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Old 10-28-2003, 02:08 PM   #1
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high nitrates

My nitrates have been high for a few weeks now and I have done 4 water changes and it isn't helping much. Is there anything I can do to get these levels down? Everything else is at a great level except my nitrates.


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Old 10-28-2003, 02:16 PM   #2
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Are you ammonia and nitrites both at 0? Explain your setup in detail so we can get an idea of your filtration, bio load, etc.

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Old 10-28-2003, 02:35 PM   #3
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Also, what % water changes are you doing? Nitrates will be reduced in direct proportion to the percentage of water changed.

Example - nitrate levels at 100ppm

10% water change done, 10% of nitrates removed, nitrate level now at 90ppm

Assuming no new nitrates are added before the next water change, another 10% water change is done, reducing nitrates by 10%, or 9ppm. 'Trates are now at 81ppm

Third WC is done, again 10%, 10% of nitrates (8.1ppm) are removed, leaving them now at 72.9ppm

Final water change is done, 10% once again. Nitrates are lowered by 10%, or 7.29, leaving the remaining nitrate level at 65.6ppm

Much depends on the amount of the water changes, and if the nitrate level is rising again between changes.

Like astride13 said, we'll need complete setup details (along all tank inhabitants).

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Old 10-28-2003, 02:59 PM   #4
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Are you siphoning during water change? Because detritus that sank into the sand will cause nitrate to build up.
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Old 10-28-2003, 04:04 PM   #5
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As Teri said, larger changes at one time will have a greater effect than multiple smaller ones. You may also want to examine your feeding habits. I feed once a day, only about four times a week. Some may disagree on my practice, but the bottom line is you could possibly be feeding more than necessary.

Macro algaes also do a great job at uptaking nitrates. A refugium or some sort of in-tank plant can do wonders. I brought my nitrate level from 10 ppm to 6 ppm in just 48 hours in my nano by simply adding a shaving brush plant. After a week, they're at 3 ppm, with absolutely no changes in my regular maintenance.

Do you have a DSB or a lot of rock. The anoxic areas (low or devoid of oxygen) of both of these consume nitrates very well with the anaerobic bacteria that they house. An effective sand bed should be a minimum of 3-4 inches deep. If you've got live rock in the tank, be certain to keep it clean by blowing it off with a turkey baster. For tight areas, such as in my nano, a baby's aspirator works equally as well. Keeping the rocks clean greatly enhances the performance of the bacteria. HTH
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Old 10-28-2003, 04:36 PM   #6
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Yes, I second everything that has been said and would also ask what brand of test kit you are using and have you had it checked at the LFS?
Nitrate test kits are one of the most troublesome of all... I have only found 2 test kits that I would trust and they are Salifiert and LaMotte test kits (friend has Lamotte).. I found RedSea, Hagen, and FastTest to be off by as much as 10 meg/L... Note that this is my experience, however, Test strips are also a quick guide but most are inaccurate...
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high nitrate, high nitrates, nitrates

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