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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi All,

I have been reading a book regarding keeping Malawi cichlids and the author suggests for optimal health they should never be exposed to levels above 20ppm for extended periods.

Only one problem with that is that my tap water here in the South of the UK has 25ppm already!

What are you nitrate levels? Do you notice any significant decline in colour, health, activity etc if they get above 50 or so?

Still working out how much water I need to change weekly in order to keep the nitrates as close to 25ppm as possible.

Thanks,

Ian.
 

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I would go R/O, and play with the water before adding fish to figure out the wc percentages
 

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In my experience with Aulonocara and Mbuna Malawians, I have noticed that they tend to be sensitive to Nitrate. I noticed significant and regular flashing with even slightly elevated traces. I now try to keep my levels below 10ppm, though I think many would advise you that anything at or below 20ppm is acceptable. For what it is worth, a recent article in the most widely circulated fish magazine (I describe it thus to provide you with an indication of the publication to which I refer, not to suggest the magazine's infallibility) advocated for 10ppm, or less, for Malawians. Since maintaining levels at or below 10ppm, flashing has ceased to be an issue in my tank. That said, you obviously don't have any very practical options to get your Nitrate levels below 25ppm. I don't believe (others will correct me if I'm wrong) that you should see any significantly adverse effects on your fishes at that level. But I would encourage you to work to keep it as close to 25ppm as is reasonably possible. Some research suggests that long term exposure to levels as low as 40ppm can slow growth and healing, promote illness, and shorten life-span.
 

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While there are problems doing it, you might consider trying a planted tank to help with the nitate problem. That also brings some other questions like getting the correct plants and cichlids that won't eat the plants.
 

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Dogtanian
any chance of adding a sump to your tank? a planted sump under the tank can be a fantastic second tank and nitrate eating machine...

you could also consider building an algae scrubber under the tank if you wanted to stay smaller than larger!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Unfortunately sump tank is not possible, as the tank is on a custom built stand.

I do have some plants in there, but I am finding they are lots of trouble with cichlids frequently having a nibble. I will have to do some research into what cichlids are not keen on and perhaps stock the tank up with some of them.

Thanks,

Ian.
 

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If it were me, I'd stock the tank and see how it goes before going to any great lengths trying to get nitrates down. If you want to try plants, I've read that regular house plants will do a better job of removing nitrates. Use a fast growing plant, drop the roots into the tank, and give the plants artificial light, if needed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Flippercon said:
I would go R/O, and play with the water before adding fish to figure out the wc percentages
Hi Flippercon, what is R/O? I already have the tank up and running. Just trying to figure out how to keep the nitrates as low as practically possible.

Ian.
 

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reverse osmosis water. Pretty much a blank slate in water. You add what you need. You could buy a unit or buy it from your lfs if they have it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
prov356 said:
If it were me, I'd stock the tank and see how it goes before going to any great lengths trying to get nitrates down. If you want to try plants, I've read that regular house plants will do a better job of removing nitrates. Use a fast growing plant, drop the roots into the tank, and give the plants artificial light, if needed.
Thanks. Sorry I should have said: Already have the 64G tank up and running with a some male haps and I hope (one day) communities of breeding electric yellows and rustys.

I am monitoring the nitrates every week before my water changes, they seem to climb in seven days from 25ppm (tap water) to just under 50ppm. Does this sound about right?

Thanks,

Ian.
 

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I am monitoring the nitrates every week before my water changes, they seem to climb in seven days from 25ppm (tap water) to just under 50ppm. Does this sound about right?
Seems like a huge jump in seven days. How are the fish? What type of filtration and maintenance schedule on the filters?
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Fish all healthy and fairly colourful (for juvies) and I had some spawning between peacocks (I thought they were all male peacocks, arrgghh!).

Running an Aqua One Aquis 1000 external canister filter. Been cleaning in every 5 weeks or so and it seems to do a good job, ammonia and nitrite both 0, ph a nice and stable just under 8.

Perhaps I need a more accurate nitrate test kit. Currently using the tetra test nitrate... seems okay but the colour chart for interpretation makes fairly large jumps, like 0 12.5 25 50 100. It's fairly hard to interpolate for between colours. So at the end of the week the water may have been 35ppm or nearly 50ppm, difficult to say, depends what light you look at the colour chart & water!

Ian.
 

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You're right, that's a problem with the kits. But, I'm not convinced that whether it's 35, 40, or 45 matters. Sounds like things are going fine. Again, not sure I'd do anything but stay the course with things and see how it goes.
 

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The mention of testing brings up a point. Does the test kit have a date on it somewhere? Maybe on the bottom of a bottle. Testing supplies do tend to stray off the correct answer as they get old. It would seem unlikely as you are getting lower readings and then high but worth looking at, maybe.
 
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