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Old 06-10-2012, 06:37 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Nitrate Levels?

My nitrate levels are at 40 and I'm having trouble getting them to go down. I have been doing frequent water changes, feeding less, and I got plants. I only have four small fish in a 20 gallon tank right now. What are optimal nitrate levels? Ammonia .1 Nitrite 0. Thanks!
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Old 06-10-2012, 07:09 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Nitrate Levels?

If you have ammonia, then your tank is not cycled. I would do 50% water changes every day until you get your nitrate levels down. Feed every three days, how long has this tank been up?
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Old 06-10-2012, 08:28 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Nitrate Levels?

It's been up for about eight months. I made a big mistake with having a big fancy goldfishautolinker.com autolinking image in there for about six months. He is now living happily in my neighbors goldfishautolinker.com autolinking image pond, but I think he was what caused the water quality to get messed up. Thanks for the advice!
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Old 06-10-2012, 09:23 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Nitrate Levels?

During the planted cycle it is normal to have some nitrates. With ammonia showing up in an 8 month old system I suspect the plants are lowering ammonia and not consuming nitrates. So if you let things progress eventually bacteria will get the ammonia and then nitrates will drop down.

In the meantime do nothing other then enjoy your tank.

my .02

Last edited by beaslbob : 06-12-2012 at 10:58 AM.
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Old 06-11-2012, 12:24 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Nitrate Levels?

Have you tested the tapwater for nitrates? Usually when they don't go down with water changes, its more than likely there is nitrates in the tap. Also if you have any dead or dying plants in there, even just leaves falling off and dying will cause nitrates to rise.
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Old 06-11-2012, 04:26 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Nitrate Levels?

Optimal nitrate levels for a planted tank are 10-20ppm. Unless you have a high light, those values shouldn't matter much if you go below. The goal should never be 0, not for planted.
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Old 06-11-2012, 01:00 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Nitrate Levels?

I tested my tap water and there is some in there. Probably a little over 5ppm. Is it okay to use? If not where is a good place to get water from? My grandfather told me to use rain water but its not raining enough where I am for one water change. How do you tell if your tank is cycled? About five weeks ago I had super high ammonia levels which have come down to .25 ppm or maybe a little less. Nitrite has always been zero. Thanks for all the help!
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Old 06-11-2012, 04:57 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Nitrate Levels?

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Originally Posted by Puppylove View Post
I tested my tap water and there is some in there. Probably a little over 5ppm. Is it okay to use? If not where is a good place to get water from? My grandfather told me to use rain water but its not raining enough where I am for one water change. How do you tell if your tank is cycled? About five weeks ago I had super high ammonia levels which have come down to .25 ppm or maybe a little less. Nitrite has always been zero. Thanks for all the help!
If you just top off then any tap water fit for humans is fine.

If you do higher percentages of water changes then most recommend some kind of dechlor.

With what you' ve stated here is just sound like the tank is recovering nicely. then best thing IMHO would be to let the recovery continue by not making major changes.

my .02

Last edited by beaslbob : 06-11-2012 at 07:49 PM.
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Old 06-11-2012, 05:34 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Nitrate Levels?

Your tank is cycled when you would have 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites, and similar values of what you have for nitrates. Nitrates levels of 40ppm are just fine. Most will advise this is the max you want to get to.

I would stop feeding until the ammonia goes completely away and continue your weekly water change schedule. You need to get the ammonia under control and figure out where it is coming from. You may be overfeeding or your filtration may not be doing much good for you. I would also test your tap before you do a change to know what value of nitrates is going in.
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Old 06-11-2012, 08:00 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Nitrate Levels?

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Originally Posted by jrman83 View Post
Your tank is cycled when you would have 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites, and similar values of what you have for nitrates.
...
Unless you have live plants. In that case the tank is still cycling and building up aerobic bacteria while the plants are consuming the ammonia. Once that happens, the plants will drop down the nitrates.

But without plants then it is a sign the aerobic bacteria has build up consuming ammonia, nitrites producing nitrates which are not being consumed .

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Old 06-11-2012, 08:36 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Default Re: Nitrate Levels?

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Originally Posted by beaslbob View Post
Unless you have live plants. In that case the tank is still cycling and building up aerobic bacteria while the plants are consuming the ammonia. Once that happens, the plants will drop down the nitrates.

But without plants then it is a sign the aerobic bacteria has build up consuming ammonia, nitrites producing nitrates which are not being consumed .

my .02
So then my tank with 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites, 40ppm nitrates is not cycled? They are the same as the OP's. My tank has been running over two years....I know it's cycled. Thanks though. Only you believe that plants drop nitrates 40ppm in a day.

Puppylove - just go with what I said.
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Old 06-12-2012, 07:45 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Default Re: Nitrate Levels?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jrman83 View Post
my tank with 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites, 40ppm nitrates
Is that a planted tank? I've never had nitrates that high in a planted tank.

Puppylove - An established tank should have 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites, nitrates 40ppm or below. Nitrates are often much lower in planted tanks but as long as it's bellow 40ppm (some say bellow 30ppm) it should be safe enough for fish. Nitrates are what is left over when bacteria have consumed ammonia and nitrates and are lowered by water changes or consumed by plants.

A tank usually takes about 4-6 weeks to cycle. This is the time that it takes for the good bacteria that consume ammonia and nitrites to build up. During this time ammonia and nitrite spikes are expected. If you still see ammonia or nitrite readings after the tank is cycled it is usually a sign of under filteration, overstocking or overfeeding.

Your tank had plenty of time to cycle with the goldfishautolinker.com autolinking image in it, if you still had ammonia issues then it's because the bioload of the goldfishautolinker.com autolinking image was too much for the tank/filter.

The ammonia issues you have had since then are probably for one of two reasons:

1)If you put the new fish in straight after the goldfish the tank did not need to cycle so the ammonia is just left over from the goldfish.

2) If the tank was left without fish for a while, and especially if you turned off the filter during that time the bacteria will have died off and needs time to build up (or cycle) again.

Either way, with fish in the tank it is best to keep ammonia and nitrites bellow 1ppm with water changes. Now that your ammonia is 0.25 I wouldn't worry too much for now. That level should be tolerated well by fish for a short time period. If the ammonia levels persist for much longer though it is caused by other issues like a poor filter or overfeeding. Any amount of ammonia over a long time is very harmful to fish.
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