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Old 08-20-2009, 09:17 AM   #1
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Nitrate Level Between PWC for FOWLER

Could I get some input on what is a maximum acceptable Nitrate level between water changes in a FOWLER system - with inverts such as crabs, snails, feather dusters, and shrimp.

I realize we should target for 0ppm whether the system is a Reef or FOWLER, however, I have read fish are not affected by Nitrates at levels up to 50ppm, but I'm wondering how much the inverts mentioned above can handle.

I'm on an every other week PWC schedule in which I change out 13% of the water volume so I am trying to get a feel as to how this is working. Between the last 2 PWC's the nitrates really didn't get over 5ppm (non detectable on the API reference cards) but during my current period the Nitrate has gone a bit higher in the 10-15ppm. Probably contributed by me being guilty of over-feeding and possibly by a Turbo snail that died and I didn't discover it for a few days.

I'm on schedule for a PWC this Saturday.

Thanks for any input!
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Old 08-20-2009, 09:22 AM   #2
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I would say that any nitrate spikes would definitely be from over feeding. And ofcourse the dead snail lol. I would say cut back on the feeding just a little and see if it makes any difference at all in the nitrates. Also, you found the dead snail and removed it right?
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Old 08-20-2009, 09:29 AM   #3
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I wouldn't necessarily consider the dead snail for adding to the nitrate spike, IME (and Keith can back me up on this). I had 2 dead snails in the tank and the params stayed perfectly as they were before. But I would definitely consider the overfeeding more so for the cause of the nitrate spike.
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Old 08-20-2009, 09:58 AM   #4
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Thanks guys! ... and once I realized the snail was dead - yes, I removed it.

I agree that my overfeeding has caused the nitrates in the water volume to increase, my question is - how much nitrate is reasonably safe for the inhabitants in a FOWLER system w/ the type inverts I have ...
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Old 08-20-2009, 10:02 AM   #5
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Thanks guys! ... and once I realized the snail was dead - yes, I removed it.

I agree that my overfeeding has caused the nitrates in the water volume to increase, my question is - how much nitrate is reasonably safe for the inhabitants in a FOWLER system w/ the type inverts I have ...
I would say that up to ~20ppm is OK, IMO
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Old 08-20-2009, 10:58 AM   #6
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Quote:
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I would say that up to ~20ppm is OK, IMO
Sharkbait - your opinion of 20ppm, is that based on research, or is that just your gut instinct?

What I am trying to do is figure out if I should stop what I'm doing and do an immediate PWC today since my Nitrates are pushing 15ppm or can I just stick to my normal schedule and do a PWC on Saturday (at which time Nitrates may be higher than 15ppm).
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Old 08-20-2009, 11:04 AM   #7
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Sharkbait - your opinion of 20ppm, is that based on research, or is that just your gut instinct?

What I am trying to do is figure out if I should stop what I'm doing and do an immediate PWC today since my Nitrates are pushing 15ppm or can I just stick to my normal schedule and do a PWC on Saturday (at which time Nitrates may be higher than 15ppm).
Its based on experience and what some of the experts on the site have told me when I have posted questions re: my nitrates being at or around that level (~20ppm). Obviously less to nothing is better but IME, I have not had a problem at such a level.
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Old 08-20-2009, 11:06 AM   #8
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Ok - thanks for the info.
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Old 08-20-2009, 09:55 PM   #9
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Just a quick update ...

I went ahead and took a water sample to my LFS to test for Nitrates. They're test kit (same as mine) showed no trace of nitrates, however I have two NO3 API test kits and both were showing some nitrates - one was showing approximately 10ppm and the other closer to 15ppm.

In discussion we concluded that these are hobby grade test kits so some fluctuation is to be expected and my LFS operator suggested my kits my be newer than his which are why they are showing Nitrates. Who knows ...

And in regards to Nitrate levels in a FOWLER system ... his words were 'anything over zero should frustrate you and always work to minimize NO3 but fish and inverts like I have are safe until Nitrates hit 40ppm'.

I went ahead and did a 13% PWC this evening just to be on the safe side.
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Old 08-20-2009, 09:58 PM   #10
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Any time you have two different readings, its safer to err towards the worst and correct a problem that might or might not be there. Better safe than sorry!
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