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Hey guys i have a 4ft tank with assorted African cichlids,
Everythings fine 0 ammomia, 0 nitrite but over 80ppm nitrate.
Been doing weekly 50% water changes and i clean my tank well.

*** also had this tank running for about 5 months now

Also my fish are puffing heavily im assuming for the high nitrate.

Any suggestions how to lower my nitrate, thanks in advance :)
 

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Change larger percentages of water weekly (75%?) and/or change water more than 1X weekly.

How many fish are in the tank?
 

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"Puffing" heavily could be from stress from high nitrate, could also be low oxygen. What is the water temp? Warm water holds less oxygen; I keep my tanks around 78. Also, high nitrates are from high amounts of waste; either too many fish or feeding too much.
 

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A couple of things to consider. As already mentioned the simple answer is to increase the size and frequency of water changes. However, filter maintenance wasn't mentioned. If you are allowing solids to build up in the filter(s), this will add to the increase in nitrate. Everything in the filter is still in the tank. If you remove solids before they are broken down, nitrate will rise more slowly.
 
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