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About Me

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  1. Trying to figure out where I want phosphate levels to be in a planted aquarium. I have a relatively planted aquarium and due to over adding iron and over feeding I believe to the 55 gallon aquarium I now have Moderate hair algae Siamese algae eaters are working on it a little but when investigating more water parameters I noted the high phosphate and began daily water changes which is reducing it but I really don’t understand where that level should be . Seems to be a topic which is ignored often. Don’t see much if any info around on the topic .
  2. I know I know, Cory has done a video on this. But I am a numbers and charts person, so I wanted to offer some more data on this topic. I have a background in chemistry and I know a lot of you NERMS on here like this sort of detailed analysis, so here it goes. Once I saw the video, I thought it was genius! Of course! If you are in the ballpark, much better to use those quick test strips (which you will use more often than the liquid kit because they are so easy. As a reminder, you can see Cory's video here: Because I thought this was great info, I went out and bought some test strips to compliment my API test kit. Of course, like any info on the internet, I also wanted to test it. I did a quick test a few weeks ago and got very different results. Whoa! That's weird, and not what Cory's video showed! So today I sat down and did some more precise testing/recording numbers. For this experiment, we have to accept that the human eye just sucks at interpreting color accurately. If we wanted to get super precise numbers, we would want something like a spectrometer, but that's not financially realistic for the average person. (Doesn't mean I'm not looking 'em up on ebay after this...) I have two different tanks I tested this on, but only once each time. One is a planted 60 gallon community tank and the other is a 10 gallon snail tank. I try to keep the gH higher in the snail tank for shell health, so that measurement is particularly important. Both tanks are moderately/heavily planted. The snail tank is overstocked, but I'm pretty diligent about water changes. The Community tank is a little understocked, and please note that I administered some General Cure today to deworm, so that could potentially interfere with results. When I did the test, I had to break my bad habit of not shaking the API test kit for a full minute. You can categorize this under "I am smarter than the sum knowledge of all fishkeepers." arrogance. Surely, not shaking for a full minute couldn't make that big a difference, right? Well, I can get into my previous quick and dirty results, but yes, you need to shake for the full minute. I got very different nitrate results when doing this. Anyway, you can't test the API kit if you aren't going to use it according to the instructions. Please note that I DID NOT USE THE API TEST KIT FOR pH. I have a pH meter which I consider to be the most accurate option available, therefore I compared the test strip to the API kit on nitrate, nitrite, gH and kH. You can see the results below in chart and list form: OK, so what are we seeing? Well first we're seeing that my nitrate levels in my tank are WAY high and I need to fix it, but that's for another day. Within the community tank, everything is pretty much the same between Tetra and API. This is consistent with Cory's results. Now if we look at the Snail tank, we see some variation. Ph and nitrite are looking the same, but gH, kH, and most concerningly nitrate are showing differences. The difference in nitrate could be because of the logarithmic scale it uses to refer to color. Ever notice how the measurement chart jumps from 0, to 5, to 10, then 20, then 40, etc? It's a bigger and bigger difference with each color change on the chart. So if you have a very high concentration that you are reading, and you're having trouble reading it, your mistake matters more than if you were reading something closer to 5. (Ex. Is it 5 or 10? Eh, it's close. Is it 40 or 80? Whoa, big difference!) I did have trouble figuring out the color of the nitrate on the API test kit; I have included pictures of the results here so that others can give input, if you like. Please note that because I thought the API nitrate reading was between 40 and 80 ppm, I split the difference and called it 60ppm. I have no explanation for the difference in KH and GH readings. API results for Snail tank: Tetra test strip Snail tank results: OK so what does all of this mean? I think it means that if your tank is generally healthy and you are just doing regular water checks (once a week, once a month, etc) and you want a heads up on anything that might be an issue, you're probably ok using the Tetra test strips. But if you are having issues with something, you may want to try the API kit. BUT, I would argue that we don't really know which method is more accurate. Within the fish community, we sing the praises of the accuracy of the API Master test kit. But why? What are we comparing it to? Well, we have reports of the test strips going bad very easily, so that's one reason. But ideally, I would want to measure my water parameters with a mass spectrometer (this is me being a super nerd- it is a scientific instrument which gives you VERY accurate reports of concentration. Again, not realistic for the home hobbyist at all! But has anyone every tried it? Ever? Anywhere? I expect API did the testing, but those aren't exactly easy to look up. Why do we choose API as the best? I think it's worth considering. Tl;dr The API Master test kit has fairly similar results to the Tetra strips if you are measuring low concentrations (everything in your tank is going as expected,) but there can be major differences if you have something like nitrates very high. This is because it's tough for the human eye to read colors accurately. I have no explanation for the differences in kH and gH in one tank but not the other. Also, consider that we don't necessarily know that the API Master kit is the most accurate. Everyone says it is, but what are we comparing it to? Thanks for coming to my TED talk. lol I don't work as a chemist anymore so sometimes it's just nice to get this out of my system. I hope some folks find this helpful/interesting.
  3. My Nitrates were always through the roof no matter the water changes. It would drop to normal levels than after a day or two it would jump right back up to 80 to 100 ppm. I posted here on the forum and a Gentleman suggested a Pothos so I did what I always do and bought the biggest one I could find lol. Well after about a month it started grow its water roots and started utilizing the nutrients in the water column. Now my Nitrates are 20 to 40ppm while using Easy Green and root tabs. I just thought I post a victory story cause they are always nice to hear. Hope everyone is having a safe and happy Saturday. Keep it fishy Friends and most importantly keep Nermin it up!!
  4. I need help managing my Nitrates in this tank. I did a 25% water change yesterday and my nitrates are still in the 40-80 range. This tank is a 16 gallon with one female betta, 16 ember tetras, 4 ottos and 2 Kuhli Loaches. Advice on here led me to having this number of fish in it. I am willing to rehome if needed but hope I don’t have too. Any advice on lowering nitrates? I only spot dose with Easy Co2 to combat some small pieces of BBA. And I use UNS contrasoil as substrate.
  5. My son and I have 5 tanks and all 5have really high nitrates 80-160 according to API master test kit . The one tank has a a sponge filter that ran 3 weeks in a cycled tank . Nothing else in it and it tested 160 for nitrates . Did 98% water change and next day tested between 80-160in nitrates . Any ideas on what is causing this . Well water is testing 0 nitrates . Thank you for your help.
  6. Im so confused! The tank details: I just set up this 55 gallon. It has a fluval fx4 with a heater, bubbler, prefilter, and spray bar. I added the monte carlo about 3 weeks ago and the other plants about 3 days ago. The monte carlo was a tissue culture, so all the terrestrial leaves are melting and new ones are growing in, as well a new roots. Ive added easy green and easy carbon around every other day for the last week and a half. I also added cycled media from my old tanks and beneficial bacteria starter liquid. Now for the problem: I just checked my nitrates and the its sitting really high, around 40-80ppm (i cant really tell which color it is based on the chart). The ammonia is at 0ppm and the ph is around 7. I think it maybe all the melting from the monte carlo causing a spike in ammonia->nitrates. Ive never had this happen during a tank start up. Also, should I do a large water change. I have ludwigia in the tank and have read they dont like dramatic changes in water parameters. If I should, what percentage do you recommend? Update: I just moved into this new apartment thats a few blocks away. I assumed the water was the same. However, this is the reading of the faucet water with dechlorinater in it. Nitrates: 20ppm, ph is at 8.2., ammonia is at 0~0m25ppm. Is this normal? Also, after a 50% water change my waters sitting at about 40ppms still and ph is now 7.8. Should i do another 50% water change?
  7. I currently run several planted tanks and constantly seem to have above the desired Nitrate. I run around 80-120 PPM. I can obviously water change it off and do but I feel I am kinda wasting my ferts by reducing the Nitrates only to redose. I am under the opinion that just because the nitrates is high the other building blocks the plants need can be low. What id love to do is get nitrates consumed so that when I go to add more I dont need to change out 40% of my tank to be able to put a squirt or 2 in. I run mostly Anachris, Swords,Frogbit and Crypts. Does anyone know of some nitrate hogs I could add in?
  8. This is my fresh-from-the-tap test. You can see nitrates are pretty high - somewhere between 20-40 (I can never tell the difference). I also suspect I have high iron. My plants seem to grow red really easily, including guppy grass, under relatively inexpensive lights. Hair algae is by far the most prevalent type and seems to be basically unstoppable. I do not regularly dose with fertilizer at all. I have not, so far, run into fish issues with this. My plants seem to grow pretty effortlessly. But I am mildly concerned and thinking I should maybe invest in actual well testing, and depending on the advice, an RO unit? I was recommended the coliform/e coli bacteria and nitrates test at $50, wondering if there are others I should select. OR, do I skip a step and look at reducing nitrates since wherever they're at, it's probably above what's considered healthy for drinking water? We have a water softener that is not currently in use as well. Looking for just general advice on dealing with this.
  9. After my newly set up 55gal unstocked planted aquarium was reading at 40~60ppms, I checked my faucets parameters. This is the reading of the faucet water with dechlorinater in it. Nitrates: 20ppm, ph is at 8.2., ammonia is at 0~0m25ppm. Is this normal? Also, after a 50% water change my waters sitting at about 40ppms still and ph is now 7.8. Should i do another 50% water change? Are there any products that are shrimp and scaless fish safe to adjust the water during water changes? Im currently using prime to dechlorinate. Im getting a reverse osmosis system for my sink for drinking water. Should I use that water instead? Im hoping to have shrimp in the tank
  10. Do you dose easy green until you get 20 ppm nitrates or just one pump regardless of how many nitrates you have. Thanks for any help
  11. 🤨Hi. What filter can I use the suggested Seachem 50gph or less water flow. I’m having trouble controlling nitrates ina 20 gallon housing 5 small African Ciclids. I’ve purchased denitrate from Seachem, but the aqua clears I filter the tank with have much higher gph. I’ve tried all the standard remedies and am setting up a bigger tank for them, but that’s a slow happening.
  12. I'm not one to chase numbers, and everything is going good in my tank. But, in what ways can I lower my Nitrates? They're consistently 40ppm on a weekly basis. API Master Test Kit is used. I have a 10g planted tank. Plants include: Anubias Nana Petite, Crypt Wendtii Green, Crypt Parva, Rosette Sword, Bacopa Caroliniana, Anubias Frazeri, Crypt Lutea, Banana Plant, Ammania Gracilias, Pogostemon Stellatus Octopus, Dwarf Aquarium Lily. Livestock: 5 Chili Rasboras, 7 Ember Tetras, 3 Kubotai Rasboras Inverts: 1 Nerite snail, 2 Blue Velvet Shrimp I do weekly water changes. I rinse out my AquaClear 30 every water change, I squeeze out the sponge in tank water, and change out the filter floss. My GE T8 4100k Florescent is on a 7 hour light cycle - on a timer.
  13. I know nitrates are comprised of the left over waste from fish food and poop, so the question is is there a such a thing as good nitrates and bad nitrates when it comes to the makeup of the nitrate? I know adding something such as Flourish fertilizer and excel or easy green and liquid carbon are in this case "good" nitrates. Is there such a thing as a bad nitrate , which would be defined as something a plant cant consume?
  14. Trying to figure out what to do. I put a dose of Paracleanse in my tank yesterday morning as a follow-up of medicating 2 weeks ago. I didn't test my water before (Yes, I'm an airhead). I tested last night and it's between 20-40 nitrate. Do you think the fish will be ok until Saturday or should I change water sooner. I'll keep testing nightly. If I do change the water, do I add Paracleanse again?
  15. Hello, My name is Hunter in from Phoenix AZ. I have been in the hobby for almost a month now trying to cycle my fish tank so that I can get some beautiful African Cichlids. I have a 210 tank and my numbers are Ammonia is around a 1.0 Nitrites are 0 and Nitrates are rising. (I tested yesterday afternoon Nitrates were around 5.0ppm) 09/26/2020 I do have a friend in the Hobby that has a sponge filter I was about to barrow for “instant cycling” (if that is truly true) when I did my test for fun about 4 hours after I put the sponge in my levels were ammonia 1.0 Nitrites 1.0 and Nitrates 0 My friend didn’t believe those numbers so about 15 after that we tested nitrites again and they were 0 Do Nitrites truly disappear that quickly? Does this mean my tank had Cycled? If so how do I lower my ammonia levels? Thanks, Hunter
  16. I am concerned that I am not properly taking care of my plants in my 35g hexagon tank. I have one tank that I absolutely struggle to keep nitrates above 5 ppm. It is my 35 gallon hexagon tank with a 1/2" base of peat moss with 2" of ecocomplete on top of it. The background plants are Amazon swords (4) which are growing somewhat slow. The midground plants are broadleaf sagittaria (4). What makes up the front half of the tank is dwarf sagitaria. Both types of sagitaria is growing very well. In the 6" ring at the top I have frogbit which I weed back twice a week. At the moment, based on the calculation of rotala butterfly I made my mixture of KNO3 to be a dosing to reach a target of 7.5 ppm and dose 4x a week. The dose is detectable throughout the day of the dosing, however it is depleted by the next day. I do use passive CO2. Algae is not a problem. I have for about a year I have put root tabs in the substrate at the beginning of the month as the bulk of the plants are root feeders. I use 10 root tabs at the beginning of the month (at the moment DIY osmocote root tabs that I made in bulk then hope to switch to the co op brand). Should I be concerned about the low levels of nitrate in the water column and begin dosing more? Or because I do dose heavily in the substrate, I shouldn't worry about it so much? Edit: The dosing seems to be accurate and not miscalculated based on my usage in my other tanks. Edit: I have cross checked these levels with three different types of test kits. The readings seem to be accurate.
  17. Ok guys been doing some research on nitrates wanted to start a topic of what’s everyone’s threshold on it ? My water comes out at 20ppm out of the tap so I’ve heard different things some people say can’t go over 40 ppm others says keep it under a 100 ppm? So let’s start this debate? Let’s keep it civil
  18. So I've been dosing Easy Green since forever in my 75 gallon, and it wasn't until fairly recently that I actually read the online store's instructions. So if I'm reading correctly, after dosing fertilizers and after some time for it to mix in, it should register on water test kits as nitrate? If that's true, never seeing a significant increase in nitrates is probably a symptom of not dosing enough fertilizers? The tank is super over filtered but strictly with sponge and biomedia, so I don't think either would reduce nitrates. I also have been dosing 16 pumps about 4-5 times a week while also increasing my feedings to get more fish waste over the past 2 weeks. Thank you for the input!
  19. Hi all: I use Easy Green heavily on all my tanks, and I'm very happy with it. However, I tend to overstock most of my tanks. So sometimes, rather than do an extra water change mid-week, I'd like to fertilize my plants heavily with everything EXCEPT nitrogen, especially phosphates and potassium. I know that Easy Green is heavy in nitrogen, and I could just do a water change to reset it and dose with Easy Green, but sometimes I'd rather just let the plants use the nitrogen that's in there and supplement with all the other nutrients. I have been using Seachem Flourish as this alternative, but I don't really think it's doing anything. It's too watered down. Do any of you plant experts have a recommendation for a plant nutrient supplement that is heavy in everything BUT nitrogen? For water column feeders, I'm stocking anubias, crypts, java fern, water sprite, red ludwigia, baby tears, nothing too advanced, and no CO2. Thanks!
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