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Discussion Starter #1
Okay. I need some information here. Teach me to fish, as it were!

I came into an existing 55Gal tank, lots of Java Fern, UGF, 3 little fish.
I removed the UGF (just don't like them), lightly rinsed the gravel, vacuumed like crazy, added Laterite, replanted only some of the Java Fern, added a number of other plants fresh from the LFS. I put on a new 130W lite bar (50/50, as that's what it came with and I didn't want to swap for another $80 bux!) and it's turned on about 8-9 hrs/day (no sunlight). I dose twice weekly with a Kent Fresh plant additive (contains no Nitrates). Okay. I set it up. I sit. I watch.

A few days later, Hair (or Fuzz) algae starts. It picks up speed. Some plants not staying well-planted and reseat some of the plants. Added a few fish. We're now up to about (9) 1" - 1.5" fish (small, small population) Nitrates THROUGH THE ROOF (250+). Vacuum like crazy. 30% water change. Nitrates drop, but still excessively high.

Hair algae starts back again the next day. Still adding fertilizer on-schedule, I've cut back feeding frequency and quantity. A few days later, excessive Nitrates again (250+). 30% water change, lots of vacuuming, careful not to disturb rocks. Plants taking hold nicely (3 weeks after planting), but so is Hair algae.

All this time, the chemistry of the tank is leveling out nicely (pH, hardness, etc) and the vital readings are all looking strong (no nitrites, etc) Except, Nitrates are still through the roof, algae on glass and on plants concerns me, I've lost 2 fish in the last 2 weeks.

Overall elapsed time: about 6 weeks. Lots of water turnover through once/twice weekly water changes. Only chemistry reading out of line is the Nitrates...

So, I ask you-
Where are all the nitrates coming from?
What do I to naturally reduce the Nitrate level?

Thanks for the help-

Jeffrey
 

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with that light fixutre you are at over 2.5 watts per gallon. I know when I increased the wattage I got algae growth, mainly on the slower growing plants, nothing on glass. Maybe you should use some biospira. I added it to my tank and got a quick drop in both nitrites and nitrates. My levels weren't as high as yours, but it still took abut a week to drop.
What type of fish did you add to the tank? I have a feeling that the bioload from them was too much too soon for the bacteria to handle.

John
 

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Discussion Starter #3
with that light fixutre you are at over 2.5 watts per gallon. I know when I increased the wattage I got algae growth, mainly on the slower growing plants, nothing on glass. Maybe you should use some biospira. I added it to my tank and got a quick drop in both nitrites and nitrates. My levels weren't as high as yours, but it still took abut a week to drop.
What type of fish did you add to the tank? I have a feeling that the bioload from them was too much too soon for the bacteria to handle.

John
Bioload is likely near nothing. In the whole 55gal, I have 8 neons/danios and one zebra tetra. Likely not anything near the cause of the high nitrates.

If you got an algae bloom with the new lights, what did you do about it? I'm at about 2.3, but the next model down seemed far too little light...

Here's the numbers:
Source Water:
pH = 7.5
NO3 = 2-3ppm
KH = 125
GH = 210

Aquarium PreChange:
pH = 6.8
NO3 = about 120ppm (was misreading the dip test)

Aquarium PostChange (of >50%):
pH = 7.5
NO3 = 20-30 ppm
KH = 125
GH = 275

I have not cleaned the filter after the water change because 1) I thought I'd give it the day so I don't lost my cycle and 2) it's midnight and I'm just plain done for today...

BTW, I have noticed that some of my plants are growing quite well. One bunch pant whose name eludes me right now (rooted or floating, single strand, long and thin) shows signs of rapid growth (leaves spread far apart on the stalk)

My Java Fern has black spots/holes on it (not algae), but other than that and the algae issue, the flora is doing fairly well!
 

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well, sounds like you have a few things going on in your tank right now.

A. your tank is going through a mini cycle from the rinsing and moving of the gravel (be patient)

B. you are over fertilizing - laterite is extremely nutrient rich and you plant load likely is not making efficient use of the liquid fertilizer either. --- this can be handled by cutting way back on the fertilizers and adding lots of stem plants. fast growing plants will use up nutrient faster.

C. you also have the wrong light bulbs for plants. You want a bulb somewhere near
6500K.

D. with planted tanks, you don't vackume the gravel. this makes it harder for the bacterial films that grow over the substrate to take hold and releases nutrients into the water from the substrate.

E. eventually you will want to add CO2

F. eventually once the plants take hold and grow at a steady pace they will serve as the main filtration removing amonia as a whole product before it turns to nitrate in the first place, but this takes time.
 
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