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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi, I am quite new to keeping fish but so far I am having a blast with it. I started a small planted tank in January and it was going well until about 2 weeks ago. The Nitrate levels got up to around 50 and so I started doing 20% water changes every other day trying to bring it down. It did not work after a week so I did a 50% change and have kept up with the 20% changes but it is still not working.

Background info: I think it started when I had a plant die. I did not notice it since was under a much bigger plant. When I did it was in full decay. I removed it completely and vacuumed the gravel with each water change.

The stocking of the tank might have been high as well since I had 2 fish that have spawned several times. So I started a nursery tank and got the fry out a week ago as well as one of the parents. So now I have 1 small pleco, 3 cories, 1 gourami, 6 shrimp and a couple of snails in the problem tank.

I talked to the local fish store and they suggested Flugal Nitrate Remover but it has not worked. I have lost one fish and I am worried about losing more if I cannot find away to keep the nitrate down. It seems to drop down to around zero when I do a water change but the next day it is back up again. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Oh yea, I have changed the filter media at the beginning of the water changes and again this last weekend.
 

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What shrimp do you have They should be the first to be affected.

Get some floating water sprite, it is a ammonia and nitrate sponge and it grows extremely fast too!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Hi, here are some quick answers...

The Shrimp are Black Crystals and a couple of tigers. They all seem to be fine right now.

Eternity, I vaccuum once a week and right now I am vaccumming with every water change, so everyother day.

2Wheelsx2
1) 20G
2) a power filter, there is acitvated carbon in the media
3)the test kit is Seachem and max reading is 50mg/l. At one point I did a reference test on tap water to make sure it was working.
 

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That sounds awfully odd.. how high that could be!

What type of powerfilter is it btw? And carbon only remove odour and makes the water more clear!
Anyone else can think of anything?
 

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If you were reading 50 and the max is 50, the nitrate could have been higher than the kit can read, so that can explain why the water changes didn't lower it enough.

At 20 gallons, things can go off really quickly. Sounds like your stocking is currently ok, but with the decaying plant problem, things could have gotten worse. I'd try changing 50% twice a week for a while and keep checking the nitrates.

I asked about the changed media because if you throw out all the media, you're throwing out all your beneficial bacteria, unless you have a second filter on it. You should be rinsing the biomedia in dechlorinated water (or a container of tank water).
 

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If you were reading 50 and the max is 50, the nitrate could have been higher than the kit can read, so that can explain why the water changes didn't lower it enough.

At 20 gallons, things can go off really quickly. Sounds like your stocking is currently ok, but with the decaying plant problem, things could have gotten worse. I'd try changing 50% twice a week for a while and keep checking the nitrates.

I asked about the changed media because if you throw out all the media, you're throwing out all your beneficial bacteria, unless you have a second filter on it. You should be rinsing the biomedia in dechlorinated water (or a container of tank water).
=) i knew you would of figured something out!
 

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If you were reading 50 and the max is 50, the nitrate could have been higher than the kit can read, so that can explain why the water changes didn't lower it enough.

At 20 gallons, things can go off really quickly. Sounds like your stocking is currently ok, but with the decaying plant problem, things could have gotten worse. I'd try changing 50% twice a week for a while and keep checking the nitrates.

I asked about the changed media because if you throw out all the media, you're throwing out all your beneficial bacteria, unless you have a second filter on it. You should be rinsing the biomedia in dechlorinated water (or a container of tank water).
I agree, in a planted aquarium levels that high is very odd. We agree with 2wheelsx2, continue on that course.
 

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How would the nitrate levels get that high?

What I would do is buy a bottle of Hagen's Cycle, it will detoxify your bacteria, and provide a quicker re-cycle. Your fish and shrimp may have their lives saved by doing so.

Luckily the nitrite levels don't appear to be an issue?
 

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Have you tried growing hornwort in the tank? It will soak up the nitrates and look nice, too. Or you could put water lettuce on the top; that seems to grow quickly, too.

Another cause of a nitrate spike is a dead fish. Check on your pleco!
 

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Have you tried growing hornwort in the tank? It will soak up the nitrates and look nice, too. Or you could put water lettuce on the top; that seems to grow quickly, too.

Another cause of a nitrate spike is a dead fish. Check on your pleco!
I was about to say, check your numbers again. Good call out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks for all the advice.

I'll start on the 50% water changes twice a week to see if that works. I have hornwort in the tank and check on all the fish they are all alive. Actually they seem to be in good health.

In the last couple of days the tests read a decent nitrate drop after a water change but rise up to 50 within two days. So I am removing the wood to see there is something leaching into the water.
 
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