Can someone help me with my nitrate problem? I did a 30% water change and then added a bottle of safe start to it. My fish seem happy, in fact, my female molly gave birth a few days after I did this. However, my nitrates only came down a little. How long does it usually take to see a dramatic change? Will it be after a few water changes? I don't want to pull out the bacteria I just added with too frequent water changes. Thanks!
A little bit more information is need, have you completed your cycle? What is the actual level of nitrates? How long has this tank been running?
Beyond that nitrates in a tank are a good thing, it means your biological filter is working, nitrates are far less harmful then ammonia and nitrites. In a planted tank nitrates should stay between 0-10ppm in a non planted tank anywhere around 20 or lower is safe (in fact some people consider 40 ppm or lower safe) but still keep up with the water changes to keep water quality good.
Also have no fear when doing water changes about your biological filter, bacteria really don't live in the water but on solid surfaces so a water change will not greatly affect your beneficial bacteria.
I don't know what the # is. I'm using test strips and it's in the "danger" level and is a bright pink. I'm not sure what cycle means cause I'm kind of new at this. My tank has been running since about mid-September.
Test strips are know to be horribly inaccurate, run down to your fish shop and pick up the master API freshwater liquid test kit (should cost about $25-30 but will last you years), this will give you actual numbers instead of just saying safe and danger. If you can't get our right away and are really worried about the levels then go ahead and do another water change on your tank speaking of which, what water treatment are you using? And how often do you do water changes?
Don't feel bad we were all there once bravely going where we had not gone before then had to stop and realize there is a small learning curve but once you get past it things will click into place pretty easily.
Go ahead and read this post about cycling http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/f...m-cycle-38617/ chances are your cycle is already over, but its still good information to have for the future.
Also forgot to say welcome to TFK you'll find lots of helpful people here so don't be afraid to ask questions.
Agree with everything that has been said. Until you get an actual number for your nitrates it will be tough to know if there really is a problem. Most likely any high nitrate problems can be solved by more frequent water changes. Unless the source of the nitrates is your tapwater, in which case others here have experience in how to help with this. Usually bottled or purified water is involved.
I agree with prior posts, in that we need to know the number for nitrates in your aquarium. And, test your tap water so we can eliminate that (or not, as the case may be) as the source.
We aim to keep nitrates as low as possible, for long-term health of the fish. In addition to the above, tell us if you have any live plants in the tank.
And welcome to Tropical Fish Keeping forum. Glad you joined us.
Thanks to all of you for responding.
I haven't made it to the store to get a better test kit so I still don't have any numbers. I have 4 small live plants and 1 moss ball. I just lost my snail. Are they sensitive? It's the 3rd one I've lost.
I did test my tap water before I did a water change and I had no nitrates.
Don't go by strips, you might as well be guessing.
Get a liquid nitrate kit, most people recommend API's Nitrate test kit.
Don't worry about pH, GH, KH, etc. You shouldn't mess with these except in rare circumstances. In almost all tanks water quality is much more important than exact parameters. If you provide high quality food and water you will prevent 95% of the problems you would have otherwise had. If you do water changes you can fix most problems you come across.
Keep up a good water change schedule, at least 25% each week, more if needed to keep the nitrate under 20ppm.
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