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Old 03-07-2005, 06:48 PM   #1
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Nitrates

Well, my tank is doing well. I've had the danios for almost 2 weeks and the tank is all done cycling. Tested today and the ammonia and nitrites are at zero, pH is fine too. But whoa nelly! My nitrates spiked! I've done so much reading on fishless cycling, and I also just read an article here in the Articles section...and the only thing I found about nitrates is that they should be around 20ppm. Is that correct? Mine are WAY over. I honestly can't tell if they're at 40 or 80 because the two shades of red on my color chart look so close. But in any event, they're high. The article suggested a partial water change to lower them so I'll probably do that tonight.
Just wanted to run this by you all to get your input on what the ideal nitrate levels are. Thanks!
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Old 03-07-2005, 08:03 PM   #2
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Are you using Aquarium Pharmacueticals test kit? If yes, I can understand your dilemma. The chart is very close indeed. I would do the PWC in any event. The ideal range is subjective and a lot of folks have theirs in the 20-40 range.

Congrats on completing your cycle!
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Old 03-07-2005, 09:03 PM   #3
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I agree with Jchillin. Testing for nitrate after you do the water change should tell you about what it was before. If you do a 30% water change and the color of the test solution tends toward orange a little, then your original reading was probably around 40. The AQ test kit is difficult to read at levels above 40. Once you have the tank stabilized and are doing regular water changes, it will be easier to tell what the nitrate trend is.
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Old 03-07-2005, 09:15 PM   #4
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Great news! ammonia and nitrites zero. Nitrates? no big deal, the level of nitrate is under your control by PWC's. The nitrate level that is seen is dependent on how many water changes you are willing to do and the biload in the tank. High bioload, low water changes, equals high nitrate. My LFS won't take a dead fish back if the nitrate is over 30. Just about every ppm of ammonia ever put in the tank to fishless cycle will show up as a ppm of nitrate after the cycle is done. So do some PWC's, get the nitrate down. Then do regular PWC's and retest for nitrate in a week or two to see if your water change regimen is adequate for the bioload. I am trying to keep my nitrate less than five with 20% PWC three times a week. It has worked so far, but I am only recently getting up to full bioload, so I shall see.
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Old 03-08-2005, 03:21 AM   #5
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I agree with the PWC's. To a 30% then the next day do another 30%. Discus keepers like to keep the nitrates under 5ppm and often to 30% per day on a fully stocked tank.

LOL at TomK's "Polyvinylus Chloridus sp." plants. BTW Tom, your angels must love you with the regular PWC's.
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Old 03-08-2005, 09:30 AM   #6
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BTW Tom, your angels must love you with the regular PWC's.
The little dudes are growing fast!
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Old 03-08-2005, 07:38 PM   #7
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Just about every ppm of ammonia ever put in the tank to fishless cycle will show up as a ppm of nitrate after the cycle is done.
Oh great!!
Yes, I'm using the AP test kit.
I did a 25% PWC last night and it didn't do much. Wow, I thought once I got through the weeks of stressful cycling, I would FINALLY get a break!!
My bioload isn't that big. I have 9 little zebra danios in 45 gallons. Not sure why the nitrates would spike, except for what Tom said. And here I was excited to get some more fish! I'll keep doing the PWC's until they lower. Then hopefully I can get some more fish!
Oh, one other question...when should I rinse out my charcoal or filter sponge? I've only had fish for a couple of weeks (but fishless cycled for 6 weeks). Should I just see how goopy they look? LOL
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3 long-finned zebra danios
4 long-finned leopard danios
6 neon tetras
2 silver tip tetras
1 red tailed black shark
5 red phantom tetras

45 gallon mirror back
20W flourescent light
2 Aquaclear 200 filters
1 300W visitherm sub heater
Decorations: Castle ruins with matching archway
Plastic plants: 2 x-tall, 3 medium, 3 short, 4 x-short
Blue gravel - large pebbles
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Old 03-08-2005, 09:23 PM   #8
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Usually once a month or less for rinsing out sponges and other filter media. However, it is not a good thing to do them all at once. You wouldn't want to rid yourself of your good bacteria colonies.

You really have nothing to worry about. Part of the reason for PWC's are to reduce the amount of NO3 as the only other way to control it is live plants. Once weekly is probably all you would need.
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Old 03-09-2005, 02:11 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by mattrox
I agree with the PWC's. To a 30% then the next day do another 30%. Discus keepers like to keep the nitrates under 5ppm and often to 30% per day on a fully stocked tank.

All I meant was two PWC's one after another a day apart would bring the nitrates down.

You only need to do a PWC when your nitrates rise. I was quoting an extreme case.
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Old 03-09-2005, 02:21 AM   #10
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Anacharis & hornwort are so easy to keep & like J- said they suck down the nitrates. Extra bonus - they make good hiding places if you have personality conflicts with your fish & great places for fry to hide.
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