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Old 04-14-2007, 06:13 AM   #1
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nitrate level that will not drop

recently i did a water change and gravel vacuum my tank had gone cloudy . i got my water tested my nitrates were 30 and my nitrites were 3.0 i purchased a nitrate pillow and did a another water change after a week now my nitrites are 0 my ammonia is 0 but my nitrates are staying at around 15-20 i do not know what else to do. Tomorrow i am going to do another water change and vacuum the other half of my tank i do one side every week .. Would anybody have a idea on how to lower my nitrates any help will be appreciated
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Old 04-14-2007, 07:26 AM   #2
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I'd be more concerned about the high nitrites at the moment. Your tank either isn't cycled, you're overloaded, you aren't doing enough water changes, or the filtration isn't up to handling the bio-load in the tank.

What size tank is this? How new is it? What do you have in it? What type filtration are you running?
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Old 04-14-2007, 03:41 PM   #3
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my nitrites are zero and my amonia is zero it is just the nitrtes that are up ... my tank is a 55g with a cascade 300 and a aquaclear 70 ... and i use a power head for a little extra current to get things moving ... I do a water change everyweek .. and i vacum one side of my tank a week when i do a water change my tank has been running for just about a year now i have 12 cichlids in it
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Old 04-14-2007, 04:09 PM   #4
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You still haven't responded as to how much water you change weekly. The only practical way to lower nitrates is to change water. There is no reason to only vacuum 1/2 your tank weekly, rather than all of it. You also might look at cleaning out your filters more often. The ACs are easy to clean, just rinse the sponges when you do your water changes. Leaving solids in the filter will not help your situation. Removing the solids from your system before they break down will help with the nitrates.
Since your tank has been running for a year, it is probable that your fish have grown, and the water changes you have been doing are no longer big enough, since the fish are bigger. Personally, I change 50% when I do water changes.
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Old 04-14-2007, 05:29 PM   #5
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i do 30% now when i do a water change and i do the filtres every second week so as i have a good bio load in them .. and i do half the gravel so i do not disturb the bacteria like i said this is the first time it has ever spiked
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Old 04-14-2007, 05:43 PM   #6
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You don't really need to worry about reducing the bacteria with gravel cleaning. Getting the crud out of the filters will only make them work better. You can run a second sponge in the AC which will increase it's bio capability.
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Old 04-14-2007, 05:53 PM   #7
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what water conditioner do you use i was looking at getting amquel+ FROM KAGEN have you ever heard of it and i right now am doing a 30% CHANGE
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Old 04-15-2007, 10:58 AM   #8
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Seachem's Prime is cheaper in the long run, I believe, as it is more concentrated.
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Old 04-15-2007, 01:44 PM   #9
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Your nitrAte level in the 15-20 range is fine.

Aside from the apparant spike in nitrItes, you're fine. I wouldn't do anything different just yet, since the spike seems to have cleared. It may have just been a corrupt reading if you only saw it for a day then it was gone.

If your ammonia and nitrItes are 0, and your nitrAte is only at 15-20, everything is perfect.

There's only 2 ways to get nitrAtes out. PWC, or live plants. Most state that keeping your nitrAtes under 40 is good for fish, although most of us try to keep them below 20 for even happier fish. As long as you're in that range, which you are, you're okay.
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Old 04-15-2007, 02:15 PM   #10
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I had the same problem when I first started keeping cichlids. The problem was attributed to I needed more filtration and to feed less. With nitrates around 15-20ppm, there is no problem. When nitrates go above 40ppm then you need to be concerned. I'd be more concerned with what caused the nitrite spike. You said in your first post the nitrite was 3.0.
Gravel vac all the substrate every week. Cichlids are messy. You might want to consider upgrading to a cannsiter filter for that tank. IMO they are better for cichlid tanks.

I also use Prime as a dechlorinator, much cheaper in the long run due to the concentrated formula as Severum mama mentioned.
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