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Discussion Starter #1
My tank after, a few strange derivations, has become stable.

PH 7.4
Ammonia .25 ppm or maybe less (just barely changes color from 0 ppm)
Nitrite 0 ppm
Nitrate 5 ppm


I know most at this point do changes based on nitrate levels, but I have a couple of plants and the nitrate levels are going up very slowly, is there anything else I should be checking for to determine when to do water changes, or if it stays stable is it just OK the way it is?
 

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A 5ppm nitrate reading is on the low side of the scale already but if it worries you, you could use a nitrate removal material.
 

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Ammonia going up gradually to 0.25 ppm means something is wrong. That is a value that we try to stay under with an uncycled tank when there are fish in it, it is not one that we can tolerate for the long term in the tank.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
1. I know it is 5ppm is low, and what I meant was seeing it is going up so slowly, I assume because I have live plants, is there any other thing I need to watch.

2. I didn't say it was rising to .25ppm, but was sitting stable at between 0 and .25ppm The first color gradient is .25ppm and the test vial does not actually change to that color but is not quite 0 either.
 

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Some people change 10-25% of their water once a week, some once every 2 weeks, some once a month. It really depends on your nitrate levels, your fishes' health, and in your case....your plants health and what else you add to the water.

For instance if you don't feed your plants any nutrients, they typically need water changes for iron, potassium, magnesium, phosphates, and other micros found in tap water. Depending on your lighting and type/quantity of plants, they may require weekly changes even though your nitrates are low.
 

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The plants are a natural nitrate removal system, but unless you have a ton of plants, the effect is not enough to greatly change a water changing schedule. 5ppm nitrate is low by aquarium standards, but still higher than it normally is in nature, so water changes will never hurt. I like to do 40% or even more each week in a community tank. Just remember, fresh, clean water never hurts a fish! :)
 
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