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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just grabbed a black Friday deal on a 75gallon tank and stand and a fluval fx6 I want to do a peacock chiclid tank but I'm worried about my tap water nitrates are already High they are atleast 40ppm we have very hard water in my neighborhood and water softners are a must I have a 46 gallon tank been it's been set up for over a year it just has a blood parrot and 2 pictus cats In it they seem to be fine the ph in there is 8.2ph 0 nitrites 0 ammonia and the nitrates are about 60ppm my question is would I be able to keep chichlids with these parameters I don't really have the budget to get a ro filter right now
 

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I would not do a fish tank with 60ppm or even 40ppm nitrates no. You could consider filling the tank with plants and compatible fish so that the plants can reduce your nitrates.

What does your water authority say about the nitrates in your tap water? They should fix that...what are you drinking???
 

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We use a water dispenser that we refill with 5 gallon jugs spring water as drinking water or just buy cases of bottled water I did test the tap with the api kit is that a accurate way to test or could the readings be off since it's for aquarium use I have never contacted anyone about it.
 

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Yes the API test is accurate. Why not contact your water authority if you get a nitrate result?
 

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Fun Fact Time!
The maximum allowable level for nitrate in the United States of America is 10mg per liter or 10ppm. Also, OP's water is completely within this legal limit. What?

Basically this - if you measure nitrates in the science world, you'll measure the nitrogen component only. This is referred to as "Nitrate-Nitrogen" and this is the measurement that's being referred to by the CDC. In the fish-tank world, we measure the whole molecule, so the results are 4.4 times higher than measuring the nitrate-nitrogen.

Therefore, 10mg/l nitrate-nitrogen translates to 44ppm as measured by the API test. So, I guess OP @Hrip is in a difficult place.

Since I've been unable to locate any scientific evidence that nitrate levels under 440ppm (100ppm nitrate-nitrogen for the sciency types) has any long-term effect on ADULT fishes, I personally would keep all the fish I wanted to, and just try to keep the nitrates below 80.

Important note - the adult in the above sentence is all caps. I did this at the risk of the site yelling at me for yelling (which I guess it DOESN'T DO ANYMORE??!!!) because it's important. The CDC guidelines are written to keep BABIES from getting sick. "The current water standard for nitrate is based on levels considered low enough to protect infants from methemoglobinemia."
There is great evidence that this level of nitrate is super hard on eggs and fry and all inverts which don't have livers (Shrimp, crabs, coral). So, the science suggests that you'll be just a fine fish keeper at this level of nitrate, but don't try to become a breeder.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Fun Fact Time!
The maximum allowable level for nitrate in the United States of America is 10mg per liter or 10ppm. Also, OP's water is completely within this legal limit. What?

Basically this - if you measure nitrates in the science world, you'll measure the nitrogen component only. This is referred to as "Nitrate-Nitrogen" and this is the measurement that's being referred to by the CDC. In the fish-tank world, we measure the whole molecule, so the results are 4.4 times higher than measuring the nitrate-nitrogen.

Therefore, 10mg/l nitrate-nitrogen translates to 44ppm as measured by the API test. So, I guess OP @Hrip is in a difficult place.

Since I've been unable to locate any scientific evidence that nitrate levels under 440ppm (100ppm nitrate-nitrogen for the sciency types) has any long-term effect on ADULT fishes, I personally would keep all the fish I wanted to, and just try to keep the nitrates below 80.

Important note - the adult in the above sentence is all caps. I did this at the risk of the site yelling at me for yelling (which I guess it DOESN'T DO ANYMORE??!!!) because it's important. The CDC guidelines are written to keep BABIES from getting sick. "The current water standard for nitrate is based on levels considered low enough to protect infants from methemoglobinemia."
There is great evidence that this level of nitrate is super hard on eggs and fry and all inverts which don't have livers (Shrimp, crabs, coral). So, the science suggests that you'll be just a fine fish keeper at this level of nitrate, but don't try to become a breeder.
Ok that's good to know like I said i do have a established tank set up and running for a good while i have a blood parrot in there he's been doing fine for over a year and 2 pictus cats I transferred to this tank 3 1/2 years ago from my old house that was on well water I was worried about how sensitive peacocks are I would be a total noob to the chichlid world if I set up chichlid tank once I'm able to might get a ro system.
 

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My goodness El Hefe',
dropping the API test kit Nitrate bomb on us! Man, I did a 'deep dive' into the CDC supplied water/Nitrate guidelines and missed the 4.4 conversion factor for the API test kit. I guess we pretty much ALL did!
(Oh, and the Avatar thing is pretty hilarious)
But..........
I believe at some point we have to use the API test kit data data provided to us Luddites. That is, us well-meaning Cichlid-Keepers. So in this case, I'm referring to the well-documented effects of high aquarium Nitrate water readings and - stress - on the little Cichlid charges we keep. Nowhere is this relationship more evident than in the water Nitrate effects as a stress causal agent on New World Cichlids. That is, where Aquarium Science speaks directly to this problem in Chapter 11.1.1 Hexamita and HITH.
  • The treatment of Metronidazole to treat for Spironucleus vortens spp. that may (or may not) be an escaped parasite from the intestinal tract of affected fish is not contra-indicative of the original water quality/husbandry problem.
  • And no, HITH/HLLE is NOT limited to blackwater originating Cichlids (or other fish species). With poor water quality (high Nitrates) they ALL seem to get stressed and prone to affliction by the dreaded disease.
  • Returning water quality to high levels (after poor husbandry - high Nitrate buildup) has been the baseline treatment imposed by many, to affect somewhat 'miraculous' cures of this condition. Food prescribed Metronidazole administration is almost always followed up with next.
And this, to close my point: Adult (mature) Fish are always the ones affected by HITH/HLLE. I've never seen this disease emerge in juveniles. Maybe the condition can start in juveniles and only fully emerges in more mature fish?
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Bottom Line: I'm not sure that the source water measured out at a starting rate of 'at least 40 PPM' on the API Nitrate test kit by the OP, is suitable for keeping Cichlids.
 

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@Auballagh thank you for the reply, sincerely. The discussion is why I'm here. I mention the avatar because it occurs to me that sometimes it looks like I'm spoiling for a fight, but I'm just bored and I want to discuss the ideas... :)

From here, I'm ignoring any differences in the API tests and the other tests, since we've addressed the comparability gap. API reagents are the best the typical aquarium keeper (me) has got, so let's go with it.

I went back and reread the associated sections in AquariumScience.com you mentioned, and I have a few thoughts. First HLLE sounds scary. It IS the case that I keep Africans and they're not as commonly affected by the syndrome as are the Americans. So, I simply didn't think about it in my initial response. I've focused more on two other conditions that plague the aquarium keeper. Bloat and TB. I suppose my thoughts on pretty much all fish diseases could be boiled down to this: "Give the fish crystal-clear bacteria free water through adequate filtration, and feed them medications if necessary. Otherwise, the fish have a good immune system and will be able to fight off most all diseases." My thought's on blackwater fishes laid out in previous posts is actually how I try to keep fish. No bacteria in the water. If there's no bacteria in the water, the fish can fight off the other pathogens that it actually needs to fight off, not the innocuous suspended heterotrophic bacteria. This comes from the fact that prevention is exactly 16 times more valuable as compared to cures.

I believe that you are saying that high nitrate is a direct causal agent of high stress, which weakens the immune system, and therefore makes the fish susceptible to HLLE (Here, I'll add bloat and TB to the mix).

I would quibble (SHOCKER!) by saying that instead, high nitrate (<80ppm) is ALMOST ALWAYS a leading key indicator of poor fish husbandry, but not necessarily a causal agent. Let's say all else is equal, and we have a fish keeper who let their nitrates climb from 0ppm to 80ppm, there's probably a lot else going on. Their aquarium is almost certainly not crystal clear and bacteria free. They are probably feeding too much food. They probably have a HOB filter in which they change cartridges on schedule, and they are probably running carbon because that's what they are told to do, because "chemical filtration is one of the three filtration components..." I don't believe such a tank will be healthy for pretty much any fish at any decent stocking level long-term. The fish will simply have too much bacteria floating around in the water which it will have to constantly fight off at the gills, eyes, and skin from the likes of uneaten food and inadequate filtration. This is where the stress comes from, I believe. I think this stress is what leads to the illness.

I guess I'm saying that I think it CAN be done, probably only if higher nitrates is the ONLY other variable that changes. All other aspects of fish husbandry need to be on-point as you mention. One would likely also have to limit the lighting on their tank to keep algae down.

After I did the research in the above post, It actually occurred to me that I might start running the reef at higher nitrates. It's a question of intestinal fortitude. If I took it from 10-40ppm as is my current water change schedule, to 20-80ppm with a new schedule, would I be able to limit the fry that survive without too detrimental of an effect on my adult fish? Do I believe my own research to try? Though I'm a contrarian, for the most part, I tend to run my tanks according to GAAP (Generally Accepted Aquarium Principles).

What does the group think? Are we going to find groupthink?
 

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Watch for defects in the fry that don't kill the fish.
 
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