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Seems an interesting topic to have a discussion about

Whether it's possible to have 0ppm Nitrates...

Now I use API ammonia, nitrite, nitrate and high range pH

Sera for gH and kH

And have hagen test kits for phosphate, calcium and magnesium (maybe iron too I think) as well as ammonia, nitrite and nitrate

Now the question is whether you test for nitrates and get 0ppm or not? and does 0ppm mean anything bad to you?

I know for a fact that my API test kit for nitrates work because I've got positive readings from it before for a 6 week experiment that I did on multiple tanks

I have tested for nitrates and I do get 0ppm for nitrates, I've also used my Hagen test kit for nitrate and it still results in 0ppm

For those who use the API colour chart, the test tube is a yellow colour for 0ppm

I haven't done a water change for 3 months either (leave the positives and negatives for that for another discussion)

I suspect it's having a high water volume, aged tank, multiple types of filtration and low number of fish are the reasons

However I'm not really discussing water changes more the actual results test kits give

Anyways, I would like to argue that it's possible to have 0ppm or so close to 0ppm that it's undetectable using a generic test kit

Just some evidence for the argument, not attacking anyone :D just after a discussion on the topic

"theres no way your nitrates are 0ppm"


" a nitrate reading starting at least at 5ppm, for most ppl under 5ppm indicates somethings wrong. "

"You should have ammonia 0 if the tank is cycled and at least some nitrate reading."

"each tank should have a positive reading for nitrates."


"Your readings shouldnt all be 0, theres usually some nitrate in any tank"


Your thoughts on the topic?

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Yes it's possible to have and maintain ALLMOST zero nitrates.

The test kits are only accurate to a certain amount, so while it says zero nitrates, that isnt entirely true.

Besides, You can not have zero nitrates at all in a naturally cycling system.


For de-nitrifying bacteria to be present, they need to be fed.

What do they eat.....?


I have zero nitrates in my system but not absolute zero.

Once you have that magic balance of denitrification occurring, life is good :D

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Try a redsea nitrate test kit.

I help people maintain reefs at around 0.5 ppm nitrates, to achieve the 'disney land effect'.

Basically we starve the (brown) algae inside of corals causing their populations to crash.

This brings out the colours in corals.

Someone with an American cichlid tank, feeding it a good amount, doing 30% weekly water changes, is not going to have 0ppm nitrates.

I aint calling the man a liar.

Just tellin it like it is

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I've been struggling to keep my nitrates below 40ppm.. althought the fish have still been happy and displaying breeding behaviour. I have since cut back on the amount i feed and moved the fish to bigger tanks. about to go and test with my API kit.. fingers crossed..

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