Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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-   -   test kit problems?? (

luckysarah 11-19-2010 06:35 PM

test kit problems??
My 10 gallon qt tank has been up and running for about 2 months, i wasn't testing everyday but there was an ammonia and nitrite spike for sure but for the past 2 weeks I have been showing zero for everything (even nitrAtes)

The tank has 2 small plants and a small bunch of hornwart....hardly well planted but there are a few plants.

Could it be the plants that are using the nitrAtes or is my tank not cycled properly?

I am a little concerned as I need to use the tank for some rather expensive fish and I want to make sure its safe for them.

Byron 11-20-2010 05:35 PM

Plants need nitrogen as one of their macro-nutrients. Aquatic plants, unlike terrestrial plants, prefer nitrogen as ammonium, not nitrates. They thus grab the ammonia produced by the fish and bacteria and assimilate it; they can convert ammonia into ammonium, or in acidic water it happens automatically. Whichever, the plants use it. They can also assimilate nitrates. In well planted tanks it is common to have very low nitrates, often even zero. All this depends upon the balance of course. So, having no nitrates in a tank with plants is not at all unusual. Provided not too many fish are placed in this tank at once, you should be OK.


luckysarah 11-20-2010 06:04 PM

thanks byron

I planced 3 young adult amecas in there last night (they are between 1 and 2 inches each), and a bs albino long fin pleco baby (he is under an inch, was a surprise bonus lol)

I will keep testing the water but hopefully the plants can keep up, for some reason the extra hornwart I threw in there last week is growing like crazy.

Very interesting fish BTW I can't wait until they mature and the male starts showing is colors.

Byron 11-21-2010 09:24 AM

If the hornwort is growing, it is assimilating nutrients including the ammonia/ammonium, so you should have no issues.

Interesting fish, I had to look them up as I have not come across them previously. I gather they are a goodeid, a livebearer, with a ravenous appetite for algae. Some report they can get feisty with other fish, others not, so keep an eye on them.


luckysarah 11-21-2010 10:36 AM

Yes your info is correct, they are an extinct fish in the wild and are considered a species at risk.

I am planning a species tank for them because they can be aggressive, reportedly the fry are about an inch long at birth and have an umbilical cord which is lost after 3 days... so should be interesting to see what happens with them.

Romad 11-21-2010 04:21 PM

Wow what an interesting fish. Please post pics. when you have fry.

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