Nitrates - What am I doing wrong?

Just started on your fishy adventures, ask for help in here.
Post Reply
Adfish
Newbie
Posts: 5
Joined: Wed Sep 25, 2019 17:50 pm
Has liked: 0
Been liked: 1 time

Nitrates - What am I doing wrong?

Post by Adfish » Wed Dec 04, 2019 13:47 pm

Greetings all,
In order to keep on top of nitrates I do all of the usual. Remove dead plant matter, don't over feed, etc etc.

Here's my issue.
If I just remove a quantity of water and then replace it my nitrates go down the expected amount. Cool!

If I remove water whilst cleaning the sand using my gravity vacuum siphon my nitrates either remain the same or sometimes rise when testing after replacing the water. Not cool and very annoying!

It doesn't seem to matter whether I dig in to the sand or if I just skim the surface, there always seems to be a rise or at least no drop in nitrates.

The sand is practically new. I've just replaced the larger gravel I had in the tank as i had the same issue with that (and there was way too much in there which was the main reason. That and the colour).
I put the sand in thinking waste was falling in between the previous substrate and getting trapped.

I've reached the end of my limited knowledge and I'm hoping you might be able to tell me what I'm doing wrong and how I might clean the sand without the increased nitrates.

Thanks in advance.
Adam

User avatar
Jon_D
Member
Posts: 105
Joined: Sun Sep 15, 2019 21:51 pm
Location: Teesdale
Has liked: 13 times
Been liked: 8 times

Re: Nitrates - What am I doing wrong?

Post by Jon_D » Wed Dec 04, 2019 17:24 pm

I am no expert but I am certain that the real experts on the forum will ask, how are you measuring nitrates? What do you use tyo do the measurements? Tabs or chemicall liquids for example.

Adfish
Newbie
Posts: 5
Joined: Wed Sep 25, 2019 17:50 pm
Has liked: 0
Been liked: 1 time

Re: Nitrates - What am I doing wrong?

Post by Adfish » Wed Dec 04, 2019 17:38 pm

Jon_D wrote:
Wed Dec 04, 2019 17:24 pm
I am no expert but I am certain that the real experts on the forum will ask, how are you measuring nitrates? What do you use tyo do the measurements? Tabs or chemicall liquids for example.
I'm using the API Master liquid testers and following the instructions. Much shaking and all.

User avatar
Stephen
Forum Guru
Forum Guru
Posts: 1092
Joined: Thu Mar 29, 2018 15:42 pm
Location: Hereford, Herefordshire
Has liked: 10 times
Been liked: 40 times

Re: Nitrates - What am I doing wrong?

Post by Stephen » Wed Dec 04, 2019 17:45 pm

Hi Adam and welcome to the forum :)

What is the nitrate level out of the tap?

Nitrate is the end product of the nitrogen cycle; ammonia>nitrite>nitrate so in theory nitrates will rise in between water changes.
Do you have live plants? What are you feeding the live plants? Many plant fertilisers contain some form of nitrogen, this may contribute to the rise in nitrates.

What size aquarium do you have (brand & size)?
What fish do you have (quantity & species)?
What is the aquarium water temperature?
Is your water hard, soft or in between?

The more info provided then hopefully the more accurate the reply.

All the best

Adfish
Newbie
Posts: 5
Joined: Wed Sep 25, 2019 17:50 pm
Has liked: 0
Been liked: 1 time

Re: Nitrates - What am I doing wrong?

Post by Adfish » Wed Dec 04, 2019 17:56 pm

Stephen wrote:
Wed Dec 04, 2019 17:45 pm
Hi Adam and welcome to the forum :)

What is the nitrate level out of the tap?

Nitrate is the end product of the nitrogen cycle; ammonia>nitrite>nitrate so in theory nitrates will rise in between water changes.
Do you have live plants? What are you feeding the live plants? Many plant fertilisers contain some form of nitrogen, this may contribute to the rise in nitrates.

What size aquarium do you have (brand & size)?
What fish do you have (quantity & species)?
What is the aquarium water temperature?
Is your water hard, soft or in between?

The more info provided then hopefully the more accurate the reply.

All the best
Thanks.

Nitrates out the tap are around 20ppm but I'm doing a 50-50 dilute with RO water.

I have live plants and I'm using TNC complete to feed them which contains no nitrates, so I read.

The aquarium is 64l. It's an interpet insight.
I have 6 cherry barbs and 6 neon tetras.
Temperature is usually around 24.5c
Water is quite hard. Around 18dkh and 14dgh.

Just to clarify. I realise nitrates will rise between water changes. Its the increase while cleaning the sand during the water change which concerns me.

Cheers

Online
User avatar
Suse
Posting Freak
Posts: 806
Joined: Fri Feb 09, 2018 17:23 pm
Location: Under your bed
Has liked: 44 times
Been liked: 45 times

Re: Nitrates - What am I doing wrong?

Post by Suse » Wed Dec 04, 2019 19:34 pm

TNC Complete (the green one) has nitrates. TNC Lite doesn't. Check which one you're using.

Have you put root tabs in? If so, what type? Some e.g. the TNC ones contain little balls of phosphate and nitrate, which are released when their fragile outer coating dissolves, so disturbing the sand in any way will release nitrate into the water column.

If no root tabs, it would be unusual for a relatively new substrate to cause problems. Besides, nitrate is highly soluble and won't get "trapped" in a deep substrate the way e.g. sulphur might - it should just dissolve straight into the water column so disturbing the substrate shouldn't matter at all. The test kits aren't that accurate and the nitrate one is particularly susceptible to inaccurate readings if not shaken well enough.

Adfish
Newbie
Posts: 5
Joined: Wed Sep 25, 2019 17:50 pm
Has liked: 0
Been liked: 1 time

Re: Nitrates - What am I doing wrong?

Post by Adfish » Wed Dec 04, 2019 19:57 pm

Suse wrote:
Wed Dec 04, 2019 19:34 pm
TNC Complete (the green one) has nitrates. TNC Lite doesn't. Check which one you're using.

Have you put root tabs in? If so, what type? Some e.g. the TNC ones contain little balls of phosphate and nitrate, which are released when their fragile outer coating dissolves, so disturbing the sand in any way will release nitrate into the water column.

If no root tabs, it would be unusual for a relatively new substrate to cause problems. Besides, nitrate is highly soluble and won't get "trapped" in a deep substrate the way e.g. sulphur might - it should just dissolve straight into the water column so disturbing the substrate shouldn't matter at all. The test kits aren't that accurate and the nitrate one is particularly susceptible to inaccurate readings if not shaken well enough.
Interesting. It is the green one I'm using. Will experiment on next water change as I do tend to add some as I replace the removed water.

I'm not using any root tabs though I have been thinking about it.
Can you recommend a suitable root tab? And come to think of it, a better fertiliser free from nitrates?

Online
User avatar
Suse
Posting Freak
Posts: 806
Joined: Fri Feb 09, 2018 17:23 pm
Location: Under your bed
Has liked: 44 times
Been liked: 45 times

Re: Nitrates - What am I doing wrong?

Post by Suse » Wed Dec 04, 2019 20:27 pm

Yep, the green one has nitrate:
https://www.amazon.co.uk/TNC-Complete-F ... 986&sr=8-1

If you aren't using CO2, you would be better off with the TNC lite, as your fish waste will provide enough nitrate and phosphate:
https://www.amazon.co.uk/TNC-Lite-Aquar ... 043&sr=8-1

My personal preference when I had a non-CO2 tank was Seachem Flourish Comprehensive supplement (no significant nitrates or phosphates - similar to TNC Lite):
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Seachem-Flouri ... 103&sr=8-2

I also like Seachem Flourish root tabs, as they're the only ones I've found that aren't messy. No nitrates or phosphates here either. Bit pricey in the UK though: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Seachem-Flouri ... 177&sr=8-1

They're good if you have heavy root feeders like Amazon swords, cryptocorynes etc. But plants can and do take nutrients from the water column too so I wouldn't say they are essential.

Adfish
Newbie
Posts: 5
Joined: Wed Sep 25, 2019 17:50 pm
Has liked: 0
Been liked: 1 time

Re: Nitrates - What am I doing wrong?

Post by Adfish » Wed Dec 04, 2019 20:59 pm

Suse wrote:
Wed Dec 04, 2019 20:27 pm
Yep, the green one has nitrate:
https://www.amazon.co.uk/TNC-Complete-F ... 986&sr=8-1

If you aren't using CO2, you would be better off with the TNC lite, as your fish waste will provide enough nitrate and phosphate:
https://www.amazon.co.uk/TNC-Lite-Aquar ... 043&sr=8-1

My personal preference when I had a non-CO2 tank was Seachem Flourish Comprehensive supplement (no significant nitrates or phosphates - similar to TNC Lite):
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Seachem-Flouri ... 103&sr=8-2

I also like Seachem Flourish root tabs, as they're the only ones I've found that aren't messy. No nitrates or phosphates here either. Bit pricey in the UK though: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Seachem-Flouri ... 177&sr=8-1

They're good if you have heavy root feeders like Amazon swords, cryptocorynes etc. But plants can and do take nutrients from the water column too so I wouldn't say they are essential.
Excellent, very useful info. Thank you.

I can't believe that I've actually been adding nitrates into my tank. But it all makes sense now.

Many thanks to all. You've been a great help to this newbie.

Adam
These users liked the author Adfish for the post:
Suse (Wed Dec 04, 2019 21:05 pm)

User avatar
Stephen
Forum Guru
Forum Guru
Posts: 1092
Joined: Thu Mar 29, 2018 15:42 pm
Location: Hereford, Herefordshire
Has liked: 10 times
Been liked: 40 times

Re: Nitrates - What am I doing wrong?

Post by Stephen » Wed Dec 04, 2019 21:34 pm

Hi again Adam

There are plant fertilisers that have no nitrate or phosphate.
TNC Lite and Easy-life Profito are both nitrate & phosphate free.
The Seachem Flourish (Comprehensive supplement) is very low in nitrates & phosphates as Sue stated.

All the best

Post Reply