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Old 07-16-2004, 11:41 PM   #1
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Why are my nitrates so high?

Got home tonight and was told that our Gibbiceps pleco was acting very strange all night. Not really able to stay on the glass and moving along the bottom akwardly. Just did my parameters and came out with the following results:

PH - 7.6
Ammonia - 0ppm
Nitrites - 0ppm
Nitrates - 80ppm......this one is scary.

Did an immediate 40% water change. What would cause such a spike? Thanks

Edit: last week Nitrates were at 0ppm and also, this is a planted tank!
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Old 07-16-2004, 11:56 PM   #2
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Wow. That sounds like a false positive on the test... That's a *huge* difference to encounter in one week, and means that the ammonia and nitrites last week would have had to be astronomical. Also, nitrate readings that high are almost never seen in planted tanks!

Any changes to the tank recently?

I'd try the test again...
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Old 07-17-2004, 12:08 AM   #3
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Thanks for the quick reply. After the 40% water change I tested again and came up with 30ppm. The Nitrate kit is only a couple months old and I used a different test tube this time. I feed this tank bloodworms, zucchini, cucumber and occasional peas. Could any of these foods be affecting the balance?
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Old 07-17-2004, 12:18 AM   #4
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"Thanks for the quick reply. After the 40% water change I tested again and came up with 30ppm."

Bad test. 80ppm minus 32 ppm (40% waterchange) should be 48 ppm, not 30.
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Old 07-17-2004, 12:43 AM   #5
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2 bad tests in a row? I guess maybe the testing bottles got contaminated(don't know how). Kinda frustrated by these readings seen as how our Nitrates have always hovered around 0-5ppm.
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Old 07-17-2004, 01:01 AM   #6
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Quote:
Nitrates have always hovered around 0-5ppm.
Perhaps your nitrates are still that low. How is the pleco doing? What other fish are in the tank? How are they doing?
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Old 07-17-2004, 05:09 PM   #7
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The Pleco seems okay today....not perfect but okay. There are 2 white cloud tetras, a betta and 2 clown loaches in the tank currently.(loaches and pleco to go in 108gal in 2 weeks) No other fish were acting strange(as "not strange" as a loach can act). Thanks for all the replys. I'm going to test the Nitrates again tonight when I get home from work and see what's going on!
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Old 07-17-2004, 05:44 PM   #8
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If the foods have been left in the tank, they could, indeed, be affecting the nitrates. But it does sound like you got a false reading back the first time...
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Old 07-17-2004, 05:54 PM   #9
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I'm thinking the same thing. I am going to soak all the test tubes in hot water and clean them well and then I will test again. If I get another bad reading I am going to purchase a new test kit!
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Old 07-17-2004, 09:49 PM   #10
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OK.....update!

My fiance just did the Nitrate readings and called me. They are sitting between 40ppm and 50ppm. She tested with the Aquarium pharm test kit and 2 seperate dip strips and they all came out the same. I am really stumped and probably shouldn't worry(but that's just me). Like I said before, this is a fully planted tank, which is why I am so confused! I know they are still acceptable at this reading but I thought this is still high considering my tank layout and that they read 0ppm last week. Any other ideas folks?
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Old 07-18-2004, 12:57 PM   #11
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Interesting. For fun, what are your current ammonia and nitrite readings? How's the pleco?
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Old 07-18-2004, 02:02 PM   #12
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Nitrites are 0ppm and ammonia is 0ppm. Pleco is kinda off and on. Sometimes she will move fine around the tank and other times it looks like she struggles to move around. Also,she sometimes has a hard time getting/staying on the glass. At the moment one af my loaches is sitting at the bottom of the tank and his gills are moving quite quickly and he is not really moving at all. Earlier this morning I found him "sleeping" on his side and when I went to the glass he skittered away.
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