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I recently set up a 30 gallon and I am having a real hard time figuring out why my nitrates are at a steady 5ppm? Its weird because I am not dosing phosphates to the tank. Nitrates are also eaten up pretty fast. My tank went from 10ppm of nitrates to 0 in less than 2 days. My question is, what could be in my water that raises phosphates that high? My substrate is eco complete, I have driftwood from the woods that I boiled and I also used established gravel from my old 29 gallon in the bottom of the 30 which I covered with eco complete. At one time the phosphate was 10ppm. I havent noticed any stress on the fish and the plants are growing fairly well. Its 2.4 watts per gallon right now but will be 3.2 by the end of the week. kh of 7 and gh of 2.

Thanks for your help

Otis
 

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Hi Otis,

I assume you meant to say you have 5ppm phosphates, not nitrates, in your tank. Have you checked your tap water? An aquarist across the Hudson from me claims to have about 40ppm in the tap water. Water companies add to to inhibit corrosion, I believe.
 

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A poor PO4 test kit will often read way over the normal ~1.0ppm PO4 levels added to tap for corrosion control.

It's extremely unlikely(eg I've never found even 2-3ppm causes any algae issues)

Regards,
Tom Barr
 
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