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High Nitrates in Goldfish tank. why?

This is a discussion on High Nitrates in Goldfish tank. why? within the FreshWater Beginner Information/Questions forums, part of the FreshWater Topics category;
About my tank (3 month old Planted Goldfish tank): Its a goldfish tank, 30G, 2 goldfish (total size around 16 ...

  1. #1
    Large Fish anshuman's Avatar
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    Default High Nitrates in Goldfish tank. why?

    About my tank (3 month old Planted Goldfish tank):

    Its a goldfish tank, 30G, 2 goldfish (total size around 16 inches) plants and moss with huge filter and extra filter. Water has been pristine clean for months. It only goes slightly brown when i gravel-vacuum during WC. I do 30% water change every 5-6 days regularly. and once in a month do 40% WC on 2 consecutive days. I clear the filter once a month in stale water taken from tank, I do not clean the filter thoroughly but I clean the sponge halfway through and clean the other half thoroughly during next WC . this sponge cleaning is done every 2 weeks or max in 3 weeks.

    I dose my plants with plant nutrients every 2 days. And Excel dosage every 2 days. I dont dose excel on the day I do WC.

    I feed my goldfish pellets, dried bloodworms, flakes and greens. I normally feed them pellets, DBW and flakes (v high nutrients) in mornings and in evening i give them greens (i.e blanched lettuce, cucumber, broccoli ,)every 2nd day. otherwise its the same pellets flakes etc. The goldfish are not tiny, they are huge and need LOTS of food otherwise they finish it fast and keep scooping the surface for more. I sometimes even feed them thrice on sundays. On saturday, I feed them only once in entire day with just greens.

    The Problem:
    So i always see very high Nitrates in my goldfish tank, its a planted tank .

    VIDEO :- YouTube - 30Gallon Goldfish and planted tank Update: Feb-06-10

    last month, when the fish were acting weird (swimming slow and not really perky) and water was SLIGHTLY Cloudy (i didnt change water for almost 2 weeks), i quickly checked water and there indeed was huge spike in nitrate (above 80 ppm very very red solution in testtube) and even dangerous nitrite was near 0.25 ppm. zero ammonia though. I quickly did 40% water change and repeated same next day (water was treated with prime). fishies quickly responded by going alert and playing etc and there was zero nitrite and nitrate was around 30 ppm. water was back to crystal clear.

    Actually I was sick after New year holidays and wasnt able to change water for good 14-15 days. So this didnt surprise me.

    yesterday , before doing water change, I again tested for nitrate, this time too, the nitrate has climbed up above 60 ppm. After WC it was just below the color of 40 ppm (so i say 30).

    what is the safe margin? I have read its safe if its at 40 ppm but is it really safe? I dont like this huge readings of Nitrates. (Ammonia, Nitrite always zero), The thing is water during all this months has been pristine clear (apart from that 1 time i mentioned above), When i go sideways to this tank i can see all the way across the tank and see filters and plants at far end . So water is totally clear. but the nitrates are high it seems.


    I read plants/algae are the ones consumes this nitrates and wc is the only gaurenteed way to remove nitrates, Is there any other way i can remove nitrates? whats causing this? Is my filter medium small? or I dont have enough plants to consume this nitrate? Anyone has trick up their sleeves to keep nitrates low? and magic Anti-Nitrate cubes i can fill in the filter?


    I might be overthinking and getting overconsious about this Nitrate issue but i just want to clear my thoughts and see is there a way I can balance this tank out.

    Oh and BTW i am soon going to upgrade this 30G tank to 46G and not going to add any fish. just 2 goldies. but this will take around a month and i want to see this tank stays okay.

    Attached: 1 )Pic of the readings i took month ago during that huge spike 2) the nitrogen cycle pic i got from some site, its been on my desktop since i learned about cycling some months ago.
    Attached Images Attached Images

    22 G killifishtank planted tank.

  2. #2
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    Not sure where you got the nitrogen cycle graphic, but I don't agree with it 100%. While plants can/do consume nitrates, its not their first choice. They actually COMPETE with the beneficial bacteria in an aquarium for ammonia.

    Most aquatic plants will take the nitrogen they need from the water in the form of ammonia first (NH3, or NH4 for ammonium - what it turns to with Prime). They consume CO2 and the NH3 or NH4, keeping the carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) for growth, and release water (H2O) and oxygen (O2).

    If ammonia is not available, they will use nitrite (NO2) next. They must do the opposite of the bacteria filter, in that they break nitrite down to ammonia, and then consume the ammonia. In the process, they must use some stored energy and consume some water (H2O) to convert it to NH3.

    If nitrite and ammonia are not available, they will consume nitrate (NO3). Again, converting it to nitrite, then to ammonia to be able to use it for growth. In this process, they must use even more stored energy to do the conversions and more water (H2O).

    If your nitrates are still growing quickly, but the ammonia and nitrite are staying zero as they should, my opinion is that your plants are taking in all the ammonia that they can. The bacteria colony is doing its job to convert the rest to the lest-harmful form (nitrate).

    Are you dosing any fertilizer that contains nitrogen? If so, you may want to stop or cut back so that it will force the plants to use more of the ammonia. Less ammonia would mean less nitrate ultimately.

    Is that water sprite (Ceratopteris thalictroides) growing left of center in your video? If so, you may be able to trim some branches and leave them floating. With exposure to air (and much more carbon available as CO2), they will grow much faster and can take in a lot of ammonia. If its not, I'd look into getting some.

    Not sure how the goldies will do with the floating plants. They may eat them. You've done remarkablely well with goldies and plants. Most cannot keep the plants from being eaten or uprooted. Some have had success in using the 'breeder nets' meant for guppies, etc., to 'protect' the floating plants until they get more established.
    Last edited by OrangeCones; 02-10-2010 at 05:05 AM.
    Just my 2cents,
    OC

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    Large Fish anshuman's Avatar
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    I got this Azoo Plant Nutrients AZOO (my lfs orders it) . I already underdose it , recommended is 2.5ml daily for 100 litres , I dose 2ml 3 times a week . I am using Excel too but same underdosing it, 2ml ever other day (3 times a week).

    I am lumberjacking the Wisteria every 10 days. I have now collected 10 different stems in a bucket, its kept outside and some neighbours look at it weirdly seeing plants in bucket full of water. (i dont know they realize its aquarium plant).

    BTW i have noticed as soon as the leaves touch the surface, and new branch/stem starts growing the leaves are totally different, they are like FULL leaves not tiny starry leaves. I dont like that Full-leaf look.

    Now i read your explanation of how plants consume nitrate/nitrite/ammonia etc. i will be reading it again (till i really get it :P).

    I am thinking of this MoneyPlant, dont know what is it called in USA but here is the pic, its a Vine actually vasai garden: money plant Many people here decorate it in house near window, keep it in bottle of water and it just grows rapidly.

    I want to put this in tank and as it starts to come out of tank I will let that vine grow out near the house window and let it roll on the bars in the window and everywhere etc. I think that will help absorb the ammonia/nitrate/nitrate in water.

    and Thanks for the compliment I pat my back lolz, I know i have done great so far with plants in tank with those big goldies hovering all over them.
    Last edited by anshuman; 02-10-2010 at 05:19 AM.

    22 G killifishtank planted tank.

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    The link doesn't show what the ingredients are in the fertilizer, so I'm not sure if it has nitrogen or not. I dose dry fertilizers so I can adjust what I need, base on plant health (for those that are not soil-based, which get zero fertilizers).

    Yes, the emersed growth does look very different that submerged. Out of the water, they must be a stronger plant (thicker stems, leaves, etc) to withstand wind in the air. Underwater, they are much thinner and will look 'limp' if pulled out of the water. I've seen both forms for sale in LFS as two different plants!

    If you want to grow it floating but don't like the look of the emersed growth, just trim those leaves back. Those leaves that stay on the water's surface will look like those planted in the gravel. The more you trim it, the more it grows. The more it grows, the more nitrogen it will take in (ammonia!).
    Just my 2cents,
    OC

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    Large Fish anshuman's Avatar
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    ohh.. that indeed is very interesting, the more i trim the more it will grow. alright, i will definately try that.

    And yes i will try to find whats in the liquid fert, They guy said something like basic micro-nutrients and iron trace etc. still i will ask again , after 3 months the bottle is nearly half.

    And thanks a Ton OrangeCones, your replies are golden.

    22 G killifishtank planted tank.

  6. #6
    Super Fish Newman's Avatar
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    We still never answered the question on that money plant...I got some of that too in my house and am wondering the same thing: can it be put inside a fishtank?

    Credit goes to Lludu

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    Large Fish anshuman's Avatar
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    Here the money plant is Always kept in bottle (1ltr bottles) and near window then a thin nylon line is kept near the bottle,as the vine grows, its directed on this line. and then soon on the windows and so on. The water in bottle has be to changed regularly or the vine goes yellow then dies out. What better source of water for it than entire tank water.

    I am thinking of glass jar and putting pebbles in it then putting the money plant it in and topping the surface with same sand/gravel in my tank. and let the vine creep out of tank.

    22 G killifishtank planted tank.

  8. #8
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    I have no idea on the 'money plant.' The scientific name would be helpful to research it. Is it perhaps: Scindapsus aureus?

    Not all plants that CAN be grown in water can do so long-term, and some actually produce toxins that can harm fish (kinda a defense to not be eaten, and in an enclosed water source like an aquarium, can build up).
    Last edited by OrangeCones; 02-10-2010 at 08:35 AM.
    Just my 2cents,
    OC

  9. #9
    Large Fish anshuman's Avatar
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    Kamal Meattle on how to grow fresh air | Video on TED.com

    Epipremnum aureum - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia << Thisss is the plant i am talking about.

    I just remembered this small fact, i always heard about this plant since I was little, it is said to have huge capacity to release oxygen (as compared to other common plants) thats why its encouraged to grow this vine near the windows (gets sun and blowing wind also sucks in the oxygen it releases ).

    It is EXTREMELY popular plant here , you will find atleast 1 house in entire building (apartment buildings we call here) having this plant.

    It can be kept both in pots or in bottle of water .

    Orangecones, can you find is it toxic for fishtank or not? (and wow you do bring out good point about toxics released by plants, NEVER ever did i think about it ).

    22 G killifishtank planted tank.

  10. #10
    Large Fish anshuman's Avatar
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    BTW i need to add. this plant wont grow submerged. i.e, the leaves will just die off in water, but if the stems is in air, within a week leaves will start sprouting and vines will squirrel into air. (which has to be tied to string the direction you want it to go). can be kept hanging too but it will not grow properly.

    And leaves are toxic for children's. kinda poisonous.

    22 G killifishtank planted tank.

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