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kel123 11-19-2012 10:33 AM

Water quality confusion
Hi all,
so my 75 gallon tank is now about 6 1/2 weeks old, went through quite a time doing a fish cycle keeping ammonia down and fish healthy.
just about 4/5 days ago my water reading was (using liquid master test kit):
PH = 6.8
Ammo = 0
Nitrite = 0
Nitrate = 5 to 10
Temp = 79.4

I added a few more little angels, before I had 3 little angels and 2 larger angels. I recently added 3 more little angels and 1 larger one.

for the last few days my water readings are:
PH = 6.8
Ammo = 0
Nitrite = 0
Nitrate = 0
Temp = 79.4

I dont understand why my nitrates disappeared all of the sudden, my water has also been a little cloudy again, have not had that since tank was 2 weeks old bacteria bloom. Could I be doing another mini cycle or something? the tank consists of:

2 large angels
3 half dollar Koi angels
3 half dollar albino angels
6 cory catfish

Not sure what's going on :-?

Geomancer 11-19-2012 11:09 AM

You could be going through a new cycle. That's a lot of fish in short order. When a tank is cycled, it is only cycled to a certain level of ammonia. Add too many fish too quickly, and they'll produce more ammonia than was used to cycle the tank in the start.

Do you have live plants? They can use up nitrates and make them go away, normally nitrates do not dissapear on their own.

On the Nitrate test, do you shake that number 2 bottle very hard, and for a long time (1+ minute)? If it isn't shaken very well, it can give a false reading. The chemical in it turns to crystals if it is left to sit, so those need to be re-disolved.

kel123 11-19-2012 11:23 AM

yes I have several live plants and I shake the heck out of the bottles, even bang them against the counter to make sure :)

Geomancer 11-19-2012 11:50 AM

Keep an eye on it, the plants may be using everything.

Don't add any new fish for at least a week. Better to go 2 weeks if you didn't QT the new ones.

You can save yourself the bother of the Nitrate test and just do Ammonia & Nitrite while you are in the start. Nitrates you can just test once a week, then even less once things get established into a routine with no new additions.

kel123 11-19-2012 12:08 PM

Thanks a bunch :)

Byron 11-19-2012 12:25 PM

Nothing to worry about. Live plants, especially faster growing types and more especially floating, can take up a lot of ammonia, surprisingly so. As Geo said, go easy on new fish to be safe.


AbbeysDad 11-20-2012 07:18 AM

Plants that consume all nitrates?....stop teasing me!

Watch your test results and your fish very closely and as already mentioned, be careful when adding new fish as it changes the balance until beneficial biology catches up.

Byron 11-20-2012 10:41 AM


Originally Posted by AbbeysDad (Post 1318333)
Plants that consume all nitrates?....stop teasing me!

It is more a situation where the plants use most of the ammonia, so very little gets changed into nitrite and then nitrate, rather than plants using nitrates, though that happens too. It is not uncommon in heavily planted tanks to have zero nitrates permanently.


beaslbob 11-20-2012 04:42 PM


And additionally during the initial cycle it is very common to have an initial nitrate spike instead of the ammonia ->nitrIte spikes. As the plants get their nitrogen from ammonia they use less nitrates. And if there is a source of nitrates say like some organics in the substrate, then the nitrate spike can happen.
Then as the aerobic bacteria build up and consume the ammonia, the plants start consuming nitrates for nitrogen.

If you had a planted tank and say doubled the bioload you should have seen a bump up of nitrates instead of the drop. Perhaps the tank just finally cycled so now the bacteria is getting the ammonia and nitrItes and the plants the nitrates.

my .02

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