Brown Algae everywhere! - Page 5 - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #41 of 60 Old 05-06-2008, 06:40 PM
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If the elodea has already taken your nitrates to 10ppm then I wouldn't do anything else except maybe add more elodea. If you really hate the little algae you have that bad, try the Algone.

When I had densely planted tanks I actually dosed 30ppm nitrates a week and never had nitrate levels over 20ppm by the end of the week. 20ppm nitrates in my tap would mean I didn't have to dose them as much.

Oh, and just to let you know, with your tap water having 20ppm, the more and/or larger water changes you do the closer to 20ppm your nitrates will stay. It will both bring them up toward 20 if they go below and bring them down toward 20 if they are above.
I am not recommending you do more 2 water changes a week because this will stress the fish out worse than 20-40ppm nitrates but is something to consider.
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post #42 of 60 Old 05-06-2008, 07:39 PM
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The chart below explains it a little more. The nitrates produced by a beta and snail is high but works for the example. This also assumes that the elodea is not using any of the nitrates. If you need them explained better let me know and I will send you the spreadsheet. As you can see, even with a 50% water change once a week and 10% evaporation weekly the nitrates barely go above what is considered "toxic".

Something else to remember:
50% water twice a week = 75% total
30% percent twice a week = 51% total
75% twice a week = 87.5% total
20% 3 times a week is just under 50%
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post #43 of 60 Old 05-06-2008, 08:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Andyandsue
Maybe, but without testing.... I tested mine and the nitrates were 0 from the tap.
The OP gets a wide range from about 20-50 in his, thus the problem.

This is the song that never ends...
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post #44 of 60 Old 05-06-2008, 09:53 PM
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I noticed that after I typed that reply.

But, for what it's worth, Algone does restore balance. I am lucky that I only need to use it once in a while if I get a touch of algae (leaving the light on too long or an uneaten algae wafer will do it for me).

Here is a link from the Algone site that talks about nitrates and algae.


Pardon the pun, but I'm hooked!
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post #45 of 60 Old 05-06-2008, 11:06 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by fish_4_all
If you really hate the little algae you have...
I would just like to comment on this. I don't have just a "little" algae. There really is a ton of it. It got so bad before I scraped the glass with the magnet scraper, that everything looking in from the outside looked blurry. Not to mention that the algae is completely covering everything in my tank from the filter to the gravel.

Also, thanks for all the suggestions so far guys. I would be lost without you.

On a side note, the water stinks(slightly) like a swamp for lack of a better word. Is that because the algae? It couldn't be because lack of water changes or overstocking.
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post #46 of 60 Old 05-07-2008, 05:09 AM
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It's probably the algae. So, what method are you going to go with?

This is the song that never ends...
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post #47 of 60 Old 05-07-2008, 10:22 AM
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I went to the link listed for Algone... there is nothing about its contents, active ingredients, etc.

The explaination of what it does and what those of you here claim this product to be, doesn't make any scientific sense. If it is primarily "dried plants" then how will it eat a nutrient level?
Most products such as this, Algaefix is a good example, simply bind the algae into a more solid form so that it is trapped by filter media. After using it, it is clearly noticable that the filter media turns green and/or brown, and you can see the algae trapped there.

I am also pondering the use of the plants to eat the nutrient level from the source water. In doing something like that, would you not be forcing water params for nitrate to jump back and forth from 50ppm to whatever the plants are able to eat it down to once it is in the tank? Drastic changes in water params, especially if frequent, are deadly to fish. Nitrates is no exception to that.

As for the chart, I am curious where that came from? Science tells us that water evaporates, nutrient levels do not. If you have a 10 gallon tank with 50ppm nitrate reading, and 1 gallon of that water evaporates, that means 9 gallons of water and nitrates at 50ppm. Nutrient levels are simply concentrated. If doing a water change with water containing 50ppm nitrate, that will simply add to the already 50+ppm nitrate, and add a gallon of water. Either way you look at it, nitrates again increases. If plants are able to bring the nitrate level down to 20 in the course of a week, and 50ppm of nitrates is added each week, that means the plants are able to eat up 30ppm/wk. If you increase the water changes to 2 - 3 times each week, the plants no longer have a full week to eat 30ppm, and at the same time, 2 - 3 times in that week you are adding 50ppm more with each change. Again, any way you look at it, nitrates continues to increase.

The theories I have read here thus far don't make scientific sense.

Dawn Moneyhan
Aquatics Specialist/Nutritionist
Juneau, WI
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post #48 of 60 Old 05-07-2008, 10:36 AM
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Originally Posted by 1077
chemical filtration used to remove nitrates often either decreases the production rate of nitrates from biofilter or absorbs nitrate after it has been produced.this media needs to be recharged and how often brings too many variables into play source water,feeding and maint. routine stocking levels etc. some should NOT be used in salt water or tanks using salt to treat disease for they can release nitrates rapidly and in high levels back into the tank. Some also remove CO2 (chemi-pure) comes to mind and they will also starve plants in some cases of nitrates needed.Products such as NITRA-ZORB absorb nitrate by replacing the nitrate ion and is for freshwater only. However it has been reprted to only absorb 16 to 20ppm before exhuasting and would need to be recharged about 40 times to reduce (not remove)20 ppm nitrate (per litre) in a 10 gal. tank to negligible levels.other products such as SEACHEMS DE- nitrate must be used in low flow filters of 50 gph or less. It will not work in high flow filters. nitrate SPONGE by KENT MARINE also for low flow filters. Coil denitrators are effective but some require feeding sugar several times per day and flow rates need constant monitoring to keep bleed valves open for they clog easily also the end result of these units is oxygen depleted water that in some cases must be run through oxygen chamber to re -oxygenate, I believe all of the afore mentioned filter media can help control nitrates. But I also believe that water cchanges combined with proper stocking levels and maint along with not overfeeding can achieve the same results easier, faster, and much cheaper. The exhaustion rate of these products can differ dramatically despite what they claim .
I forwarded a copy of this post to the head Lab Tech for Oceanic, Kent Marine, Allglass, etc (he is head lab tech for all of these companies since they merged).
I would like to post his response, as I found it very interesting and in direct contradiction to most of what was said here.
Here is his reply:

Seachemís denitrate and Kent Nitrate sponge are the same product. Zeolitic mineral. These absorb ammonia in freshwater but because of their porous structure when used in an anaerobic environment provide a habitat for denitrifying bacteria which will consume nitrate and reduce it to insoluble nitrogen gas.
The resins referenced not for use in saltwater would not RELEASE nitrates rapidly into the system unless they were being used to adsorb nitrates in a freshwater system first. I believe he is referencing many of the resins that regenerate with saltwater replacing their adsorbed material with either sodium or chloride depending on the type of resin. When used in saltwater these resins really do nothing as they are constantly exchanging their absorbed material with sodium or chloride. For the most part ion exchange resins really work best in freshwater systems.
I am not familiar enough with the composition and properties of the ion exchange resins used in Chemipure and Nitrazorb to comment on their nitrate removing abilities. I do find the claim that Chemipure removes carbon dioxide odd and would ask that the person provide any evidence to that statement. Some ion exchange resins can remove carbonates (CO3 + HCO3) which Chemipure may do. However that is different than carbon dioxide which forms carbonic acid (H2CO3) when dissolved in water. I think that this person is confusing the reaction you get when you add fresh activated carbon (which forms the bulk of a bag of Chemipure). As many hobbyists know pH will increase rapidly when you change carbon. This is due to the rapid removal of dissolved organic acids (tannins mostly) that have leached into the water. This causes an increase in pH and redox potential. In fact the quality of a carbon is often measured by its ability to remove tannins. This is called the tannin number. There are also iodine numbers (used to measure small molecule removal) and molasses numbers (used for large chain molecule removal). The reaction is usually short lived as the tannins continue to be released by the biological organisms in the aquarium and the rate of removal by the activated carbon decreases. The pH increase is more pronounced in soft water systems with less of the buffering effect of high levels of carbonates. Lastly, any carbon lost to adsorption by the resin is going to be mitigated by the release of carbon into the system by the activated carbon.
I really canít argue with the last part. Water changes (dilution) is still the single best way to maintain water quality. This is because it has such a broad effect. Chemical media does have a lot of variables that can affect its performance. But if used properly it can reduce the frequency of water changes and will improve water conditions between water changes but it is not the end all solution to maintaining water quality issues.

After that reply, he emailed again with a bit more to add:

I did a little more research. The ion exchange resin in Chemipure is a positive ion adsorber as such there is no way it could remove the negatively charged carbonate ions in water.

I wanted to post this because I felt it important to clear up the misinformation posted here.

Dawn Moneyhan
Aquatics Specialist/Nutritionist
Juneau, WI
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post #49 of 60 Old 05-07-2008, 11:07 AM
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Bettababy, I appreciate the time and trouble you went to for I know it is the best interest of the pets that is your primary concern and to educate those who are new to the hobby. Once again ..I apologize .I only took issue with claims of numerous chemical filter media out there that will REMOVE nitrates and quickly. Most state that they bind, lower, reduce,ETC. I will share a quote from a previous post and out of respect for the poster ,they shall remain nameless."when you can show me that product or products work in such a way that I will no longer have to flush the toilet then we can talk."As for product chemi-pure the list on the back of the tub it comes in states what it removes CO2 being one of them.I suppose it could be a misprint?

The most important medication in your fish medicine cabinet is.. Clean water.
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post #50 of 60 Old 05-07-2008, 11:31 AM
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You have taken my words out of context. I believe the product I was referring to when I made the satement about flushing the toilet was Easy Balance. It is a product made by Tetra and made claims that it reduced the need for water changes.
I am not saying that any filter media will remove everything and quickly, (although I do know of a few that DO give those reults, and I have worked with them first hand), but Easy Balance is not a filter media.

After spending countless hours drilling the Tetra reps, I was finally rewarded with the explaination about how it binds the nutrient level, but does not remove it... making their claims invalid.

As for the Chemi-pure, I will ask him what he says to the information printed on their label. I went and pulled a jar of it from my shelf to read it myself, and it does state that it removes CO2. I'm sure he has some scientific basis for his explaination. I know this man personally, and I know his level of education and smarts. I also know what tools and equipment he has available to him for testing such things. Some of those pieces of equipment cost more than my house!

As for the filter medias I mentioned that DO work to reduce waste levels and such in the water, polyfilter is well known for its ability to work overnight on the worst of problems. It pulls everything out. Anyone who has used it and done the water testing can vouch for that! Purapad also produces those same results, but not quite as quickly. Purapad can take a couple of days to do it.

Dawn Moneyhan
Aquatics Specialist/Nutritionist
Juneau, WI
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