What are appropriate nitrate levels for an established aquarium? What does it indicate if nitrate levels are consistently higher than desirable? Is it just that the water needs to be changed out a little more frequently?
Yeah high nitrates mean that you need to change the water. Most pet stores say that a nitrate level of about 40 ppm is the maximum acceptable nitrate level but even when I clean my communities weekly I have never noticed more than 20ppm. And that is for a fully stocked (or in the case of my 10g, technically overstocked) tank cleaned about 25% weekly. So in order to achieve 40ppm by the time you clean the tank the tank would have to be pretty flippin dirty IMO-- therefore my goal is to have the nitrates within 20 at all times.
Thanks for the info. Sounds like I've got about the same situation with my 10g. I do weekly 30% changes and before I changed it this week I tested the nitrates and came out with something around 20 ppm... I think. It's sort of hard to judge exactly which shade of red the liquid is. >_<
I just wasn't sure what amount was too much, but it sounds like I'm doing alright with the current level of maintenance.