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Can someone tell me what ideal water parameters would be for good plant growth/minimum algae growth.....and obviously good fish health. I'm looking for pH, KH, Nitrate, ammonia.

Has anyone heard of changing water based on nitrate levels instead of routine weekly water changes?
 

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A well maintained, heavily planted, high light aquarium should not see an increase in nitrates, except for the 3X per week dosing of nitrates. It might be possible that a low light tank, with minimal planting, would see an increase in nitrates over time. If so, yes, that could be used to time water changes.
 

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GH- suit the fish.
KH- pretty close to the GH
pH- let it do whatever it wants. It will probably be in the right range if the mineral levels are good. I use peat moss for black water tanks.
 

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There's an almost infinite number of answers here. With the exceptions of Ammonia and Nitrite, both of which should always be zero, the other parameters depend on what kind of fish and what kind of plants and what your source water parameters are. Basically, the less "artificial" adjusting of water parameters you can do, the better off you will be.
 
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