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Old 07-02-2012, 03:33 PM   #1 
a123andpoof's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Minnesota
Range for Nitrates and trouble with plants

So I was doing my water changes and decided to test the water. I normally dont do it with my smaller tanks, just do two water changes a week. But I checked my one and it was at 20 ppm! And then I tested my NPT and it was at 10 ppm so I checked our water supply and it was 10 ppm. Its a new house different water then my other place. So what is an ok range for a betta? and is it to high for snails or ghost shrimp?

My bettas seem perfectly fine. But I am having trouble with some of my camboba (sp?) and Java moss in my large tank. but its doing fine in my 1.5 so not sure if it has anything to do with the water. I have no filter in either. My substrate is dirt from my previous yard. The lights on a little longer then it should be either 8-9am through - 9-11pm. But I don't want to get a timer and it has been this way for months with no problems. Just started when we moved.

I got my plants in april or may I believe. My wisteris is doing fine, its just the java moss and camboba (I can never get the spelling of it.) Any ideas why it is doing well in my non lighted 1.5g and not my lighted 5g?
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Old 07-02-2012, 04:15 PM   #2 
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Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Fresno,CA
Anything 40ppm and lower is fine.

I have 20ppm in my divided 10 gal for my three boys and 40ppm in my 10 gal sorority for my girls and they all have a bunch of floating anarchis in there with them, as live plants help.
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Old 07-02-2012, 04:23 PM   #3 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: USA
I have found that some plants just don't do well in some tanks-even two identical setup sitting side-by-side......One species won't do well in one tank but thrives in the other or thrive better in a different placement in the tank...really odd......Sometimes its a trial and error until you find the plant that likes the system and/or placement.....

What is the light source for the unlit tank....natural light? if so, that may be why it is doing better-what is the light on the other tank

Since you have nitrate in the source water....I am sure you already know....thats the nitrate-usually the plants will take care of it once they use up the ammonia....

It is best to keep nitrate under the 80ppm range for fish and under 40ppm for shrimp...some shrimp can be more sensitive than others to high nitrate long term.
Ideally you want to keep nitrate under 20ppm-I wouldn't worry too much about your nitrate reading....By adding some more/different species of fast growing stem plants like naja grass can help

Cabomba caroliniana is a great stem plant and its not uncommon for it to be picky....mine grows great in some tanks and not so great in others-I have some that will get nearly 3 feet long and in a different tank only about 4-5 inches
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Old 07-02-2012, 10:36 PM   #4 
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Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Virginia, USA
Is this new water by any chance softer? Plants don't do that hot in soft water. Below 4dGH growth is slowed because the water lacks a lot of nutrients.

Do you fertilize your tanks? Since most of the micro-nutrients are often limiting in tanks, adding a quality fertilizer like Flourish Comprehensive will enable your plants to grow and use more ammonia and nitrate. I never saw much growth from my plants. At least I thought it was my soft water until I started adding ferts. Now I can't keep the hornwort from taking over the tank, and even my anubias as sprouting leaves.

If you're still having trouble with nitrates, you can also try adding some floating plants like duckweed or water sprite. Both are great nutrient sinks. In the tanks where I have these plants, the nitrate isn't above 5 ppm.
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Old 07-03-2012, 07:53 AM   #5 
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Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Minnesota
OFL my 1.5 has only my bedroom light. Otherwise the tank is pretty dark so I am suprised how well it is doing. My other tank has a bulb from walmart you suggested. My cabomba used to be that long and I couldn't keep it under control, but now its hardly growing.

Koimaiden- No I do not fertilize. When I set up my tank I was told it would not be necessary since I am using dirt. I don't mind slowed growth, just don't want my plants dying on me. And yes the water is softer.
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