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Old 05-31-2008, 02:37 PM   #1
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Question Nitrate Problems

I have a 36g FW tank with a Rena XP2 filter. I have 10 small fish, (neons and the like) and 2 High-Fin Tetras. The tank is about 1 year old and cycled.

My Nitrate levels have been off the charts. I thought it was originally due to my lacksidasical water changes but I started changed 25% of the water every three weeks and the Nitrates at the end of the 3 weeks are still off the charts.

My filter media consists of (from the top):
- Microfiltration pad
- Carbon
- Ceramic Rings
- 2 30 PPI Foam
- 2 20 PPI Foam


I clean out the filter about once every 2 months which consists of rinsing the foam, changing or rinsing the Microfiltration pad (depending on how it looks) and replacing the carbon.

I feed the fish a VERY small amount once per day.

Am I missing something? Doing something wrong?

Could it be the filter? In my first go around in the hobby, about 15 years ago, I had a 55g with an Eheim (I think) and don't remember having these problems.

Thanks for you help.
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Old 05-31-2008, 03:04 PM   #2
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If the Nitrates aren't coming down then you need to increase the frequency and/or size of your water changes. Many people do 50+% water changes on a weekly basis. Usually this is with sensitive fish like Discus, or with a planted aquarium that is being dosed using EI, but it illustrates that you have a significant range that you can increase your water changes.
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Old 05-31-2008, 04:07 PM   #3
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The first thing that comes to mind is to confirm that your nitrAte readings are real. What test kit are you using? Have you had an LFS confirm your results?

What is the nitrAte reading from your tap water?
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Old 05-31-2008, 04:19 PM   #4
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I am using the Freshwater Master Test Kit from Aquarium Pharmaceuticals. I have not had my LFS confirm my readings but I've run several re-tests, all with the same result and I have no reason to doubt my readings.

My nitrAte reading from the tap is 5.0ppm
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Old 05-31-2008, 07:09 PM   #5
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What is your nitrate reading? The actual number
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Old 05-31-2008, 07:21 PM   #6
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160ppm+
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Old 05-31-2008, 09:46 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by realdeal View Post
160ppm+
I would definitely suggest more frequent water changes. Every 3 weeks is way too seldom. Even 25% every week is not enough if your readings are that high. You might try a 50% every 3-4 days until your readings come down, then 40-50% weekly thereafter, since your tap water starts out with 5ppm. You really want to keep it down under 20ppm.
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Old 06-01-2008, 12:25 AM   #8
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Agree.. Several bigger water changes every few days to get that number right down to < 30ppm. Then, weekly water changes.
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Old 06-01-2008, 10:48 AM   #9
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You might want to investigate why they are so high as well. If you've been lacking in the water changes it might follow that the same is true of vac-ing the gravel, cleaning the filter(s) and the pads? It might be worthwhile to start off with a good cleaning then follow a more strict regiment of cleaning and watch how much you're feeding. Big water changes and the same practices are going to get you back to where you are now.

On my 30FW every 2 weeks I:
15% PWC
1/3 gravel vac
Rinse the filters
Depending on how the water looks, recharge the carbon


Every 8 weeks:
30% PWC
high pressure vac the UGF
change the GFO
Rinse/change the filter pads
Scrub any of the ornaments that have any algae

My nitrates stay in the 10-15 range
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Old 06-01-2008, 10:54 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by tawolcott View Post
You might want to investigate why they are so high as well. If you've been lacking in the water changes it might follow that the same is true of vac-ing the gravel, cleaning the filter(s) and the pads? It might be worthwhile to start off with a good cleaning then follow a more strict regiment of cleaning and watch how much you're feeding. Big water changes and the same practices are going to get you back to where you are now.

On my 30FW every 2 weeks I:
15% PWC
1/3 gravel vac
Rinse the filters
Depending on how the water looks, recharge the carbon


Every 8 weeks:
30% PWC
high pressure vac the UGF
change the GFO
Rinse/change the filter pads
Scrub any of the ornaments that have any algae

My nitrates stay in the 10-15 range

What does UGF and GFO mean?

So you are actually changing your filter pads and foam and carbon or just rinsing?
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