Nitrate question - Page 2
Tropical Fish

Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources » Freshwater Fish and Aquariums » Beginner Freshwater Aquarium » Nitrate question

Nitrate question

This is a discussion on Nitrate question within the Beginner Freshwater Aquarium forums, part of the Freshwater Fish and Aquariums category; ...

Check out these freshwater fish profiles
Green Neon Tetra
Green Neon Tetra
Kissing Gourami
Kissing Gourami
Reply
Old 07-04-2012, 10:42 AM   #11
 
Termato's Avatar
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by AbbeysDad View Post
First, let me explain (whine - lol) about my high nitrates in my well water - the result of a 95 acre farmers field across the road that gets ample amounts of organic (manure) and chemical fertilizer! My well water has 80-100+ppm nitrates.

I use Fluval Lab Series Nitrate Remover (FNR) in a spare 10g tank to filter nitrates from my well water to use for water changes*. In my 60g display tank, I sometimes use API Nitra-Zorb.
Both of these products are synthetic resins (look a lot like tiny plastic pellets) that adsorb nitrates. They both do a good job and can be regenerated/reused several times in salt water.

(*I mix FNR filtered well water 50/50 with deionized (DI) water made using the API Tap Water filter.)

Another product I use is Seachem Purigen. Purigen is a synthetic resin that adsorbs dissolved organics keeping water clearer and preventing the decomposition that would ultimately result in nitrates. It can be regenerated/reused several times using chlorine bleach.

All this said, as I mentioned, with good nitrate free tap water for weekly water changes, living plants and good tank maintenance, nitrates can typically be kept very low. I was forced to research and use these products to economically combat the high nitrates in my source (well) water.

Note: High nitrates (in drinking water) is a health hazard for humans, especially young children, and there are federal standards. Unfortunately, these standards can be regulated in sewage treatment plants and municipal water supplies, but not in rural America private water supplies. (The farmer can't be prevented from fertilizing his farm land).
Footnote: We have bottled water delivered for drinking.
Wow that is some off the chart Nitrates right there.

Hmm regenerated in salt water, interesting. The resin pellets seems like a good addition to help with nitrates.

I was actually going to buy Purigen in "The Bag" to add to my filters, just haven't ordered it yet. I was aware it took away Micro-Particles but did not know it was that extensive. This may be the first thing I get as I was already planning on gettiing it. The only problem is "The Bag" also comes with CupriSorb™ in it which takes out copper and heavy metals...so I may just do Purigen by itself. Thanks!

Yeah in my research I found the legal limit for N03-N is 10ppm while the limit for N03 is 45ppm in drinking water. Yeah I buy bottled water too, although my water is not as concentrated in Nitrate as yours.

Thank you for all the information AbbeysDad. It will surely help me deal with the Nitrate issues I am having.
Termato is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-05-2012, 10:49 AM   #12
 
As AbbysDad indicated, nitrates over zero is not natural for fish. When I was told weekly 20% partial water changes I was surprised, but I did it, and my nitrates have been zero in a medium-planted tank.

While nitrates themselves are dangerous to fish, certainly at higher levels, they are also an indicator of the amount of ammonia going into the nitrogen cycle, and other chemicals and organic molecules built up. This might be known as "stale water", and the water changes dilute these unwanted substances at the same time as nitrates.

So I would tell you what I was told - weekly 20% partial water changes, more if you have a lot of fish, cleaning the filter, and vacuuming the subtrate. Congratulations if you got this far.

Steven
equatics is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-05-2012, 11:28 AM   #13
 
Termato's Avatar
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nemo the Clownfish View Post
As AbbysDad indicated, nitrates over zero is not natural for fish. When I was told weekly 20% partial water changes I was surprised, but I did it, and my nitrates have been zero in a medium-planted tank.

While nitrates themselves are dangerous to fish, certainly at higher levels, they are also an indicator of the amount of ammonia going into the nitrogen cycle, and other chemicals and organic molecules built up. This might be known as "stale water", and the water changes dilute these unwanted substances at the same time as nitrates.

So I would tell you what I was told - weekly 20% partial water changes, more if you have a lot of fish, cleaning the filter, and vacuuming the subtrate. Congratulations if you got this far.

Steven
I agree with the majority of what you said except, you shouldn't really touch the filter too often or vacuum the substrate deeply.

You can give your filter pads and sponges a rinse in aquarium water you just took out of the tank. That will get the residue out. Once a month you can give the entire filter an overhaul, or every 3 months. This way you aren't removing all the beneficial bacteria that has built up in your filter.

For the aquarium gravel I think that you should leave it completely alone in a well planted tank that has rooted plants. The substrate will have roots throughout it and will be filled with sediment. The more sediment that builds up, the more plant minerals there will be. Eventually you will create a soil like substance that is great for the plants and produces natural C02. This can only occur in mature tanks with well developed substrates.

I would say while vacuuming to just grave over the top of the substrate but not disturb it.
Termato is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-05-2012, 12:11 PM   #14
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Termato View Post
I agree with the majority of what you said except, you shouldn't really touch the filter too often or vacuum the substrate deeply.

You can give your filter pads and sponges a rinse in aquarium water you just took out of the tank. That will get the residue out. Once a month you can give the entire filter an overhaul, or every 3 months. This way you aren't removing all the beneficial bacteria that has built up in your filter.

For the aquarium gravel I think that you should leave it completely alone in a well planted tank that has rooted plants. The substrate will have roots throughout it and will be filled with sediment. The more sediment that builds up, the more plant minerals there will be. Eventually you will create a soil like substance that is great for the plants and produces natural C02. This can only occur in mature tanks with well developed substrates.

I would say while vacuuming to just grave over the top of the substrate but not disturb it.
Ternato,

The principle is that we need to clean up whatever we can. Organic material caught in a filter sponge without cleaning it decays into ammonia (nutrient) and so on. Same for the substrate (nutrients) but I avoid vacuuming near the plants. In addition, we don't want *too* many nutrients around because the plant won't be able to use it all and it's a risk of algae.

Some people make sure to only vacuum 1/2 the substrate at a time - in a planted tank this is not a problem. And I squeeze the filter sponge underwater until it is cleaner. You can also use 2 sponges and clean one at a time, but once again, organinic matter ends up sitting around in the filter. I wonder also whether mulm that settles into the substrate might cause anaerobic areas in the substrate.

Anyway, different people have different points of view and that's fine, as long as the tank is healthy.

Thanks for commenting.

Steven
equatics is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-05-2012, 12:24 PM   #15
 
Termato's Avatar
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nemo the Clownfish View Post
Ternato,

The principle is that we need to clean up whatever we can. Organic material caught in a filter sponge without cleaning it decays into ammonia (nutrient) and so on. Same for the substrate (nutrients) but I avoid vacuuming near the plants. In addition, we don't want *too* many nutrients around because the plant won't be able to use it all and it's a risk of algae.
Absolutely, I guess I was more of specifying that you don't want to literally clean out your filter all the time. Just give a little rinse.

Yeah and there is no argument from me on the algae thing there.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nemo the Clownfish View Post
Some people make sure to only vacuum 1/2 the substrate at a time - in a planted tank this is not a problem. And I squeeze the filter sponge underwater until it is cleaner. You can also use 2 sponges and clean one at a time, but once again, organinic matter ends up sitting around in the filter. I wonder also whether mulm that settles into the substrate might cause anaerobic areas in the substrate.

Anyway, different people have different points of view and that's fine, as long as the tank is healthy.

Thanks for commenting.

Steven
What do you mean 1/2 the substrate? Only the left side and not the right? or the top and not the bottom?

I literally don't even touch my substrate. Ever. Only vacuum up surface debris, but the substrate never moves. This was recommended to me by several experience hobbyist on here and other forums.

Yeah that is what I meant with the filter sponge. I do the same. That is what I was suggesting in order to keep the decomposing debris out. Another good thing to do is clean the filter intake every water change. It gets lodged easily. Things I like to avoid are scrubbing the inside of the filter every week, changing filter pads every week--complete overhaul stuff.

Byron has posted a great article on substrate. It goes into this matter and gives a lot of information on dead areas in the substrate and how bacteria, dept and other things effect it. Great article. I'm still having to refer to it every so often because it's very informative.

My substrate is between 1-2 inches thick, I have well rooted plants and I don't touch my gravel. My plants root through the substrate to keep it from having dead spots. I keep adding more plants to try and fill in areas I feel are empty and not rooted.

So far so good.

I do agree with you that decomposing matter, nitrogens and phosphorus are not good for fish. I want to do my best to keep them as low as I can, even considering my circumstances. Not vacuuming the substrate seems to work very well for me and others while keeping toxic levels down. In my tank its hard to see that because of the high nitrate levels in my tap water.

I'm going to start doing weekly test before and after a water change to see the different in Nitrates to see if the water removed more than it put in.

Last edited by Termato; 07-05-2012 at 12:28 PM..
Termato is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-05-2012, 01:08 PM   #16
 
Let me add my perspective to the discussion.

For decades conventional farming has tilled the soil 8-12" deep and used copious amounts of petro-chemical fertilizer. Tons of top soil are lost every year to wind and water erosion and streams are polluted with runoff.
Proponents of the soil food web challenged this thinking suggesting that the tilling disturbs the natural benefits of the soil structure. In one case, the threads of a single fungi organism in untilled land were measured to span over 30 acres! No till studies were done on crop land and it was discovered that yields were as good or better than tilled fields with significantly less fertilizers used - go figure.

In aquaculture, a study of deep sand beds suggests that similar beneficial organisms can and do develop in the undisturbed substrate. This happens regardless of whether there are rooted plants or not. Although one school of thought may convince us that gravel siphoning is required, another suggests that leaving the substrate alone has significant benefits.

I used to aggressively gravel siphon to keep it clean, but then began a study of deep sand beds. In a heavily planted tank, it would actually be counter productive to gravel siphon. It would likely disturb roots and more importantly, remove organic fertilizer from the substrate.
I do not currently have rooted plants but I stopped gravel siphoning many months ago. My substrate is a standard small sized gravel - about 1/8 to 1/4 pea size at about 2-3" deep. Although I do remove some surface debris from the substrate during the weekly water change, I try not to disturb the gravel. I have seen no negative affects in doing this.
Now if you have a large, pea sized gravel where uneaten food and/or detritus gets deep...or you frequently over feed, then maybe you need routine gravel siphoning.
But if not, embrace the mulm and let the substrate develop a beneficial culture that will result in a healthier water chemistry.

As to cleaning the filter media, first we must realize that most detritus is going to be converted into dissolved solids pretty quickly. But we also must realize that rinsing the filter media in tank or treated, non-chlorinated water is not going to upset the biology very much as long as we keep it wet. Besides, there is much more beneficial biology in the substrate than the filter.
Think of all the cartridge filters in the world that eventually require a new cartridge - it's done all the time w/o disaster.

Last edited by AbbeysDad; 07-05-2012 at 01:11 PM..
AbbeysDad is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-05-2012, 01:17 PM   #17
 
Byron's Avatar
 
Having live plants, and enough of them (meaning, a planted tank, not a tank with a plant or two) makes a big difference in maintenance. I never touch my substrates, except in two tanks that for some reason give me cyanobacteria if I'm not careful. Won't get into all that.

Filters, I rinse my sponge filters under the tap at every water change. I rinse the canister filters media periodically depending upon the need, as it varies by tank due to the biology. Always under the tap. In well-planted tanks, there is no issue with nitrifying bacteria in filters. You don't want much of these anyway as they compete with the plants.

Algae is caused by light, period. It will always find nutrients if the light is beyond what the plants can use (intensity and/or duration). Provided the plants have sufficient light intensity, and all 17 nutrients are available, they will photosynthesize and algae will lose out. As soon as something nutrient-wise is no longer available in sufficient quantity, photosynthesis slows and this is when algae takes advantage if the light is still there.

Byron.

P.S. As I was typing, AbbeysDad posted, but we seem to be on the same page so no issue there.
Byron is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-05-2012, 01:31 PM   #18
 
Termato's Avatar
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by AbbeysDad View Post
Let me add my perspective to the discussion.

For decades conventional farming has tilled the soil 8-12" deep and used copious amounts of petro-chemical fertilizer. Tons of top soil are lost every year to wind and water erosion and streams are polluted with runoff.
Proponents of the soil food web challenged this thinking suggesting that the tilling disturbs the natural benefits of the soil structure. In one case, the threads of a single fungi organism in untilled land were measured to span over 30 acres! No till studies were done on crop land and it was discovered that yields were as good or better than tilled fields with significantly less fertilizers used - go figure.

In aquaculture, a study of deep sand beds suggests that similar beneficial organisms can and do develop in the undisturbed substrate. This happens regardless of whether there are rooted plants or not. Although one school of thought may convince us that gravel siphoning is required, another suggests that leaving the substrate alone has significant benefits.

I used to aggressively gravel siphon to keep it clean, but then began a study of deep sand beds. In a heavily planted tank, it would actually be counter productive to gravel siphon. It would likely disturb roots and more importantly, remove organic fertilizer from the substrate.
I do not currently have rooted plants but I stopped gravel siphoning many months ago. My substrate is a standard small sized gravel - about 1/8 to 1/4 pea size at about 2-3" deep. Although I do remove some surface debris from the substrate during the weekly water change, I try not to disturb the gravel. I have seen no negative affects in doing this.
Now if you have a large, pea sized gravel where uneaten food and/or detritus gets deep...or you frequently over feed, then maybe you need routine gravel siphoning.
But if not, embrace the mulm and let the substrate develop a beneficial culture that will result in a healthier water chemistry.

As to cleaning the filter media, first we must realize that most detritus is going to be converted into dissolved solids pretty quickly. But we also must realize that rinsing the filter media in tank or treated, non-chlorinated water is not going to upset the biology very much as long as we keep it wet. Besides, there is much more beneficial biology in the substrate than the filter.
Think of all the cartridge filters in the world that eventually require a new cartridge - it's done all the time w/o disaster.
Thanks AbbeysDad, very informative. The thank button wasn't there :P
Termato is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-05-2012, 01:33 PM   #19
 
Termato's Avatar
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Byron View Post
Having live plants, and enough of them (meaning, a planted tank, not a tank with a plant or two) makes a big difference in maintenance. I never touch my substrates, except in two tanks that for some reason give me cyanobacteria if I'm not careful. Won't get into all that.

Filters, I rinse my sponge filters under the tap at every water change. I rinse the canister filters media periodically depending upon the need, as it varies by tank due to the biology. Always under the tap. In well-planted tanks, there is no issue with nitrifying bacteria in filters. You don't want much of these anyway as they compete with the plants.

Algae is caused by light, period. It will always find nutrients if the light is beyond what the plants can use (intensity and/or duration). Provided the plants have sufficient light intensity, and all 17 nutrients are available, they will photosynthesize and algae will lose out. As soon as something nutrient-wise is no longer available in sufficient quantity, photosynthesis slows and this is when algae takes advantage if the light is still there.

Byron.

P.S. As I was typing, AbbeysDad posted, but we seem to be on the same page so no issue there.
Thank you byron,

have you started a thread on the cyanobacteria? I want to know more about this issue. Just curious.
Termato is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-06-2012, 09:46 AM   #20
 
Byron's Avatar
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Termato View Post
Thank you byron,

have you started a thread on the cyanobacteria? I want to know more about this issue. Just curious.
I think i mentined it in response to another member's cyano problem. Cyanobacteria is due to organics.
Byron is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Question about nitrate, water changes bllauben Beginner Freshwater Aquarium 2 01-30-2012 06:38 PM
nitrate question louiseroad Water Chemistry 2 07-20-2011 09:13 PM
nitrate question turn around fish joey Beginner Planted Aquarium 10 11-11-2010 02:01 AM
nitrate question dazeek Beginner Freshwater Aquarium 4 08-02-2010 10:43 AM
nitrate question xxthrwitdwnxx Beginner Freshwater Aquarium 3 05-18-2007 01:35 AM


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 01:56 PM.