nitrAtes at 20 ppm - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 12 Old 09-16-2011, 09:18 AM Thread Starter
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nitrAtes at 20 ppm

my understanding is that 20 ppm for nitrates is ok. this has been my reading before water changes today and a week ago. ammonia and nitrites are a constant 0. if i am wrong, can some one please correct me and tell me how i can change the nitrates in my tank.

note: i will be getting some more plants in shortly, water sprite, which i believe will help, but since i've not been having the best of luck with live plants, any other thoughts would be welcome.
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post #2 of 12 Old 09-16-2011, 09:33 AM
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20 should be as high as you let it go. I would recommend a water change asap.
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post #3 of 12 Old 09-16-2011, 09:43 AM
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I don't let mine get above 10, personally. Maybe do a 25% wc TWICE a week. And check your tap water - I know mine has trace amounts.

Are you using the API liquid test? (forgive my bad memory - drug induced brain fog! lol). It's really important to shake the second bottle for 2 minutes to get an accurate reading. And check the manufacture date to make sure it's not old. :)

It's weird, actually, because I do a 25% wc on my tanks (which are overstocked - but don't we all push the boundaries a bit!) once a week and still get no more than 10 on nitrates. Wish I had kept up with chemistry after high school! LOL
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post #4 of 12 Old 09-16-2011, 09:57 AM Thread Starter
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does anyone have advice on telling the difference between 10 and 20 on the API freshwater master test kit? because that could be my problem. they look pretty much the same to me, so my nitrates might actually be closer to 10. they are definitely closer to 20 than 40, though.
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post #5 of 12 Old 09-16-2011, 10:00 AM
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Put the tube against the white on the card and look at it with natural sunlight. :)
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post #6 of 12 Old 09-16-2011, 10:01 AM Thread Starter
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i've tried that, the colors on the card still look the same to me.
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post #7 of 12 Old 09-16-2011, 10:20 AM
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See what happens if you do 2 water changes a week - I'd say that if the colour is about the same at that point, you're closer to 10 than 20. I totally get what you mean with having issues with the readings!
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post #8 of 12 Old 09-16-2011, 12:10 PM
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Have you tested your tap water alone for nitrate? Just to eliminate that (or confirm it) as a source for nitrates.

Live plants should keep nitrates below 10, even 5 or zero. Provided the tank is not overstocked for the volume and plants. Without live plants, maintaining a balanced tank 9fish ratio to water volume), not overfeeding, weekly water changes and gravel vacuuming will all work to keep nitrates below 20ppm [provided they are not in the tap water].

On the plants, yes, floating plants are ideal; they are fast growing, obtain CO2 from the air, are close to the light--all meaning they should manage even if lower plants cannot. And they will keep nitrates low by assimilating ammonium (from ammonia).

Byron.

Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]
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post #9 of 12 Old 09-16-2011, 12:14 PM Thread Starter
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i buy bottled drinking water, and i've tested it for nitrates. it comes out 0. i don't have many plants, i'm down to a few jave ferns and a few wisteria, but like i said i should be getting some water sprite soon. i don't think i'm overstocked, so i'm starting to think that the biggest problem is reading the colors on the chart. i'm thinking about finding a nitrate test kit that uses something different and thus has a different chart that i might be able to read better.
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post #10 of 12 Old 09-16-2011, 01:56 PM Thread Starter
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also, could dead plants/leaves add to nitrates? i keep removing them, but like i said, my plants aren't doing too well.
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