Nitrate vs nitrite


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I am asking this question because I just tested my water and I have a slight increase in nitrate but nitrite is negative. I am using strips. I did do a bit of reading online but did not come up with a satisfactory answer. I am using API test strips and the nitrate was 40-80ppm. I am not able to have plants in my pond because of the type and location of the pond...AND the one plant I did put in the pond when I moved the koi from outside to inside pond was dug up in short-order!! I have read that overfeeding is the most common cause of increase in nitrates/nitrites.
Other parameters - pH 6m which is lower than it has been before, the GH and Kh are high but always have been. Also wondering about expire date for the test strips because mine say June, 2021 were there expiry date...but I always wonder whether they are good for significantly longer than the expiry date says!
However, I think my biggest question is what the difference is between nitrites and nitrates? My research indicated that nitrates break down to nitrates but if I don't have a positive test for nitrites, why do I have nitrates? I did a water change two days ago before I tested my water so maybe it was even a higher reading before I did that. I replaced approximately 1/3 of the water and added chlorine neutralizer. Should I be removing/examining/cleaning my biofilter? I feel like I have enough water circulation with the pump that I have for the size of pond and number of fish but perhaps not. The fish appear to be eating well. No signs of toxicity.
 
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brokensword

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basics; nitrate is a lot less toxic (over time, the build of concentration) than nitrites. Plants ARE what you want to help take out the nitrates, or you'll have algae doing it for you. I'd really figure something out so you can have plants, be they potted and fenced IN the pond, or floating and protected by a net of some sort, or even better, in a bog filter attached to your pond.

Btw, use the liquid tests as the strips have been known to be inaccurate, and by a lot. API is a good brand, though.

Nitrates are the result of breaking down nitrites, which is a result of breaking down ammonia. In general (though not wholly accurate), bacteria are in charge of this process.


Not necessary to do water changes if your pond is in equilibrium. IF you clean your biofilter, use only pond water, NOT chlorinated water. A bog filter IS a biofilter and would solve a couple problems for you.

Do some regular pH checks as ph of 6 is on the acid side and imo, should be over 7 and in the basic spectrum. BUT, a steady pH is better than trying to find some magic number. I only mention because it might indicate your source water is acidic and will only give you more acidic readings going forward. Check your KH and see how that stacks up; this is an indicator of how well you can maintain your pH and if low, could also be giving you issues with other parameters.

Glad your fish are doing fine!


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Testing strips are not accurate. That makes them pretty useless. They start to deteriorate as soon as air hits them when the container is opened. Since yours are out of date, that adds to the problem.

I wouldn't trust any results you have from those strips. Get some liquid tests for pH, KH, ammonia, nitrite and nitrate. You will have a much better idea of your pond's water quality with those.
 
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I have ordered an API test kit for accurate results. Not sure I can get any pond plants at this time of year but will call my aquarium shop and see what he has available. I have also started feeding less because the pond location is quite cool and maybe they are eating less than I thought they should be. I have also ordered another pump/bio filter. Sadly, no way to set up a bog filter in this pond. Will follow up in a few weeks when I have further information.
As always, thank you for your help.
 

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