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 Two Potential Problems

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Nick_B
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PostSubject: Two Potential Problems   Fri Mar 07, 2014 12:35 am

I have been obsessively testing my 125g African Cichlid for nitrates, doing 50% WC weekly, but the nitrates only marginally decreased.  I finally thought about testing my well water and it showed 10 - 20 ppm.  At first I couldn't believe it.  I had a new API master test kit.  So I asked the LFS and they said it was possible that I cross-contaiminated the chemicals by switching the caps.  So, I bought a nitrate only API test kit.  It also showed similar results.  My question is...can this be possible? Am I doing the test wrong in some way (following the API instructions)?  Can I pretreat the water to remove?  I have a system that hardens the water.  I think it has a calcium carbonate bed.  Getting it recharge today (3/7/2014).  Any ideas or thoughts would be much appreciated.

My second issue is on the 29g tank I am currently cycling with clear ammonia (fishless).  I have driftwood in it from the 125g I purchased but did not use with the African cichlids.  I noticed about two days ago some type of white growth.  I have attached a picture.  I may end up using this tank for African cichlids and remove the driftwood anyway but still would like to know what itis and how to treat it.



Any and all ideas welcomed.

Thanks, Nick.

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kat12
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PostSubject: Re: Two Potential Problems   Fri Mar 07, 2014 1:00 am

That's a bacteria bloom on the driftwood, it will go away and is not a problem, it's just part of the wood cycling.
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PostSubject: Re: Two Potential Problems   Fri Mar 07, 2014 1:02 am

Thanks! That's a relief. Now, if I can just get the nitrate issue resolved. I just hope I don't have to go to a home RO/DI unit.

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PostSubject: Re: Two Potential Problems   Fri Mar 07, 2014 7:14 am

As far as your tank is concerned you can manage with that nitrate level, I think. You'll just have to watch feeding and stocking.

However, you need to also be concerned about yourself/family drinking water with more than 10 ppm of NO3. The activated carbon filters (like a Brita pitcher) do not remove it.

This comes from agricultural activities in the area, mainly fertilizer.

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Nick_B
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PostSubject: Re: Two Potential Problems   Mon Mar 10, 2014 8:50 pm

I think I solved the nitrate level mystery.  I took another tap and tank sample to LFS.  Tap showed 0 to very low ppm, and tank was between 10-20ppm.  Much to the credit of Max at Pet Aquatic Warehouse, he suggested trying a sample from bottled water, which my wife buys.  He even told me to bring the test kit back and we would try it there on some of their tanks.  So, I test the bottled water and it tested 0 ppm for nitrate as you would expect.  Then I test the tank and still had a high reading.  I thought about the differences between my testing area and the LFS.  The LFS is in a well-lighted area with a light background.  I test in the same room with my tanks as on the video.  The color of the room, according to my wife, is salmon.  I then took the sample to a place with lighter background and more natural light.  It was definitely much less reddish, the same lower PPM as the LFS.  So, I learned a valuable lesson.  An area with very good lighting and a lighter background.  Sorry again for writing so much.

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PostSubject: Re: Two Potential Problems   Mon Mar 10, 2014 10:12 pm

That's very interesting and good to remember. Sometimes I have to hold my vials up against white paper before I believe it. I'm glad you got to the bottom of things!

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PostSubject: Re: Two Potential Problems   Mon Mar 10, 2014 10:38 pm

@Liz wrote:
That's very interesting and good to remember. Sometimes I have to hold my vials up against white paper before I believe it. I'm glad you got to the bottom of things!

You beat me Liz, I was going to say the same thing. I found as Nick posted good lighting necessary, and as you stated holding vials over white paper definitely helps. I also read it helps to hold the vial over white paper and look down through the top of the vial rather than through the side.

Glad you are getting your issues under control Nick.

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PostSubject: Re: Two Potential Problems   Mon Mar 10, 2014 10:48 pm

Yep, those test based on comparing color are very subjective...  Crying or Very sad 
I wish there was a digital nitrate tester available at  reasonable price. Nitrate is what I test most often... Smile

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PostSubject: Re: Two Potential Problems   Fri Mar 21, 2014 6:12 am

Just wanted to post an update with the growth on driftwood problem.  I have not introduced fish yet, still feeding small amounts of ammonia.  Test results later always show 0 Ammonia, 0 Nitrites, and 10-20ppm nitrates.  I'm actually not going to set this up as a community tank and instead may put in a breeding colony of Malawi peacocks (German Reds or Flavescents).  I am going to pull the driftwood out.  Funny thing is 2 out of the 3 pieces have this growth while the third has nothing.  Any thoughts?  Also, should I remove the original gravel I put in for a community tank and either leave bare, use pfs, or aragonite?




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PostSubject: Re: Two Potential Problems   Fri Mar 21, 2014 7:47 am

Glad to hear your nitrate/test-kit problem is resolved.

I think some plecos will eat the fuzz that sometimes grows on driftwood. I have had it occasionally, but it has never lasted long.

How long is your tank? If it is shorter than 36" I wouldn't recommend using it for most Malawi cichlid breeding. You might get away with 30" for Pseudotropheous saulosi or maybe the shell dwelling mbuna. 24" really is only approriate for a grow-out tank or shellies.
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PostSubject: Re: Two Potential Problems   Fri Mar 21, 2014 4:42 pm

It's right at 36". I plan on removing some PFS from main tank (have too much there) and moving to this tank. I will have to remove the gravel I just put in but I'd rather do it now w/o fish than later. Thanks.

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PostSubject: Re: Two Potential Problems   Mon Mar 24, 2014 9:43 am

@Nick_B wrote:
It's right at 36".  I plan on removing some PFS from main tank (have too much there) and moving to this tank.  I will have to remove the gravel I just put in but I'd rather do it now w/o fish than later.  Thanks.

If you are careful a peacock trio or quad could work. You definitely want a smaller more mellow variety. Stay away from the jacobfreibergi peacocks and the OB peacocks. The German Reds seem to have a range of aggression, so I would start small and watch closely if those are your choice. It looks like Flavescent might be a good option.
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PostSubject: Re: Two Potential Problems   Mon Mar 24, 2014 12:19 pm

The peacocks I am breeding are smaller and work in a 3' tank.
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PostSubject: Re: Two Potential Problems   Mon Mar 24, 2014 4:32 pm

I had this white fluff on my mopani wood. I had boiled the heck out of it before putting it in. I noticed though that it would bloom when I added Biozyme. I took the wood out the first time and rinsed it under the tap, but apparnetly some remained. The next time I did a water change, I poured hydrogen peroxide (the 3% kind you get at the pharmacy) on the wood and it went away. Apparently, the peroxide did not hurt the fissidens geppi I started on the wood, nor the anubias nana sitting on it.
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PostSubject: Re: Two Potential Problems   Mon Mar 24, 2014 5:26 pm

There's something inside the wood decaying - maybe tree sap, or dead wood-boring grubs. the fungus/bacteria growth will cease when the food source is used up. It's probably not harmful to the fish.

That's a great story (and memorable lesson) about the nitrate test kit. Some of the kits I've seen specifically say to read it against a white background under white light. ... and remember to take off your rose-tinted sunglasses too!
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PostSubject: Re: Two Potential Problems   Mon Mar 24, 2014 6:00 pm

@gerald wrote:
 ... and remember to take off your rose-tinted sunglasses too!  

Too true!  ROFL! 

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PostSubject: Re: Two Potential Problems   Tue Mar 25, 2014 12:44 am

So...I took the driftwood out last night getting it ready for a small breeder colony.  If I let the driftwood soak in a 6 gallon bucket with some type of circulation, will that eventually "cure" this problem...allowing whatever is dead to fully decay or any other situations to resolve themselves?

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