Acceptable Nitrate Level?

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madelyn anne

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Hello,

So, SUCCESS, my tank has finally cycled. Yay!
Now, instead of Ammonia or Nitrites, I'm dealing with my new enemy; Nitrates.

So, I've heard a ton of different, conflicting information about the "safe" levels of Nitrates, and when a water change is needed.

So, what levels of Nitrates are safe, and at what point should a water change be done?


P.S. - If you are using the API Freshwater Master Test Kit, does anybody else have EXTREME difficulty reading the difference between 10 and 20 ppm on the Nitrates? The color is basically the same, can't tell AT ALL. Really frustrating!
 

techfool

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Don't concern yourself with the difference between 10 and 20. I have 40 ppm out of the tap at times. I don't like it but the fish seem fine.
 
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madelyn anne

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techfool said:
Don't concern yourself with the difference between 10 and 20. I have 40 ppm out of the tap at times. I don't like it but the fish seem fine.
Oh my goodness, I've never gotten a positive reading on ANYTHING in my tap water! That's shocking!
I just try to be as precise as possible when dealing with my fish, especially because I have some very sensitive ones where 10 ppm of something could potentially become a problem.
 

david1978

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Ultimately you want to keep nitrates as low as possible. Most people try to keep under 20 if possible. Keeping it in the 10-20 range should be fine for most fish.
 

Mary765

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I have 40-80 ppm from my tap

My fish are fine, but my fry don't like it much... just don't know anything I can do about it except more plants
 

DaleM

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Yep, aim for below 20 , I wouldn't worry too much about telling the difference between 10 and 20. Once you get into a pattern of water changes, you shouldn't have to test nitrate as often. I'm still trying to work out the best water change schedule for my tank - whether a 50% weekly water change is enough, or whether I need to do another water change through the week
 

Redshark1

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I aim to keep nitrates below 50 ppm.

I know many fish can tolerate much higher levels (although there is the issue of shock if moving from a low nitrate environment to a high nitrate environment).

The truth is we do not know the individual nitrate requirements of our fish so I'd say keep nitrates as low as you can.

The organisation that regulates LFS in my country sets a level of no more than 50 ppm above the tap water level.
 

OnTheFly

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Lower is better. There is a significant difference from species to species. Not too many real studies of tropical fish but when studies are conducted on wild fish the difference from species to species is very significant.
 

Adriifu

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I think anything below 40 ppm is okay, but you should aim for something as low as possible. If it does get near 40 ppm, you should try performing a 25-50% water change. Plants also take up nitrates, so getting a lot is a good idea.
 

The Rover

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I struggle with my nitrates staying around that 10-20 even a day after a water change. Try not to overfeed (which I'm guilty of I'm sure) and just stick to regular water changes. I've never let it get higher than 20 and I'll do 25% water changes twice a week and then every couple of weeks I'll do a 50% water change and haven't had any issues.
 

OnTheFly

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The Rover said:
I struggle with my nitrates staying around that 10-20 even a day after a water change. Try not to overfeed (which I'm guilty of I'm sure) and just stick to regular water changes. I've never let it get higher than 20 and I'll do 25% water changes twice a week and then every couple of weeks I'll do a 50% water change and haven't had any issues.
I wouldn't stress hitting 10-20 much. Hundreds of us on this forum alone, with planted tanks target that nitrate range. I try not to go much over 40 but that doesn't even seem to be a drop dead number for many species. It's not like I have kept thousands of species personally, but my fish don't fall over at 40. Certain species do require a more restrictive upper limit or there will be trouble eventually.
 

The Rover

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OnTheFly said:
I wouldn't stress hitting 10-20 much. Hundreds of us on this forum alone, with planted tanks target that nitrate range. I try not to go much over 40 but that doesn't even seem to be a drop dead number for many species. It's not like I have kept thousands of species personally, but my fish don't fall over at 40.
I’m sure you’re right and it’s probably my OCD. I do have an oto and they are supposed to be more susceptible to higher nitrates. I’ve been letting it get a bit higher lately (still not above 20) but I think if I gradually let it higher over time I probably risk less issues.
 

OnTheFly

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The Rover said:
I’m sure you’re right and it’s probably my OCD. I do have an oto and they are supposed to be more susceptible to higher nitrates. I’ve been letting it get a bit higher lately (still not above 20) but I think if I gradually let it higher over time I probably risk less issues.
I have dwarf cichlid tanks I treat much the same as you do. And it only takes one delicate species in a tank to cause extra work unfortunately. I avoid them in large community tanks.
 
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