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Old 08-21-2004, 12:17 PM   #1
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high Nitrate level -- clarification, please

Hey Everyone --

First, a bit of background: I've got a 6 mo old 55 gal SW tank with 2 perculas, a cole tang, cleaner shrimp, 110# live rock, and all sorts of other hitchhikers (snails, crabs, brittle stars, etc). About a month and a half ago, I got the kole tang and a lemon peel. I put them through QT for a week or so, and everything seemed fine (so they have been in the main tank for over a month without any sign of stress or problems -- both eat very well). BTW, I use Seachem supplements for calcium and buffer, too.

Lo and behold, we found the lemon peel stuck to the filter intake screen the other day (again, after being otherwise healthy and happy for over a month). Checking the water right way, everything seemed to be in the normal range, except the nitrate was at the highest end of the dip-stick scale. So I did a 5 gal water change, and then another three days later (this past week). Today, it's back up. I'm assuming that the little got stuck because he was otherwise weakened for some other reason (perhaps he got had some bad luck and could free himeself even though he was healthy?? Anyway...)

Reading the article "how ammonia is converted to nitrate", it sounds like nitrate should be harmless to the fish, yet the test kit indicates that too much nitrate can be stressful.

Can anyone recommend what to watch for and what to do to correct it? Are water changes still the best remedy? Thoughts, please.


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Old 08-21-2004, 02:09 PM   #2
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How often do you do water changes? How much water do you change? What kind of substrate do you have? What kind of filter are you using? Do you use RO or Tap Water?

IMO a one time 10% water change isn’t going to do much for reducing Nitrate. 10% weekly would be good, but if you haven’t done a change in a while 10% won’t help. I would do 30% and retest after a week. If you have CC substrate I would gravel vac at least half the tank during the 30% change. If your nitrate is high again after a week I would do another 30% and vac the other half.

Filter pads should be cleaned weekly, if you are using a canister and haven’t cleaned it lately I would do that as well. If you are running carbon and its more than 3 weeks old you should change it.

If you are using tap water you should check it for nitrates.

Nitrate isn’t nearly as bad on fish as ammonia, but IMO anything above 40ppm is going to cause stress.
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high nitrate, level, nitrate, nitrate level

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