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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We have had our CA and SA cichilds in our tank for the last two months. We have introduced them gradually, though we realise that -according to advice from this forum- we have a large stock of fish for our aquarium size, in terms of temperament and overall stock/litre. We are choosing to stick with our current number of stock, due to advice from some knowledgable fishkeepers. The advice we have sought has been from well reputed members of the local cichlid-keeping community here in Australia, who maintain that the best means of reducing aggression in American cichlid tanks is to raise the stock together from a young age (you can view our fish stock/tank volume/filtration in my signature- yes, it is a large stock by all means, according to this forum).

However, our question relates to nitrate levels. We are currently performing a 30% water change every week. Our fish range from 2 inches, through to 4 inches, so they are by no means at the stage of sub-adult or adult. We are finding that even after a water change, our levels still remain at 20 ppm or above. We are feeding them enough to eat within 1 min twice per day. We are rinsing the filter media with every second water change in the tank water that we remove, as to reduce beneficial bacteria loss.

Also, we use Seachem Purigen in one filter. Our driftwood, is still producing a lot of tannin, and so we are removing the Purigen and treating it once every three weeks to restore it back to it's original colour.

Our main questions are:

-What Nitrate Levels are acceptable or ideal following a 30% approx. water change?
-How often should we be changing water with our stock at this size?
-How often do we need to rinse filter media in used tank water?
-How often do we need to replace filter media?
-After how many treatments does the Purigen need to be restored?


Thanks for all your help
 

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From everything i've always read in this forum and others. it is always good to keep your nitrates between 10 and 20ppm But if you're doing 30% WC and still getting higher than 20ppm, then you have a lot of Nitrates. Maybe increase to 50% weekly with an overstocked tank. If your Nitrates are 40ppm and you do a 50% WC then you will have 20ppm. Or maybe you can do 2 30% water changes a week, then check levels. Alot depends on bioload of fish and feeding

As far as filter cleaning..1x a month maybe 1 every 6 weeks to clean Bio balls in tank water if their is sludge. Replacing filter media..I have Bio balls and I have always been told..unless they are crumbling do not replace them, just rinse them off in Tank water only from bucket. Filter floss you can replace every 4 -6 weeks..but it all depends on what it looks like. IMO it all depends on the individual filter and what kind you have. Other will chime in

I don't have the answer to your last question, I am unfamiliar with it
 

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First off, I'm assuming you don't have nitrates in your tap water, correct?

-What Nitrate Levels are acceptable or ideal following a 30% approx. water change?
20ppm is the often stated goal, but a bit higher isn't going to kill your fish. Plus these levels can be difficult to discern on hobbyist test kits.

-How often should we be changing water with our stock at this size?
Often enough to keep levels at 20ppm or below. Rather than change more often I'd just increase the amount that you change. The key to long term good water quality with this tank is going to be large water changes. Take a reading before the change. If it's 40ppm, then you're going to need a 50% change. If you want to limit it to 30%, then you're going to have to change it each time it reaches 30ppm or so. But these levels can be hard to discern on test kits. It sounds like 30% once per week is working ok for now, but as you're aware it won't for long. I'm guessing you'll be doing 50% changes or more at some point.

-How often do we need to rinse filter media in used tank water?
I would suggest weekly with the water change. Leaving orgaics in the filter for too long will only add to your nitrate levels.

-How often do we need to replace filter media?
Depends what it is. If it's some type of biomedia like rings or bioballs, don't ever replace it. If it's the foam/sponge stuff, I'd only replace it when it started to break down. But, it'll typically last a long time.

After how many treatments does the Purigen need to be restored?
I think that depends, according to their site info. I'd take a look at that and also their FAQ. You can also ask them directly.

You're doing all you can do that I know of to fight nitrates. Water changes, purigen to remove dissolved organics, and media rinsing to remove organic soldids before they break down are all good things that will help. I'm assuming you're also vacuuming substrate during water changes. I'd keep a thin substrate layer and make it easy to clean.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Cheers guys, you are the best. This is why we ask questions on this thing. Any more responses are more than welcome. We can buy books,but this is by far the best way to exchange infomation.
r
At this point, our stock is not huge per litre, but it will increase over time we realise. We are just very aware of losing fish due to a poor nitrate cycle. We think our cycle may even be over-functional after what you guys have said. From what our understanding is, it would be best to leave the biological filtration media (we have ceramic noodle and 'matrix') as it is until it crumbles. We are changing the 'wool' every 4 weeks, or whenever it loses its volume. We have two cansiters running. So:

Is interchanging filter changes advisable (so do one filter one week, then rinse the other one the next?), as to keep bacteria levels at an optimum level?

Thanks again. We are a long way from you guys, but the information still remains incredibly potent. Cheers.
PS Any comments on our tank stock and filtration capacity are also helpful. These can be viewed in my signature. Cheeers again guys.
 

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funnyjew2 said:
From everything i've always read in this forum and others. it is always good to keep your nitrates between 10 and 20ppm.....
-Are the "Test Strips" a good method to test Nitrates?
-Is there a digital test instrument available?
A. If so, what is the best or the most depended on test instrument? :-?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
We use an API test kit, using droppers. We acknowledge that they aren't accurate, we are just concerned that the levels are worrisome. Thanks.
 

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yes API their about as accurate as you can get

Just make sure you shake the Beep!!! out of that Nitrate bottle #2
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
prov356 said:
First off, I'm assuming you don't have nitrates in your tap water, correct?

Yes, Sydney Water has 0 ppm Nítrate levels
 

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Is interchanging filter changes advisable (so do one filter one week, then rinse the other one the next?), as to keep bacteria levels at an optimum level?
I wouldn't because then you go two weeks between cleanings. I've never found this type of alternating necessary in an established tank. New tank, yes go easy.

These can be viewed in my signature.
Your sig isn't showing up but I found your initial thread with stock list. And wow, that is a very small tank for those fish, current plus future additions. I honestly hesitate to even advise you any further because I'm with the rest and really don't see much of a chance for long term success with this setup. I think it's ill advised. But wish you well with it.
 
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