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Keeping Nitrate Levels Low

Guangxin Zou

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Hello Im currently trying to keep my nitrate levels low my setup is 25 Gallons with 4 guppies and ~12 neocardinas shrimp and 12 mystery snails Water parameters are GH 7-8, KH 1-2, TDS ~280 I use RO water w/ remineralization. I know the snails are producing alot of waste and keeping the nitrate levels at around 20ppm I was wondering if It was ok to do frequent water changes and gravel vacuuming to maintain nitrate levels. My concern is it'll stress out the shrimp. Need suggestions moving forward on what I should do whether it be remove some snails or increase the number of water changes/vacuuming. I also have alot of plants in the aquarium and floaters to try and keep the nitrates low, but its still ~20ppm.
 

JuiceBox52

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Snails dont usually have a large bioload...
What is your current water change schedule?

Test the tap water and see what the nitrates are, we need to figure out if its originating in the tank or the tap.
 
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Guangxin Zou

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I use RO water I dont use tap anymore, and I change water about once or twice a week vacuuming each time.
 

seangee

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I change 75% of the water in my shrimp tank once a week. If you are using RO your nitrates should not get above about 5ppm. Mine don't even get that high.
 

I nEEd mEnTAl HeLP

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If you are doing the water changes properly then I don't see why you can't. Frequent water changes are the best way to keep nitrate low imo. You say your nitrates are at 20 ppm? 20 ppm isn't a lot, if you continue to keep it that way then I would just stick to your current schedule.
 

seangee

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If you are doing the water changes properly then I don't see why you can't. Frequent water changes are the best way to keep nitrate low imo. You say your nitrates are at 20 ppm? 20 ppm isn't a lot, if you continue to keep it that way then I would just stick to your current schedule.
OP is using RO water. That means nitrates start out at 0. Jumping from 0 to 20 ppm is a lot and will only keep going up on the current schedule.
 
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Guangxin Zou

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I change 75% of the water in my shrimp tank once a week. If you are using RO your nitrates should not get above about 5ppm. Mine don't even get that high.
I was thinking the same thing but Im scared such a large water change will kill my shrimp. Should I remove the shrimp first then do the water change then drip acclimate them again after Im done? Everywhere else online saids I should only do ~10-25% water changes since it'll stress the shrimp if I do more.
 

Guppy10

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I agree, I'm no expert so I will go down the cautious route. Emptying the water will be no drama,,, then I plan to slowly feed water back in over time and I think that is my best option. I think better to be safe than have them wiped out imo, least I can say I wasn't reckless ! If all goes well and confidence builds, then maybe speed it up ? I have them in 30 ltr so it's not a vaste amount to change. I go for 50% in quick fashion and all is well so far. Regular changes should not really change parameters so things should remain stable imo.
 

seangee

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No don't remove them. I have neocaridinas in my tank where I change 75% every week. You may want to do 2 or 3 50% changes before jumping to 75% but there isn't any need. FWIW mine breed continually. I now have several hundred (maybe many more :)) after starting with 7. I also use re-mineralised RO water. My nitrates never get to 5ppm and everything else is perfectly stable.
 

Byron

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I was thinking the same thing but Im scared such a large water change will kill my shrimp. Should I remove the shrimp first then do the water change then drip acclimate them again after Im done? Everywhere else online saids I should only do ~10-25% water changes since it'll stress the shrimp if I do more.
Large water changes will not harm any aquatic life, provided the parameters are reasonably close between tank water and source water. Parameters means GH, pH and temperature here. More substantial water changes actually increase the stability, and that is what you want in any aquarium. Use a conditioner for the fresh water if it is municipal water with chlorine and/or chloramine.
 
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Guangxin Zou

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I ended up doing a ~70% water change today and nitrate levels dropped to ~5ppm. My GH is now around 6-7 should I try and raise it a little bit or is that fine?
 

Byron

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I ended up doing a ~70% water change today and nitrate levels dropped to ~5ppm. My GH is now around 6-7 should I try and raise it a little bit or is that fine?
That is a tad low for guppies, but I cannot comment re shrimp; most like harder water (the calcium is essential for their exoskeletons) but I believe there are some softer water species, so others can sort that out. Increasing the GH to 10 dGH won't hurt the guppies for sure.

On the nitrates, as they are occurring solely from within the aquarium, it should be easy to keep them at 0-5 ppm permanently. Test prior to each weekly water change, and you want them at this low level going forward. Not overfeeding, not overstocking, regular substantial water changes, cleaning the open substrate of organics, keeping the filter well cleaned...this should do it. Floating plants and plants in general also help.
 
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Guangxin Zou

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What do you guys recommend for % of water I should change every week?
 

seangee

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I ended up doing a ~70% water change today and nitrate levels dropped to ~5ppm. My GH is now around 6-7 should I try and raise it a little bit or is that fine?
The ideal hardness for neocaridinas is 6dGH. I assume your re-mineralising salts target that value (mine do). They can thrive in a fairly wide range so the best compromise if you want to keep cherries and guppies in the same tank would be to go for a GH of 12. This makes it nice and easy as all you do is use a double dose of salts when you do your water changes. Don't try to change what's in the tank. Change the new water at your next water change. That way you will gradually bring it up and avoid shocking your shrimp.

As an example I use one scoop of salts in every 10 litres of new water. I use a 10 litre bucket so that's nice and easy. If I wanted to keep guppies I would simply add 2 scoops to every bucket.
 

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