives:
10ml API Leaf Zone
.75ml Tetra Aquasafe (per added gallon of tap, usually 1 to 2 gallons)
15ml Tetra Easy Balance with Nitraban
1ml Seachem Flourish comprehensive supplement for the planted aquarium
2.5ml Seachem Flourish excel
(every few days)
Are any of the plant additives giving me this high Nitrate reading and are the nitrates safe nitrates as oppose to unsafe ones. My fish seam healthy and have no signs of poor health.
 

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Inspired.
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138 Posts
In general, nitrates aren't harmful to fish. How many fish do you have? Large amounts of fish means more waste, and more waste can result in higher nitrate levels.
 

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PEZ
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9 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
i have about 40. all very small with the exception of 2 german blue rams and 3 roseline sharks 2 to 3 inches. the rest are no bigger than an adult neon. without having to de-stock my tank can i lower this number?
 

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PEZ
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9 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
i did a vaccuum 6 weeks ago and my water was full of crap. the past five weeks have been about 1/5 the amount from 6 weeks ago and i can have the tank vaccuumed in 10 minutes.
 

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Inspired.
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138 Posts
40 FISH IN A 20 GALLON?!? *o2

With that many fish, you should be doing at least 50% water changes.

But honestly, I think you should get a bigger tank for that amount of fish. That's way too many for a 20 gallon.
 

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PEZ
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9 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
im aware it is heavily stocked. i never had this problem before though. my nitrates used to be 20ppm to 40ppm which i was happy with. if the stock is definately the problem ill make the adjustment, my question is: are there safe nitrates (in the additives)and unsafe nitrates and can the high reading be caused by my additives? all my other parameters are good which leaves me to believe that it might not be the fish or over feeding.
 

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Inspired.
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138 Posts
Looking at your list of additives, all of them help plant growth (except Aquasafe). Plants utilize nitrates in their growth, so with those supplements, you should actually be lowering your nitrate levels.

all my other parameters are good which leaves me to believe that it might not be the fish or over feeding.
The reason your ammonia and nitrite levels are in check is because you have several types of bacteria in your tank that convert ammonia to nitrites, then nitrites to nitrates. Your tank acquired these types of bacteria during the cycling phase of your tank. There are no types of bacteria in your tank that will convert nitrate into something else, therefore, you will always have some levels of nitrate in your fish tank. The way to get rid of the nitrates is to do water changes and let your plants use up some of it.
 

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I try to keep my nitrates down around 10-20ppm. I do 25-30% weekly water changes even though I have a planted tank. As you know plants help remove nitrates from your tank because they break it down and use it as a nitrogen source. However, since your tank is overstocked, you need to go back and do a larger weekly water change to keep your nitrate levels from climbing too high. Deep vacuuming is unnessary, just touch the surface to pick up any layers of mulm.

I think Flourish and Leaf Zone probably have nitrogen components in them (probably nitrate) but this is in a fairly low concentration and should not affect your nitrate reading that much. Are all your plants healthy? Dying plants/leaves add nitrates back into the water as they decompose. It is important to prune and remove any dying plants or leaves weekly so that this does not add to your problem.

One last thing, what type of water are you using for your water change? Tap, well water, RO/Di water? The reason I ask is that ocassionally tap and usually well water has some trace amounts of nitrate in them. It might be worth it just to test that water as well. I am not sure you need all those additives Leaf Zone is similar to Flourish, but Flourish has a larger variety of minerals and I am not sure what the easy balance with Nitraban is for?
 

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PEZ
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9 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
i use tap. ill test it this week. plants are very healthy, so are fish. and to tell you honestly i don't really know what the easy balance is for either. the bottle says that i don't have to change the water as frequently and i will have more moderate fluctuations in water parameters especially in the ph. i will do a 30% water change this week to see what happens.
 

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I am sure you are doing it but with the API test kit it is very important to follow the directions for the nitrate test. There are crystals in the 2nd bottle of solution and it has to be shaken very good. I shake mine for about 30 seconds vigorously hitting it on my leg before I add the first bottle. Then I add the first bottle and shake it again hard for about another minute. If the crystals are really knocked around in the bottle you will not get an accurate test.
 
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