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While the biofilter takes care of ammonia and nitrite, it produces nitrate. The only way to effectively remove nitrates is to do a water change. Though nitrates are not very harmful to fish, they can be if they are allowed to build up. Changing the water also replaces the trace minerals that that the fish need. Also fish like new water. IMO fresh water is like fresh air. You know how the air is so nice out side........ fish like new water.
 

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Overall I agree with the above, however I have yet to come across a fish other than discus that have issues with 40ppm of nitrate. There's been reports of some fish being fine at 100ppm, personally I would worry at this level. I run 40ppm of nitrates out of the tap and I dose nitrates on top of that. Ideally you want low nitrates, but I don't test for nitrates.....

"No water changes in a thickly planted tank that is lightly stocked". I do advocate this method, its called the El Natural method. Also a filter is optional. Though I don't run any tanks using this method(I stock heavily) it is a viable method. I'm not entirely sure how water nutrients get replenished using this method. Aquaticplantcentral.com has a whole forum section dedicated to El Natural style of fish keeping, I'm sure that question could be answered there. I'm an hour from the twin cities and in the summer people have successfully bred fish outside in large cattle troughs(100-300Gal) no heater or filter, some do water changes others rely on the rain. I'm hoping to give this method a try this summer.
 

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Besides Discus, Threadfin Rainbows,Celestial Pearl danios,Sparkling Gourami, Otocinclus,and German blue and Gold rams are a few other fish who do best with nitrates kept at levels below 40 ppm. Always best in my view,, to aim for 20 ppm.
Very odd, Sparkling gouramis and ottos I've kept before. GBR and Threadfins I have right now. Sparklers I've spawned before in 40ppm of nitrate. I dose EI, so truthfuly my tests read 80ppm of nitrate, however as far as I am aware the nitrates I add via ferts are harmless.
 
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