Welcome to Our Community

Wanting to join the rest of our members? Feel free to sign up today.

Continuing Nitrate Problem

Discussion in 'Tropical Fish Emergencies' started by Silencedogood, Jun 23, 2019.

  1. Silencedogood

    Silencedogood Fish Crazy

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2019
    Messages:
    295
    Likes Received:
    35
    I know I have had threads about my nitrates before but I still have a problem. The nitrates were down to 40 ppm after a water change last week. Now it's back up to 80 ppm (this is my 30 gal). And I just lost a guppy two days ago for no apparent reason. I know one contributing factor is that I still have the 9+ inch pleco, but I hope to rehome her sometime this week. I also have a major pond snail invasion and the snails are reproducing and dying off like crazy. Could decaying snails play a part into high nitrates?

    I mentioned before that I have 8 baby guppies in my 10 gal. Yesterday I tested the nitrates (this is a different tank) and they were 40 ppm. I know that is really high for fry. The only thing I can possibly blame for causing high nitrates are the snails (yes, I have a snail invasion in that tank too). I haven't had fish in the 10 gal for at least a 1 1/2 months. Also, the ammonia levels in the 10 gal are 0.50 ppm. I concerned about my baby guppies who are only a week old.

    I called my local LFS (Petco) and I think I got okay advice. The guy said to do weekly water changes (about 50%) and treat my water that I'm adding into my tank. (The water I'm adding has a nitrate level of 20 ppm). So I did a water change to the 10 gal and now the nitrates are down to 30 ppm. I was thinking about adding nitrate crystals to the filters...are those effective? Thank you!
     
    #1 Silencedogood, Jun 23, 2019
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2019
  2. Colin_T

    Colin_T Member

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2008
    Messages:
    16,092
    Likes Received:
    927
    Location:
    Perth, WA
    yes.

    -----------------------
    The easiest way to reduce any nutrients or chemicals in a fish tank is with big regular water changes. If your nitrates go from 40 to 80ppm in a week, feed less and do more water changes. I normally recommend doing a 75% water change and gravel cleaning the substrate once a week. However, if you have nitrate problems, do a 75% water change and gravel clean the substrate a couple of times a week or even every day. You want the nitrates as low as possible and preferably below 20ppm.

    If your tap water has 20ppm of nitrate, that is as low as you can get it without pre-filtering the tap water before using it. You can fill up a large plastic storage container with tap water and put some floating plants in it. Give them light and let them use the nitrates. Then use that water for water changes. You can also get a Pozzani Filter to remove nitrates. There are a couple of threads on this forum about the Pozzani filter, (use the search function to find them).

    You do water changes for 2 main reasons.
    1) to reduce nutrients like ammonia, nitrite & nitrate.
    2) to dilute disease organisms in the water.

    Fish live in a soup of microscopic organisms including bacteria, fungus, viruses, protozoans, worms, flukes and various other things that make your skin crawl. Doing a big water change and gravel cleaning the substrate on a regular basis will dilute these organisms and reduce their numbers in the water, thus making it a safer and healthier environment for the fish.

    If you do a 25% water change each week you leave behind 75% of the bad stuff in the water.
    If you do a 50% water change each week you leave behind 50% of the bad stuff in the water.
    If you do a 75% water change each week you leave behind 25% of the bad stuff in the water.

    Fish live in their own waste. Their tank and filter is full of fish poop. The water they breath is filtered through fish poop. Cleaning filters, gravel and doing big regular water changes, removes a lot of this poop and makes the environment cleaner and healthier for the fish.
     
    • Informative Informative x 1
  3. seangee

    seangee Member

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2008
    Messages:
    1,586
    Likes Received:
    211
    Location:
    Berks
    Fast growing floating plants will help control the nitrates - water sprite is a good choice. You can also get a really inexpensive snail trap ( or make your own if you are that way inclined) and use cucumber or lettuce as bait. Once they are under control make sure you avoid overfeeding and keep the substrate clean which will reduce their tendencies to breed.

    Unless you know someone who needs snails for food (e.g. they have puffer fish) you are probably best off killing the snails as you really don't want them in your garden or waterways.
     
    • Informative Informative x 1
  4. Silencedogood

    Silencedogood Fish Crazy

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2019
    Messages:
    295
    Likes Received:
    35
    I have used lettuce and cucumbers but that hasn't worked; the snails are in my filters.
    I have a couple of live plants: hornwort, amazon sword, and the small val.
    So killing the snails with a trap is the best way? Some ppl have recommended clown loaches.
     
  5. seangee

    seangee Member

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2008
    Messages:
    1,586
    Likes Received:
    211
    Location:
    Berks
    I'm afraid that's really bad advice. Clown loaches need to be in a group of at least 6 and grow very large. It would cause a much bigger problem down the line. They are also particularly sensitive to high nitrates. I sold my clown loaches when I downsized my main tank from 150G to 55G, and if I am honest the 150G may not have been big enough for them.

    Snail populations tend to be self regulating. Take away the source of food (i.e. organic waste) and the population will stop growing. It sounds like you may already have addressed this if you are seeing dead snails. Trapping them will just help remove them quicker. You don't need to get rid of every last one. Some snails in the tank are a good thing, and if you are seeing too many act as a reminder that you are overfeeding or not staying on top of the cleaning.
     
    • Informative Informative x 1
  6. Silencedogood

    Silencedogood Fish Crazy

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2019
    Messages:
    295
    Likes Received:
    35
    Thanks for the info. I was actually going to buy a clown loach this week. Good thing I asked!
     
  7. seangee

    seangee Member

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2008
    Messages:
    1,586
    Likes Received:
    211
    Location:
    Berks
    Just realised its your post in another thread where you say you change your water every 2 weeks and change 20-25% at a time. Colin is absolutley right. Change 60 - 75% of your water every week and all will be fine. Whatever else you do you really can't get away from this if you want to keep fish.
     
    • Informative Informative x 1
  8. Guppylover3x

    Guppylover3x Fish Addict
    Tank of the Month Winner!

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2019
    Messages:
    717
    Likes Received:
    138
    Location:
    UK
    I agree with the others. Please maintain 75% water changes.

    I’d do this daily if I was you. Make sure you give the gravel a good clean to. This will remove any unwanted waste.

    Best of luck!
     
    • Informative Informative x 2
  9. Metalhead88

    Metalhead88 Fish Fanatic

    Joined:
    May 31, 2019
    Messages:
    188
    Likes Received:
    20
    I'm agreeing with every post so far.

    The 9+ inch pleco is contributing to the bioload very heavily. Snail population is as well.

    I don't know what else you have in the tank, but the pleco alone is overstocking the tank. Those things constatly eat and poop. High nitrates are to be expected in this tank.

    It is true, clown loaches will control snail populations, but require a much much larger tank.

    I do 75% water changes on my tanks weekly and they are not over stocked. I agree with the above, 75% water change a week is minimum for your tank.
     
    • Informative Informative x 1
  10. Silencedogood

    Silencedogood Fish Crazy

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2019
    Messages:
    295
    Likes Received:
    35
    I'm a little hesitant to do such big water changes. I just did a 30% water change and the nitrates went from 80 ppm to 40 ppm. I have a feeling that they will rise again though.
     
  11. Metalhead88

    Metalhead88 Fish Fanatic

    Joined:
    May 31, 2019
    Messages:
    188
    Likes Received:
    20
    They will absolutely rise with your current situation.

    Why so hesitant for big water changes?

    You have a lot of nitrates, so you have to take out a lot of water to get rid of it.

    I think I said it in my last post, I have always done big water changes....i probably don't need to do it, but the fish appricate nice fresh water.
     
    • Informative Informative x 1
  12. seangee

    seangee Member

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2008
    Messages:
    1,586
    Likes Received:
    211
    Location:
    Berks
    All my tanks get a 75% change every week. My nitrates are typically less than 10ppm BEFORE I do the change.

    Anything above 20ppm will have a long term impact on your fishes health and reduce their lifespan.
     
    • Informative Informative x 1
  13. Deanasue

    Deanasue Moderator
    Staff Member Moderator Global Moderator Tank of the Month Winner!

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2018
    Messages:
    3,387
    Likes Received:
    482
    Location:
    USA
    I
     
  14. Deanasue

    Deanasue Moderator
    Staff Member Moderator Global Moderator Tank of the Month Winner!

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2018
    Messages:
    3,387
    Likes Received:
    482
    Location:
    USA
    Yep, I’m in the majority. I do a 75% water change and tank cleaning every week, including vacuuming substrate. Swish filter media in tank water every 2 weeks. Sometimes I do 50% mid-week changes too on my heavier stocked tanks. My bettas get 75% w/c every 2 days.
     
    #14 Deanasue, Jun 27, 2019
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2019
    • Informative Informative x 1
  15. Guppylover3x

    Guppylover3x Fish Addict
    Tank of the Month Winner!

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2019
    Messages:
    717
    Likes Received:
    138
    Location:
    UK
    Large water changes are the way forward. You can never go wrong with them!
     
    • Informative Informative x 2

Share This Page