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Old 04-19-2005, 02:43 PM   #1
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Nitrate Spike

I do PWC's 2 times a week on a 130 Gallon Aquarium once on Sunday and once on Wed or Thurs. Each PWC is 20 gallons each time (four 5 gallon buckets) so that's a total of approx 40 Gallons of water a week in PWC's.

Today I did a water test and my Nitrates are up to 80ppm! I don't see how this is possible. The only thing I can think of is I picked up 4 ottos almost a month ago and I can only find 2 in the tank. I haven't found any bodies yet...so either they're very good hiders and only 2 at a time are out, or they have died and their carcass is rotting somewhere....would this cause a Nitrate spike? My Ammonia is 0 ppm and my Nitrites are 0 ppm...

Everything in my tank, other than 2 logs, is listed in my signature....Is there something I"m missing here? Do I need to do more PWC's than I'm doing?
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Old 04-19-2005, 02:50 PM   #2
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How often do you test for nitrates?

A couple dead fish in a tank will definitely contribute to nitrates. Do you vacuum the gravel when you do your PWCs?
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Old 04-19-2005, 03:42 PM   #3
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If I were you, I woudl take every piece of decor out of the tank, searching for them. Look in the filter. I had to do that in the 150 and finally found the dead fish under a log.

Also, high Nitrates can be contributed to excess feeding. How often are you feeding the fish? Based on what your current stock is, you could get away with feeding a small portion in the morning, and a small portion at night. Anymore than that and you are probably overfeeding.
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Old 04-19-2005, 04:58 PM   #4
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Are you sure the clams are still alive? They have high mortality in home aquariums from what I've read.

Its not uncommon for otos to hide btw, especially during the photoperiod. Their size makes them easy to lose track of, more so in such a big tank I'll bet (I often only see one in my 8g despite looking through three sides, but the morning after dropping veggies, I'll see more again). For whatever its worth.
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Old 04-20-2005, 06:23 PM   #5
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I have no idea if the clams are still alive. How do you tell if a clam is still alive? They've buried themselves in the substrate and I haven't seen them since...

Removing all the decor is going to be a project and a half. I have 2 logs in there that will not come out unless the entire lid is removed...to remove the lid I gotta take the light off....But, I think it would be a good idea to see just what's going on in there...

I'm feeding twice a day, once in the morning and once at night. I do tend to make the night time feeding about twice as much as the daytime one...maybe I'll cut back though and feed them less. I usually feed them one Tubiflex Cube, 3 to 4 pinches of flake food in the morning, 1 Tubiflex Cube, 4 to 6 pinches of flake food, 2 sinking pellets for the Cories and once a week an algae wafer at night. Sound like too much?

I do a water test once a week on Saturdays. I test for Ammonia, Nitrites, Nitrates, pH and Fe. For the Nitrates last week they were around 40ppm. This week I did the test a little late because I was busy on Saturday...

Thanks for the input. I've just completed a PWC so I'll do the removing of all the decor on Sunday and see if I can't find those Ottos...
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130 Gallon Aquarium, Ehem 2217 Filter, Supreme Skilter 400 Power Filter, 2 Flora Glow 30W Lamps
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9 Neon Tetras, 6 Royal Black Emperor Tetras, 3 Head and tail light Tetras, 3 GlowLight Tetras, 4 Ottos, 4 Black Mollies, 2 White Balloon Mollies, 6 Scissor Tail Danios, 6 Mickey Mouse Platties, 6 White Platties, 12 Olive Nerite Snails, 11 Golden Clams, 3 Swordtails, 2 Panda Cories, 2 Elegan Cories, 1 Veil Angel, 3 Ameno Shrimp, 1 Baby Plattie
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Old 04-20-2005, 07:48 PM   #6
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You PWC are ~ 15%. Smaller pwc's have very little impact on nitarates, when you are trying to lower the levels. I wouldn't worry about finding bodies now, if you are seeing nitrates the body would most likely be almost all gone by now.

Just do 40 gal pwc's 3 times this week and see what happens. IMO it would be lots of hard work for little gain to restart after a clean out than just doing some fine tuning...... Hope that Helps.
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Old 04-26-2005, 06:11 PM   #7
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You have a 130g tank and you don't own a python? Get one. Today. Thank me later.
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Old 04-26-2005, 07:06 PM   #8
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You better believe the death of a clam(s) will cause spikes. And that's the problem with them: you don't know where they are and if they're dead.
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Old 04-27-2005, 06:47 AM   #9
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Do you have Malaysian trumpet Snails? The reason I ask is that they eat dead fish. Well, mine do. I had an oto die on me when I was away for two days, and when I got back, He was gone, except for his skin, he was completely eaten by snails (they were still inside the skin). I tested for water parameters immediatly and my nitrates were less then 10 ppm. This was in a 18.5 gallon tank.
Where I'm getting to, one or two dead otos won't do that to your tank, I would think that some of your fish and snails would easily be able to eat them.

So I would start looking for those clams and if you find them, dead or alive, toss them out (or set them up in their own tank), because they can indeed be a pita when they die on you, you'll never find them. Other then that, maybe make it a family event to do a 50% water change?

And also make sure that you don't feed to much, no food should touch the bottom of your tank (well, almost nothing).
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Old 04-27-2005, 07:13 AM   #10
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i would say that the possible dead otos can sontribute and the body is decomposing prosucing nitrates and phosphates so i recommend you do a search asap
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