Shop says no - nitrates too high

ITViking

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Im completely baffled, very lost and a little bit disheartened as this is not my first tank and I feel like this all alot more complicated than I ever had it last time.

Yea, it can be pretty complicated. Most of us are in the same boat, still learning even after years of experience. Part of that is because you tend not to cycle tanks much unless you have many of them.

The fact is, a tank like yours without fish or any other source of ammonia will not be cycled after 10 days. So your conditions only look good because the nitrogen cycling hasn't actually begun yet. It takes 6-8 weeks to cycle a tank if you don't have a way to speed up the cycling. So I think you need to focus on that. Determining your water condition would still be important, but the bottom line is that if you don't cycle your tank and decide to add fish soon, they will have a harder time of it. I've always done cycling with fish in the tank, but I use hardy fish and usually help out the cycling process by adding bio-enhancing materials, old filter form already cycled tank, etc. I still have lot of hassles with trying to keep things reasonable for the fish. If you don't want to go down that road, I suggest following the guidance of some knowledgeable people here and learn about a fishless cycle and the actual timelines & nitrogen cycle stages involved with that.
 

kwi

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Looking over your shoulder......
The average of 26 ppm is lower than your test strip.

It would be interesting to find out what the fish shop reading was.
Hmmm..... I wonder what they'd say if you took some tap water in to test and pretend it was tank water? If you do, ask them for the number.
Arer we sure? The strip seems to be showing 0ppm, which the lower test range would read as, there is just a dot on the reading chart.
 

Essjay

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When you said
From the pdf online for the api testing strip I read that the top line which is nitrates should be 40 (where I put the black dot)
I assumed that the black dot on the chart was on the colour that was nearest to the colour on the strip and it was just the way my laptop screen showed the colours that made the srtrip look less than 40. But kwi has now made me wonder. Did you put the black dot on 40 because the strip instructions say
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The important words in the instructions are "or less". But this is actually out of date - we now know nitrate should be 20 ppm or less. Preferably less.






The thing I don't understand is why he thinks that in a week the nitrate will have dropped. Maybe he doesn't really understand anything.
Perhaps he has been told to tell customers that when any of the readings are above a certain level that they are too high and to come back next week. That may work for ammonia and nitrite during a fish-in cycle, but not for nitrate.
Maybe he is confusing nitrate with nitrite - he's been told that nitrite should be zero but thinks it's nitrate that should be zero.


Is there any other shop you can use?

Personally I would get some floating plants - salvinia, amazon frogbit or even water sprite - and wait until there are a lot more of them.My experience with frogbit is that it won't take very long. Then go to another shop and get one batch of fish. test for ammonia and nitrite every day and if either read above zero do a water chnage.
 

Essjay

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Can I give you an example of what plants can do.

A couple of months ago I set up my 25 litre quarantine tank. I did not use any mature media. Instead I took 2 large water sprite plants from my main tank, then went to the shop and bought 2 bunches of elodea and 12 kuhli loaches. (It was supposed to be 10 but the chap didn't want to try and remove 2 of them from the bag). I tested for ammonia and nitrite every day that they were in the quarantine tank and never saw a trace of either of them.
Water sprite is a floating plant which takes up a lot of ammonia - floating plants are called ammonia sinks because being at the surface the light is brightest and they can get CO2 from the air. Elodea is a fast growing stem plant and this type also take up lots of ammonia. 12 kuhli loaches in 25 litres is very overstocked, but the plants did their job.


[I threw away the elodea when the fish were moved out of the QT as I didn't want it in either of my tanks]
 

ClownLurch

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Now this carry on is the reason I opted for a silent cycle.
Hoy in a big bunch of water sprite, water lettuce, frogbit, duckweed, anacharis, hornwort, moneywort. Turn everything on and go to the pub for a fortnight. Sorted. It’s a lot less stressful.

In fact I’d recommend the op to get all of the above in their tank ASAP regardless of the cycle method chosen.
 

ClownLurch

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That depends. If you drink red wine you don't want to keep that in a fridge :)
Hiatus Hernia means no wine for me ever again. Bought four bottles this afternoon for MrsLurch. That’ll keep her going til bedtime. I’ll get her some for tomorrow just before the shops shut tonight.;)
 

Laurelp

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What do your test strips tell you for nitrates? We need numbers.
Did you do a big water change since cycling your tank? Which is what the shop should of advised you to do.
It's also worth investing in an API master test kit, it seems expensive but on a cost per test basis it far outstrips those strips (Pun not intended.), and they are more accurate too.

What method did you use to cycle your tank?
I second getting the API test kit for better accuracy.
 

JWT

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Cycled the tank for over the week used API testing strips every day. Everything looks grand. Water is super clear from having a cloudy few days a few days ago.

Take some test water to a fish shop. And they say my nitrates are quite high and not to put fish in? My test strips say very different.

I'm so confused and don't now know what to do. Testing strips say one thing shop says the other.
Those test strips are not accurate all you need to get a API Master Test Kit. I've used those test strips and then tested with the API Master test kit and it be completely off between the two you can get a basic general idea of how your tank is doing with the strips but so many factors inside your home can affect those strips such as humidity sprays that you spray in your house scented candles so on with the master test kit it's sealed bottles with testing Solutions and water out of your tank
 

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