Nitrate levels

  1. W

    Wes-n-court11 New Member Member

    Hello all,
    I am curious about what my nitrate level should be, our tank is at 0ppm ammonia and nitrate which I know is where they need to be however our nitrate levels seem a little high they are around 160 ppm according to multiple tests from our API master test kit. I did a 40%water change audit didn't really lower it at all. (removing old food debris with a gravel vac as I took out the water) that seems high so my question is what can I do to fix the problem. The fish seem to be fine but I am just curious. Our tank contents are listed below...

    36 gal tank
    6 zebra danios (used to cycle the tank over the last 3-4 months)
    Everything below was added last saturday
    3 tiger barbs (medium)
    2 striped Rafael Catfish
    1 pictus catfish
    1 moneywort plant
     
  2. A

    AlyeskaGirl Fishlore VIP Member

    Have you tested your tap water for nitrates?

    They should ideally be kept under 20ppm.
     
  3. Jaysee

    Jaysee Fishlore Legend Member

    I think there has to be a mistake in the testing - either that or it's been a very, VERY long time since you've done a water change.
     
  4. OP
    OP
    W

    Wes-n-court11 New Member Member

    Just tested it and there was little to none, also there was none when I set the tank up a couple months ago

    Jaysee, define very VERY long time as I stated, the tank has only been set up for about three months maybe 4 and I did a 10 gallon change about a week ago and the tank was around 3-4 gallons low already (evaporation) so I added almost 15 new gallons of tap water with the appropriate amount of conditioner.

    Oh and I have gotten those results at least three times over the last 2 weeks when testing as the kit suggests
     
  5. L

    Lexi03 Well Known Member Member

    Evaporation top offs do not count as a waterchange as the nitrates do not evaporate. So topping off the tank leaves the number the same.
     
  6. OP
    OP
    W

    Wes-n-court11 New Member Member

    Lexi,
    Thanks for that info! I have also heard the same for adding aquarium salt, do I need to add more when I am topping off the tank from evap or just when I remove the water with the gravel vac ?
     
  7. psalm18.2

    psalm18.2 Fishlore Legend Member

    The catfish are going to add waste and bring your nitrate levels up. I'd recommend a good 50% water change w/ gravel vac weekly and good filtration. Did your tap water test show any nitrates? Adding plants will help if you can.
     
  8. OP
    OP
    W

    Wes-n-court11 New Member Member

    No nitrate in the tap water at all I tested it about 15-20 min ago and it is still showing 0.

    Do I need to do a 50% change weekly from now on or just until the nitrate levels drop?
     
  9. A

    AlyeskaGirl Fishlore VIP Member

    You don't need aquarium salt. Is there a reason you are using it? Salt dose not evaporate. You only add enough to treat the new water.

    You need to do weekly water changes of 30-50% not just topping the tank off. Water changes remove nitrates and replenish minerals.
     
  10. OP
    OP
    W

    Wes-n-court11 New Member Member

    The girl that helped us at petsmart told us we needed to add it to help the fish acclimate .so we don't need any at all or just need to add it when we do a water change ?
     
  11. psalm18.2

    psalm18.2 Fishlore Legend Member

    Yes, weekly.
     
  12. OP
    OP
    W

    Wes-n-court11 New Member Member

    Thanks, who knew that it would take so much to have some fish haha
     
  13. kinezumi89

    kinezumi89 Fishlore VIP Member

    You should do water changes as frequently as required to keep your nitrates in a safe range (20ish or below). It depends on the tank size and inhabitants (some fish are larger waste producers than others). You should, as suggested, do large frequent water changes until the nitrates drop to a safe level, and then test every day. Once the level gets back to 20 or so, you'll know how frequently you'll need to do water changes.
     
  14. OP
    OP
    W

    Wes-n-court11 New Member Member

    Excellent advice thanks so much for the info!
     
  15. psalm18.2

    psalm18.2 Fishlore Legend Member

    I was the same when I started, thought it was just water and fish. I've learned a lot myself. Now I know about nitrogen cycles, feeding, plant care, and so much more. Learn as much as you can.
     
  16. A

    AlyeskaGirl Fishlore VIP Member

    You don't need it at all.

    Weekly water changes too are for keeping the water clean, not just for removing nitrates. Fresh clean water is good for our fish's health.
     
  17. Jaysee

    Jaysee Fishlore Legend Member

    You shouldn't be using salt in your aquarium.

    Regular maintenance will prohibit the nitrates from ever getting anywhere near that high. Adding 6 fish a week ago, to make 12 total, isn't going to raise them to that level - it's not that high of a bioload for that tank. A combination of overfeeding and a lack of water changes is the only way you could attain such a reading. Or there's a problem with how you are testing. Getting the same results doesn't mean that they good results.
     
  18. OP
    OP
    W

    Wes-n-court11 New Member Member

    Well I feel like I already know a lot but it seems as though I am always learning more maybe one day I will be able to offer advice
     
  19. ploopy

    ploopy Valued Member Member

    If your readings are that high I would do daily 20-30 % until they are under 30.I would also rehome the striped raphael catfish will add alot of waste and they get about 9" unless you are going to put them in a bigger tank.
     
  20. psalm18.2

    psalm18.2 Fishlore Legend Member

    Everyday is a day to learn something new.