Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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Aquaripure 04-10-2008 09:08 AM

Aquaripure Customer Question- Do corals need nitrates?
A customer contacted me with this email and I decided to post it on the forum,

"... our nitrate is at 0 and we are concerned because we have heard opinions that if it was at 0 that might cause some stress to some of the fishes and we have 30 corals in the tank. The water seems fine everything looks crystal clear. Again both the nitrate and the nitrite are at 0, is that okay? Is it okay for us to continue with the 4 drops per second?"

Aquaripure 04-10-2008 09:11 AM

This was my response,
"Well, that is the first time anyone has ever been worried about NOT having nitrates, lol. Really, it is a myth that corals need nitrates as there are only trace nitrates in the ocean (less than 0.1 ppm in surface waters.) Corals are animals and all plants and animals do need nitrogen. Animals (including corals) typically get it from protien and the food that they eat. Plants usually get it either from nitrates or other sources of nitrogen. The source that plants actually prefer in a tank is organic nitrogen sources such as urea or from the soil. This is why in a planted tank without nitrates the plants can still thrive. They use the nitrogen in the soil and also get it from the little bit of free urea in the water. The Aquaripure is a slow flow filter so there WILL be a little bit of organic nitrogen (urea) in the water at all times that has yet to be processed. It will be the same in a coral reef tank and I believe many corals will utilize this like plants do. I have never had any reports of any problems with no nitrates as I believe (although I do not have any hard data on this) that the corals can obtain there nitrogen from the water even though it is not in the form of nitrates. There will be trace amounts of unprocessed organic nitrogen in the tank. I do recommend that you supplement your corals with coral food and the corals will obtain nitrogen and whatever else they need from that. I also recommend a two part supplement or something similar."

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