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Old 05-11-2021, 08:33 AM   #1
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Unstoppable Nitrates

Has anyone had issues with unstoppable nitrates, even with weekly water changes, gravel cleaning, and perfectly clear water?? My 55 gal was set up in March (seeded with existing tank media) and all the fish are healthy (my red peacock cichlid has bred TWICE already - 8 babies released the first time, then moved her to a 5 gal to release the second batch of 30+ fry... she is now back in the 55 gal with her mate separated from the rest of the fish via divider)...

I do 33% water changes and every week the tank goes from 20ppm to 40+ppm. There are a few sizes of ecobiostones and 2 air stones. Last week I added live plants even though the cichlids LOVE tearing them up to see if that might help, but no change in nitrates so far. All other parameters are.good (8.0 PH, 0 am/0 ni) and water used to change is conditioned and is naturally great, nitrate free quality (yay, New York water!).

My LFS tells me I do TOO MANY water changes but isn't the nitrate bump a sign I need a water change?? I even tried ALGONE (supposedly removes nitrates)...it didn't work lol.

Tank has 3 clown loaches (2-3 each), 8 young adult cichlids (2-3 each), and 8 cichlid fry born in tank.

Thanks friends!

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Old 05-11-2021, 01:15 PM   #2
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If you change 1/3 of the water weekly, you will remove 1/3 of the nitrate. You will get to a point where the amount of nitrate removed through your water change matches the amount your tank produces. If this balance point means your nitrate is at a level you arent happy with you either need to reduce the bioload, change more water, or some other measure of removing nitrate. Personally i think you need to go really heavy on plants to have a noticable effect on nitrate if you have anything like a moderate bioload.

If you tank produces 15ppm nitrate per week, you will get to a point where your nitrate will be 45ppm before your weekly water change. Remove 1/3, nitrate drops to 30ppm. Week later you are at 45ppm again. 1/3 water change, back down to 30ppm etc etc. If you up the water changes to 50% weekly, your nitrate will settle at 30ppm immediately prior to a water change, remove 1/2 down to 15ppm. A week later it will rise to 30ppm again etc etc.

I think my example is about where you are and what i would expect for a moderately stocked, lightly planted tank to be. Typically you want to keep nitrate below 40ppm, but as you are finding its not such a huge issue if it drifts a bit higher.
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