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Old 11-09-2013, 08:00 PM   #1 
All4Maynard
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NitRATE, is it REALLY a problem??

Hi All!
New to fish keeping so I decided to start with a betta since my local pet store said they are the easy-er fish to care for (the lady that helped me emphasized that they are NOT the low-maintenance fish every one thinks they are!). I unfortunately failed twice which crushed me! I am currently on my third and have come prepared!... I think..... I bought the API liquid testing kit and everything seemed, to my understanding, to be good except I noticed my RATE is elevated.... I've read that there are some varying opinions that 40ppm is totally normal and nothing to be concerned about... others say otherwise. I chose NOT to cycle my tank because I did not really see the benefit since my water changing schedule wouldn't decrease.

I guess my question is.... should I really be concerned about the Nitrate at 40ppm?? If so, how can I reduce the Nitrate level??

I don't want to lose a third so I'm trying my damnedest to do right by Lord Tyrion!

I have found this site to be a HUGE resource of help and really appreciate being apart of the betta community! Thanks for you time!


Housing
What size is your tank? 2.5gal, approx. 2gal w/ décor
What temperature is your tank? 83*F
Does your tank have a filter? Yes
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration? No
Is your tank heated? Yes, Hydor Theo 25watt
What tank mates does your betta fish live with? none

Food
What type of food do you feed your betta fish? Betta Zoo Med Lab, Aqueon Betta Food, Top Fin Betta Bits - all pellets and freeze-dried blood worms, Mysis, and daphnia as treats
How often do you feed your betta fish? 2-4 pellets of any combo once-twice daily and one treat daily with a fasting on Sunday.

Maintenance
How often do you perform a water change? Weekly
What percentage of the water do you change when you perform a water change? 1-~85-95%, 1-50%
What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change? Seachem Prime - 3-6 drops/gal.... probably overkill....

Water Parameters:
Have you tested your water? If so, what are the following parameters?

Ammonia: 0ppm
Nitrite:0ppm
Nitrate: 40ppm
pH: 7.6
Hardness: unsure*
Alkalinity: unsure*
*can I determine this with the API liquid test kit??

and for funsies, here's my little lion!
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Old 11-09-2013, 09:15 PM   #2 
Tree
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Nitrates I don't believe are too harmful until it's really high and I think 40ppm is high. Maybe it's the food? Not sure why the Nitrates is spiking like that. I hope someone can answer your questions. ^^ Seems that you are doing everything correct. =)

and yeah, I learned nothing from pet stores. They told me to clean my 3 gallon tanks once a month. x_x
I learned more from my Local fish store or the betta shop that lives close to me and this website taught me as well. <3
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Old 11-09-2013, 09:49 PM   #3 
Bombalurina
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Ideally you want your nitrates to be lower than that. It is easily dealt with - just do 2 x 50% changes per week.
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Old 11-10-2013, 06:46 AM   #4 
rickey
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Of the 4 test in the API master test kit(pH, ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate) the nitrate test is the least accurate and the hardest to run with any type of repeatable results. The way to look at nitrate test number are as a tread, are the numbers rising over time? It is at this point you have to examine where are the nitrates coming from, Do I have nitrate in the tap water?, Is the bioload on the aquarium high?, I'm I over feeding?, Are there any dead are dying plannt or animals?, Is there detritus in the gravel?,and Is there detritus in the filter? If you can answer no to all these question an are still above your target number, then your not doing water changes often enough.

R
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Old 11-10-2013, 02:50 PM   #5 
All4Maynard
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Thank you guys for the suggestions!! It gave me an idea on what paths I need to investigate!

I feel that I'm following the rules pretty closely already. I always use a gravel vacuum whenever I am doing water changes which is twice weekly on schedule and check/clean the filter. I feed Tyrion one pellet at a time (max 4 SID-BID) to be sure none is dropped. I syphon any waste I see multiple times a day as needed to reduce ammonia build up and he does not have any decaying plants/animals in his tank... he's the only resident and I use fake plants....

What is baffling to me is that I had JUST newly set up this tank on 11/7 and added Tryion to it on the 8th, but not before testing the water first before he went in and the results that I posted earlier was what I got. So when I saw that the Rate was elevated even though there was absolutely NO waste or decaying junk in there, I was confused! How can it be so high with a new tank?

So I decided to go on a testing rampage today and tested my tap w/o filtration (which is what I was using) and tap w/ filtration. The results are as followed:

Tap w/o Filtration:
pH - 7.8
Amm - 0.25ppm
Rite - 0.25ppm
Rate - 40ppm

Tap w/ Filtration:
pH - 7.4
Amm - 0.25ppm
Rite - 0ppm
Rate - 10ppm

So, it's clear to me to use the filtered tap H2O when changing tank water and I believe the Prime takes care of the ammonia when I condition the water. I hope that solves my Rate problem! :]

I'm kind of creeped out by how much ammonia and Rites/Rates are in my tap water! :/ It's a good thing I don't drink from the tap because BLEH!
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Old 11-10-2013, 03:22 PM   #6 
rickey
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That seem to point to really bad tap water. Is this a well or municipal water supply?

R
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Old 11-10-2013, 03:49 PM   #7 
All4Maynard
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rickey View Post
That seem to point to really bad tap water. Is this a well or municipal water supply?

R
Municipal, I live in the city.
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Old 11-10-2013, 03:55 PM   #8 
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If your tank is cycled, the cycle will take care of the ammonia. :)
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Old 11-10-2013, 04:11 PM   #9 
All4Maynard
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bombalurina View Post
If your tank is cycled, the cycle will take care of the ammonia. :)
I chose not to cycle my tank because even though I've read it's possible to cycle a 2.5gal, I would still be putting in the same amount of maintenance as now... I've never cycled a tank before and I'm not sure I want to try on a tank so small.... my husband really wants to start an Oscar tank and the spare tank we have is like 80gal so I feel if I'm ever going to try cycling a tank, it'll be that one! lol!
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Old 11-10-2013, 04:19 PM   #10 
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If you are running a filter, then your tank will eventually be cycled, unless you actively prevent it. It is the natural order of things. So what you are effectively doing is a fish-in cycle. It is most assuredly not the same amount of maintenance to have a cycled tank, but the amount of work to keep an unfiltered tank and a fishless cycle IS the same.

In my experience, nitrates aren't an issue - if I were to test right now my tanks would probably register between 40 and 80. Like Rickey said, it is not an accurate test so don't put too much stock in the numbers... Or should I say colors. From a practical point of view, nitrates should not be a problem because you do water changes.

Looking at the fish food was also a good suggestion. The aqueon food is far better than the other two you are feeding, so you should stop feeding the other two. There's no sense in feeding lower quality food in favor of a higher quality one just for the sake of diversity. The quality of some of the foods available today (of which aqueon is included) are nutritiously complete and should be the bulk of the fishs diet. If you want to augment their feedings with other HIGH quality foods, then great. Low quality foods, like top fin, are loaded with filler junk that is indigestible for the fish. What that means is they eat more to get less which ends with more waste being produced, driving up nitrates. And then there are the health ramifications. Quality of food is an aspect of fish keeping that is often overlooked, and yet it's one of the most important.

Last edited by jaysee; 11-10-2013 at 04:23 PM.
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