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high nitrate

Discussion in 'CO2 Enrichment' started by hani, Nov 15, 2007.

  1. hani

    hani Lifetime Charter Member
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    over the last 2 weeks, i noticed some algae grow, my plants stoped growing,some of the plant leafe tips melting (crypto)..., then i found that my nitrate is very high, 40-50 range, the po4 more than 2, i used lemotte kits and hagen, i have 140w light on 29G, I am using EI, CO2 TANK.
    I stoped adding fert, did my 50% water change, 2 days after the NO3 up again and my po4, i waited one week, did another WC and same problem again.
    i have 7 red nose tetra, 5 neon, 5 black neon, 3 oto. feeding the fish one time day.
    my filter is eheim 2217.
    what will drive my nitrate up? po4?
    the tank is 8 month old, heavy plants
     
  2. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    The algae isn't growing because of high nitrate or phosphate. It doesn't work that way. You have way too much light, to start with. You have almost 5 watts per gallon, where about 2 is all you need. If your lights are suspended above the tank a foot or so, that comment isn't correct, but if they are right at the top of the tank it is. How do you get the CO2 into the water, and how much do you maintain in the water? This actually looks to me like low CO2, with the plants being stunted by not having enough carbon to grow at the rate the lighting is driving them at.

    If your "heavy plants" is anything like what I just had in my 45 gallon tank, the mass of greenery is also interfering with water circulation, which keeps the CO2 from reaching all of the plants. Do you use a powerhead in addition to the filter to better circulate the water?
     
  3. I have my light bulbs 10cm high, and also had a similar amout of watts per gallon in my tank (96w/20g). I followed the recommendations of reducing the light and that helped dealing with algae (a 24w bulb was removed and now I work with 72w).

    Another point is the quality of light, besides the quantity. You mentioned your tank is running for 8 months. Have you replaced the bulbs in this period?

    That is another point I came accross one week ago. My tank is running for more or less 8 months as well. As soon as I replaced the bulbs, plants responded readly. Specially glossostigma, which probably was suffering the most with a higher water column absorbing the poor quality light from old bulbs.

    Regards,
    Evandro.
     
  4. Carissa

    Carissa Guru Class Expert

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    Too much waste in the filter or substrate will drive nitrate levels up, as well as dead/dying plant matter. Try doing filter maintenance and see if that makes a difference with your nitrates. It's possible that a deficiency is preventing the plants from using the nitrates and also contributing to algae too (besides the high lights). Are you dosing potassium and traces too?
     
  5. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    Carissa, you may have hit the problem: if Hani is going by measured amounts of PO4 in the water, the measurement could be way off, and the PO4 very low. That would stop the plants from using the nitrates. Thus, no active plant growth, and that leads to algae.
     
  6. hani

    hani Lifetime Charter Member
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    thanks for reply, am using a ventrui reactor, DC with 4kh water,its almot going to turn yellow, the light been replaced, am using 2 CF light 55 wt each , and 2 aqua glo., i have 2 extra power head one at the upper left corner and one at the bttom right cornor
    i was told it could be the water circulation , so i did trem the tank added more power heads.
    picture below shows the tank before and after trimming, and a shoot of stunt plants
    http://i210.photobucket.com/albums/bb240/hani70/Picture044-2.jpg
    http://i210.photobucket.com/albums/bb240/hani70/Picture072.jpg
    http://i210.photobucket.com/albums/bb240/hani70/Picture076.jpg
     
  7. hani

    hani Lifetime Charter Member
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    yes am dosing kno3/po4/k/plantex. i did measurment befor i ran in to problems, i used to see nitrate drop if i dont does it 3 times week, also my po4 was around 2.
     
  8. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    Looking at your tank photos, they look very similar to the plant density that I had before my last rescaping. I couldn't get the BBA to stop with that much plant density.

    I suggest that you just dose per EI and retire the nitrate and phosphate test kits. If you want to continue to use them, be sure to calibrate them first, using solutions you know the ppm of nitrate or phosphate in. Phosphate test kits are asked to do a very hard job - discriminating between very, very weak concentrations of phosphate in the water, and they often don't do it well. And, if the plants don't get adequate phosphate the can't use the nitrate either.
     
  9. hani

    hani Lifetime Charter Member
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    i did calibrate the kits ,and thats why am using two kits of each one by lemotte and one by hagen, the tank was doing will for some time then sudden nitrate spike happened.
    i will clean the filter today and replace most of the filter matirial except the biomed.
    not sure what else to do?
     
  10. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Hani, this tank is very over grown and high very high plant biomass to say the least!

    The close ups seem like pictures from a poor/low CO2 plant tank.
    As plant biomass increases and becomes really high, the amount of CO2 demand goes way up also.

    If more CO2 is not added, then the plants will slow(not stop) their growth, and this can lead to PO4 and or NO3 back up, rarely NH4.
    Plants will start to leach PO4 and NO3 out if they are stressed from low carbon.

    So you can get a spike of NO3 and assume that is what is causing the poor growth etc, rather than CO2 and providing a good trim and a stable plant biomass.

    Keep the garden pruned and tidy basically and you should not have too much issue.

    More plants= more nutrient/more CO2 and more light demand.
    Less plants = less of these.

    The algae and twisted tips look like poor CO2 in the photos.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  11. hani

    hani Lifetime Charter Member
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    Thanks tom but i did try to add more co2, i used split valve and co2 mistting plus the venturi ,i tried for 2 weeks nothibg improved , fish were swiming at the surface.
    should i trem more plants?
     
  12. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Hani,
    With this much plant biomass, the circulation is virtually none.
    So it will not matter if you add more CO2.

    You need more current.

    You can add more and blow the plants around, or you can trim and allow the water to move better and O2 as well to diffuse in.

    If you had a fish only tank, and had this little circulation, the fish would be gasping if you had a sizable load.

    Increase circulation is required, not just more CO2 added, you have to get the CO2 to the plants and maintain the same circulation rates.

    Circulation is reduced by about 80-90% in the dense plant beds, vs the open water.



    Regards,
    tom Barr
     
  13. Professor Myers

    Professor Myers Guru Class Expert

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    With exception to present water chemistry aside. I'd say that's a Brilliant Effort for a 29 gal. tank. Well Done ! Prof M
     
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