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what are good numbers?

892 Views 10 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  tjurhs
Hi guys,

I just did the 4 water chemistry tests, and here's my numbers for 3 tests, but are they good or bad? I have no idea? but the 2nd set of numbers looked "bad to me" , so I did a 1/4 water change, and after waiting an hour or so I got the 3rd set of numbers.

Nitrate____30_____60 ____#____30

so did I need to do the 1/4 water change or not? goes back to the main question.

what are the top limits of the four test numbers?
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I'm a little confused by what you've got posted there... What kind of tests are you using?

You want ammonia and nitrite at 0ppm. Any reading at all other than 0 there, and you've got a cycling issue. Not a problem for plants, just for livestock.

Your pH is on the hard side. Not a huge issue, I'd just avoid plants and livestock that are very sensitive to hard water (not too many plants that are, Erios and Toninas would be 2 of the few exceptions).
yep as lauraleellbp noted the only two reading you need to really worry about are ammonia and nitrite, also if your using amazonia as your substrate which im assuming your not as your ph is oh the higher end, then you dont have to worry about ammonia reading as much as the substrate will leech it out.
good morning guys :)

the first water test a week ago had numbers of


last night before dinner I tested the water and the numbers I got were


so I quickly scarffed down my dinner, and did a 1/4 water change. about an hour after the water change I got the last set of numbers


so again my main two questions are, did I need to do the 1/4 water change or not? and what are the "top limits" of the four test numbers?
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Fish in the tank cycling?

Anything above 1 on ammonia and nitrite can be deadly to fish. A nitrate reading if 4 means you need to do a 75% water change.
Is this the tank with just snails (and soon to be shrimp? :angel:)?

Snails generally aren't *as* sensitive as fish to ammonia and nitrite, but I'd still try and get those levels down closer to 0.25ppm till the cycle finishes and they bottom out at 0ppm.

In a low light/low tech tank, there's no need to go over 20 ppm nitrates.

Ammonia, nitrite, and nitrates are all good sources of nitrogen for the plants. It's only the livestock that those can be toxic for, and it's only the first two that are highly toxic.
yep, this tank has only plants and snails, no shrimp, no fish, and no octopus (this I'm really bummed about :D)

so then the upper limits should be (at least for the snails):

Ammonia 0.25ppm


Nitrite 0.25ppm


Nitrate 20ppm

will the addition of Flourish, and Flourish Excel, and Fourish Iron, and Flourish Trace help or hurt these numbers? that's all I've been doing so far

also, my little Flinstones (meaning I have 6) snail colony is doing a great job with the algae! how do I know when I should add an algae wafer to keep them happily fed?
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Once the tank has cycled, readings should be 0 ammonia and 0 nitrite. Nitrates at lower levels (generally speaking, under 20ppm) are fine. Ammonia and nitrites are damaging to any fauna, although snails survive better than fish. Plants can utilize ammonia, so a planted tank tends to be more stable than a non-planted tank.

EDITED TO ADD: Seeing as your tank is registering nitrates, it should already be cycled -- so the presence of ammonia and nitrites indicates a water quality problem. Might be in a mini-cycle from dead snails in the tank or meds or other additives impacting your filter bacteria. You might want to get a bottle of Seachem Stability to add good bacteria to the tank.

Sorry no octopus. :(

But do show us pics of the snails. Is this a snail breeding set-up?
so with a water change last night, my numbers this evening are :

pH 7.5
Ammonia 0.02
Nitrite 1ppm
Nitrate 10ppm

will adding Flourish or Flourish Excel increase these numbers?

I also have Flourish Iron and Flourish Trace, but I haven't added these yet
As long as you follow the recommended dosages with the Excel it shouldn't affect any of your parameters.

I don't think Comprehensive should, either... if it does, not by much (it's mostly micros and trace, not the "macros" N, P, or K. And ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate are all N).

Under your current low lighting, you may not need to dose Trace. Chances are pretty good the plants can get the trace nutrients they need just from the snail waste and/or tap water. (If you step up your lighting or incorporate some fast-growing-nutrient-hog stem plants, then you might need Trace.)

You might need to dose P and K... or possibly not.

Really, you just need to learn to "read" your plants. You'll start seeing discolorations, holes in leaves, leaf twisting/warping if you get nutrient deficiencies. Nice thing is under low light conditions, things go so much more slowly. You should have time to notice and do some trial and error to figure it out if anything starts to go wrong.
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