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Old 05-22-2021, 07:03 PM   #1
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Help! Nitrates always high.

Hello all,

(I have posted previously about my albino cichlid Jack and his tank parameters have not changed except for consistently high nitrates ~30/40ppm); anywho, due to the fact I am about to lose my mind regarding this issue I was wondering if anyone has any sound advice regarding tank additions (or the like) which may help to keep his nitrates low. I am doing 40-50 percent WCís weekly for him.

Thank you so much for any advice!!

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Old 05-22-2021, 08:36 PM   #2
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Is it at those levels immediately before or after a water change?
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Old 05-22-2021, 10:54 PM   #3
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I know for a while I had high nitrates in my tank too. After a few weeks of trying different things what helped the most was feeding my fish less frequently. I'm not in any way an expert at this kind of thing but it could be something to consider.
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Old 05-25-2021, 10:04 AM   #4
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Help! Nitrates always high.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aiken Drum View Post
Is it at those levels immediately before or after a water change?


(Yeah... makes sense what you are getting at.)The readings are after the water change so the nitrates are probably even higher than that. I do feel like I may have been feeding him more of a varied/healthy diet lately to keep away the parasites- but in turn, more food likely settles to the bottom bc Jack is near-blind. He was so great at swiping up the Bug Bites! But not so much with the Spirulina or the other nutritious flakes or crisps. I have four plants in his tank and have ordered four more, but any other suggestions?
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Old 05-25-2021, 10:28 AM   #5
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Nope. Cut down on feeding first to eliminate that as a source. No sense in fighting it on multiple fronts until you eliminate some.
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Old 05-25-2021, 10:39 AM   #6
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Ive been reading some of your other posts on the issue. In summary.

You are cycling a tank with 1 largish fish in a 65 gallon.

You have been seeing lowish amounts of ammonia and been testing with a liquid test (for total ammonia) and also an alert patch (for free ammonia). You seem to understand the difference between those 2 things.

No nitrite and nitrate in the region of 40ppm and 60ppm.

Is that all correct?

One thing i cant see a test for is your tap water.

My hypothesis is that your tap water might be treated with chloramine rather than chlorine. Chloramine starts to break down to chlorine and ammonia once it leaves the tap. The ammonia will be present in a free ammonia/ammonium proportion depending on tank pH and temperature. Your liquid test should read this, your ammonia alert wont if the proportion of free ammonia to ammonium is low due to thevconditions in your tank. Your cycle processes out the ammonia/ammonium, you are now seeing nitrate resulting from low levels of ammonia.

Go and test your tap water, if your liquid test shows little to no total ammonia we can rule out my theory.
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Old 05-25-2021, 10:20 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aiken Drum View Post
Ive been reading some of your other posts on the issue. In summary.

You are cycling a tank with 1 largish fish in a 65 gallon.

You have been seeing lowish amounts of ammonia and been testing with a liquid test (for total ammonia) and also an alert patch (for free ammonia). You seem to understand the difference between those 2 things.

No nitrite and nitrate in the region of 40ppm and 60ppm.

Is that all correct?

One thing i cant see a test for is your tap water.

My hypothesis is that your tap water might be treated with chloramine rather than chlorine. Chloramine starts to break down to chlorine and ammonia once it leaves the tap. The ammonia will be present in a free ammonia/ammonium proportion depending on tank pH and temperature. Your liquid test should read this, your ammonia alert wont if the proportion of free ammonia to ammonium is low due to thevconditions in your tank. Your cycle processes out the ammonia/ammonium, you are now seeing nitrate resulting from low levels of ammonia.

Go and test your tap water, if your liquid test shows little to no total ammonia we can rule out my theory.


Good thought. I have tested it in the past and ammonia seemed nonexistent, but I will check again. I have been told by a plumbing source that our water is treated with chlorine versus chloramine.

You are right ... the nitrites are usually 0 and ammonia is 0 with API Master testing kit, but nitrates are usually at least 20Ėsometimes I can get it close to 10ppm. I donít know what to do, he is always hungry and I feel like I starve him as it is. He is no longer eating so Iím afraid he has parasites again (3/4th time) I feel so bad for him.
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Old 05-27-2021, 12:08 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aiken Drum View Post
Ive been reading some of your other posts on the issue. In summary.

You are cycling a tank with 1 largish fish in a 65 gallon.

You have been seeing lowish amounts of ammonia and been testing with a liquid test (for total ammonia) and also an alert patch (for free ammonia). You seem to understand the difference between those 2 things.

No nitrite and nitrate in the region of 40ppm and 60ppm.

Is that all correct?

One thing i cant see a test for is your tap water.

My hypothesis is that your tap water might be treated with chloramine rather than chlorine. Chloramine starts to break down to chlorine and ammonia once it leaves the tap. The ammonia will be present in a free ammonia/ammonium proportion depending on tank pH and temperature. Your liquid test should read this, your ammonia alert wont if the proportion of free ammonia to ammonium is low due to thevconditions in your tank. Your cycle processes out the ammonia/ammonium, you are now seeing nitrate resulting from low levels of ammonia.

Go and test your tap water, if your liquid test shows little to no total ammonia we can rule out my theory.


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Hi,

So I donít know if this is significant, but this is the first time Iíve noticed my tap water registering *any* ammonia... seems closer to 0.25ppm than to 0. Could that be contributing to the high nitrates? Attachment 1
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Old 05-27-2021, 12:10 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ET318 View Post
I know for a while I had high nitrates in my tank too. After a few weeks of trying different things what helped the most was feeding my fish less frequently. I'm not in any way an expert at this kind of thing but it could be something to consider.


Thanks!
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Old 05-27-2021, 12:12 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aiken Drum View Post
Ive been reading some of your other posts on the issue. In summary.

You are cycling a tank with 1 largish fish in a 65 gallon.

You have been seeing lowish amounts of ammonia and been testing with a liquid test (for total ammonia) and also an alert patch (for free ammonia). You seem to understand the difference between those 2 things.

No nitrite and nitrate in the region of 40ppm and 60ppm.

Is that all correct?

One thing i cant see a test for is your tap water.

My hypothesis is that your tap water might be treated with chloramine rather than chlorine. Chloramine starts to break down to chlorine and ammonia once it leaves the tap. The ammonia will be present in a free ammonia/ammonium proportion depending on tank pH and temperature. Your liquid test should read this, your ammonia alert wont if the proportion of free ammonia to ammonium is low due to thevconditions in your tank. Your cycle processes out the ammonia/ammonium, you are now seeing nitrate resulting from low levels of ammonia.

Go and test your tap water, if your liquid test shows little to no total ammonia we can rule out my theory.


Attachment 320929
Here is what the tap water reads
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Old 05-27-2021, 12:14 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by heidigirl99 View Post
Attachment 320929
Here is what the tap water reads


Correction: the tank has been cycled for several months.
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Old 06-12-2021, 12:36 PM   #12
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Please help - I need advice re: water in my fish tanks. I have been using Prime for a while, which seems like a good water conditioner but Iím not sure if it detoxifies chlorine and chloramine equally. Not only has our plain tap water tested positive for small amounts of ammonia, Iíve noticed that if I let my test tubes (filled with conditioned water with drops to test for ammonia, nitrogen levels, pH, etc) sit overnight, they will change by the morning. Like you are only supposed to wait 5 minutes for them to develop, right? At that point, nitrates will usually be within a good range... 10ppm. But in the morning I will find the same untouched tube to be in a borderline toxic rangeó e.g., 30-40ppm. Does anyone know what this delayed reaction could be all about? I am only using our unfiltered water, because I need warm water to fill the tanks and our filtration unit is only on my cold water faucet on another floor of the house. If anyone can shed any light on this issue I would really appreciate it.
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Old 06-12-2021, 12:54 PM   #13
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Prime doesnt really treat chloramine at all. The chloramine will break down to chlorine and ammonia/ammonium a short while after leaving the tap. Prime will remove the resultant chlorine and detoxify the ammonia until your cycle can remove it. The ammonia you are reading in your tap water is likely the chloramine.

Ive also noticed that leaving the test out for more than 5 minutes it will continue to react and indicate higher levels. Ive always presumed the reading after 5 minutes is the correct reading. This is one of the reasons why test kits arent all that accurate.
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Old 06-12-2021, 03:02 PM   #14
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Thanks, Aiken!

I guess I should be looking into a water filter for my downstairs faucet then... or is there a more targeted water conditioner? Like maybe Fritz Aquatics Complete Water Conditioner?
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Old 06-12-2021, 03:29 PM   #15
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If you are seeing ammonia in you water (or chloramine) prime is probably the best. What exactly is the problem? Is it not removing all the chlorine?
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Old 06-12-2021, 03:43 PM   #16
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Nitrates are usually high in my 65 gallon... I canít seem to find the balance. Iíve added plants to the tank, keep it clean, donít over feed, and have only one albino Ahli cichlid in there. I have two Penguin 350 bio wheel filters running, lots of air stones and caves. Lately, bc my fish wasnít eating [again], I was doing 30% water changes every other day, then gave one bath treatment of metroplex along with it in his food (this seems like his third bout with HITH/parasites). I keep up this pattern, bc he always gets better.

He is currently his perky self and eating again. Iím just not sure if our water chemistry is a contributing factor to his repeated illness, if parasites are still in the tank, or if it is something else unknown... itís so frustrating.
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Old 06-12-2021, 03:49 PM   #17
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Just to clarify one of my previous posts. I said prime doesnt really treat chloramine. The same can be said for all water conditioners. They all treat the resultant chlorine once the chloramine breaks down. The benefit with prime is that it claims to detoxify the ammonia from the chloramine while your cycle removes it.
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Old 06-13-2021, 05:09 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by heidigirl99 View Post
But in the morning I will find the same untouched tube to be in a borderline toxic rangeó e.g., 30-40ppm. Does anyone know what this delayed reaction could be all about?
Hi Heidigirl99

Can I ask where you found this information please RE nitrate toxicity range for fish.

Thanks
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Old 06-14-2021, 03:14 AM   #19
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Plants. Plant your tank! Garden! Underwater!

I have zero nitrates. My plants eat them all. I am always shocked when I do my monthly nitrate check, to discover they ate it clean out of the water column.

I have a hugely overstocked 36 gallon tall bow front, the nitrates used to read about 30 ppm before I planted fully what I now consider the beginning of my first true Aquascape.

Unless you donít like plants so much or donít want to mess with it I have no other tips really, Iíve never had a nitrate problem. Nitrite on the other hand Ö phew! Thanks to a few chemical boosters I run zero ammo, zero nitrite, and thanks to my green friendlies, zero nitrates. Phosphates on the other hand a bit high, so I always have a little cute decorative algae, but one day maybe not.
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Old 06-19-2021, 12:56 AM   #20
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Thanks!! Yes, I have about 6/7 plants, but maybe I will look into buying more.
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