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I've been trying to keep a close eye on my nitrate levels on my 55gal ciclid tank. My test kit says to keep below 110ppm or mg/l. I read to keep it below 50ppm for african ciclids. So I'm trying like crazy to keep it in check, doing weekly water changes with no success. Then I find out that there is two means of measuring for nitrates. One as a nitrate-ion and one as nitrate-nitrogen. My test kit gives a conversion for nitrogen(divide result by 4.4) so I'm figuring it's measuring nitrate-ion. So when I read to keep my tank under 50ppm what scale is that? People and even manufacturers of test equipment throw around nitrate numbers all the time without distinguishing what they are talking about. What, if any, is the standard? What is a good target level for a healthy ciclid tank? Who makes a good test kit that measures for nitrogen(is that the more important figure?). Can somebody clear this up. I've had a pretty successful aquarium for the last year or so and now I find myself stressing over water perameters that I might not even be interpreting correctly.
 

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Nitrates and nitrites should never get higher than 20ppm.... If you are have high nitrate reading from a liquid test kit, that you check the date on, than you need to look at you water source, and look at the amount of fish you have stocked in the tank. Nitrate should read 0ppm in a cycled tank.
 

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nitrates will always be present in freshwater tanks unless there is some sort of plant life to remove it. The bacteria that remove nitrates are anaerobic and most aquariums simply do not contain any anaerobic areas that would convert the nitrate to nitrogen gas. if your tanks has anaerobic areas, you could be asking for greater problems then the nitrate would cause.

Aside from live plants, the way to remove nitrates is to do frequent water changes. The larger and more polluting the fish, the more frequent the water changes.
 

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you're assuming that everyone on the board has heard the same advice you have and can easily clear up your confusion...

Others, often, may be able to give you a clearer understanding but, sometimes they are unable to give you the exact response you would hope for.

in an attempt to be helpful they may answer you by discussing some point within your post without answering the exact question(s) asked. This promotes discussion and keeps your thread lively. hopefully a lively thread may attract the attention of someone who has the answer you are looking for.

now, when it comes to nitrate, there are many different opinions on levels, test kits, and even measurements. In my own experience over the last 15 years, and keeping mostly highly stocked rift lake aquariums, I have found testing for freshwater nitrates completely useless, so I have no opinion to offer. But, sensing your concern over elevated levels I attempted to reassure you that having nitrate was normal and that whatever method you use to measure it, the fix is the same... water changes... if they are not helping, increase them ... if still no difference test your water source... if still no help, reduce stocking levels


... Welcome to the forum!
 

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Kogo after reading your post about an exceptable levels for nitrates, I started doing some investigating everything that I can find says you want a natural balance of 0, and if you get reading in your tank it a sign of overstocking the tanks. So I'm not saying I disagree with you on this just say there maybe 2 schools of thought on it. The reason they say this is you wnat a balance of bio-colony and bio-waste. You can always have bio-waste but there are only so much area that bio colony can form. ie noddle rings and bio balls.
 

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Kogo ... I'm not saying I disagree with you on this just say there maybe 2 schools of thought on it.
there is more than two for sure.

what I am saying is that while Amonia and Nitrite are consumed by the aerobic bacteria living in your bio-media, the bacteria that consume nitrate are anaerobic and do not live in your bio-media. without anaerobic bacteria, water changes, or live plants, nitrate is not converted to Nitrogen gas.
 

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Will if you just add ammonia to a tank of water and leave it you will get a bio-colony... you don't need a bio medium.... it just the nature of things, the reason for the noddle and other bio-mediums is to increase the area where these can grow. You can add noodles to the tank of a HOB and increase the amount of Bio-load a tank can handle. The Boi-colony converts the ammonia and nitrates which are deadly to fish in high level and do damage to the gills on med levels in nitrites which are alot less dangerous to fish, which we dilute with a WC.
 

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Richie, you are confusing nitrite and nitrates.

Amonia = NH3 amonium = NH4(I think)
Nitrite = NO2
Nitrate = NO3




 

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Big brown what is your problem thats the 3rd time you come after me...... I'm human I got confused... on the names but you reading still should be ZERO and any reading (IMO) is a sign of a mini cycle and/or not completed cycle or overstock.... Forgive me I confused a word Big Brown...... I own my mistakes,,, but still the fact, that is his chart shows that,,,, Owned. If you actualy think about it in nature it zero as the water is constantly flowing and flushing out and diluting Nitrate and Nitrites all the time in a tank you must mannualy do it.
 

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what brand test kit do you have? mine sais the same thing its from aquarium pharmaceuticals, inc. and that 4.4 number = milligrams per liter which is equivalent to (ppm) that what mine sais i dont know if that helps you. or just call the company :confused:
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Mine is a Hagen. The kit says anything below 110ppm is fine. Foster and Smith says to keep nitrate-nitrogen below 50ppm in a cichlid tank. I'll figure it out from here. There is obviously two different scales out there (with the 4.4 conversion between them). Like I said, nobody acknowledges which one they are referring to when they make fishkeeping recommedations, etc. I thought one would be standard (nitrate ion or nitrate-nitrogen) but apparently not.
 

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is this the page your refering to?

Routine Testing of Aquarium Water: Healthy Fish Require Quality Water


they are using the same NO3 formula for nitrate, but your Hagen test kit has a conversion table for nitrate to nitrate-nitrogen?


as Rodolfo said, converting from ppm to mg/L is not neccassary so could you type in a quote from your pamphlet on the 4.4 conversion so we can better understand what it is saying?
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Kogo, that's basically the same info I was referencing from Foster and Smith. The nitrate portion of the chart reads identical.

My kit reads:
"For nitrate as nitrogen (NO3-N), divide result by 4.4."
 

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Big brown what is your problem thats the 3rd time you come after me...... I'm human I got confused... .
i didnt realize i offended you,... ever...

didnt try to, either.....? :(

So far you've been in the top 5 sources of quality info for me.
i just think the fact he broke the chart out to be funny
 

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i didnt realize i offended you,... ever...

didnt try to, either.....? :(

So far you've been in the top 5 sources of quality info for me.
i just think the fact he broke the chart out to be funny

what can I say, I like pictures LOL
 
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