First week water results

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Characf

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I have bought the API master testing kit and done my first week water tests, I have made a diary of them but is this a normal reading for a new tank? Or is there something I need to change?

Rundown on the tank- plant stratum base layer, but a fairly small quantity, then I've got a thick layer of gravel, with a slate stone and bog wood and a few live plants..

Results for first week

HIGH Ph test
7.5 ppm

Ammonia (extremely high for some reason)
2.0 ppm

Nitrite
0.25 ppm

Nitrate
30 ppm

So I'm a long way of fish atm
 

Byron

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I take it from the above that you are not "cycling" by adding ammonia [this is good with live plants]. Have you tested the source (tap) water for ammonia, nitrite and nitrate? This is worth knowing as you want to know the source of the ammonia, nitrite and nitrate. Also test the tap water for pH, remembering to out-gas the CO2 for a more accurate reading. And are you sure the high pH test is the right one here? If memory serves me, the lowest number with the high test is 7.5 so it may be lower. Confirming the pH with the water authority website will be helpful.
 
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Characf

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I take it from the above that you are not "cycling" by adding ammonia [this is good with live plants]. Have you tested the source (tap) water for ammonia, nitrite and nitrate? This is worth knowing as you want to know the source of the ammonia, nitrite and nitrate. Also test the tap water for pH, remembering to out-gas the CO2 for a more accurate reading. And are you sure the high pH test is the right one here? If memory serves me, the lowest number with the high test is 7.5 so it may be lower. Confirming the pH with the water authority website will be helpful.
No I'm not adding any additional ammonia, shall I?

Also I'll test my tap water in a moment, should have a glass of water that's been on the bedside table all night
 
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Characf

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Results are in for tap water

Ph - 7.5 (used lower ph bottle this time)
Ammonia - 0
Nitrite - 0
Nitrate - 30
 

Byron

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No I'm not adding any additional ammonia, shall I?
No. Some do this but it is risky, as ammonia can kill plants. And there is no need if the plants are growing, they will take up ammonia as their preferred source of nitrogen. And if you have fast growing plants (floating plants are ideal for this) they can take up all the ammonia the fish can produce, and they are very fast at doing this...faster than the nitrifying bacteria.

Results are in for tap water

Ph - 7.5 (used lower ph bottle this time)
Ammonia - 0
Nitrite - 0
Nitrate - 30

OK, this is useful. It is unfortunate that the nitrate is so high, this is a problem for fish. I would refer you to one of our members who has a blog, @AbbeysDad with articles on nitrates in the source water.

I'm also tagging @Essjay because she has information on UK water nitrates that I do not.
 

TNG

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Rundown on the tank- plant stratum base layer, but a fairly small quantity, then I've got a thick layer of gravel, with a slate stone and bog wood and a few live plants..
Just like to mention that fish poop will get trapped in the gravel. The thicker a layer of gravel, the more time is needed to syphon it out at water change - just something to be aware of.
 
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Characf

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No. Some do this but it is risky, as ammonia can kill plants. And there is no need if the plants are growing, they will take up ammonia as their preferred source of nitrogen. And if you have fast growing plants (floating plants are ideal for this) they can take up all the ammonia the fish can produce, and they are very fast at doing this...faster than the nitrifying bacteria.



OK, this is useful. It is unfortunate that the nitrate is so high, this is a problem for fish. I would refer you to one of our members who has a blog, @AbbeysDad with articles on nitrates in the source water.

I'm also tagging @Essjay because she has information on UK water nitrates that I do not.
Would nitrate reducer you can buy work then? Because water changes could be lethal if I'm adding nitrates everytime I do it
 

Kyshiara

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Would nitrate reducer you can buy work then? Because water changes could be lethal if I'm adding nitrates everytime I do it
Hmmm in my opinion it is best not to use artificial chemicals for things like that. I am very on the natural side, and as far as I know, if you have a lot of live plants, they break down the ammonia into nitrite, and then that breaks down into nitrate. The plants then absorb the nitrate.

Have you added any bacteria into the tank? That's what breaks down the different things in the first place.

I hope this helps, but get someone to back it up if you are not sure :)
 
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Characf

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Hmmm in my opinion it is best not to use artificial chemicals for things like that. I am very on the natural side, and as far as I know, if you have a lot of live plants, they break down the ammonia into nitrite, and then that breaks down into nitrate. The plants then absorb the nitrate.

Have you added any bacteria into the tank? That's what breaks down the different things in the first place.

I hope this helps, but get someone to back it up if you are not sure :)
I'll get some bacteria today
 

Essjay

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The plants then absorb the nitrate.
Aquatic plants prefer ammonia, they only take up nitrate if there's no ammonia. This is the basis of plant cycles - the plants remove ammonia made by the fish and they don't turn it into nitrite so there's no nitrite to turn into nitrate. Bacteria do grow slowly in the background but in not nearly as many numbers as in a tank with no live plants.

The UK does allow up to 50 ppm nitrate in drinking water. It is better to remove the nitrate before it is put in the tank. Ways of doing this range from using nitrate removing filter media (eg Pozzani filters) to treat the water before it's added to letting the water stand in a container with a lot of floating plants which, in the absence of ammonia, will take up nitrate from the water.
 

Byron

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I'll get some bacteria today

This willnot help. I linked two articles on methods to deal with nitrate in the source water, please read them. I cannot say it better than @AbbeysDad .
 

sharkweek178

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Just like to mention that fish poop will get trapped in the gravel. The thicker a layer of gravel, the more time is needed to syphon it out at water change - just something to be aware of.
When I had gravel, it seemed like no matter how often or how deep I vacuumed it, there was always bits of stuff coming up
 
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Characf

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So I've been dealt a crappy hand in my start to keeping fish. Just what you want to hear
 
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Characf

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I think I'll try chemicals (I wanted to keep it natural but don't have the time or resources to be siphoning 200L of water each week
 

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