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Nitrates at 10 PPM are fine. They can range from 5 (or lower, maybe) to 40 or more.

The "cycling" process starts with a buildup of ammonia, which gets converted to nitrates, and those to nitrates. The first two are harmful to fish; nitrates are not.

If an aquarium is heavily planted from the start, the "cycling" process is really non-existent.

I hope this helps you.

Bill
 
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