Can NOT get the darn Nitrates down!!

JaneGael

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I'm getting discouraged. My ammonia stays at 0 to less than .25 but the nitrates have never been at zero. I got them to 5, put fish in and have only had them go up. I have a 29g and two 5g tanks with the problem. I did two big water changes last week, had life get in the way so I couldn't do another until today and they were up to at least 80 in the 29g (haven't had time to check the small tanks yet, but assume they are up there as well.)

I just did a 10g water change and am not sure how long I need to wait to do another. I don't want to break the cycle. Ammonia is 0 so I'm pretty sure there is a cycle as there are a lot of critters in there.

I cut down on the amount of food I was putting in for the tetras. The betta is eating only frozen brine and mysis shrimp and the tetra clean up what he misses. I feed one shrimp at a time (he's spoiled and I think it's fun) so I'm not dumping shrimp into the tank. I put in one pinch of Omega One color Mini Pellets for the tetra and the shrimp. Is that too much? I put down 1 small Hikari sinking wafer per mystery snail once a day and they clean it up before I add more.

29g houses 1 betta, 12 glowlight tetra, 12 neon tetra, 6 mystery snails, probably about 4 amano shrimp and a good population of bladder snails.

The 5g tanks each have a betta - also fed 1 shrimp at a time with some making it to the bottom where the fish usually goes and cleans them up. One 5g has a mystery snail & bladder snails. The other has only bladder snails but has maybe 3 amano shrimp. I'm not sure if the two ghost shrimp are still in there. The tank with the single myystery snail gets a wafer only when the previous one has been cleaned up.

So that's my tale of woe. Any suggestions would be helpful. (And yes I know the temp isn't correct for the neons who are going to move to their own tank as soon as I can afford to set it up.)
 

Castiel*

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Are you using an API Liquid Test? If so are you sure your doing every step right in the test?

Also your water could be the problem and have high amounts of it from tap.


 

I3uckethead

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Nitrates will never be at 0 in a cycled tank. Under 40 is your goal.
You want ammonia and nitrites at 0. Either you're mixing up nitrites and nitrates, or your tank is fine and you've been doing extra work.

 
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JaneGael

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Yes I have the API test kit and there are two of us doing the testing with results that match, so I'm pretty sure we are doing it right since we are both fairly paranoid about it.

I am mixing Nitrites with Nitrates for the 0 goal apparently but my Nitrates are still much higher than 40. So far everyone seems very healthy, so they are tolerating it.
 

omordn

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Yes I have the API test kit and there are two of us doing the testing with results that match, so I'm pretty sure we are doing it right since we are both fairly paranoid about it.

I am mixing Nitrites with Nitrates for the 0 goal apparently but my Nitrates are still much higher than 40. So far everyone seems very healthy, so they are tolerating it.
Test your tap water. Before you do, make sure whatever tap water amount you are testing you leave it overnight to get better results. I usually prepare my test tubes with my tap water and leave them capped overnight.
 
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JaneGael

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Thanks I'll test my tap water and see what readings I get. I never thought of that.
 

Peacefantasy

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Make sure you real beat the nitrAte bottles before testing (specifically bottle #2)
Water changes should bring down the nitrAtes regardless (as long as your tap isnt 40+..that would be awful. And crazy!)

If you find that nitrAtes are a consistent problem, you may want to run out and get you some plants, as plants help eat up nitrAtes.

Your goal is 0 ammonia, 0 nitrItes, and 20 or less nitrAtes. Anything higher than 40 nitrAtes is toxic to your fish.
Be sure to condition your water with each water change, and they'll be down in no time
 
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