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Thread: Water changes to lower nitrates?
12-06-2013, 03:58 PM #1
Water changes to lower nitrates?
Hi all. Per previous threads, I'm in about week 5 of a fishless cycle on a 40g tank. Quite a few plants,
have even had to trim cabomba already.
Anyway, ammonia has been disappearing each 24 hours for a few days, now two days in a row zero on both ammonia and nitrItes. But my nitrAtes have been climbing steadily this last week and are reading anywhere from 40-80+ ppm on the API test kit...honestly, there's not much difference on their color sheet between 40 and 80ppm, but I can safely say haven't hit the 120ppm mark. It's always a strong bright red.
I did a 30% PWC yesterday but nitrates didn't budge. Will these nitrAtes drop naturally on their own or do I need to continue daily water changes until they get to 20 or so?
I'm literally dreaming about fish now, last night dreamed someone put over 60 platys in my tank while I was gone on an errand.
12-06-2013, 04:10 PM #2
You will have to do a LARGE WC, 75-80%, to get the nitrates down to 20 ppm or below, but you don't need to do this until you are ready for fish...and it sounds like you are getting close to being cycled, if you are not already!...when are planning on getting fish?
And I know all about the fishy dreams, I have them myself, lol
12-06-2013, 04:43 PM #3
Well, I can't get them locally so they will be here the next day after I place my (mail) order from wetspot. Can't do it today with no Saturday shipments, so was hoping tor order Monday for Tuesday afternoon delivery. So large water change Monday or Tuesday? I'm really concerned about ordering fish before I get the nitrAtes lowered. This cycle has had some twists and turns!
Also, along with this large nitrAte has come a growing algae bloom. Yuk. Looks like that's something that will clear up as the tank comes into balance? It's pretty much a brownish-reddish growth. Poor plants. Tank was looking so pretty before this. Part of the deal, I gather.
12-06-2013, 04:52 PM #4
Don't know what to tell you about the algae bloom...are you leaving lights on all day?...plants thrive on trAtes, so maybe the high level is causing the algae to grow out of control?....again, a large WC now will not hurt anything, so maybe that is what I'd try if I were you
12-06-2013, 05:10 PM #5
I'm doing a large water change right now, will see what that brings.
I do leave the lights on all day, I assumed the plants needed them to be on...?
12-06-2013, 05:24 PM #6
Cool, let us know...not sure what your lighting setup is, but I would try to cut back to maybe 6-8 hours of light a day...I need to listen to my own advice, mine are on all day too, but I can change the color and intensity of my LED light....I need to get a timer...but I have no (serious) algae issues, at present
12-06-2013, 05:25 PM #7
When you say "all day" - how many hours? You shouldn't really need to have the lights on for more than 8-10 hours a day.
I have mine on even less than that and I split the light period into two as this can help keep algae at bay (by allowing CO2 levels to rise back up between the two light periods).
12-06-2013, 05:40 PM #8
Mine are on 10-12 hours a day, depending on how long my work day is. So would 8-10 hours be okay for everybody, plants AND fish? (when I get to the fish part of this adventure!).
Splitting the light period could work well for me, maybe shutting it off for 1-2 hours midday...but again my question would be, how would this affect fish?
I'm thinking I will also add some kind of algae eater to my original stock list, though it includes red crystal shrimp which I think may be helpful.
12-06-2013, 05:45 PM #9
The only way to lower nitrates during a fishless cycle is with a big water change - they don't go away on their own. If you have 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites and are showing nitrates every 24 hrs, for at least 2 days you are cycled! Until you get your fish, you will need to continue dosing your tank with ammonia once every 24 hrs to feed the BB. Then do a BIG water change before adding fish to bring the nitrates down to 10 or below and go get your fish!My 75 gal Journal & My Dual 29 gal Journal
My 75 gal - Gold Pristella Tetras, Scissortail Rasboras, Neon Dwarf Rainbowfish, Longfin Leopard & Zebra Danios, Bristlenose Pleco
My Dual 29 gals - Left Tank - Diamond Tetras. Right Tank - Amano Shrimp, maybe a Mystery Snail
"Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass....it's about learning to dance in the rain"
12-07-2013, 09:48 AM #10
How many plants do you have?
12 hours is a long time and will encourage algae. I'd cut the period to 10 for a few weeks to monitor improvements.
Getting rid of all those excess nitrates will also help.