High Nitrates? Should I Remove Seed Material?

BlueLiner

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I have a 40 gallon breeder. Started the tank early-mid Feb (fishless cycle). It was taking a long time to cycle (was adding pure ammonia) but then I added some seed material from someone's filter and that really jump started the cycle. By early April the tank was cycled. I did a big water change and got the nitrates to around 10 (hard to tell exactly with the API master kit chart).

I slowly added fish and kept an eye on all the levels. I also added several live plants. Tank has tetras, danios, and corydoras in it. Ammonia and Nitrites seem to always be at 0. Nitrates seem to always be around 20. Again, the chart makes it hard to distinguish between 10 and 20 (for my eyes anyways). Ph is around 7.6.

It seems like no matter how many water changes (usually around 25%) the nitrates remain around 20. I am using a python for the water changes and vacuuming the gravel. I tested my tap water (well) and nitrates are 0. I am doing water changes every 2-3 days.

Long story to get to my questions but just wanted to provide enough background.

1) Should I be concerned about the nitrates? I'll probably take the water to a LFS to have them test to see for sure what the nitrate reading is.

2) Should I remove the seeded filter material since the tank is cycled? I wasn't sure if that would do anything for the nitrate levels?
 

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BlueLiner

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Thanks everyone. I'll cut back on the feeding and do a larger 50% water change and see how it goes from there. The tap water isn't showing any nitrates so the tank is probably producing them at the same rate as my water changes because the levels seem to go no where. Hopefully I can get it down enough so I only have to do weekly changes.
 

DuaneV

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You need to do bigger water changes. If you have 20ppm and you change 25%, youre still at 15ppm after. If youre tank produces 10ppm a week, then next week youre back at 25ppm. Change out 25% and youre at 19ppm. Do 50% at least to make a dent, and even then youre going to plateau and be right back where you are at some point. About every 4-6 months I do an 80% change. Also, water changes arent just to lower levels, theyre to replace key trace minerals fish need to be healthy.
 
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