Water Changes In Cycled Tanks With Nitrates At 5

Discussion in 'Water Changes' started by CraniumRex, Apr 13, 2017.

  1. CraniumRexWell Known MemberMember

    Hi. I have a 5 g and a 10 g planted tank, 1 betta in each tank, both newly cycled (readings of 0 0 20 ish about 9 days ago.

    I'm using the API Freshwater Master kit and I shake bottle 2 for the full 30 seconds and the sample for a full minute. I've done a reading on each tank every day for a week - I'm pretty sure there's nothing wrong with the kit. I had some of those strips and tried them just in case, but both tanks register no nitrates at all on those.

    The readings have been at 0 0 5 for over a week, which sort of surprised me but maybe it's the plants?

    My question is: Will it hurt anything if I do a PWC on a nitrate reading of 5? Or should I just leave it alone? Thoughts?
  2. KinsKicksFishlore VIPMember


    I'm going to ask if after adding #1, if the solution turns brown? If not, ignore the following. The "issue" with the liquid tests is that they measure up to 50 ppm/ mg/L (depending on the bottle....essentially the same units). That's a low concentration. If you have a HIGH nitrate, over the 50 mark, the test essentially wonks out and gives a false reading. If this is the case, dilute the solution (fish water sample) with either 25,50,75% of DISTILLED tap water or a VERY GOOD quality of tap water. It's probably best to try all three dilutions, or any additional dilution percentages to pull an accurate/consistent reading.

    Hope this helps and best of luck!

    Oh and, if this isn't the case, then don't be too worried! As long as nothing has gone arwy, low nitrates is better than high nitrates anyhow! And a water change won't kill anything :)

    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 14, 2017
  3. CraniumRexWell Known MemberMember

    Hi - thanks so much.

    The sample stays yellow when I add the first drops, so I think the tanks are okay, but I understand what you are saying about the false reading when nitrates go over 50 -- that is great info to know and I'll only ignore it for now. Thanks for the info about diluting the sample! It helps a lot.
  4. NavigatorBlackFishlore VIPMember

    I ignore all test kits and do water changes like clockwork, once a week, 25-30%. Once you are cycled, you are maintaining a healthy environment for the fish. You have 2 tiny tanks, so I'd use that testing time to keep their water good, and not worry about the test kit results.
  5. AllieStenFishlore VIPMember

    I half agree with this. Definitely do routine water changes no matter what your test kit says. Just part of your weekly tank maintenance. Lots of people do 20-30%, but I always do 50%. No matter what my readings are. The smaller the tank, the more often the change. Although with only a single betta in each, you might be ok with once a week still. I would do every 5 days to be safe.

    I however do rely on my test kits for my weekly maintenance also. I test as often as I feel like it. My ideal amount of time is every 6-7 days with a water change to follow. I have been having tank issues and a new tank, so I have upped my tank testing and water changes a ton lately.

    Just be sure to dechlorinate your water, and it shouldn't mess with your cycle.
  6. CraniumRexWell Known MemberMember

    Thanks to both of you.

    Doing a water change takes no time at all for me - good to know I won't disrupt anything doing a water change in both tanks, which was my concern. Every 5 days it is. I'd better hurry up because I'm over schedule!!

    Thank you again!
  7. NavigatorBlackFishlore VIPMember

    Testing water can be fun. I can see how people get into it, but with very little experience, you see how the results become predictable in a well maintained tank. It is a great way to learn the importance of filter and water maintenance.
    Once you have that down, the test kit can gather dust, but the water changing hose or bucket has to be in constant use.
    The percentage you change is also up to you. I tend to write 30% here, as to me, that's the bottom line, basic percentage every week. If you can do 50%, great. If you can do 50% twice a week several days apart, greater.
    A friend of mine had a constant flow water change system rigged for Cichlids, with 100 gallons a day turning over in a 300 gallon tank. The fish were spectacularly healthy. We don't all have the money and space to do that...
  8. CraniumRexWell Known MemberMember

    I admit I'm a bit of a testaholic, especially when my tanks were cycling - must be the nerd in me, lol.

    I have read so many threads where folks have challenges cycling small tanks I felt incredibly lucky to have had mine cycle with such relative ease and speed, I really didn't want to mess anything up.

    Information overload, maybe, but seems I flat out forgot that water changes are fishkeeping 101. Duh. :banghead:

    This place is such a great resource - I really thank you for taking the time to share your knowledge and experience.
  9. AllieStenFishlore VIPMember

    I am a test-aholic too lol especially while cycling. I've had some difficulties with cycling, but honestly I have learned so much, that I am glad for it. I know exactly what to do when I get a particular reading. I don't have to doubt myself.

    I have had obvious things pointed out to me over and over. Sometimes you just need someone else to look at it a different way. We get focused on a certain aspect or result and forget about the regular stuff.

    Glad we could help

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