Help Levels are stuck?

rageinred

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I have 2 freshwater tropical tanks.
A 15 gallon and a 65 gallon.
I use the same products in both of them.
-API water conditioner
-seachem pristine
-API quickstart
I use the same test kit on both of them. The API master freshwater test kit (the one with tubes, not the strips)
The maintenance routine is the same with both. I do a 20-25% water change weekly, I vacuum monthly, I change the filter media every 4-6 weeks.

Both tanks have a filter appropriate to their size, a heater for their size, and bubble stones.

My 15 gallon stock is:
3 platy
2 amano
1 bnp (her max growth is 5 inches)

My 65 gallon stock is:
4 molly
15 guppy
8 corydora

Now what's weird is it doesn't matter if I test before or after my water change my parameters seem to always be the same.
Ammonia-0.25ppm
Nitrite-0ppm
Nitrate-5ppm
PH 7.4

I can not seem to get my ammonia or nitrate to.go down to 0. I have even skipped a week on water changes and did a 50% h2o change on my smaller tank. They dont go up either. They literally both are always the same number. Why have both my tanks gotten stuck on these numbers? My test kit isn't expired. I am at a loss of what to do next.
 

SM1199

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rageinred said:
The maintenance routine is the same with both. I do a 20-25% water change weekly, I vacuum monthly, I change the filter media every 4-6 weeks.
The filter media should not be changed. That holds your beneficial bacteria. Don't replace it until it's literally falling apart. When you see it beginning to really deteriorate, put new media in next to the old and let them run together for a few weeks before you remove the old.

Have you tested your source water?
 
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rageinred

rageinred

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SM1199 said:
The filter media should not be changed. That holds your beneficial bacteria. Don't replace it until it's literally falling apart. When you see it beginning to really deteriorate, put new media in next to the old and let them run together for a few weeks before you remove the old.

Have you tested your source water?
The cartridges shouldnt be changed? Maybe I am using the wrong term. The plastic casing stays in. The cartridge is changed. Should I stop doing that? I have tested the source waters kh and gh only. I will test it tomorrow with the masterkit
 

Fae

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rageinred said:
The cartridges shouldnt be changed? Maybe I am using the wrong term. The plastic casing stays in. The cartridge is changed. Should I stop doing that? I have tested the source waters kh and gh only. I will test it tomorrow with the masterkit
Are you meaning the biofilter you leave? (The blue plastic thing). Are you making sure to only rinse things in tank water?

When you do water changes weekly, do you vacuum the substrate? That might help eliminate some of the ammonia. The nitrate isn't a problem as it will go down each water change
 

Fae

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Maybe take a pic of the test vial next to the colour sheet and we can take a look too to double check? I know I have a tough time differentiating between the subtle shades of yellow/green and usually get a second opinion from my bf lol
 
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rageinred

rageinred

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Fae said:
Are you meaning the biofilter you leave? (The blue plastic thing). Are you making sure to only rinse things in tank water?

When you do water changes weekly, do you vacuum the substrate? That might help eliminate some of the ammonia. The nitrate isn't a problem as it will go down each water change
Yes I leave the biofilter but change the cartridge. I vacuum the substrate once a month usually because it is so disruptive to the fish. Should I up the frequency of that?
Fae said:
Maybe take a pic of the test vial next to the colour sheet and we can take a look too to double check? I know I have a tough time differentiating between the subtle shades of yellow/green and usually get a second opinion from my bf lol
I will do a new test tomorrow and take pics.
 

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rageinred said:
Yes I leave the biofilter but change the cartridge. I vacuum the substrate once a month usually because it is so disruptive to the fish. Should I up the frequency of that?
I will do a new test tomorrow and take pics.
Yes it is better to disrupt the fish a little than for them to live in poo haha. Just think, in the wild they are disrupted much more frequently. A little stress is good for everyone and everything
 

SM1199

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rageinred said:
Yes I leave the biofilter but change the cartridge.
The plastic biofilters are sort of gimmicks, in my opinion. The cartridges have a lot more surface area for beneficial bacteria than the plastic biofilters. The only thing you're doing when you replace the cartridges is tossing a majority of your BB and putting new charcoal in. Charcoal is not necessary for a healthy aquarium - in fact, a lot of people don't use it at all, including myself. You're best just leaving the cartridges in and only changing them when absolutely necessary (and leaving the old cartridge alongside the new for a while), or replacing them with some sturdier/more permanent bio media. The company says "replace every month" just so they can make more money. It's not actually beneficial.
 

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.25 seems to be the new zero with the master kit. Some folks never see a true zero no matter how long their tank has been running. As to the 5ppm nitrate. You do not have to see a zero reading for nitrates. In fact they should be going up between water changes and are brought back down with your water changes. If you never see anything other than 5ppm I have to wonder if you have been following the instructions to a tee.

There are extra steps necessary to run that one. If you've not been shaking bottle number 2 really well each time you've used it I am afraid your testing solution is no longer reliable. Bottle number 2 contains crystals that settle to the bottom between uses and must be mixed well each time it is used. The bottle must be held straight up while dispensing drops to make sure all drops are the same size. If not done correctly you will not get an accurate reading.
 
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rageinred

rageinred

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SM1199 said:
The plastic biofilters are sort of gimmicks, in my opinion. The cartridges have a lot more surface area for beneficial bacteria than the plastic biofilters. The only thing you're doing when you replace the cartridges is tossing a majority of your BB and putting new charcoal in. Charcoal is not necessary for a healthy aquarium - in fact, a lot of people don't use it at all, including myself. You're best just leaving the cartridges in and only changing them when absolutely necessary (and leaving the old cartridge alongside the new for a while), or replacing them with some sturdier/more permanent bio media. The company says "replace every month" just so they can make more money. It's not actually beneficial.
Ok I will slow down on changing those. My filters have two different things in them, a carbon filter (with the blue plastic thing) and a bio filter. I have left the bio filters in.
mattgirl said:
.25 seems to be the new zero with the master kit. Some folks never see a true zero no matter how long their tank has been running. As to the 5ppm nitrate. You do not have to see a zero reading for nitrates. In fact they should be going up between water changes and are brought back down with your water changes. If you never see anything other than 5ppm I have to wonder if you have been following the instructions to a tee.

There are extra steps necessary to run that one. If you've not been shaking bottle number 2 really well each time you've used it I am afraid your testing solution is no longer reliable. Bottle number 2 contains crystals that settle to the bottom between uses and must be mixed well each time it is used. The bottle must be held straight up while dispensing drops to make sure all drops are the same size. If not done correctly you will not get an accurate reading.
I read it and do the test as directed. I even use a timer to make sure I am shaking bottle number 2 a minimum of 30 seconds and then shaking the vial at least a minute after both are in it.
 

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SM1199 said:
The plastic biofilters are sort of gimmicks, in my opinion. The cartridges have a lot more surface area for beneficial bacteria than the plastic biofilters. The only thing you're doing when you replace the cartridges is tossing a majority of your BB and putting new charcoal in. Charcoal is not necessary for a healthy aquarium - in fact, a lot of people don't use it at all, including myself. You're best just leaving the cartridges in and only changing them when absolutely necessary (and leaving the old cartridge alongside the new for a while), or replacing them with some sturdier/more permanent bio media. The company says "replace every month" just so they can make more money. It's not actually beneficial.
He’s right I tossed all the original cartridges and the plastic from my aqueon 110 and installed my own course and fine pads and two small bags of bio rings works great every other week I remove the pads and wash them but I leave the bags of media alone
 

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rageinred said:
I read it and do the test as directed. I even use a timer to make sure I am shaking bottle number 2 a minimum of 30 seconds and then shaking the vial at least a minute after both are in it.
In that case I am at a loss as to why your nitrates never go up. I would expect they would go up between water changes 'specially in the 15 gallon with the BN Pleco in it. Are these tanks planted with fast growing plants? Have you ever banged the #2 bottle against a hard surface or the heal of your hand while shaking? I am thinking maybe the crystals are maybe stuck to the bottom of the bottle and have never been broken loose.

Right now I am just throwing things out there hoping we can get to the bottom of this mystery.
 
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rageinred

rageinred

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Tallen78 said:
He’s right I tossed all the original cartridges and the plastic from my aqueon 110 and installed my own course and fine pads and two small bags of bio rings works great every other week I remove the pads and wash them but I leave the bags of media alone
mattgirl said:
In that case I am at a loss as to why your nitrates never go up. I would expect they would go up between water changes 'specially in the 15 gallon with the BN Pleco in it. Are these tanks planted with fast growing plants? Have you ever banged the #2 bottle against a hard surface or the heal of your hand while shaking? I am thinking maybe the crystals are maybe stuck to the bottom of the bottle and have never been broken loose.

Right now I am just throwing things out there hoping we can get to the bottom of this mystery.
I will try banging it on my hand. If all else fails I think I will take a water sample into my lfs and have them test it to see if they are getting the same result as me. My bnp is very small so she doesnt effect the tank much yet. She is only 1 1/2 inches long at the moment.
 

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