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Old 08-17-2012, 06:54 AM   #1
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Total Nitrate VS Nitrate-Nitrogen

've tried to google this issue and the more I got confused. What are we supposed to be monitoring? I've read in other threads that if you're using API to test for Nitrates that you jave to divide your readings by 4.4 Before reading those threads, I used to do a 25% PWC everytime I get a reading of 20 ppm using my API Saltwater Master Test kit. Could somebody help me understan this? I have a 150 gal tank and doing 25% PWC everytime I got 20 ppm reading is becoming so tiring. I greatly appreciate your replies.
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Old 08-17-2012, 08:55 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by ganiel
've tried to google this issue and the more I got confused. What are we supposed to be monitoring? I've read in other threads that if you're using API to test for Nitrates that you jave to divide your readings by 4.4 Before reading those threads, I used to do a 25% PWC everytime I get a reading of 20 ppm using my API Saltwater Master Test kit. Could somebody help me understan this? I have a 150 gal tank and doing 25% PWC everytime I got 20 ppm reading is becoming so tiring. I greatly appreciate your replies.
Firstly, if your doing 25% PWC on 20ppm, it will only drop your levels to 15, that is if your tests are properly compared. Try testing before and after water change and compare colors, you may find its dropping but not enough for a complete color change. If you want to get it lower, its simple maths. 50% pwc on 20ppm will leave your tank at 10ppm.

With nitrates, I too have had difficulty finding the rite info. As far as I can work out nitrates are the bad stuff, but a type of BB convert the nitrates into nitrogen gas (which is how it leaves the tank). The issue is that this type of BB is hard to grow as it doesn't like heavy water flow.

The API test kit gives you nitrate levels, which is what most people I know (especially on AA) use. Their is no /4.4.

This is all based on research not experience, as I don't own a reef yet, but hopefully someone can.back me.up.
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Old 08-17-2012, 01:58 PM   #3
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Agreed.
As for levels, if a 25% WC keeps your levels around 20ppm on a week to week basis, the only way to lower it via water changes is by increasing them (with fish in I'd not try to correct the problem too quickly as other parameters will also change).
Other methods of lowering nitrates are skimming, reduced feeding and plants. I'd try the reduced feeding method first. That lowered my nitrate levels by almost 80% within a few weeks all before I got my skimmer and fuge.
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Old 08-17-2012, 02:05 PM   #4
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I know what your talking about OP but to explain it you'll need ccapt to come give you a link or something. But the reason your dividing the api test (from what I know) is that it test for all nitrates which there are different forms of it which not all are harmful. Don't take my word on this but I think it is something along those lines. CCAPT where are you lol?
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Old 08-17-2012, 04:22 PM   #5
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Thanks to all replies. For Nitrates level, you guys are correct about having it reduced by approx 10 ppm with a 25% pwc. Im sorry I forgot to mention that my tank is just a month and half old and not fully matured yet. Also its unfortunate that I've already set it up before I discovered this site. Because of that I ended up with 2 Marineland C-360 canister filters (1 on each end) which I read that could also cause problems with Nitrates. I just installed a Coralife Super Skimmer 65G but I know may not be enough. I'm also going to change the media that I have in my filters with either GFO or Chemipure to hopefully help bring my nitrates to 0 so I can start transitioning to a reef tank maybe in the next 6 months or so when my system is already matured.

As for my Nitrates readings, those numbers I mentioned above are direct readings and has not been divided by 4.4 So if the correct way is to divide by 4.4 then my 20 ppm is actually 4.54 If that is the case then I dont really need the 25% pwc. That's why it would greatly help me if I can understand the difference. Once again thanks to all your replies.
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Old 08-17-2012, 06:35 PM   #6
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Don't divide and back up your test results with a free water test at your LFS Your test kit can fail and give false readings
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Old 08-17-2012, 08:03 PM   #7
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Unfortunately there is a difference between total nitrate and nitrate-nitrogen. And the difference is 4.4X heavier or lighter, depending on which way you are converting.

API is the only test kit I know of that measures total nitrate, all the others I have used measure nitrate-nitrogen, these are not the same thing! Api's test instructions tell you in black and white that it's results will be 4.4 times higher than other test kits and they recommend you keep your nitrates <40ppm. The question is which do you use? Total nitrate or nitrate-nitrogen. Personally I think we should strive for 0 which will read the same on any kit. Also from doing a little reading, API is notorious for reading nitrates high, get a more reliable kit like salifert, which also (from some spontaneous research) measures NO3, aka "total nitrate".

If you test nitrates with API and get 40ppm with a other test kits it will be ~9.09 or the closest color to that number.
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Old 08-17-2012, 08:06 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ganiel View Post
Thanks to all replies. For Nitrates level, you guys are correct about having it reduced by approx 10 ppm with a 25% pwc. Im sorry I forgot to mention that my tank is just a month and half old and not fully matured yet. Also its unfortunate that I've already set it up before I discovered this site. Because of that I ended up with 2 Marineland C-360 canister filters (1 on each end) which I read that could also cause problems with Nitrates. I just installed a Coralife Super Skimmer 65G but I know may not be enough. I'm also going to change the media that I have in my filters with either GFO or Chemipure to hopefully help bring my nitrates to 0 so I can start transitioning to a reef tank maybe in the next 6 months or so when my system is already matured.

As for my Nitrates readings, those numbers I mentioned above are direct readings and has not been divided by 4.4 So if the correct way is to divide by 4.4 then my 20 ppm is actually 4.54 If that is the case then I dont really need the 25% pwc. That's why it would greatly help me if I can understand the difference. Once again thanks to all your replies.
Just make sure you are cleaning those 2 canisters with your weekly water changes. That is an easy place for buildup and can cause nitrate issues.

As for GFO and chemipure, I currently run both on my 55 reef and have no complaints about it. The GFO has done a great job. The chemipure hasn't been in a month yet, so all I can say about the results would be that my water is a tad clearer than it was with straight carbon.
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Old 08-18-2012, 12:14 AM   #9
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So I should be dividing my API test by 4.4????? Or leave it?
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Old 08-18-2012, 05:19 AM   #10
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So I should be dividing my API test by 4.4????? Or leave it?
Can I clear one thing up?

Are you using a salt water kit on fresh water? Or have you already converted your tank to salt water?

Asuming you arr using the rite test with the rite water, API tests read total nitrate. So don't divide, and keep the readings bellow about 10, however 20 is just about acceptable.
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