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Old 11-30-2022, 01:41 PM   #1
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Surprised by nitrate level in new Oscar tank.

Pink, an 8 yr old, came to me 11/26/22. She went to a temporary 56 G. It has a fully cycled AquaClear 110 HOB and a big sponge filter, also cycled. The ammonia spiked to 2 ppm on 11/28. Zero nitrites & 40 ppm nitrate. Did a 60% water change. Ammonia dropped to zero, no nitrites, but same 40 nitrates. On 11/29, the params were the same. I did another 60% water change & got the same results: O, O, 40. (Ammonia, nitrite, nitrate)

She was supposed to go into a 125 G this Monday, but the husband was unable to modify the stand due to a work situation. He should be able to fix the stand this weekend.

I have an Oscar of equal size (8”) in a 110 with a Jack D, maybe 7”. Their params now are 0,0, 20.

Should I change Pink’s water everyday to keep the nitrates from rising? I do have the option of adding additional cycled filter media.

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Old 11-30-2022, 02:14 PM   #2
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Adding more filter media wont make any difference to the amount of nitrate your system produces. The amount of nitrate is a function of the amount of waste ammonia going into the water. More filter media wont reduce the amount of ammonia.

Is there anything apart from the fish and any food that might be contributing? New substrate?
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Old 11-30-2022, 03:35 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Jacky12 View Post
Pink, an 8 yr old, came to me 11/26/22. She went to a temporary 56 G. It has a fully cycled AquaClear 110 HOB and a big sponge filter, also cycled. The ammonia spiked to 2 ppm on 11/28. Zero nitrites & 40 ppm nitrate. Did a 60% water change. Ammonia dropped to zero, no nitrites, but same 40 nitrates. On 11/29, the params were the same. I did another 60% water change & got the same results: O, O, 40. (Ammonia, nitrite, nitrate)

She was supposed to go into a 125 G this Monday, but the husband was unable to modify the stand due to a work situation. He should be able to fix the stand this weekend.

I have an Oscar of equal size (8Ē) in a 110 with a Jack D, maybe 7Ē. Their params now are 0,0, 20.

Should I change Pinkís water everyday to keep the nitrates from rising? I do have the option of adding additional cycled filter media.
As Aiken mentioned, adding more filter material is not going solve your problem. If anything, having that 0 ammonia and 0 nitrite means you have enough biological to handle the fish load ( providing that those 0 readings weren't just from the water change. )

Couple things to check for: Make sure your nitrate reagents are still good. Have someone else check your water to confirm your reading.

Besides changing water, there are items such a Poly Filter pad that can absorb the nitrate as well as a SERA product that does the same. ( You'll have to look up the name but it's made by SERA.)

Besides these, changing water on Oscars is the best bet. They are just a high poop fish that produces a lot of ammonia so therefore creates a lot of nitrates. This is why you need to keep them in larger tanks so that you are not doing daily maintenance on the tank. It reduces you doing all the time.
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Old 11-30-2022, 03:41 PM   #4
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If you don't have sufficient filteration and the zero ammonia and nitrite is down to water changes rather than your cycle, adding cycled filter media will result in more nitrate not less because more of the ammonia will by cycled rather than sitting in the water and being removed via water changes. High nitrate is better than high ammonia or nitrite though.

Its only for a few days. Just change water if you arent happy with the nitrate levels.
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Old 11-30-2022, 04:15 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jacky12 View Post
Pink, an 8 yr old, came to me 11/26/22. She went to a temporary 56 G. It has a fully cycled AquaClear 110 HOB and a big sponge filter, also cycled. The ammonia spiked to 2 ppm on 11/28. Zero nitrites & 40 ppm nitrate. Did a 60% water change. Ammonia dropped to zero, no nitrites, but same 40 nitrates. On 11/29, the params were the same. I did another 60% water change & got the same results: O, O, 40. (Ammonia, nitrite, nitrate)

She was supposed to go into a 125 G this Monday, but the husband was unable to modify the stand due to a work situation. He should be able to fix the stand this weekend.

I have an Oscar of equal size (8Ē) in a 110 with a Jack D, maybe 7Ē. Their params now are 0,0, 20.

Should I change Pinkís water everyday to keep the nitrates from rising? I do have the option of adding additional cycled filter media.
Just tossing this out there. You may want to minimize your feeding. If feeding 2x daily then cut to once. If feeding once then cut amount in half. As stated it's for a short time. An Oscar can easily go without food for a couple of wks(up to 4 if chubby like mine are).
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Old 11-30-2022, 05:02 PM   #6
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Thanks, Andy, Aiken and mj.

mj, over feeding is among my faults as a fish keeper, not always, but it happens. I will continue to work on this.

Aiken, I borrowed gravel from the big goldfish tank. It was washed. But my hope was some BB remained. Probably the no ammonia & nitrite are due to two 60% water changes within a 4 day time period. idk.

Andy, I have a brand new unopened API test kit & will retest. I’ll check for an expiration date. Never looked for one before. Generally, I don’t have much respect for expiration dates. It’s often marketing to grab more money. Will def check out SERA.

Thanks, guys, for all the useful advice. Pink took another food stick from my hand today & was very gentle. She declined a second one.
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Old 11-30-2022, 05:11 PM   #7
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Thanks, Andy, Aiken and mj.

mj, over feeding is among my faults as a fish keeper, not always, but it happens. I will continue to work on this.

Aiken, I borrowed gravel from the big goldfish tank. It was washed. But my hope was some BB remained. Probably the no ammonia & nitrite are due to two 60% water changes within a 4 day time period. idk.

Andy, I have a brand new unopened API test kit & will retest. Iíll check for an expiration date. Never looked for one before. Generally, I donít have much respect for expiration dates. Itís often marketing to grab more money. Will def check out SERA.

Thanks, guys, for all the useful advice. Pink took another food stick from my hand today & was very gentle. She declined a second one.
I've found that the API Nitrate reagents don't hold up as well as the other reagents in the kit. I haven't had issues with the other agents up to the expiration dates but the Nitrate ones I replace at least 6 months before the expiration date.
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Old 11-30-2022, 07:07 PM   #8
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The newer API Kit says expiration is 7/26. The older kit , 6/26. The KH & GH say the same. Given that, I won’t open the newer kit.

But I will take a second nitrate test tomorrow with Salifert. Only used it a few times, results consistent with API. Expires 4/24. Easier for me to run API for everything. This is an appropriate test for Pink. You read the sample by placing it over a pink color-chart to see which shade it most closely matches. lol.
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Old 11-30-2022, 08:27 PM   #9
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Check the tap water for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate.

Do bigger water changes (75-90%) every day until the nitrate is below 20ppm.
Make sure any new water is free of chlorine/ chloramine before it's added to the tank.

Reduce feeding has already been mentioned.

Add some floating plants like Duckweed or Water Sprite.
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Old 11-30-2022, 08:52 PM   #10
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Hi Colin,
I checked the tap water a year ago & got zero for ammonia & nitrites & 5ppm on nitrate. The fact I got 0, 0, 20 ppm today on the 110 G with the other Oscar who’s with a Jack D, suggests the tap water’s the same. I did a ~60% change on that tank Sunday. But retesting tap water it is a simple experiment & I’ll do it tomorrow.

OK, I’ll do a bigger water change tomorrow.

After getting all those snail egg infested plants at the LFS, I’m afraid of live plants. I hate picking snails out of some of my tanks every single day. I can’t stand them & they multiply quicker than I can remove them.
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Old 12-01-2022, 03:13 PM   #11
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FWIW.....
All of us has been guilty of over feeding at one time or another.
We must learn to overcome that temptation.
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Old 12-01-2022, 03:49 PM   #12
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Sweet of you say, Joe. On the positive side I’m very good at not overfeeding my dogs and myself. My French Bulldog is at the AKC 28 pd limit and the pug mix is a trim little guy. They get fed twice a day. They are the only dogs I ever had that didn’t pork up. Yay!
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Old 12-01-2022, 07:17 PM   #13
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Did a 60% water change which dropped nitrate level from 40 to 10. Iím beginning to wonder if something else is going on, what with these daily water changes. Pink the Oscar is only 8Ē long. The temporary tank is 56 gallons. The gravel, AquaClear 110 filter and large foam sponge filter were all borrowed from the goldfish 125 G tank, leaving the goldfish with two 110 HOB filters and one cycled and one new sponge filter. The borrowed items were washed & Iím wondering if I didnít do a good enough job. I may be guilty of over feeding at times, but itís not like I tossed a Subway Footlong tuna sandwich in there.

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Old 12-02-2022, 04:33 PM   #14
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I did not do a water change today. Nitrate is 20 ppm
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Old 12-02-2022, 05:04 PM   #15
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I did not do a water change today. Nitrate is 20 ppm
You need to confirm your ammonia source. ( i.e amount of food, oxygenation level, fish poo etc.) Your bacteria bed is obviously working overtime to produce that much nitrate in a small amount of time.
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Old 12-02-2022, 05:19 PM   #16
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You mean my tap water? Tested yesterday at 0 ammonia, same as a year ago. Ammonia in tank zero last few days. Did not take today, but will now.
How would I test oxygenation level of the water? I have a large sponge in there running off an aerator. I could probably find a larger aerator around the house. The used 125 G I just bought came with a pair of very large ones. I may have some middle sized around. Would this increase oxygenation? Would too much bubbling bother the fish?
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Old 12-02-2022, 06:59 PM   #17
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Ammonia & nitrates good! 0 & 20.

Have you ever heard of the Hanna Nitrate Meter? I thought it was like a Ph meter, you simply insert probes in the water. It is not! You use water samples & reagents & it has a digital reader. Thing was pricey. >$60. The advertisement was misleading, but my stupidity in not doing more research on it. The company refunded the full amount But I had to pay return shipping.
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Old 12-02-2022, 08:12 PM   #18
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You mean my tap water? Tested yesterday at 0 ammonia, same as a year ago. Ammonia in tank zero last few days. Did not take today, but will now.
How would I test oxygenation level of the water? I have a large sponge in there running off an aerator. I could probably find a larger aerator around the house. The used 125 G I just bought came with a pair of very large ones. I may have some middle sized around. Would this increase oxygenation? Would too much bubbling bother the fish?
Ammonia in the water is caused by the fish pooing and breathing as well as foods breaking down in the water and others. Are you sure your fish is eating everything? Are the foods higher in protein? High protein foods produce a higher amount of ammonia than lower protein foods. ( This is a catch 22 because some fish need higher protein foods for best survival. ) Since nitrate in aquariums starts out as ammonia, that becomes the first thing to research.
There are portable dissolved oxygen meters as well as test kits for dissolved oxygen but if it were me and I know the tank is a temporary one, I'd use the visual test : Is the fish breathing heavy but not panting? Is the fish breathing faster than at rest? When at rest, does the fish's gill plates move constantly or sporadically? Bottom line, if the fish is breathing faster, you need to add either a larger pump or an extra air stone to help increase oxygenation.

Larger bubbles should not matter to the fish but smaller bubbles can produce problems so you want to use "large bubble" air stones.

Is there adequate air circulation near the air pump? Do you use anything in the house that contains ammonia that may be getting into the air in the room? In this last hatchery I had, I had an ammonia issue which, after many, many months of testing and lost spawns, determined that the issue was that the hydrogen atoms in the water combined with a nitrogen atom from something inside the hatchery and the lack of adequate overall air circulation ( the hatchery was air conditioned so little outside air was inside the building and there was inadequate venting.) combined to make an aerosol ammonia gas which my compressor was spreading to all my tanks.

In another case, I had a customer with a tiled floor whose tank was dying every 6 weeks no matter what he did. When I did a service call to his house, I happened to ask his maid if she was wiping down his tank with windex? She replied NO but when I explained to her why I asked, she told me that she mopped around his tank with a solution that did contain some ammonia and other chemicals. She did this every 6 weeks. His air pump was inside the cabinetry close to the floor. So you see, it doesn't have to be just from the fish.
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Old 12-02-2022, 08:12 PM   #19
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Ammonia & nitrates good! 0 & 20.

Have you ever heard of the Hanna Nitrate Meter?
No I haven't.
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Old 12-02-2022, 08:53 PM   #20
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Thanks so very much for the informative post. Much appreciated, as always. This fish is breathing the same as the other fish, including the orange tiger & does not appear to be distressed. I was indeed initially guilty of overfeeding, but am doing better and using a turkey baster to suck out the large uneaten floating pellets.

No ammonia around this house; I hate the odor & use other cleaning products. Good for you in sleuthing out the maid issue!
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