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Re: Lots of plants--why are nitrates so high?

> Date: Mon, 7 Aug 2000 23:32:56 EDT
> From: CarlaThorn at aol_com
> Subject: 
> Three years ago I removed the UGF from my 55-gallon to ease a high-nitrate 
> problem and provide a better environment for plants. (started using a 
> canister filter) Nitrates have been undetectable until recently, when they 
> surged. I've done nothing differently I can think of, I have pretty heavy 
> plant growth, and now I'm back to battling high nitrates with frequent water 
> changes. Will I have to tear down the tank and start over? I have about 15 
> medium size fish, all other standard measurements are fine (nitrites, 
> ammonia, ph). DIY CO2.

Have you checked the expiration date on your nitrate test kit? Maybe your water 
is fine and the test kit is going bad - the reagents usually have a finite 
lifetime which includes the time it sat on the store's shelf, in the 
wholesaler's warehouse, etc. 

If you've changed nothing, there is little reason for a nitrate surge. I assume 
you clean the canister filter regularly and are still feeding the same amount of 
fish food as you were with low nitrates. 

Have you tried testing your tap water to make sure 1) the test kit is OK or b) 
your tap water does not have high nitrates?

George Booth in Ft. Collins, Colorado (booth at frii_com)