02-03-2011, 05:12 PM
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Originally Posted by GwenInNM
I put rocks in a mess bag from my neighbors established tank, in my filter. I did use Prime this morning too, to bring down ammonia. I'm almost at 4 weeks of starting this tank.
Took water to LFS, my ammonia is a 0, which is what I got when I tested after using Prime and my Nitrates were 5.0. I can't remember what he said my nitrites were, but they were "fine".
So, hours later I just repeated the Nitrate test, and sure enough my level is 5.0 (it's a bit of a darkish orange, could be a bit higher).
My question is, what is a safe level for Nitrates? Is it possible that taking the rocks from another tank boosted the process that fast?
Thanks for the help!!!
Well, the combination of things certainly helped. Adding live bacteria would help, plus you obviously had some going in the tank. You've probably had nitrite peak and didn't notice it since you didn't test for it.
On nitrates, most of us suggest keeping them below 20 ppm; although there are many fish that can manage above this, the fact remains that in their natural habitats fish are not normally exposed to levels of nitrate so keeping it low is a wise step. There are some ways of doing this. First, plants. Those of us with planted tanks have very low nitrate levels, often zero (using the API test kit), due to the plants assimilating ammonia (ammonium) so it never gets to nitrite or nitrate, or does so minimally.
Second method is weekly water changes to simply remove nitrates. This is essential in non-planted tanks, somewhat optional in heavily-planted tanks, but I still change 50% of all my tanks weekly.
Third, don't overfeed, and keep the fish load reasonable so it is in balance for the plants, water volume, bacteria. Organic buildup from any of these will cause nitrate levels to rise, because the increased ammonia gets converted to nitrite then nitrate and nitrate stays there until either of the afore-mentioned methods removes it.