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Nitrate Spike

Discussion in 'Tropical Fish Emergencies' started by Toadfish, May 11, 2005.

  1. Toadfish

    Toadfish Member

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    Ok I have three tanks (55g, 2x5g) and one of the 5's and the 55 have a major nitrate spike and I have lost fish in both tanks. The nitrates are up to 80ppm and a 30% water change didn't help much. What do you think could have caused this sudden change? OBTW my last w/c was about two weeks ago and these tanks have been established and stable for two years now, so I don't see how the spike could have happened. And the strange thing is the other fish don't seem bothered, their breathing and eating is normal it just was strange that I lost two fish in the same day from the different tanks.
     
  2. rdd1952

    rdd1952 Swim with the Fishes
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    I don't think 80 ppm is a toxic level for nitrates. High but not necessarily dangerous yet. I would think there is something else causing the deaths. From looking at your profile, I'm not really sure about the 55 gallon as I'm not familiar with several of the fish you have in it but one of your 5 gallons is severely overstocked. You have over 20" of fish (2x skunk loaches - 8", 2x mollies = 10", 2x bettas = 4") in it so the ammonia and nitrite could be very high. The spike of nitrate in that tank is probably because there is a huge amount of ammonia and nitrite being processed and no where for the nitrate to go.
     
  3. black angel

    black angel Retired Moderator
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    as the fish grow then the filter cant cope with the load any more so things start to go wrong. what filter do you have on the tanks? doing 30% a fortnight isnt working any more and i would suggest doing 50% water changes for a few days with gravel vacs to see if this helps the nitrates. i thought anything over 40 for a reading was dangerous?
     
  4. Toadfish

    Toadfish Member

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    Ok for one thing, wow, the fish aren't that size in the small tank the mollies are 2inchs and the loaches are half an inch and the bettas maybe alittle over an inch, so I know the bio load isn't that high even though its a sponge filter it can cope fine. They'll get a larger home as soon as they need it. Oh and the 55gal is running a tetratec pf150 and a tetra whisper 30. And the nitrate levels aren't at a toxic level for some fish, but certain things like the rainbow that died are more sensitive but the mollies can survive high toxcicity before fatality.
     
  5. rdd1952

    rdd1952 Swim with the Fishes
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    Even at those sizes, you still have at least 7 or 8 inches which is still overstocked. I find it hard to believe the loaches are only 1/2 inch. That is the width of a key on a standard keyboard. If they are bigger than the keys you are typing on, they are bigger than 1/2 inch
    You will continue to have problems until you get some fish out of that tank. To get nitrate levels that high, the fish must be producing a large amount of waste which it looks as though the filter is handling now. As the fish grow, it will be less likely the filter can handle it and even if it does, the nitrates will continue to climb, which besides the harm it could do to your fish, could also cause a huge algae problem. A 5 gallon is really only big enough for 1 betta, maybe 2 with a divider. I also hope the bettas are both female. Otherwise the male will eventually kill the female (or other male if you have 2 males)
     
  6. annka5

    annka5 Member

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    If par water change doesn't affect levels, could it not be that your tap water has high nitrates - potentially a temporary glitch in your domestic water supply, e.g. fertilizer run off?

    Try testing your tap-water.
     
  7. ingo_1978

    ingo_1978 Member

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    Yeah, I would say it's either the tap water, overstocking or something rotting away in the tank (maybe hidden under an ornament or something).
     
  8. Toadfish

    Toadfish Member

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    Ingo and annka I think you given the best advice, I tested my tap water and it's at zero for nitrates I think something may have died and causedthe spike (both tanks are planted, leaves die all the time and I may not have been quick enough to remove it). Oh and it's not that hard to believe that the loaches are that small (they aren't born at an inch long) and I'm not that dumb when it comes to bettas it is in fact to males but they are seperate from the main tank and from each other but they are part of the system so they effect the bio load not compatability.

    Overall the probablem seems to be under control but I will keep an eye on it.
     
  9. rdd1952

    rdd1952 Swim with the Fishes
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    I hope things work out for you. I still stand by my stand that your tank is severely overstocked and part of your problem. I am really confused on the configuration of the 5 gallon if the bettas are both seperated from each other and from the main tank. Sounds like a 3 sections which really would cramp the swimming requirements of your fish, especially the bettas. Good luck.
     
  10. Toadfish

    Toadfish Member

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    The bettas are in what is known as "betta barracks" basically its a plastic bok that attaches to the tank in order for them to be attached to the system without being overwelmed by the size of the tank. Bettas don't like a lot of swimming room they'll just sit in a corner anyways. The 5 gal works fine and the bio load is not to much, the 1 inch of fish per gallon is simply a begginers rule, it all depends on the type of fish and how frequent water changes are done, there are a lot more factors to look at then simply the size of tank and the size of fish. For example try telling someone that they can put their 12" oscar in a 12gal tank or even a 30gal, oscars a dirty active swimmers that need room, not all fish are bettas are the opposite, they're relatively clean and passive swimmers, it all depends on the fish.
     
  11. rdd1952

    rdd1952 Swim with the Fishes
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    I have to disagree. I have single bettas in 2.5 gallon tanks and had one of them in a 5 gallon until I turned it into a q-tank for my 75 gallon. They swim all over the tank and totally enjoy themselves. It is extremely cruel to keep a betta in such small quarters. If you put them in the small "barracks" they indeed will lay in the same place because they have no place to go. How would you like to be put in a closet and given food a couple times a day. You could live like that but is that really living?
     
  12. Toadfish

    Toadfish Member

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    don't even go their, keeping fish then at all then is cruel your limiting the space of any fish shortening its lifespan and generally giving it a poor quality of life. Betta's do get overwelmed in large spaces yes they may enjoy large spaces occasionally but think like a betta the bigger the space the more to defend the more stressful it is when there are other fish. Oh and if you want to talk about too small talk about your quarantine tank they should be at least 10-15% of the final tank so a five gallon is inadequate, a ten is what is needed, think about the fish have to live in the tank for a couple of weeks while you do what you do to them, in that time they are also living in it. so 4 angels in a five gallon is way over crowded compared to a couple 1/2" loaches (and yes they are a half inch), a couple sailfins and a couple bettas, adding it up seems to be as much of a bio load as your quarantine tank, but wait keep in mind cichlids produce more waste than your average molly so in fact you are the one overstocking you tank.

    I'm just going to leave this topic alone now as you seem to be as stuck in your ways as I am in mine.
     
  13. newbie_alicia

    newbie_alicia Member

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    I have a betta in a ten gallon and he loves it. He never seems stressed out as he has the whole tank to himself and has no one but frogs to keep him company. He swims all over the tank and never confines himself to one area. Fish like to swim :p
     

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