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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've attached is a screen print of the spreadsheet I use to track my water parameters every week. A couple of questions/concerns I'd like to bounce off you all.
1. My Nitrates are climbing, to 40ppm this week, I've heard that 20-40ppm is normal, but wanted to get everyone's perspective. BTW, I do a 20% water change twice a week, which should help keep the levels down (I'm hoping).
2. My kH is 11 this week, is that getting too high?
3. I use Lake Tanganyika buffer from Seachem, which seems to increase the hardness, but the pH is hanging around 7.6 pH. What do you all think about the buffer?
4. I've almost come to the conclusion the API Ammonia test kit is faulty since it always reads way higher than the other 3 test kits I use, as you can see from the charts. This week the API kit said 0.5ppm, while all the others said essentially 0.0ppm.

Also, I've been cycling the tank since December (5-6 months)

All the best !!!

 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
BTW, in the Video I mention the plants on the left are Java Ferns, but I've found out since then that they are Anubias barteri v angustifolia, which is going to be much harder to say !!!

Thanks for the help !!!
 

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I would increase the percentage of water changed. By looking at your chart the current W/C routine isn't keeping the nitrates from slowly creeping up.
 

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I like to keep nitrates at less than 20 ppm. So yep I would increase water changes. KH at 11 is no problem. I understand KH in the lake is well past 14 and closer to 20.
As to seachem buffer welll I guess its fine but I think you may be spending more than you need.
Simple bicarbonate of soda= Sodium bicarbonate= Sodium hydrogen carbonate= Baking soda will keep your KH and pH stable withpout expesive and risky commertial mixes you and I do not understand. I would aim for a higher pH than 7.8 and go for closer to 8 or 8.2 but its not that important as long as you avoid pHs of less than 7.5.
All the best James
 

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You could try putting the roots of a house plant into the tank which would use the Nitrate. I have read about people using Epipremnum aureum, commonly known as Pothos Ivy. It works well if you have a hang on back filter. I have a Pothos plant at home that I plan on putting in my filter. Just rinse all of the potting soil from the roots. And then only put the roots in the tank or filter. Then most people use some string and nails to attach the plant to the wall.
 

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Be sure to buffer the new water before it goes into the tank. But then I guess you know that. :oops: :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Yeah, I buffered the water, thanks for pointing that out ... pretty important !!!

Most importantly, the fish are still alive this morning and seem perky !!!

I was worried about doing a 40% change, since I've never done more than 20% before. Hopefully this will work, it seems like the easiest way to keep the nitrates in check.

I also cleaned the filter last night, with chlorine-free water, so that might have been part of the problem, since it was really dirty.

All the best and thanks for all the help !!!
 

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As long as you get the pH about the same (usually by raising the KH) and have it at a temp close to the water in the tank you can do large waterchanges (I do up to 90% on some heavily stocked tanks with young). To be on the safe side with just one filter if you clean it you can add extra bacteria products (like Tetra safe start) and/or a short term ammonia and nitrite de tox like Seachem Prime (you may use this already for the chlorine/chloramines). Extra safe is to store and airate the new water for a few hours before using but I tend to only do that with new WC.

If your filter is filling with gunk and needs cleaning on a reg basis (I find this most with planted tanks for some reason) then you might look into adding a second one to keep the tank more stable. Then it has less effect if you need to clean one. Yep a biuld up of gunk in the filters will stop waterchanges from having as much effect as they usualy have as you have a bank of stuff that can add nitrates to the water (and I think keep the pH down)

Again hope I am not being too trite here. :oops: :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks again for the advice, I truly appreciate it !!!

How often do you think I should clean the filter? I'd love to have a second one, but money's a little tight right now to do so. I'm planning on cleaning the filter every two months, is that too long? I've heard of some people going 6 months, which seems really extreme, since mine would clog up WAY before then. Maybe I should clean it every month? BTW, I have a Rena Filstar XP3 canister filter ... http://www.renacanisterfilters.com/rena-filstar-xp3-canister-filter/

Thanks again and have a wonderful day !!! :)
 

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Your stock is increasing in size and numbers so your filter is having to work ever harder to keep up. It will thus start to block more and more frequently. You can use a mechanical filter media at the start of it and clean that more regularly. Sooner or later you will need to crop young as there is only so much good high maintainance and increasing filtration can do. Otherwise without predators any breeding tank will eventually crash. You can try reducing feeding, increasing filtration and filter maintainance and water changes to pospone this but eventually with any breeding tank you need to remove some fish.

Sorry that sounds harsh and you may not be there yet but I think its wise to consider this now, even if it is just to plan for the future. I hear you can usually increase the effectiveness of powered filters by adding a pre filter (A sponge block on the intake that you clean each week or waterchange or any time it starts to block). To be honest I have little experience of this, I usually add extra filters.
If your not fussy about make, second hand filters are often for sale at at least UK cichlid auctions and websites at almost give away prices, as some folk convert to more centralised multi tank systems or leave the hobby.

I picked up about 10 fluvals 101-303s for £20 all in off one guy. :oops: :) (Who converted his fish tanks to run on low cost to run Matten filters)

All the best James
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thanks again for your words of wisdom !!!

I do have a sponge pre-filter on the inlet I clean every couple of weeks and that really helps, like you suggested.

I also plan on keeping the population in check by giving/selling many of the adolescents back to my local fish store. They give me $2-3 per fish that are about 1 1/2" long as a credit. I haven't been able to find out how often they breed, though ... I assume it's about every 3 months, I'll have to search some more. So far I have 2 breeding pairs on the left half of the tank and assume at some point I might have a breeding pair or pairs on the right side at some point too, which would be pretty neat. It's pretty cool how delineated their territories are in the tank.

Bottom line is it looks like I'm going to have to clean my filter more, eh?

Thanks again !!! :)
 

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A couple of things to mention (besides how cool your chart is!)...

Doing 20% twice a week is not as efficient as doing 40% once a week. On a given week, your second water change is only pulling 80% "old" water, and 20% "new" water. You are better off doing larger water changes, and as you can see- your fish don't mind.

Think of it this way- If you have a pitcher of water tainted with food coloring... what's the quickest way of getting the color out? By dumping out the whole pitcher of course, giving it a good rinse, and chances are you'd get most of the dye out. If you were to take one cup of colored water out, and put a clean cup of water in- how many times would you have to do that to get the dye out? Meanwhile, your sister is putting more food color into the pitcher...

So, we shouldn't dump our tanks completely, but you must factor in dilution when figuring out the best water change habits for your tanks.

As far as the other chemistry- buy baking soda and some Epsom salt. I suggest that Sea Chem is making way too much money on their buffers. There are enough trace elements in fish food and tap water not to worry too much about them. I'm not sure what the distiction between dH and gH is on your chart- but general hardness should be a bit higher, which the Epsom salt will fix.

My tanks get 75% water changes almost every week. I use baking soda to raise pH and KH (my water needs about 1 TBS per 10 gallons), and Epsom salt to raise GH (1 tsp per 10 gallons). Your water will need a different dose, but you can get that figured out easily enough. I like Prime or ChlorAmX for water conditioners... My method to avoid shocking the fish with such large water changes is to predissolve the dose of salt, soda, and conditioner in a cup of warm water, and add it as I'm refilling the tank. I use a hose from the nearest faucet, and match the temperature with my hand. With ~8 tanks running, I'm not too fussy about measuring anything exactly.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
triscuit said:
A couple of things to mention (besides how cool your chart is!)...

Doing 20% twice a week is not as efficient as doing 40% once a week. On a given week, your second water change is only pulling 80% "old" water, and 20% "new" water. You are better off doing larger water changes, and as you can see- your fish don't mind.

Think of it this way- If you have a pitcher of water tainted with food coloring... what's the quickest way of getting the color out? By dumping out the whole pitcher of course, giving it a good rinse, and chances are you'd get most of the dye out. If you were to take one cup of colored water out, and put a clean cup of water in- how many times would you have to do that to get the dye out? Meanwhile, your sister is putting more food color into the pitcher...

So, we shouldn't dump our tanks completely, but you must factor in dilution when figuring out the best water change habits for your tanks.

As far as the other chemistry- buy baking soda and some Epsom salt. I suggest that Sea Chem is making way too much money on their buffers. There are enough trace elements in fish food and tap water not to worry too much about them. I'm not sure what the distinction between dH and gH is on your chart- but general hardness should be a bit higher, which the Epsom salt will fix.

My tanks get 75% water changes almost every week. I use baking soda to raise pH and KH (my water needs about 1 TBS per 10 gallons), and Epsom salt to raise GH (1 tsp per 10 gallons). Your water will need a different dose, but you can get that figured out easily enough. I like Prime or ChlorAmX for water conditioners... My method to avoid shocking the fish with such large water changes is to predissolve the dose of salt, soda, and conditioner in a cup of warm water, and add it as I'm refilling the tank. I use a hose from the nearest faucet, and match the temperature with my hand. With ~8 tanks running, I'm not too fussy about measuring anything exactly.
Thanks for the words of experience !!! I've upped my water changes to ~45% twice a week and it's dropped my Nitrates down to about 15ppm (from ~40ppm), with my first re-test, as of yesterday (it may go down further with subsequent changes). With regard to Seachem, I just bought another bucket of buffer, so I'll use that up first, then try out the Epsom salt you've suggested (I like the idea of pre-dissolving in warm water first ... good idea !!!) . BTW, I also use Prime as a conditioner and so far so good.

I've now had my third batch of fry on Sunday, for a total of about 40 fry. The broods are pretty small right now, since they're their first ones. My oldest fry are about 1" long now already and my smallest/newest about 3/8" long. Pretty fun to watch them grow.

Also, with regard to gH vs. dH (German Hardness) ... for gH I use the API test kit, with the counting the number of drops to change the color, and the dH I have an electronic meter (http://www.marinedepot.com/controll...oint_conductivity_monitor_information-ap.html) and that supposedly measures dH.

CONVERSION TO OTHER SCALES OF HARDNESS
33 microSiemens = 17.9ppm
33 microSiemens = 1dH (German ° hardness)
1dH = 17.9ppm

Thanks again and all the best to everyone !!! :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I just thought you might want to know that the advice given has resulted in my Nitrates dropping from about 40ppm to about 7.5pmm. I've been doing 50% water changes twice a week for a few weeks now and it's making all the difference in the world.

Thanks and all the best to everyone !!!
 

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olliesshop said:
I just thought you might want to know that the advice given has resulted in my Nitrates dropping from about 40ppm to about 7.5pmm. I've been doing 50% water changes twice a week for a few weeks now and it's making all the difference in the world.

Thanks and all the best to everyone !!!
Don't like my nitrates to get over 20ppm - usually try to keep mine around 10ppm.

20% wc twice per week should be plenty to keep nitrates down. If not, you need to find out why and correct that problem. 50% is too much at one time! And twice per week at 50% is way too much. That should not be necessary to keep your nitrates lower. Do you vac weekly? Do you have waste hidden under large rocks? How often do you clean out your filter?

A consisent pH of 8.2 would be wonderful for your Tangs.

I have found API test kits to be excellent provide they have not exceeded their shelf life.

Russ
 
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