whats a good nitrate reading? - Aquarium Forum
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-22-2011, 05:37 PM Thread Starter
 
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whats a good nitrate reading?

had my 55g running since mid sept. with 2 oscars and a blue lobster(R.I.P. Blue), anyway for the longest i had good readings i guess, little to no ammonia, some nitrites, and some nitrate. so i figured i was cycled, then maybe november they all got screwy, 8ppm ammonia, lots of nitrite and no nitrate. so for a month i did water changes like crazy still getting wierd readings. so i decided to forget testing and just do my water changes weekly, due to running low on my api test drops, about 15-20 gallons at a time. well did a water change 3 days ago, tested and perfect i hope.... no ammonia at all no nitrites but alot of nitrates i guess, between 20-40ppm maybe more on the forty side.....is that good? sorry for the long post on a short question just giving all the info on whats up, and go easy on me about 2 oscars in a 55g please i know!!!! also have an aqua tech 30-60g hang on the back filter that will soon be upgraded to a larger one just to be on the safe side
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-22-2011, 05:40 PM
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Re: whats a good nitrate reading?

that's actually right where you want them

40 is a good rule of thumb number. consider up to 40 to be good, and when the levels raise over 40 do a 25% water change to get rid of the excess. usually a weekly 25% change will keep them in that area, so that's why a weekly 25% water change is a good routine
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Re: whats a good nitrate reading?

hey thanks its kind of hard to tell exactly what the reading is with the paper color card that comes with the test kit but what can you do, but anyway...... to anyone else that reads this i thought i was cycled in about 3-4 weeks, then got some crazy readings a few weeks later and didnt know why cuz i thought i was cycled, and didnt really listen to the ppl here, but if this guy says im where i should be at, then it really took about maybe 3 months for everything to be where its supposed to be thanks again
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-22-2011, 07:05 PM
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Re: whats a good nitrate reading?

some cycles can be quick and be done in a month, and some can take several months

depends on the tank size, filter, fish, live plants, LOTS of things
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-22-2011, 08:25 PM
 
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Re: whats a good nitrate reading?

The final destination for all decomposing food, fish wastes, and dead fish is nitrates. It remains in your tank until removed by water changes, plants or denitricication. Some fishes have a very low tolerance for nitrates, discusautolinker.com autolinking image and Scats are two of them. A value of less than 30 mg/l should be aimed for, much less for a fish like a discusautolinker.com autolinking image. The easiest way to lower nitrates is through water changes. To avoid causing stress to your fish, it's best to use several frequent small changes rather than one infrequent large one. Test your tap water to make sure it doesn't contain nitrates before you add it. Bottled water, disstilled water and RO water should contain no nitrates but again test to be sure. Biowheels and Under Gravel filters are rumored to remove nitrates through denitrification but I have seen no test data to verify that. Practice frequent replaceing of filter material. Old, dirty filters continually discharge nitrates.
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-22-2011, 09:09 PM
 
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Re: whats a good nitrate reading?

Great post guys and I learned a lot.

On Jan 2nd, I cleaned an old 10g (in the garage for ten years), filled up with good Memphis tap water, put a: bio-wheel hanger filter (20g+) bubble bar in back, heater (temp. 78) all plastic plants, some kind of crushed shell substrata, added some prime and plopped in: 6 neons, two patties, two mollies, one dwarf Gourammi, two small cory cats and a tiny zebra.

Can you guess that I am having huge troubles? Both nitrates and nitrites, off the scale but nothing else too bad. Nitrates - 60, Nitrites 15 ? (off the scale) PH 7.8 Hardness - 150, Akl - 120, PH -7.8 no ammonia. This was just a few minutes ago, 4 hours after initial treatment. The N's just kept/keep going up, week to week.

Some fish died, (three neons) and the rest look labored to some extent or the other but the dwarf flame gourammi seems in great character. A really full of himself fish. Not mean but takes no crap either.

I did a 20% change last week end and about 40% today. My local fish store tested the water to verify my findings. I have been dosing Niteout for the last week. and have been using Prime to treat the water as I replace and had dumped a few capfulls over the last week.

I went to this aquarium and pond store today and talked to them about the problem. Of course we discussed my complete failure to understand or apply anything about cycling a tank. Dang. I guess I had been lucky before, back in the day. But, what to do NOW for their health/survival? Here's what we came up with:

Keep up the water changes, especially if numbers don't come down. Use one cupful of Prime and Stability today and tomorrow, test tomorrow afternoon, then go to one cupful Stability every other day one cupful Prime every day. I also added one teaspoon of "Neutral Regulator" to bring down the PH to around 7.0. but was still at 7.8 fours hours later. (Been thinking that some distilled water might bring it down also.)

I should perform water changes as much and as often as necessary to keep the N,s in something less than poison, long enough for the tank to cycle. Back off when N's come down for a couple of days and monitor, 20% weekly forever. Yikes.

Well, I am determined to make this tank work. I don't want these remaining fish to die and I want to have a healthy and pretty tank. I am sure that I'll want 30 - 50g at some point but I have some work to do before that!

Let me know if you think this solution is best. Would some plants help? (I don't have good lighting) Bring the temp down to 76?

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60g tall, all artificial plants, Rainbow tank; 55g for African Cichlids. 20g long for fry; 20g hex, 2 black Angels at my desk; 10g planted, with 50 Molly fry; 10 gal, 2x 13w cfl lightning, planted; 2g hex for "Buddy the Betta"; Wanting a 200g +, MTS getting bad.

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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-22-2011, 09:14 PM
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Re: whats a good nitrate reading?

ReStart - nitrites that high I am surprised that you have any fish alive. You should be doing a 50% daily water change until it gets under control.
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-22-2011, 09:42 PM
 
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Re: whats a good nitrate reading?

Ya know, I think in my stomach, I've thought the same for the last day or two. I can't do it this second but tomorrow at the latest.

60g tall, all artificial plants, Rainbow tank; 55g for African Cichlids. 20g long for fry; 20g hex, 2 black Angels at my desk; 10g planted, with 50 Molly fry; 10 gal, 2x 13w cfl lightning, planted; 2g hex for "Buddy the Betta"; Wanting a 200g +, MTS getting bad.
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-22-2011, 09:46 PM
 
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Re: whats a good nitrate reading?

Sometimes it is best to leave things alone and not do water changes until the nitrites or ammonia go down themself. Doing frequent water changes can actually hinder the process of getting your cycle started when something goes too high. I never like my nitrates to go over 10 ppm.

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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-22-2011, 09:57 PM
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Re: whats a good nitrate reading?

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Originally Posted by aconrad View Post
Sometimes it is best to leave things alone and not do water changes until the nitrites or ammonia go down themself. Doing frequent water changes can actually hinder the process of getting your cycle started when something goes too high. I never like my nitrates to go over 10 ppm.
If you are referring to the post from ReStart who reported having a super high level for nitrites, then that is very poor advice. Nitrites at that level can kill any fish. Water changes are the only way to get it down to a safe level.

Water changes do stall a typical start of a nitrogen process and getting all the bacteria in place, but they are necessary if you want to save your fish.
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post #11 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-01-2011, 07:18 PM
 
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Re: whats a good nitrate reading?

Well, I finally got the chemistry all good. The fish seem to be a lot better except for the female lyertail molly. I'm afraid she's blind. She still gets plenty to eat but mobility is limited. You can tell when she get lost somewhere.

Lot's of water changes and using nite-out and stability. The thing to do now is nothing except for routine wc and watching for nitrites. (and talk my wife into buying a 29 gal)

Wow. Things have changed in the last ten years. Lot's more information available. I posted a little picture in the gallery if you'd like to see what I've come up with so far.

60g tall, all artificial plants, Rainbow tank; 55g for African Cichlids. 20g long for fry; 20g hex, 2 black Angels at my desk; 10g planted, with 50 Molly fry; 10 gal, 2x 13w cfl lightning, planted; 2g hex for "Buddy the Betta"; Wanting a 200g +, MTS getting bad.
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post #12 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-02-2011, 08:06 AM
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Re: whats a good nitrate reading?

Good to hear.
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