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Old 11-03-2021, 07:39 AM   #1
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Nitrate & Ammonia Reduction

My levels are never 0 in a 90 G tank with a 20 G sump. Iíve added two small filters to the sump tank. The sump has 2 foam filters & many spikey balls. My new plan is positioning rooted plants, pothos & Lucky Bamboo, above the tank with the roots submerged to combat nitrate.

Plan is to increase live plants in tank to reduce ammonia. This tank has 18 catfish & cichlids.

Is there anything else I can do?
Thanks

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Old 11-03-2021, 10:05 AM   #2
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What ammonia and nitrate are you seeing?

Why are you concerned about them? Are you seeing any issues in the tank?

You arent very likely to get 0ppm nitrate in a cycled tank. It would require a 100% water change with 0ppm water going in to achieve this. Or a very heavily planted tank with low numbers of fish. Or filter media that promotes anaerobic bacteria in a similar manner that rockwork in marine tanks do.

Have you tried testing some bottled water for ammonia which should be 0ppm and comparing to what you are seeing from your tank? 0ppm ammonia oftens look like low ammonia readings.
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Old 11-03-2021, 10:27 AM   #3
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Not sure if I am replying properly re format.

I am concerned because everyone at another forum says they consistently get zero. I will never see zero in the nitrate, as tap water is 5 ppm. I am getting 10-15. Ammonia at .25
This is a secondhand setup, 5 years old. Previous owner used well water & never checked parameters.
No, the fish seem fine, but per certain experts, my params could better. The solution, of course, is more water changes. Iím doing 75% once a week. First owner says he did 25% monthly.
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Old 11-03-2021, 11:24 AM   #4
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It ‘could’ be better but really is nothing to worry about at all

It’s likely you have very low amounts of ammonia or none at all with an aged setup like that.

Which tests are you using and can you provide a picture of the results.

As far as achieving 0 nitrates, that’s a hard one to achieve as the entire ammonia cycles last conversion is to nitrates. Plant life of course will remove these but requires a lot of plant to handle a relatively small bioload. You also don’t want to achieve 0, at that point you start to deprive the plants

10-15ppm nitrates is well within safe limits. I’m assuming that would be a test at the end of a week before water changes?

You can try doing a 50% water change twice a week and see what you get for numbers if you’re dead set on it

But foremost, let’s make sure you’re using an accurate test!
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Old 11-03-2021, 11:46 AM   #5
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I am using API. Did try Salifert for nitrates, but simpler to do my API assembly line. I will post pics next time. Thing is results the same before and several hours after testing. I am beginning to think these 0 on everything folks have two guppies in a 125 G tank.
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Old 11-03-2021, 12:08 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jacky12 View Post
Not sure if I am replying properly re format.

I am concerned because everyone at another forum says they consistently get zero. I will never see zero in the nitrate, as tap water is 5 ppm. I am getting 10-15. Ammonia at .25
This is a secondhand setup, 5 years old. Previous owner used well water & never checked parameters.
No, the fish seem fine, but per certain experts, my params could better. The solution, of course, is more water changes. Iím doing 75% once a week. First owner says he did 25% monthly.
Nitrate at 10 to 15ppm is really good. Typically you should keep it below 40ppm, but even there fish will generally be good above 40ppm.

0.25ppm ammonia is basically 0. Nothing to worry about. It may even be 0. Like i said test some bottled water (which will be 0) and compare. 0ppm can often look like 0.25ppm
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Old 11-03-2021, 12:12 PM   #7
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But foremost, letís make sure youíre using an accurate test!
There isn't really any such thing unless you are getting professional testing kits (several £100s). And even then so many things can throw off a test, particularly nitrate is difficult to accurately test for.

Its a home test kit, you have to accept it for what it is.
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Old 11-03-2021, 12:45 PM   #8
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What do you recommend?
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Old 11-03-2021, 01:09 PM   #9
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There isn't really any such thing unless you are getting professional testing kits (several £100s). And even then so many things can throw off a test, particularly nitrate is difficult to accurately test for.

Its a home test kit, you have to accept it for what it is.
By that I meant using something like an API test kit vs dollar store test strips!
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Old 11-03-2021, 01:22 PM   #10
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What do you recommend?
Me? Just accept that a home test kit is an indication of whats going on and not an accurate report of your water parameters. Your fish are normally a far better indication of issues in your tank than tests, but occasionally a test can give some advance warning or steer you towards a cause of your problems. My son recently fed a weeks worth of food (having never shown any interest in fish in his life) and even after a good vac and big water change, the following day i was detecting ammonia, so i knew that there was still an issue that needed monitoring. But i understand that the test result wasnt telling me there was 0.5ppm and that the ammonia wasnt an immediate problem.

Quote:
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By that I meant using something like an API test kit vs dollar store test strips!
Thats a fair point. Liquid tests are considered more accurate than test strips.
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Old 11-03-2021, 01:30 PM   #11
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Always meant to compare API strips to their drops, but haven’t yet For nitrate, Salifert compared well to API. And it was a pretty pink color too!
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Old 11-03-2021, 01:35 PM   #12
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Always meant to compare API strips to their drops, but haven’t yet For nitrate, Salifert compared well to API. And it was a pretty pink color too!
Ive not really noticed that much difference between APIs strips and liquid tests. The big difference i see is liquid tests are easier to read and differentiate between different levels. And liquid test is much, much more cost effective long term.
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Old 11-03-2021, 06:01 PM   #13
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This is one of the new plants that were delivered today. Also bought several Java ferns.

OK, guess not. Thought link here would take me to iPad photo file & that’s not how it works here.
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