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Hi @CorydorasEthan, I would test your tap water. It is possible that your tap water has nitrates already in it. My tap water has nitrates(around 20ppm last time I tested with an API master test kit) in it. If your fish are not having any problems, I would not worry too much about it but definitely keep your eye on it. 

Plants will reduce nitrates but if there are more nitrates being produced than they can consume, the nitrates will rise. Plants will also reduce ammonia and therefore never allow that to become nitrates. I would not use a plant fertilizer for the water column, by that I mean a fertilizer that you squirt into the water as it will introduce more nitrates into the water. You can add a micronutrient only water column fertilizer however if your plants show a deficiency. 

If you want to reduce the nitrates with plants, I would suggest using some faster growing plants. Floating plants (duckweed, frogbit, salvinia, etc) and other plants that can be grown above the water line will help as well. Pothos can be added with only the roots in the water. Some faster growing plants you can add into the aquarium are guppy grass, hornwort, pennywort, hygrophila stem plants, pearl weed, dwarf sag and pogostemon stella octopus. There are many aquatic plants, the best one would honestly be whatever grows best for you and you enjoy the best. That will take some experimentation however. Water Sprite looks to be doing well for you but you did say you wanted to try something different. 

What kind of food do you feed your fish? How often and how much do you feed? 

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16 minutes ago, Isaac M said:

Hi @CorydorasEthan, I would test your tap water. It is possible that your tap water has nitrates already in it. My tap water has nitrates(around 20ppm last time I tested with an API master test kit) in it. If your fish are not having any problems, I would not worry too much about it but definitely keep your eye on it. 

Plants will reduce nitrates but if there are more nitrates being produced than they can consume, the nitrates will rise. Plants will also reduce ammonia and therefore never allow that to become nitrates. I would not use a plant fertilizer for the water column, by that I mean a fertilizer that you squirt into the water as it will introduce more nitrates into the water. You can add a micronutrient only water column fertilizer however if your plants show a deficiency. 

If you want to reduce the nitrates with plants, I would suggest using some faster growing plants. Floating plants (duckweed, frogbit, salvinia, etc) and other plants that can be grown above the water line will help as well. Pothos can be added with only the roots in the water. Some faster growing plants you can add into the aquarium are guppy grass, hornwort, pennywort, hygrophila stem plants, pearl weed, dwarf sag and pogostemon stella octopus. There are many aquatic plants, the best one would honestly be whatever grows best for you and you enjoy the best. That will take some experimentation however. Water Sprite looks to be doing well for you but you did say you wanted to try something different. 

What kind of food do you feed your fish? How often and how much do you feed? 

Thanks so much for the help! Plenty of the plants you mentioned are available to me, so I will get some as soon as I can. I also have a small spiderplant to use, and I heard these can be grown similar to a pothos (with roots in the water). Would this work for my aquarium, and will it help filter out a lot of nitrates?

I feed my fish flakes (crushed), aquarium co-op fry food, sinking pellets, algae wafers, and repashy, depending on the day. I usually feed quite a lot of flakes or fry food for the many guppy babies, which could be the culprit of my high nitrate levels. I will adjust my feeding plan accordingly.

Thank you again!

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@CorydorasEthan I have never grown or attempted to grow a spider plant so I do not know unfortunately. Plants that grow quickly are your best bet for the removal of a lot of ammonia and ultimately nitrates from the water column. 

Yes, heavy feeding will require more maintenance as you are inputting more into the system.

I would still check your tap water or whatever water you use for water changes for nitrates as well. That way you can have a reference point for your parameters(this could change seasonally however). 

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On 2/12/2021 at 10:48 AM, CorydorasEthan said:

I like to just let the fish waste allow the plants to grow. I think that is why the Java fern and Cryptocoryne grow so well, as they are both near the area where the peppered cory family and the school of pygmy cories always sleep. I heard root tabs could be useful for Amazon sword and Vallisneria, so I might try that out.

Same. I don't like to t use many additives in my tanks. I prefer all natural for my aquariums. Even using methalyne blue for my cory eggs made me crinch. But it worked like a charm, cause my first two attempts at hatching Crydoars was a fungi failure.

I have a planted 37gal, actually all my tanks live plants, if there are going to be plants they have to be real. I don't do fake plants anymore. But I have an ever growing community in that 37gal so there's plenty of waste and ecosystem cycle to support their growth. My wisteria has taken over, but I'm afraid to remove it cause the fish seem to enjoy playing it and I have multiple and varying stages of Cory fry hiding in there. 

below is a pick during a water change and maintenance day. 2004209693_37gal03132021.jpg.7774a725211760b166f7300122037bfc.jpg

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  • 3 weeks later...
2 minutes ago, Isaac M said:

She definitely looks full of eggs. Have they started spawning again? 

All the males cories in the tank seemed to want to start the spawning process again, but she didn't accept. Sadly, she passed around a week or two ago of unknown reasons. I was going to update my journal on this, but I simply haven't had time due to school.

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  • 1 month later...

If you haven't already seen the post, I got rid of around 50 guppies out of this tank just recently - I sold them off to a local store. I plan on getting rid of some more, as it didn't seem to make a difference in the crowdedness of the aquarium!

Another update. The pygmy cories in the tank finally seemed to have grown comfortable. They no longer hide all day, and I can sometimes see them just hovering in the water in the upper half of the aquarium like a tetra would. Additionally, they don't even hide or scatter when I come near the tank.

Here's a picture of one (sorry if you've seen it before):

DSC_9371.JPG.99e68a2d0d28956d9e464c22b8528b43.JPG

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  • 1 month later...
Posted (edited)

UPDATE:

The Java fern on the wood is growing in really well now. It's creating the kind of jungle effect I was going for. Unfortunately, all of the surface lilypads on the dwarf lily died out (I think their own leaves blocked out their light, combined with the duckweed). However, it seems as if two more plants have sprouted from the bulb, so maybe I can get them to grow back.

Also, I spent a long time scraping off all of the algae on the front glass, which is why it is easier to see the fish.

Thanks for reading!

Edited by CorydorasEthan
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  • 4 weeks later...
On 8/15/2021 at 7:30 PM, Isaac M said:

The java fern is looking great! It would look great growing on the new coconut hut too haha 

Thanks! I really like the way it looks too! I am going for the effect of every bit of wood covered in the Java fern to give it a bushy and heavily planted effect. In fact, I just added a Java fern plantlet to the little hole in the top, with the roots going through the hole to keep in it. It doesn't show up very well in the video, but it is there! I'm excited to see how it turns out.

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 4 weeks later...

UPDATE:

Some of you may have heard about the disease that ran through the tank earlier. I think it was internal parasites of some sort. After a treatment of General Cure it took a few days and then stopped all together. Here is a list of the fish who were not so fortunate:

  • 16 guppies
  • 4 Otocinclus
  • 1 Corydoras habrosus
  • 1 Corydoras pygmaeus (did not die of parasites, but had an infection)

Otherwise, everyone else is doing fine now. I've really been enjoying the pearl gourami. He's really big now, and fun to watch.

I also collected some fallen leaves, though I do not know how I will use them yet. I'm thinking of a breeding project for pygmy cories, though I don't have the space currently.

Thanks for reading!

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On 4/11/2021 at 8:34 AM, CorydorasEthan said:

Thanks for the help! I am looking into trying out different test kits, but I have to save up some money before I get the API Master Test Kit first.

Currently, I have a 10 gallon sponge filter and a Marineland Penguin Bio-Wheel 150 (rated for 30 gallons) for the tank. I have increased the surface area (for beneficial bacteria) by adding plenty of filter floss and sponges inside in addition to adding a pre-filter sponge. I have been using Aqadavisor, and it says I need to water change a bit more than 30% weekly (of course, I rounded the number of endlers down, because I have so many, mostly tiny babies). Over the past few weeks I have been adjusting my water change schedule accordingly. My only problem is with plants. I have quite a few of them, but (based on the results) they don't seem to be helping with my nitrate levels. Will adding fertilizer to help them combat nitrates?

Thanks again!

I don’t use in the other test strips other than aquarium co-op or the API master kit save yourself some time and money and don’t waste it on other test strips they don’t work worth a darn and you get to many mixed readings compared to the master test kit. co-op was the only one that was the closest or the same as the master kit. I battles ph issues for most of the yr so far Bc my kh is so low. I hope this helps. 

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