Tinks85 Tinks85
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  • Posted on: 12/4 10:46
Please help a novice with nitrates and ammonia levels #1
Hi, we are new to the hobby of fish keeping. We have a 30l tank with 4 guppies in it. We started off with really good water readings and I think due to over feeding the levels have gone significantly higher than they were before. I perform regular water changes, treat the new water with tap safe, use filter boost, gravel cleaning solution and recently purchased a nitrate minus liquid. I’ve got an air pump and a live plant coming and we feed the fish a lot less than we used to, yet my reading is still at around 4.0 for nitrates and 0.2 for ammonia. What can I do to reduce them? Also is there a water testing kit anyone would be able to recommend, we only have tests for nitrates and ammonia but would like to be able to test the Ph of the water as well. Thanks in advance.
Mjf71 Mjf71
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Re: Please help a novice with nitrates and ammonia levels #2

A few questions sorry, Has the tank been cycled? and what test kit are you using? What filter do you have? If the tank has been cycled then a nitrate reading of 4 is fine, anything below 20ppm is ok. What are the nitrite readings? how often do you do water changes and how much? 25-30% is the norm.
If you are using the API test kit then the ammonia is notoriously hard to read! especially between 0 and 0.25. Some will say they can read 0 no problem. Me personally, I have never had what I consider to be a perfect 0 on the API test. It always looks somewhere in between. I ended up with the seachem ammonia test, much easier to read and tests for total and free ammonia (free ammonia being the bad one)
fcmf fcmf
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  • Posted on: 12/4 15:04
Re: Please help a novice with nitrates and ammonia levels #3
Helpful questions from Mjf71.

Another one that springs to mind is whether you have chloramine added to your water supply and whether your water conditioner specifically addresses chloramine (as well as chlorine). Your utility website may be able to tell you or you may have to contact them to ask about this for your specific postcode area.
Connected with this, what is the ammonia level from your tap water? If you have a spare test tube, it would be useful to test the ammonia level of your tap water and that of your tank water at the same time and compare whether/how the colouring differs between the two. If you don't have a spare test tube, then it would still be useful to know what level it is at.
Thanks. :)

As for test kits, many people recommend the API Master Test Kit. I have different brands for different tests but generally like the JBL tests as easy to read. Definitely ensure that you get nitrite (as well as nitrate and ammonia and PH).
GH and KH might also be useful tests to have, although how important they are may depend on how soft/hard your water is - what does your utility website say the CaCO3 and German degrees hardness is for your postcode?

Presumably/hopefully you are squeezing your filter media into being-discarded tank water as opposed to running it under the tap? Cleaning it in tank water ensures that the beneficial bacteria are kept which help to process the fishes' waste.