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Nitrates


Guest squeeker

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Guest squeeker

I'm a bit puzzled.

I've read (and heard) before, on this forum and elsewhere, that a fully cycled tank should always have nitrAtes present.

My tanks (3 of them, 2 tropical and one goldfish) have been set up for about 6 months, give or take. They all have live plants, but aren't what I'd call "heavily" planted. Most of the plants are slow-growers, like anubias and java fern and moss. I do 50% water changes weekly.

I test my water fairly regularly, maybe once every 2 weeks or so. (I've never had any problems with illness or disease, except for one case of septicemia which was quickly cured. However, a couple of my fish are a bit floaty, but more on that in another post.)

When I test my water, my readings consistently come out as 0 ammonia, 0 nitrItes, and 0 nitrAtes. I use the Hagen drop-test kit. I've even tested using fresh chemicals, as I was concerned that perhaps they were expired!

Is this right? Is it possible to actually have 0 nitrAtes? Is it due to the plants, or the amount of water I change weekly?

Any input?

Thanks!

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  • Regular Member

That's a good question.

ammonia is produced by the fish and the bacterial that eat debris in the tank. The heavier the fish load, and/or the more debris, the more ammonia is produced. feed more... more ammonia. and ultimately more nitrAtes.

So if you tap water doesn't have ammonia or nitrAte.

and you're doing large partial water changes

and you have a light fish load

and you feed lightly

and the plants are sucking up some ammonia/nitrAtes

it could show up as really really low.

It's also possible that some is being gassed out. I've heard of that happening with trickle towers.

How many fish in how many gallons?

So what and how much/often are you feeding your floaty fish?

is their poop floaty?

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  • Regular Member

Hi,

I too have heard of nitrates being absorbed by plants.

I've never been successful at keeping plants, so I can't say anything from experience. :(

Your weekly 50% water changes are helping a lot as well. Good on you!!

Slugger :)

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Guest squeeker

Hey Dataguru,

The tap water is clear of ammonia, nitrItes, and nitrAtes.

One tank is 77 gallons, with 7 goldfish, 3 dojos, and 2 bristlenose plecos. Two goldies are large (6"+), 2 are about 4", and 3 are 2" (these measurements include tail). The other 2 tanks are 10 gallons. One has 4 bettas, divided. The other has 4 gold tetras, 3 sparkling gouramis, 3 threadfin rainbows, 2 otos, 1 female krib, and one female betta.

I have no trickle tower, but the 77 has 2 filters disturbing the surface, and a 4-foot bubble wall. The 10 gallons are filtered at 10X and 15X, respectively.

As for the floaty fish, I have another thread going in Diagnosis & Discussion, HERE.

Thanks!

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  • Regular Member

Thanks Slugger. :)

Life is way too busy sometimes!

I'd think you should be seeing nitrAtes in the large tank. Weird.

My AP nitrAte test requires lot of shaking this and that and timing. WHen I first used it, I didn't do all the shaking it required and it didn't give me accurate readings. You sure you're following the test directions carefully?

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Guest squeeker

Dataguru,

I'm pretty darn sure I'm doing the test correctly. I work at a pet store, and I do water tests there on a daily basis. I've been able to get nitrate readings before, both from customers who come in to have their water tested, and also in the store's tanks. I just never get readings from any of my tanks. I take my tank water to work to test it... I transport it in a fish-only plastic zip-loc container.

Any other thoughts?

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  • Regular Member

How long does it take you to get to work and test it?

It might not be important, but my local fish store guy wanted to know how long my water had been in the bottle when he was testing it. Apparently it can affect the readings??

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Guest squeeker

Benno,

Minutes. The store was a 10 minute walk away. I've since changed stores (same chain, different location) and it's still less than a half hour from the time I "package" it to the time I test it.

What about letting it sit could change the readings, anyway? The container is watertight... can nitrates evaporate? If they could, we wouldn't have to do water changes... B)

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  • 2 months later...
Guest zer0type

yayks... we sure have the same problem with my main tank... 20 gallons.. running sine jan 2005... 2 eheim liberty 200... and 1 6" oranda inhabitant for the past month... and i get 0 readings on everything... im using SERA test kits btw...

is this something i should worry about or not????

(sorry for reviving this old thread)

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