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  • 1 Post By VElderton

Nitrate

This is a discussion on Nitrate within the Old World Cichlids forums, part of the Freshwater Species category; I have been having a problem with m cichlids flashing as if their scales are itchy been having this issue ...

  1. #1
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    DefaultNitrate

    I have been having a problem with m cichlids flashing as if their scales are itchy been having this issue for a long time. The water was getting low where I was after setting up another tank for my holding female I took a bit of water out if it to go in the other one.so I went and got more spring water to top it up.( I get the spring water right from the ground and I have tested the water for this spring and it's fine). I tested the water and the ammonia is 0 the nitrite is 0 and the nitrate is between 20-40ppm it's been that way for a while and I can't seem to bring it down. I have a fluval 405 cannister filter and a aquaclear 50. Plus I have a water pump to aid in circulation the tank size is 55 gallons. Filter maintenance is done at least once a month and when I do a water change I take everything out and swish the substrate to help the filter to suck up all the fish poo. We have several bottom feeders.

    The substrate is only a fairly thin layer.

    What could be causing my nitrate to be up?

    The fish don't seem bothered aside from the flashing they are eating and. Breeding

    Sent from my Moto G (5) using Tapatalk

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  3. #2
    Forum Resident VElderton's Avatar
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    Hey there ... I think your fish look very healthy based on the pictures provided.

    Personally I have been keeping multiple African Cichlid tanks for well a couple decades. Right now I have 9 species of African cichlids that have successfully spawned from all 3 of the main lakes ... first time to have spawnings from all the lakes at the same time.

    There are a couple things I notice about your report and pictures:

    1) What are the water parameters of your water source? Thatís always good to know as starting points.

    2) You mostly use plastic/artificial hardscape this looks good but it doesnít provide any bio-interaction with tank environment. I use a combination of natural and artificial surfaces in all my tanks, especially Mbuna dominant tanks like yours is because they are algal rock scrapers.

    3) Your filter maintenance sounds very diligent, hopefully when you are washing/rinsing the sponges thatís in tank water or dechlorinated tap water

    4) Add pre-filter sponges to each of your filter intakes ... this provides better bio-filtration and extends the time between main filter maintenance ... rinsing foams is easier than doing full filter service.

    5) Based on your report the reason why nitrates remain high is because you are not reaching a full
    Nitrogen cycle in your tank. You are dealing with the Ammonia and Nitrite but not converting the Nitrite to Nitrogen. For this final step there are several ways to approach this. Based on your report, hereís what Iíd do.

    a) Increase your water changes but remember to buffer your water for pH and hardness, which important generally in the lower mainland, but you are using spring so maybe that already has natural minerals .. that would be worth testing though.

    b) Establish an anoxic filtering component in your tank. There are several ways to tackle this, for me the simplest given your set-up are ideas suggested by the Scottish Filter Pro - Pond Guru. For about a decade I have been following his suggestions and they are highly effective. Only difference is I use Hydroton (available at hydroponics plant stores such as Jonís Plant Factory in Burnaby) rather than Biohome for biomedia. I have found Hydroton just as effective and far less expensive than Biohome. Both last forever.

    Fluval 406

    https://youtu.be/8D0v5E8qAfA

    AC 50

    https://youtu.be/HXBFM7kFpEg

    One caveat to this is that anoxic filtering, the conversion of Nitrite - Nitrogen takes a little to become operational, a few weeks to a month so you have to be patient. In the meantime as as suggested in (a) water changes are highly effective in lowering Nitrates as long as water source is not the source.

    Hope this helps ...


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    parsons483 likes this.
    Small fish room, 24 tanks - various sizes. Inside the house (1) 40 - Breeder + 2 show tank 1 Fluval Venezia 190 L & Fluval Venezia 350 L

    Fish Room Album

    I keep most of my breeding groups in biotope tanks. I move pairs or breeding groups to special tanks to spawn and raise fry. I also take full advantage of Ziss & Marina water circulating breeder boxes. African Cichlids are what I breed mostly but have gotten more interested in catfish - corys & BN plecos in the past 12 months.

  4. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by VElderton View Post
    Hey there ... I think your fish look very healthy based on the pictures provided.

    Personally I have been keeping multiple African Cichlid tanks for well a couple decades. Right now I have 9 species of African cichlids that have successfully spawned from all 3 of the main lakes ... first time to have spawnings from all the lakes at the same time.

    There are a couple things I notice about your report and pictures:

    1) What are the water parameters of your water source? Thatís always good to know as starting points.

    2) You mostly use plastic/artificial hardscape this looks good but it doesnít provide any bio-interaction with tank environment. I use a combination of natural and artificial surfaces in all my tanks, especially Mbuna dominant tanks like yours is because they are algal rock scrapers.

    3) Your filter maintenance sounds very diligent, hopefully when you are washing/rinsing the sponges thatís in tank water or dechlorinated tap water

    4) Add pre-filter sponges to each of your filter intakes ... this provides better bio-filtration and extends the time between main filter maintenance ... rinsing foams is easier than doing full filter service.

    5) Based on your report the reason why nitrates remain high is because you are not reaching a full
    Nitrogen cycle in your tank. You are dealing with the Ammonia and Nitrite but not converting the Nitrite to Nitrogen. For this final step there are several ways to approach this. Based on your report, hereís what Iíd do.

    a) Increase your water changes but remember to buffer your water for pH and hardness, which important generally in the lower mainland, but you are using spring so maybe that already has natural minerals .. that would be worth testing though.

    b) Establish an anoxic filtering component in your tank. There are several ways to tackle this, for me the simplest given your set-up are ideas suggested by the Scottish Filter Pro - Pond Guru. For about a decade I have been following his suggestions and they are highly effective. Only difference is I use Hydroton (available at hydroponics plant stores such as Jonís Plant Factory in Burnaby) rather than Biohome for biomedia. I have found Hydroton just as effective and far less expensive than Biohome. Both last forever.

    Fluval 406

    https://youtu.be/8D0v5E8qAfA

    AC 50

    https://youtu.be/HXBFM7kFpEg

    One caveat to this is that anoxic filtering, the conversion of Nitrite - Nitrogen takes a little to become operational, a few weeks to a month so you have to be patient. In the meantime as as suggested in (a) water changes are highly effective in lowering Nitrates as long as water source is not the source.

    Hope this helps ...


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    The only fake decorations I have is the plants, ship, arch, and castle. Should I get some drift wood?
    I have caribsea ecocomplete cichlid substrate so I didn't bother getting anything to raise the ph thats right where it needs to be. My filters from bottom up have a layer of filter floss, a sponge, carbon (carbon and zeolite in the fluval) bio cillinders and lava rock. I have been rinsing the sponges under my tap...
    And the spring water is 0 ammonia 0 nitrite 0 nitrate and pH of I think it was 7-8
    We have been trying to do water changes once a week
    But usually ends up once every 2 weeks.

    Sent from my Moto G (5) using Tapatalk

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  6. #4
    Forum Resident VElderton's Avatar
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    First off your fish look like they are coping fine with the higher Nitate, but if you still want to lower it that wonít hurt.

    Everything you have written sounds correct ... For many years I used well water from a Spring, you are lucky, wish I had that opportunity still. I wouldnít add drift wood in an African tank, keep what you have including the plants ... they are not affecting Nitrate. The only reason I mentioned them is because they are not bio-active which means they are not adding to your tankís Nitrogen cycle.

    I do almost everything you do and my nitrates are basically 0

    I use Caribsea substrate

    Water source from the lower Mainland BC is almost like RO water - I buffer mine to add the minerals that Africans thrive in

    I do buffered water changes 30 - 50 % every 7 - 10 days

    Hereís one of my tanks a mixed African grow-out everyone is doing well ... Tanganyikans / Tropheus and dithering Malawi / Mbuna & Strawberry Peacocks





    So whatís different? Hereís my suggestions

    1) Increase your buffered water change regime to 2 times a week until your Nitrates are were you want them to be ... close to 5 <

    2) Rinse sponges in de-chlorinated tap water / Spring water or tank water

    3) Increase your substrate depth to 3 in (6 cm) with CaribSea African Cichlid or Aragonite ... this is what I use in all my African tanks. Deep sand promotes nitrification, breakdown of Nitrate to Nitrogen, but with all the digging in African tanks I am unsure how effective that is

    4) I am a firm believer that to get nitrification, conversion of Nitrate to Nitrogen, happening in your filters water should flow should from (a) mechanical = sponges & filter floss to (b) biological = etc. Hydroton (I wonít be using Zeolite ... doesnít do anything for nitrification) to (c) chemical = carbon pad etc.

    5) If you want to want to take it to an even higher - extreme level build a anoxic filter basket ... these came from the pond hobby and I have adapted them to tank set-up and because the media is in a basket cichlids canít dig it up ..

    Hope these suggestions help you ... they are what I have found effective in my fish room.

    Good luck ...


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Small fish room, 24 tanks - various sizes. Inside the house (1) 40 - Breeder + 2 show tank 1 Fluval Venezia 190 L & Fluval Venezia 350 L

    Fish Room Album

    I keep most of my breeding groups in biotope tanks. I move pairs or breeding groups to special tanks to spawn and raise fry. I also take full advantage of Ziss & Marina water circulating breeder boxes. African Cichlids are what I breed mostly but have gotten more interested in catfish - corys & BN plecos in the past 12 months.

  7. #5
    Forum Resident VElderton's Avatar
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    Hereís the link to anoxic filter basket, should have added to the previous post.

    http://www.mankysanke.co.uk/html/anoxic_filtration.html


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Small fish room, 24 tanks - various sizes. Inside the house (1) 40 - Breeder + 2 show tank 1 Fluval Venezia 190 L & Fluval Venezia 350 L

    Fish Room Album

    I keep most of my breeding groups in biotope tanks. I move pairs or breeding groups to special tanks to spawn and raise fry. I also take full advantage of Ziss & Marina water circulating breeder boxes. African Cichlids are what I breed mostly but have gotten more interested in catfish - corys & BN plecos in the past 12 months.




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