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2 Cycled! 2 To Go!


Katalyst

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Some of us talk to our fish and then there's me. I talk to my test tubes, this morning I actually grumbled at my nitrate test tube that it had better turn orange soon. Well I made my rounds collecting water samples from each tank and then I saw it....

Yesterday I had 0 nitrates, 0 nitrates, 0 ammonia, PH 7.8

today

Nitrates 80!!! 80? We apparently bypassed orange and went to ruby red! Holy cow! In between whoops I've done two major water changes and now am have a reading of 20. I know 20 is considered safe for goldies but I"m wondering if I should try to get it lower. And in my other tank 10, 30% change in that tank and now have zero nitrates in the smaller tank thankfully.

I have a few more questions if you'd be so kind to answer I'd appreciate it more then you'll know. I want to get my other two tanks cycled and suspected my large guys would cycle first and have two sponges in each of the two filters making a total of 4...Can I one sponge from each filter and add it to the tanks that are not yet cycled? I don't want to ruin my cycle by removing the sponges too early.

Lastly how long will the nitrates stay so high? I'm going away in two weeks and am a bit worried about the nitrate levels. I'm wondering if I should salt the tanks before I leave as a precaution. I'm thinking about adding plants but as it is my goldies like to play lets uproot the airstones and just about everything else they can nudge around. Plants live in my tank about 3 days and are then usually shredded by Rocket. His technique is slamming, swimming through or pushing to get his way...Hence the name Rocket.

Thanks everyone for helping me to this point!

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My understanding is salting helps with nitrites, not nitrates.

A reading of 20 is MUCH better than your 80 reading (I've never personally seen mine get up past 10 though... so you know)

I believe that you *really* want to keep it below 40, though under 20 is ideal.

My tank never spiked in nitrates when I was cycling, so I've got no clue about the rest :(

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Kat -

You don't need to get it lower than 20. That is a very good level. I wouldn't worry if it gets up to around 80 just before your normal water change.

Yes, moving a sponge (or some gravel, or some whatever) from the cycled tank to the not-yet-cycled tank will help speed up the establishment of a nitrifying bacterial community.

Whether this hurts a newly cycled tank depends on how much "stuff" is in the cycled tank. Remember that the bacteria grow everywhere in the tank (that is, on all surfaces). This includes glass, gravel, plants, inside filter, etc.

The build-up of nitrates depends on a couple of things, the most important of which is your fish load. Think of it this way, each fish produces a certain amount of ammonia, which winds up as nitrate. Therefore, the more fish per given volume of water, the faster the nitrate concentration builds up. This is the basis for the recommended 10 to 20 gallons of water per (large) goldfish. Because it takes this much dilution to keep the concentration of nitrate at an acceptable level between water changes.

Plants will help keep the nitrate down, but you need to have a LOT of plants and they need to be growing like crazy. This summer I had a "bloom" of water sprite in my tank, which really made a dent in the nitrates, but when I "harvested" I removed over half a 3 gallon bucket full of plants. The fish were running out of swimming room!

The other thing that you can do to keep the nitrate level down while you are away is to feed a lower protein food (Like Hikari Wheat germ pellets). This is a good 10% lower in protein and will cause the fish to excrete roughly 25% less ammonia. They won't miss the protein while you are away.

I wouldn't bother with the salt. I can't imagine what it would do to impact the nitrate concentration or its effects.

Hope this helps.

Dennis

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My understanding is salting helps with nitrites, not nitrates.

See that's why they pay you the big bucks...he he he Thanks for your input today the readings in both tanks are 5 & 10. I feel much better about those numbers. :D

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