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Hi All....got the water test kit...PH's were at 7.4...Ammonium was  .25ppm,is that too high.......Nitrite 0........Nitrate was 100ppm, is that dangerous high,what do you consider normal...  Nitrate should come back once bio media gets going...been about month now with in filter,how long does will do a 50% water change on weekend, should I add chemical to pull down level........fish seem happy....what are thoughts please 

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Yes, .25ppm for Ammonia is too high.  This should essentially be zero on any liquid test kit.  The nitrates are also very high, but I'd be more concerned about the ammonia.  What you need to do to fix the ammonia will automatically fix the nitrate anyway.

Fish can get used to non-ideal conditions, but I would NOT be happy with your numbers.

Definitely do a 50% water change ASAP, and then probably another 50% within a day or two.  Also measure the ammonia and nitrate in your tap water, these should come out "low".  If ammonia or nitrate are "very high" in your tap water, then you may have other issues.  If Ammonia in the aquarium is not (close to) zero, there is a problem with your cycle.  I would not add any chemicals - in my experience this just gets you more problems down the road. 

After two 50% water changes, measure the levels again.  Nitrate should be down to around 25ppm (if your reading of 100pm is accurate and your tap water has typical levels of nitrate - i.e. very low), which is acceptable (my tanks run up to 40ppm approx before I do water changes).   The important one is ammonia, which should be down to around 0.10 ppm.  This won't come down to the same degree as nitrate, because there is a non-zero level of ammonia in the tap water, especially after adding the dechlorinator which frees up ammonia from the chloramine.

In the short term, 0.10 for ammonia is tolerable, but you really want to get your bacterial filtration working properly again which should reduce this number.  So monitor the ammonia level (in particular) and if it rises, your cycle is not ready, so you may need more water changes to avoid putting your fish in danger.

Once the tank is stable, both ammonia and nitrite should be essentially zero on any liquid test, and they should stay on zero, thanks to the bacteriological action.  The nitrate will slowly build up over time, and when it gets high (my definition:  40ppm or thereabouts) then a partial water change is the only way to export the nitrate.

 

For reference, my tap water measures about 0.09 to 0.10 ppm in ammonia (using a Seneye meter) once I add the dechlorinator and let it sit for a while.  My tanks though have ammonia at 0.02 or lower.   (The Seneye meter is much more accurate than the liquid tests, unfortunately it only does ammonia and pH).  The tanks are lower than tap water because the bacterial filtration brings it down.

 

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2 hours ago, MFF said:

Yes, .25ppm for Ammonia is too high.  This should essentially be zero on any liquid test kit.  The nitrates are also very high, but I'd be more concerned about the ammonia.  What you need to do to fix the ammonia will automatically fix the nitrate anyway.

Fish can get used to non-ideal conditions, but I would NOT be happy with your numbers.

Definitely do a 50% water change ASAP, and then probably another 50% within a day or two.  Also measure the ammonia and nitrate in your tap water, these should come out "low".  If ammonia or nitrate are "very high" in your tap water, then you may have other issues.  If Ammonia in the aquarium is not (close to) zero, there is a problem with your cycle.  I would not add any chemicals - in my experience this just gets you more problems down the road. 

After two 50% water changes, measure the levels again.  Nitrate should be down to around 25ppm (if your reading of 100pm is accurate and your tap water has typical levels of nitrate - i.e. very low), which is acceptable (my tanks run up to 40ppm approx before I do water changes).   The important one is ammonia, which should be down to around 0.10 ppm.  This won't come down to the same degree as nitrate, because there is a non-zero level of ammonia in the tap water, especially after adding the dechlorinator which frees up ammonia from the chloramine.

In the short term, 0.10 for ammonia is tolerable, but you really want to get your bacterial filtration working properly again which should reduce this number.  So monitor the ammonia level (in particular) and if it rises, your cycle is not ready, so you may need more water changes to avoid putting your fish in danger.

Once the tank is stable, both ammonia and nitrite should be essentially zero on any liquid test, and they should stay on zero, thanks to the bacteriological action.  The nitrate will slowly build up over time, and when it gets high (my definition:  40ppm or thereabouts) then a partial water change is the only way to export the nitrate.

 

For reference, my tap water measures about 0.09 to 0.10 ppm in ammonia (using a Seneye meter) once I add the dechlorinator and let it sit for a while.  My tanks though have ammonia at 0.02 or lower.   (The Seneye meter is much more accurate than the liquid tests, unfortunately it only does ammonia and pH).  The tanks are lower than tap water because the bacterial filtration brings it down.

 

Thanks MFF...just going to measure "tap" water toomorrow... as we on unfiltered rain water tanks ....might be contaminated,with bird shit etc ...will do water changes as advised...thanks again

 

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Bird poop can be very high in ammonia.  I'd be interested in the results of your test.  With the sporadic rain we get here, you might want to monitor the quality of the water supply regularly - especially before a water change.  The contamination may vary much more than a municipal supply.

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On 1/5/2019 at 7:48 AM, MFF said:

Bird poop can be very high in ammonia.  I'd be interested in the results of your test.  With the sporadic rain we get here, you might want to monitor the quality of the water supply regularly - especially before a water change.  The contamination may vary much more than a municipal supply.

Water out of tap (rain water) tested fine...have done the 2 water changes..amonia 0...nitrite 0, but nitrate sill at 40 -...how can you bring nitrate down?80 ppm,down from around 100...chart red  is hard to pick from 40 to 80 so im saying 40 t0 80....how can you bring down the nitrate level??

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Good to hear the tap water tested fine.  With your water source being unfiltered rain water (off your roof?) I would continue testing this regularly, i.e. before each water change, as it may have spikes of ammonia and other nasties.  Fresh rain water will always be good to use, but once it's been on the roof and the gutters, who knows.  Likely to be variable.

Ammonia/Nitrite at zero is excellent - your nitrate conversion cycle seems to have caught up.   As long as you don't overfeed, you shouldn't have further troubles with that.  Might want to test Ammonia once a month just to confirm it's all ok.  Of course, if your fish are showing signs of stress, test everything immediately.

 

On the nitrate - this is much less harmful than the others, and for freshwater fish, a level at 40 is tolerable, but not ideal.  The nitrate level does build over time as it is the end point of the nitrate cycle.  So eventually it needs to be removed one way or the other.

The best way is if you're growing live plants AND they are successful at pulling nitrates out.  Depends on how many plants, and their growth rate, and I really don't know a reliable way to ensure this.  In the past, I've had tanks where this worked (not at all clear on what made it work), but at the moment my plants are not growing quickly enough.  Not even close.

There are filter pads that claim to work, but I don't really believe this because nitrate is extremely soluble.

So the default option is water changes for nitrate.  Your original reading was 100 - however, the test kit is not at all accurate, or is extremely difficult to read, at high levels.  So this might have been even more.  If you now have 40 ppm, after 2 water changes of 50%, you might have started off at 160.  Very hard to tell on the colour chart between 100 and 160.

Given your history here, and your uncertainty about the current reading, I would do one further 50% water change about 1 week after the last change.  Then, a day or two after the water change test for nitrate again, and it should be clearly below 40ppm.  At that point, you can revert to your normal routine water changes, whatever schedule you decide on.

For my tanks, I measure nitrate weekly, and as long as they are clearly below 40 ppm, I leave them be.  Once it is clearly above 40, then I do a 30% water change.  I'm finding for my tanks, and my feeding regime (i.e. YMMV), I end up changing 30% once every 4 weeks, for each tank.  Approximately.

Stability is normally the key, and that's why often just leaving the tank alone to "fix itself" is often the best strategy, combined with appropriate water changes.  In general, I've found this to be better than chasing specific numbers and adding various chemicals to try to reach the target.  Unless there is a very specific issue, AND you are 100% positive what the issue is, best just leave it alone, or maybe just an extra water change.

 

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42 minutes ago, MFF said:

Good to hear the tap water tested fine.  With your water source being unfiltered rain water (off your roof?) I would continue testing this regularly, i.e. before each water change, as it may have spikes of ammonia and other nasties.  Fresh rain water will always be good to use, but once it's been on the roof and the gutters, who knows.  Likely to be variable.

Ammonia/Nitrite at zero is excellent - your nitrate conversion cycle seems to have caught up.   As long as you don't overfeed, you shouldn't have further troubles with that.  Might want to test Ammonia once a month just to confirm it's all ok.  Of course, if your fish are showing signs of stress, test everything immediately.

 

On the nitrate - this is much less harmful than the others, and for freshwater fish, a level at 40 is tolerable, but not ideal.  The nitrate level does build over time as it is the end point of the nitrate cycle.  So eventually it needs to be removed one way or the other.

The best way is if you're growing live plants AND they are successful at pulling nitrates out.  Depends on how many plants, and their growth rate, and I really don't know a reliable way to ensure this.  In the past, I've had tanks where this worked (not at all clear on what made it work), but at the moment my plants are not growing quickly enough.  Not even close.

There are filter pads that claim to work, but I don't really believe this because nitrate is extremely soluble.

So the default option is water changes for nitrate.  Your original reading was 100 - however, the test kit is not at all accurate, or is extremely difficult to read, at high levels.  So this might have been even more.  If you now have 40 ppm, after 2 water changes of 50%, you might have started off at 160.  Very hard to tell on the colour chart between 100 and 160.

Given your history here, and your uncertainty about the current reading, I would do one further 50% water change about 1 week after the last change.  Then, a day or two after the water change test for nitrate again, and it should be clearly below 40ppm.  At that point, you can revert to your normal routine water changes, whatever schedule you decide on.

For my tanks, I measure nitrate weekly, and as long as they are clearly below 40 ppm, I leave them be.  Once it is clearly above 40, then I do a 30% water change.  I'm finding for my tanks, and my feeding regime (i.e. YMMV), I end up changing 30% once every 4 weeks, for each tank.  Approximately.

Stability is normally the key, and that's why often just leaving the tank alone to "fix itself" is often the best strategy, combined with appropriate water changes.  In general, I've found this to be better than chasing specific numbers and adding various chemicals to try to reach the target.  Unless there is a very specific issue, AND you are 100% positive what the issue is, best just leave it alone, or maybe just an extra water change.

 

Thanks MFF. Have taken onboard all advice....very much agree about rain water tank being all over the place...will test always before I do a water change to keep a handle on it....got about 20 grassy type live plants in .......might help....have cut the feed  to once a day ,about 4 pinches ....Tank not as smelly...going to concentrate on Ammonia & Nitrate levels,but not get hung up too much on numbers...try & get tank to "manage itself" with not too much input from me. Fish lively as...Thanks again MFF

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If you are using api kit make sure the nitrate bottles are shaken really really well like good hard shaking for 30-40 seconds at a minimum.  If you don't you will get false readings.  Nitrate will only really drop by changing water if you are really concerned about it.  Most of my tanks are around 40-80 ppm of nitrates with a api kit

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52 minutes ago, Cam07 said:

If you are using api kit make sure the nitrate bottles are shaken really really well like good hard shaking for 30-40 seconds at a minimum.  If you don't you will get false readings.  Nitrate will only really drop by changing water if you are really concerned about it.  Most of my tanks are around 40-80 ppm of nitrates with a api kit

Thanks Camo7....will do another Nitrate read in morning.....let u no....maybe my testing not good..

 

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14 hours ago, Goughy said:

Thanks Camo7....will do another Nitrate read in morning.....let u no....maybe my testing not good..

 

Did Nitrate test 24hr after second 50% water change in 24hrs....40-80 ppm with api kit...

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That's why you want to be careful with that nitrate test, after 50% water change nitrates should be approximately half as they are diluted. I don't bother to much with nitrate reading as long as everything looks good, healthy and keep up water changes.  

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@Goughy

You have received some good advice here from the other members, water changes are the key and ensuring that the water you are putting into your tank is clean is very important 

Once you have a good schedule with water changes and your tank is established and settled it will become easier and less stressful.

Keep up the water changes, chose a schedule you can keep  

 

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