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Old 07-23-2014, 10:43 PM   #1
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Nitrates Always High

Hello! Ever since I started caring for fish I found that the nitrate was always 20ppm or more. Today I found it was at a staggering 80ppm! I have 2 freshwater tanks, one 55g filled with goldfish (1 black moor, 1 ryukin, 1 lion head) and the other 20g filled with 10 tetras, 4 corys, 6 rasboras, and a dwarf gourami. The 55g HAD plants, but they all got torn up. The 20g has lots of green cabomba and corkscrew vallisneria plants. Both always read something 20ppm or more, no matter how frequent of water changes. The Nitrite, Ammonia, and pH of both tanks are spot on, and im always careful to not over feed. We recently got evacuated due to a fire, neither tanks were fed for 4 days, and the Nitrate was still bad. I do a 50% water change on the 55g weekly, and a 40% on the 20g weekly. Could it be that there is just a high amount of Nitrate in my tap water? What could I do to lower it?
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Old 07-24-2014, 10:45 AM   #2
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Have you tested tap? Mine goes about 5ppm but it's city water.
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Old 07-24-2014, 11:38 AM   #3
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High Nitrates

Hello Maff...

Most aquarium fish you pick up at the local pet stores will adapt to your tap water. You don't need to be overly concerned with nitrates. This form of nitrogen has been processed by the good bacteria, so it isn't very toxic even at higher levels. What you do need to be aware of are ammonia and nitrite. These are very toxic to your fish. If you keep the water pure with weekly water changes of at least 50 percent, you'll maintain a steady water chemistry and your fish and plants will be fine.

Floating plants will help use nitrates. If you keep aggressive fish that damage these plants, then use a nitrate reducing filter medium. Acurel has a very good product.

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Old 07-24-2014, 02:42 PM   #4
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I just tested my tap and it read 5ppm. Good to know that fish can adapt to these conditions. My nitrites and ammonia are always 0, and all the fish seem healthy. I think I am going to go pick up some floating plants for the 20g, as they never tear up the plants that i have. Thanks for all the help!!!
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Old 07-24-2014, 03:28 PM   #5
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+1 on the floating plants. Floating plants work wonders on nitrates

As for the gold fish tank, that's pretty normal. Gold fish have very high bioloads, and their love for shredding plants makes it even harder. Large water changes, light feeding, plus a nitrate reducing filter media such as purigen are about all you can do. As mentioned above, your nitrates aren't too bad. Ideally you want to keep them around 20 or less, but they're not too dangerous until you start getting pretty high on the nitrate chart (unless you have sensitive fish).
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Old 07-24-2014, 08:13 PM   #6
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Thanks for the help! I picked up some hornwort from the store as i heard its a good floater.
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Old 07-24-2014, 08:32 PM   #7
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It would be good to get them below 50 anyways.
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Old 07-25-2014, 02:57 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MaffooJ View Post
Thanks for the help! I picked up some hornwort from the store as i heard its a good floater.
Hornwort is a fairly tough plant too. It may be able to stand up to your goldies in the other tank. Try putting a trimming in there with them when you have extra from the other tank and see how well it lasts. Worst case, your goldies get a veggie snack
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Old 07-25-2014, 03:05 AM   #9
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You could get some duckweed in the goldie tank. Great supplement for them to eat and also a terrific plant to suck nitrates out.
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Old 07-25-2014, 07:29 PM   #10
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Thanks for the help! I will try putting some hornwort in my goldfish tank and see how it goes. Know any stores that sell duckweed?
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Old 07-25-2014, 07:45 PM   #11
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Hmm.. Check your LFS, Petco, etc.

You could check the classifieds of different forums (including this one) and a lot of members give it away for free.

You could ship it in from liveaquaria... just look around I guess.

Sorry I couldnt be more help!
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Old 08-03-2014, 03:41 PM   #12
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Haha, alright. Thanks for the help!
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Old 08-04-2014, 12:49 AM   #13
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What kind of wc schedule are you keeping on your goldfish tank?

80ppm of nitrate indicates that you are not changing sufficient amounts of water on a frequent enough basis. The simple solution here as your tap only contains 5ppm of nitrate is to increase the amount and frequency of your wcs until you are able to maintain your nitrates in a reasonable range for fancies on a regular basis. Nitrate levels this high will create health issues for them if not well controlled.

Plants (in this particular case) will have a minimal effect on nitrates if they are able to survive not being eaten. You may want to try parrots feather or larger water lettuce if you have sufficient lighting for plants. Without sufficient lighting to support plant life, dying plant matter will further contribute to ammonia (then nitrate) levels. With messy goldfish, lots of big wcs are the key to a healthy tank and happy fish.
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Old 08-11-2014, 04:03 PM   #14
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Thanks for the reply! They always like to destroy plants I put in no matter where they are, so I don't usually put them in. I do a 50% water change weekly and test water every couple days. Lately they seem to be doing well. My filter was packed full of garbage so I cleaned it out last week.
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