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Achieving Perfect Water Conditions With 0 Nitrates


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In the book that Lolafish recommended to me, "Fancy Goldfish" by Dr. Erik Johnson, it talks about perfect water conditions with zero Nitrates. For instance in the section for curing body sores, one of the things it specifies is to make sure the water condition remains perfect with zero Nitrates. I don't think I have ever achieved zero Nitrates. Probably the lowest that I recall is 5. Any of you guys able to achieve 0 Nitrates?

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No But I have a theory about it. That it is possible in a set up that is very longterm well established. With a hugely strong army of de-nitrifying bacs I imagine you could do 100% water changes every day and get 0 nitrates, 0 ammonia and 0 nitrites. There would have to be massive filtration and massive areas for the de-nitrifying bacs to keep the levels intact.

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It is entirely possible to set up a system that runns zero/zero/zero..... but it is not one that is run on the nitrogen cycle.

Add in a large filter that is stocked with zeolite. This will remove the ammonia as it is produced. The zeolite needs to be changed out and recharged on a daily basis.

If you do not have a nitrogen cycle running, you will have no nitrifying bacteria to transform the ammonia into nitrite and then into nitrate. So you will have no nitrite or nitrate, ever.

We generally advocate the use of the nitrogen cycle in our tanks because of ease of care. A tank that is run on the nitrogen cycle can generally be serviced only once every 5-7 days.....

Some people run green water - no nitrates.

Some people do only 100% water changes every 4-5 days.... no nitrates (but some ammonia - in my opinion, too much.)

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Ah yes that all makes sense now :exactly . I'm a dummy because of course the whole nitrogen cycle is dependent on each stage and wouldn't work without each :wa . Mmmmm so green water would be the best way to go then. Does that mean ponds for the most part are nitrate free?

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That all depends on the pond. Is it heavily green? Are there loads of green plants? ARe the plants healthy with little organic waste in the water? Is the pond heavily stocked or lightly stocked? How is the pond fed?

It is possible......

Most run ponds on the nitrogen cycle, also. The nitrogen cycle, coupled with a constant water exchange system will run with so low nitrates that you never have to worry about them.....

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When do you test the water Shamu? If its after the water change it is possible to get zero in an understocked tank. For example if your nitrates were at 5 and you did a 60% w/c they would then be at only about 2 which may not show up as a positive reading on some of the nitrate kits esp the strip tests which are always less accurate.

Thanks Daryl. I'm going to check the pond at work,just out of interest. The green water in it is pretty murky though not like the bright green I see in peoples green water tanks.

Edited by Trinket
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i have a theory about this if you have an extremely heavy planted tank that is understocked for example a 55g with 1 fancy tailed goldie then it is possible for the nitrates to stay at 0 or a number not recognisable by the test kits. It works becasue the plants absorb all the nitrates being produced in the tank. i base this theory on a member who i can't remember their name but they had a 180g tank with a heap of water lettuce that just kept growing and her nitrates stayed at 2.1ppm really low. They were just regerstering on the test so if you had more plants than that i believe you can have 0 nitrates.

Shamu i read the thing you posted you said you had 0 nitrates are you sure your cycle is still functioning correctly, maybe an out of date test kit, just to be sure i would go to my local lfs and get your water tested.

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When do you test the water Shamu? If its after the water change it is possible to get zero in an understocked tank. For example if your nitrates were at 5 and you did a 60% w/c they would then be at only about 2 which may not show up as a positive reading on some of the nitrate kits esp the strip tests which are always less accurate.

Thanks Daryl. I'm going to check the pond at work,just out of interest. The green water in it is pretty murky though not like the bright green I see in peoples green water tanks.

I test before waterchanges

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i am just trying to think shamu i think that your cycle may be a bit messed up. i would take your water to your lfs and get it tested. i just don't see how your tank has 0 nitrates before a water change i mean after a water change is possible but before. Is your tank really heavily planted like my description above then it would be possible but from your posts in the plant section you said you only have one plant hornwort.

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i am just trying to think shamu i think that your cycle may be a bit messed up. i would take your water to your lfs and get it tested. i just don't see how your tank has 0 nitrates before a water change i mean after a water change is possible but before. Is your tank really heavily planted like my description above then it would be possible but from your posts in the plant section you said you only have one plant hornwort.

yeah I think i'll do that, but my tank has been cycled for several months now, and I have only 1 live plants, didnt have any before :unsure:

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your tank could have cycled and then crashed and maybe you missed something when you tested your water previously. but yes i would take a sample to your lfs

Edited by dan in aus
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dan-I remember that lettuce planted tank- hundreds of them all lined up in abeautiful huge long tank with a frog in it. Now whatever was that members name. She may well have the answer to all this.

Shamu which test kit do you have? Mine don't work properly unless I shake the first one for a bit longer than it says. I ususally shake that a good 2 minutes.

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I have a fully cycled 20 gallon tank with an Oranda & a Ryukin in it. It is fully cycled with Ammo & Nitrite always at zero. I have no fluctuation in the pH which I always maintain around 7.2 with Buff it Up from Goldfish Connection. I do weekly water changes of 40%. I have tons of green algae. Yet my Nitrates are always between 10-40. It's pretty clear to me that I am probably at the end of the limit of the 10 gallon per fancy rule as my goldies got so big. I will probably have to get a bigger tank and setup after the new year. It's amazing how big my Oranda got. When I first got him, he was so small and scrawny that I worried that he would get hurt by the filter intake. Now he actually goes over to the intake tube and sucks off all the food that is stuck to it. It's now the filter intake that I'm worried about.....you can see it bending from the force of him banging on it. :rolleyes:

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dan-I remember that lettuce planted tank- hundreds of them all lined up in abeautiful huge long tank with a frog in it. Now whatever was that members name. She may well have the answer to all this.

Shamu which test kit do you have? Mine don't work properly unless I shake the first one for a bit longer than it says. I ususally shake that a good 2 minutes.

I use hagen and API, I usually shake it, but i've tried both and readings are the same, my old testkits dont really work at all for some reason, at least my ammonia and nitrite ones, so I got new ones

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Yet my Nitrates are always between 10-40.

Well, I had always thought my 55g was understocked with 2 Orandas and 2 Fantails, but my Nitrates mirror yours. I would love to see mine stay in a 5-20 range ultimately before water changes, and I am gearing up for that with the 125g transfer. I am really going to go overboard on my filtration system, and see how many live plants I can keep alive in it to soak up those bad boys. I'm thinking filtration, plants, and green algae are the best combatant, although zero Nitrates would probably be really hard without green water and constant care. Plus, I want to add 2 more fish, so it won't be grossly understocked, but still more understocked than it is now.

Maybe you will see improvement if you graduate to a 40 gallon tank?

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shamu did you take a sample to your lfs yet?

lolafish: i would not go over board on the filtration i mean still 10x filtration but don't go any higher than 15x filtration if you are going to plant your new tank as if you have too much filtration then the filters get all the nutrients and nitrates and the plants can not absorb them. the filters get them faster as the plants take a while to absorb nutrients.

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ahhhh i found the thread with the water lettuce screen name is beemo her nitrates are 0.05 if you scroll down then you can look at the thing with the water lettuce it looks quite striking

woooo i found it took some time though ......click me to see daniel's theory in action

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To be honest guys, I think I might have achieved this. O_o

I tested my water three times. The readings were Ammonia 0, Nitrite 0, and Nitrate 0. I thought my test kit was expired, but my ph test was still reading around 8.0. So obviously I was really confused; did my cycle crash or what was up with it?

So today I went to my local pet store and had them test my water again. It yielded the same results, Ammonia 0, Nitrite 0, and Nitrate 0. There was about four days difference between when I tested it and when the pet store tested it, so if my cycle had crashed, I would at least have been showing some Ammonia or Nitrite. I only did two 20% water changes recently, due to my fish's condition; not enough to complete wipe out readings.

Seriously I was bewildered. I was told on this site that I should have some Nitrate readings to have a healthy tank, but was astonished when the pet store said that 0 Nitrates were a good thing.

I only did little water changes, and very occasionally. My tank is loaded with green algae on the decorations (so most of my once blue decor is now green), so it's possible that the Nitrates are being reabsorbed and I have very close to perfect water quality, right?

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how much algae do you have? i would say it is possible with a tonne of algae, is it just green algae or do you have greenwater algae or like my theory above do you have a very heavily planted tank that is extremely understocked? it is possible for your cycle to have crashed could you get a tank photo to show how much algae is in there?

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