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Old 09-28-2011, 08:01 AM   #1
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Strange Nitrate readings.

Hey folks. I began my fishless cycle of my new 25 gallon tank on Sept 21. The cycling has been going to plan until last night.

Sept-22 -4:00pm
Nitrates > 4ppm
Nitrites = 0
Nitrates - didn't take a reading (probably should have)

Sept 26 - 3:30pm
Ammonia < 1
Nitrites > 5
Nitrates >20/<40

I added more ammonia and got it back up to 4ppm.

Sept 27 - 7:30am
Ammonia = 1
Nitrites > 5 (I'm guessing between 6-8)
Nitrates = 40-80ppm

I added more ammonia and got it to 4-6ppm.

Sept 27 - 9:30pm
Ammonia <.5
Nitrites > 5 (6-8)
Nitrates = 5-10ppm ???

I tested the nitrates again 20 minutes later after getting ammonia back to 4ppm, and got the same reading.

Sept 28 - 6:15am
Ammonia = .5-1ppm
Nitrites > 5
Nitrates = 5-10ppm ...???



I have a few small plants in there with no Co2 (waiting on my diffuser), so I don't think that's it. I'm totally baffled on what could be happening. I've tested the nitrates of my other tank (almost 1.5 years old now) and got the readings I expected, so I don't think I'm getting false readings.
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Old 09-28-2011, 08:59 AM   #2
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It could be the live plants. Did you have the higher nitrate readings with the live plants or before you added them? The nitrate test is very tricky and picky. I did it one night like I usually do; it was during the fishless cycle and the night before I had something like 40+ nitrate. I did the test, counted the seconds for shaking the bottle and tube, thought I did it correctly, but nitrate showed at 0. I panicked and redid the test, this time banging the bottles against a table (they have a reagent powder in them, particularly bottle #2) that can get clumped and cause inaccurate readings) and shaking more vigorously and the test came back normal. If it isn't a false test or the live plants I'm not sure what it could be.....
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Old 09-28-2011, 09:09 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by librarygirl View Post
It could be the live plants. Did you have the higher nitrate readings with the live plants or before you added them? The nitrate test is very tricky and picky. I did it one night like I usually do; it was during the fishless cycle and the night before I had something like 40+ nitrate. I did the test, counted the seconds for shaking the bottle and tube, thought I did it correctly, but nitrate showed at 0. I panicked and redid the test, this time banging the bottles against a table (they have a reagent powder in them, particularly bottle #2) that can get clumped and cause inaccurate readings) and shaking more vigorously and the test came back normal. If it isn't a false test or the live plants I'm not sure what it could be.....
They plants were in the tank minutes after I filled it with water for the first time. I have now done the test 3 times, and I have gotten the same result each time. I shake the bottles very hard, as well as banging them on a table. The plants are very small, I can't imagine them having any kind of significant impact. This is where the plants are at right now.

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Old 09-28-2011, 10:49 AM   #4
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are you shaking bottle #2 when you do the nitrate test? the solution in that bottle can settle, which will lead to low readings.
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Old 09-28-2011, 02:38 PM   #5
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I'm shaking the heck out of it. I have tested the nitrates 3 times now. All three times I get the same result. When I test my other tank, I get a reading of 40.
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Old 09-29-2011, 12:30 PM   #6
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So I realized something as soon as I woke up this morning. When I purchased my tank, it came with a bunch of sample bottles; a water clarifier and a liquid plant food. I never used the water clarifier, but I did use the plant food a few times. I used it as instructed. I realized this morning, I haven't added the food in a few days.... right around the same time I noticed a crazy drop in my nitrate levels. Is it possible that there was something in the food that was showing me the high nitrate readings? I hope that is the case. At least that explain why my nitrites are still high and my nitrates are so low. Anyways, I added the food in this morning and will be testing when I get home tonight. The food would have been in there a good twelve hours or so by then.
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