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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello everyone. Just a question and wondering what your thoughts were on this. I currently have a 75 gallon tank with canister filter and a 30 gallon sump. In ot I have 25 mixed mbuna species that are now from 3-5 inches each. A few months ago I had to go to NY for 3 months to care for a sick family member and my girlfriend was feeding the fish for me. All she was doing was water top offs and daily feeding. She doesn't know how to properly do water changes so we left it at that. I just got home yesterday and was curious how high the nitrates got...it read 0, twice because I retested since that seemed unfeasible. Its a new API kit, so its not expired
The fish aren't fully grown but did about double in size while I was gone, and there are some live plants, a few anubias and Java fern, but not tons. I assumed Africans are messy and my nitrates would be through the roof, thoughts?
 

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Did you also test for ammonia and nitrites? Besides growing, how do the fish look like they're doing?
 

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The most common reason for a reading of zero nitrates in a cycled tank is unsufficient shaking both before adding the drops and after. Shake hard and long per the directions.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thank you for the replies, first question, the fish look great, nice color, full of life, and they grew a bunch in the 3 months. And i guess I should also say I'm not new to fish keeping in general, just african cichlids, always assumed they were messy as heck. It is possible my girlfriend didn't feed enough to really build up a lot of waste, just seems very odd to me. And I tested another tank before this one and did get some nitrates. The tank does have a pretty deep gravel bed, I've never really dealt with deep gravel beds but heard they can house de-nitrate bacteria. Im still doing a decent water change just to get some new minerals and whatnot in there.
 

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TomAFGuy said:
Im still doing a decent water change just to get some new minerals and whatnot in there.
If no water changes for 3 months then I'd do smaller more frequent water changes to start as too big a change can hurt the fish. Maybe do 10% every other day for the first ten days or so then go back to the weekly 50% wc.
 

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TomAFGuy said:
Thank you for the replies, first question, the fish look great, nice color, full of life, and they grew a bunch in the 3 months. And i guess I should also say I'm not new to fish keeping in general, just african cichlids, always assumed they were messy as heck. It is possible my girlfriend didn't feed enough to really build up a lot of waste, just seems very odd to me. And I tested another tank before this one and did get some nitrates. The tank does have a pretty deep gravel bed, I've never really dealt with deep gravel beds but heard they can house de-nitrate bacteria. Im still doing a decent water change just to get some new minerals and whatnot in there.
You would definitely have Nitrates, as DJ said, check your testing method, that really can't be right. They are pretty messy.
 

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There must be nitrates or else you'd have ammonia and nitrite, and your fish would appear really sick. A thick gravel bed in your tank may have some anaerobic bacteria in the lower part which convert nitrates to nitrogen gas, but this is a slower process and extremely doubtful this would have any impact in your tank of 25 fish.
 
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