what levels do you want???? Question

Discussion in 'Freshwater Beginners' started by Betafish305ca, Nov 19, 2009.

  1. Betafish305caValued MemberMember


    So I've had my fish tank for a little over half a year now, and I'm still confused about what readings I'm looking for.... None of my fish have died (well not from the water.... thank you cats) but what are good readings?

    My test kit doens't have a reading for ammonia yet, but I'm looking into that. I do know that; ammonia -> nitrite -> nitrates... and when it changes, the previous show go down.

    But what should the readings be????

    My latest test results are:
    Nitrite <NO2-> : 0.5
    Nitrate <NO3-> : 100

    So what does this mean? When NO3- gets high, does that mean water change??? Or is that good? Cause when you cycle a tank and you get Nitrate levels, and no nitrite and ammonia levels.... thats when you add fish, so ya.....

    help please

    thx every1
  2. harpua2002

    harpua2002Fishlore VIPMember

    Nitrate isn't very toxic to fish until you get into concentrations of 40-80 ppm or more. Nitrite, on the other hand, is very toxic to fish. I'd recommend a 50% water change to cut that down to .25.

    Nitrate is the end result of the nitrification process. When you have detectable levels of ammonia or nitrite, it suggests that either your tank hasn't finished its initial cycle, or that something has happened in your tank to cause a mini cycle. The bacteria that grow in your tank to convert ammonia to nitrite, then nitrite to nitrate, aren't present in sufficient numbers to support the bioload that you have. They will grow to handle it over time, but in the meantime I'd suggest picking up an ammonia test kit asap, and keep changing lots of water. I always recommend changing enough water to keep ammonia and nitrite at .25 or less, but of course you'll have to test to know when that's necessary.

    Hope this makes sense. Good luck! :)
  3. callichma

    callichmaWell Known MemberMember

    A cycled tank should have readings of NH3 0; NO2 0; NO3 <30. How often do you do water changes? Nitrates, although harmless at low levels are toxic at the levels you show.

    The natural bacteria take care of ammonia and nitrites. Partial water changes are necessary weekly to remove excess nitrates. Your nitrates are really high. I would do 50% water changes daily until the nitrates drop into a safe range. After that, weekly water changes should keep your fishes safe.

  4. iloveengl

    iloveenglWell Known MemberMember

    x2 :happy0034:
  5. Elvishswimmer

    ElvishswimmerValued MemberMember

    Also note that the test strips are notoriously inaccurate.

    Try to get the liquid ammonia test kit, and maybe if you can the liquid test kits for all the other ones.
    API Master test kit is recommended.

    Good Luck!
  6. Shawnie

    ShawnieFishlore LegendMember

    +2 ..without a proper test kit, id not rely on the readings you have ....but water changes never hurt anything until you know for sure...you ALWAYS want 0 for ammonia/nitrites, and under 20 nitrates work well..
  7. OP

    Betafish305caValued MemberMember

    okay, thats alot of info, i think i'm getting the jist of it all now.... is there some sort of thing/ item you can add to your fish tank to help with water changes? i thought i heard about something, but I could be wrong....

    so pretty much my ammonia and nitrite levels should always be @ 0, and my nitrates should be less then 30

  8. Lucy

    LucyModeratorModerator Member

    Personally, I prefer my nitrates to be around 5-10, but as you see others don't mind 20-30.
    IMO, nothing takes the place of water changes, nothing needs to be added except conditioner.
    Water changes replenish the oxygen and minerals that are good for your fish.
  9. jdhef

    jdhefModeratorModerator Member

    The only thing to help with water changes would be a gravel vac.

    You probably already know about them, but just in case you don't, they are basically a hose with a plastic tube on the end. You use it like a siphon and stick the end with the tube into the gravel all over your tank. The siphoning action lifts the debris in your gravel out and siphons it and water into a bucket.

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