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Old 11-27-2003, 11:21 PM   #1
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High Nitrates And the Best way to lower Nitrates

High Nitrates And the Best way to lower Nitrates

Ok My 55 gallon fw tank had a level of 140 ppms or higher yesterday. The tank has no ammonia, no nitrites but nitrates are at 140. If I am not mistaken, ammonia gets converted to nitrite then nitrate? If that is true then my tank must have been real dirty and now its on its last step towards cleanliness. I did a 9 gallon change today and the nitrates barely nudged. How long should I wait for this to correct itself? What other steps should I take besides small daily water changes?

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Old 11-27-2003, 11:38 PM   #2
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Water change water change water change! The number one way to reduce nitrate levels. A 9g change on a 55g is only removing 16% of the nitrates; not much at all. A change of 30% (16-17g) or so will make a little more of a dent, but obviously won't make a huge diff if only one is done. I wouldn't do a change over 50%

Nitrates do not leave the tank unless they are removed (or if its a well planted tank; the plants will use the nitrates as food). It will not correct itself. Think of it this way: anything you add to the tank STAYS in the tank unless you remove it, although it may be in a diff form. Nitrates are the last form of the nitrogen cycle.

I would suggest at this point, because your nitrates are well above dangerous levels (nitrates are not generally dangerous like ammonia or nitrites, but its suggested to keep levels below 40ppm), daily water changes of 20-30%. After a week you should have manageable levels of nitrates. Do be sure to gravel vac the first big change (definitely do a 30% or more change), and every other change thereafter for that week to pull up any rotting food/poo/detritus in it. I'd start tonite. Good luck!
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Old 11-28-2003, 04:54 AM   #3
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Agreed. It took me about 4 months to get the nitrates down to acceptable levels on a 150 gal cichlid tank. They were 200+ when I started. The tank had been neglected and was stocked with quite a few large cichlids. Large water changes every time I serviced the tank, every two weeks, finally won out. Since you have your tank at home, you should be able to lower them somewhat faster than that. Regular water changes on the 150 keep nitrates under 15 now.
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Old 11-28-2003, 12:23 PM   #4
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I did another Change today and I think I got the nitrates to budge a little. thats after 2 changes. I guess im lucky that my tap ph is ok and I have a temperature adjuster on my shower faucet. Just a little stress coat

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Old 11-28-2003, 03:07 PM   #5
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Once you get them down to under 40ppm, check it daily until you can see a pattern of how long it takes for the levels to approach 40ppm again. Then you will know how often to do your regular maintenance water changes. (Is this the neon tank? If so, they tolerate much lower nitrates than other fish, so I would try to keep it around 10-20ppm for the best results with the neons. Other fish do fine with higher levels.)

Good luck!
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Old 11-29-2003, 06:40 AM   #6
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daily water changes of 20-30%. After a week you should have manageable levels of nitrates. Do be sure to gravel vac the first big change
I did another change and now they are somewhere between 60 and 80. looks like 2 more changes and ill be ok by monday. THe tank is so clean that when I hit the gravel nothing comes up.
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