Getting Lazy

Sorg67

I am getting into my water change and testing routines and the novelty is wearing off.

So I am trying to get a bit more efficient in my practices.

I am caring for five tanks at the moment. They have been consistently testing zero ammonia and nitrites, ph about 8.0, KH 8 degrees and GH 6 degrees. Nothing significant has changed so this week I tested just nitrates.

10 gallon tank one 4 inch gold fish - 20 ppm
10 gallon tank on small male Betta - 2 ppm
10 gallon tank 16 5 week old guppies - 10 ppm
20 gallon tank 16 adult male guppies - 30 ppm
40 gallon tank 10 adult female guppies, 30 to 40 fry and juvies - 5 ppm

All tanks except the goldfish tank have snails as well.

I am kind of surprised that the 20 gallon tank has accumulated as much nitrates has it has. Maybe over feeding? Not much plants or algae. Has the most snails.

I have been doing weekly 50% water changes. Seems to be fine for all the tanks except the 20 gallon. So I am thinking I will continue with 50% weekly water changes for all and increase 20 gallon to twice a week. Maybe add some plants to 20 in the hope of decreasing water change needs. Although I have guppy grass in there maybe that will grow fast enough to not need water changes twice a week.

Thinking I will test nitrates weekly and do all the tests monthly (ammonia, nitrites, nitrates, ph, GH and KH). Sound like a reasonable plan?

I am also using fertilizer for plants.
 

kallililly1973

I'm very lax when it comes to testing any of my tanks. You can add more plants to try to help with nitrates. You can add pothos to the edges of your tanks and just let the roots hang in the water. Fast growing aquatic plants should help as well. Also as you said overfeeding could be raising it a bit. Lastly depending on what plant fert your using that can also add to your nitrate levels in between WC's depending on how much your dosing.
 

MissNoodle

Guppies have high bioloads for their size, wouldnt surprise me if their nitrates are higher. But all in all sounds really good though.

If feeling lax, change it up a bit. Do a different tank water change on a different day.
 

Sorg67

If feeling lax, change it up a bit. Do a different tank water change on a different day.
I would like to do different tanks on different days, but I have a water softener and part of my routine is by passing the water softener. Once I have the water softener by passed and the pipes clear of softened water, it is efficient to do them all at once. I also fill 18 gallon jugs with unsoftened water while I have the softener by passed. I use them to top off during the week. Thinking I will use them for mid week change on the 20 so I do not have to by pass softener.
 

ProudPapa

I am getting into my water change and testing routines and the novelty is wearing off.

So I am trying to get a bit more efficient in my practices.

I am caring for five tanks at the moment. They have been consistently testing zero ammonia and nitrites, ph about 8.0, KH 8 degrees and GH 6 degrees. Nothing significant has changed so this week I tested just nitrates.

10 gallon tank one 4 inch gold fish - 20 ppm
10 gallon tank on small male Betta - 2 ppm
10 gallon tank 16 5 week old guppies - 10 ppm
20 gallon tank 16 adult male guppies - 30 ppm
40 gallon tank 10 adult female guppies, 30 to 40 fry and juvies - 5 ppm

All tanks except the goldfish tank have snails as well.

I am kind of surprised that the 20 gallon tank has accumulated as much nitrates has it has. Maybe over feeding? Not much plants or algae. Has the most snails.

I have been doing weekly 50% water changes. Seems to be fine for all the tanks except the 20 gallon. So I am thinking I will continue with 50% weekly water changes for all and increase 20 gallon to twice a week. Maybe add some plants to 20 in the hope of decreasing water change needs. Although I have guppy grass in there maybe that will grow fast enough to not need water changes twice a week.

Thinking I will test nitrates weekly and do all the tests monthly (ammonia, nitrites, nitrates, ph, GH and KH). Sound like a reasonable plan?

I am also using fertilizer for plants.

Since they're all established tanks and not showing any ammonia or nitrites I'd just test those monthly, as you mentioned, and maybe only test nitrates monthly also as long as you don't have any kind of changes to the tank stocking, water used, etc. That should relieve a good bit of the tedium. After all, if you're going to do a water change anyway I've never seen the point of testing the water on a routine basis (in established stable tanks, of course).
 

John58ford

I'm a testing fanatic, but only in my pretty tanks. Before the weekly water change, that I'm going to do any how, I test all my parameters in the planted tanks. It's a fine line I ride not using fertilizer so I will actually pull a plant if I'm getting a true dead zero nitrate now. I have enough snails and plants that I watch the kH in those too because I have less than 5dkh out of the tap.

In my grow outs, snake tank and QT, I only test monthly maybe. I keep a ton of crypt in the snake tank and at least one plant in all my others but I wouldn't call them "pretty" and I'm not worried about one lazy plant running out of nitrate and letting algae get the upper hand in the phosphate world. The army of snails won't let the algae grow in the snake tank even when I bottom out the nitrates hard. The exception to being lax on testing those is if I notice something unusual IE snails running for the hills, plants wilting, foam, fish acting funny etc.

Since you are actually building nitrates so fast in that guppy tank I suppose doing a twice weekly 50% would probably save you some time shaking the bottle now that you have all your weekly baselines. I'm doing w/c every 3 days on my grow outs right now, but honestly haven't the fogiest idea what the nitrates have been since mid December when I lit them back off for this round. With a w/c schedule like that it's not going to matter the annubias glued to rocks has been the ticket this time around though, two nets, one dip, one male, Everytime. I just take the plant out and net the little fellas at the low point during the water change with nowhere to run to.

Are you still off the ferts? I haven't done a test, but I would wonder if your plants would eat a lot more nitrate without ferts, or maybe with a custom blend vs the broad spectrum stuff. I'm not heavily planted, but in the network for example I would say moderately planted; I'm at ~75% recommended stocking according to the silly calculator but still can't build even 5 ppm in a week, even with a little overfeeding. That's a mix of Cardinals, harlequin rasboras, silvertips, and a several variations of hybrid endler and guppy mutt totalling about 40 fish, most of which dwarf and out eat the EGMs 2:1 plus mystery and ramshorns snails galore. Maybe your plants are living too rich to want/need to eat the nitrate?
 

peddidle

I haven’t been doing WCs for very long, but I try not to really think of them as being WCs. WCs = work. I put on some music and take my time rather than try to be uber efficient. I look at the whole process as quality time spent with my fish, checking for anything unusual and spending a bit more time cleaning whatever I spent less time on during the last WC. I make WCs as enjoyable and relaxing as possible. I’m still slightly obsessed with testing my water. I lack confidence by nature, so I’m constantly second-guessing whether I’m adequately maintaining my tanks. It will probably be awhile before I cut back too much on testing. In the meantime, I keep a hot cup of tea within arm’s reach so I can set up some tests and then drink some tea while waiting for results, set up some more, drink some more, ‘wash, rinse, repeat.’
 

Sorg67

Since you are actually building nitrates so fast in that guppy tank
Might not be as high as I thought. Down to about 5 ppm after 60% WC. Pre WC looked a bit more red than 10 to 20, so I gave it 30, but maybe I was off.
 

John58ford

Might not be as high as I thought. Down to about 5 ppm after 60% WC. Pre WC looked a bit more red than 10 to 20, so I gave it 30, but maybe I was off.
I don't know if you have an Android phone, but maybe there's an iPhone equivalent even if not; I have been using an app called "aquarium note". It's a little cumbersome to try to use the "stocking" or "cost analysis" features, but in the tools section there's a great color analyzer that has helped me a bit with some of my tests. I have a really hard time with the phosphate test specificaly. It may not be exactly true, but it's very consistent, unlike my eyes. As far as the stat tracking features though, I'm sticking with my notebook full of logs and doodles.
 

Rcslade124

I have gotten lazy with testing I'll admit. But I'm only working on 3 tanks. Religious with water changes. Imva day behind because I was hoping to build a stand for one of my tanks and do water change then. 29 gallon got 50% tonight.
 

Sorg67

I don't know if you have an Android phone, but maybe there's an iPhone equivalent even if not; I have been using an app called "aquarium note".
I have an android phone and downloaded this app. I will try it for the next round of testing.
 

John58ford

People think the nitrate test is bad. Here's a screenshot of the phosphate test.
Screenshot_20200116-202553.png
the thing always has so much more green in it than blue I have a dang hard time telling what's what.
I've been playing with the planting in the snake tank and the lighting in the rack holding the network tanks so I'm worried more than usual about bringing on some algae (I want to know exactly why/if it happens) and really want to watch the numbers so this test has gotten mixed into my regular testing battery.

I literally can't tell 0 from .5 without the app, and all I'm worried about is consistancy and trends. Did it work for you or is it to much hassle?
 

Sorg67

I have not tried yet. Sunday is testing day.
 

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