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NitrAte levels 40ppm - too high?

(4 Posts)
SmileAndNod Fri 12-Dec-14 06:15:07

Is it time for the first water change?

We bought a teeny fantail goldfish last week (not quite an inch long at the moment). She's been fed every other day as instructed but the nitrate levels have risen to 40ppm (according to the test strip). Nitrite is zero, ph is about 7.

Having lost (tropical) fish in the past quite quickly I'm a bit worried. We've all become rather attached to her and I don't want to inadvertently poison her.

The fish shop man said to leave the levels to sort themselves out and stabilize for a week or so, so I don't want to meddle of not necessary, but I'm scared of doing damage. She has some white stuff about her body, not exactly cotton wool like, nor salt like but still enough to worry me.

I realise I may be being a bit over concerned. Should I part water change today or not? It's a 60l tank btw.

Not thinking of introducing another fish until things have settled - think we've added too many at once before in the past and that's where it's gone wrong.

Thank you

EauLittleRougeofBethlehem Fri 12-Dec-14 12:09:13

I would be inclined to ignore fish shop man, he really shouldn't have even sold you a goldfish for a 60 litre tank. It'll do for the meantime but you'll soon need to upgrade as she grows and I definitely wouldn't add any more fish until you have a big enough tank.

If you didn't do a fishless cycle (this would involve the tank running without fish for 4-6 weeks), then you need to keep a really close eye on the levels, do lots of water changes and keep an eye on the fish. With a fish-in cycle leaving the water levels to 'sort themselves out' is a bad idea and it will take much longer than a week to stabilise everything. Do you have an ammonia test kit?

I'd do a water change now, 40ppm nitrAte isn't disastrous but it's definitely on the way to bad and I wouldn't let it get any higher. Make sure you test your tap water nitrAte because it can be quite high in some areas.

Hope that helps.

SmileAndNod Sat 13-Dec-14 08:34:34


Have just tested the tap water and the nitrate level is between 20 and 40 according to the test strip. Does that sound high? The tank was left set up for about two months before the fish was added.

The white stuff seems to have now disappeared, and she's swimming round normally. Will still do a part change later though.

Thank you

EauLittleRougeofBethlehem Sat 13-Dec-14 08:39:20

It is a bit on the high side, I might be tempted to get some nitrAte remover to make sure the level stays low. 40ppm is the absolutely maximum you should allow really, but I wouldn't go above 30ppm with fancy goldfish because they are quite sensitive.

The white stuff could have been excess mucus which they sometimes produce if the water quality slips, or if they injure themselves. It looks sort of cobwebby.

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