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Old 06-06-2014, 05:19 AM   #1
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Plants reduce nitrates??

Hi guys. I cant seem to get nitrates below 40ppm. I have the problem that my tap water is 30ppm fresh out the tap.
People say get live plants , so i got 3.
I did a water change monday. Roughly 40%. And today my nitrates is still 40ppm . Whats the cheapest way to sort this?

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Old 06-06-2014, 07:34 AM   #2
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You'll need a lot of fast growing plants and a lightly stocked tank to get your nitrates down through plant use. Sadly, nitrates are the worst thing to have in tap water Some good options are duckweed and Anacharis.

Most commonly people mix their water change water with r/o at a 50/50 ratio or so to get their source nitrates down.
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Old 06-06-2014, 08:27 AM   #3
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Had your exact problem, I got an RO unit for softening. After the recent rain I started getting 40mg/l at the tap! Before I moved I had some nitrate but nothing like this!

These are things I've done over the years,

Resins,
Nitrate remover, like Fluval labs. I used this product with ok results. It works and can be recharged. You need salt to re charge it, (marine salt) ok if you have a reef or brackish system. Otherwise it's an extra cost, small salt boxes are around 7-10 not much money but loads considering how much you'll use the salt.
Fluval Lab Series Nitrate Remover - 150g | Charterhouse Aquatics
It's ok though, can be used in filters so it makes it easy to pre filter water in a bucket before adding to your system. It's ok for 1-2 smaller systems only otherwise it is very time consuming. I think you get 10-15 recharges then it's spent. You must monitor like crazy if it used in a tank, that's why I preferred to pre filter, eventually I got bored of that. It's important to note production alongside test results, after a while a pattern will emerge, this becomes dead handy!

Nitrate cartridges like this,
https://www.flickr.com/photos/92891884@N04/13567240655/
It's the blue canister.

These things work great but, you'll only get about 3000 litres worth, depending on the cartridge capacity and the initial NO3 reading. They are classed to remove x amount TDS no3 from the water. This cartridge and 40mg/l no3 gives me 2053 litres nitrate free water, it's the first one I've used, it's great but powder is cheaper. I'll explain powder in a second,

Or RO cutting. This method is ok but, if you have 30ppm nitrate and cut 50:50 you get 15ppm nitrate. Not fool proof but much better. Be careful with RO, it can't be used neat, it must be re mineralised. Tap water is ok for this, I did this for many years, it's ok for all but the most sensitive species. You basically get an equal division of everything in the water, anything you can measure and whatever else is left. I used this method for a while, but you need a bit extra to modify your water to anything but straight divisions. For really soft water you need Kh powder.

You will need a TDS meter if you use RO, absolutely necessary, fortunately they are cheap.

Another option, just use RO and GH/Kh powders, this is where I've ended up after all these years, it's easiest and safest, it guarantees quality water. It's a bit of a headache at first but the difference is obvious instantly.

This all of course depends on the quality of your water. If it is soft, low GH/Kh, cutting it with RO will mean you need to buffer it back up to a usable source anyway (this is how I ended up here) you buy the Kh powder because you need a bit here or there, same thing with GH powder, so you start thinking, why use this cursed tap water at all? And that nitrate filter, they retail about 20 each, you may only need one a year, that's not much. If you expand or need more they can be pricey. Haven't finished it using it yet but I will not replace it, I'll expand my DI resin bed instead.

This powder thing is only a recent transition for me and I've done lots of various methods over the years trying to combat poor quality tap water. Personally I think with an RO unit and some selected powders you can keep any fish in the shop, providing you have the correct tank etc. it's taken the best part of a decade though trying different things.

While you need to replace pre filters on an RO normally every 6 months, that's only about 10, the DI resin replacement depends on membrane quality and efficiency and also the DI vessel size (250ml is ok for 2-3 normal size tanks)
This is sold in all different sizes so you just buy what you need for a year.
The membrane itself can last 4-5 years if it is well maintained, flush loop on RO unit sorts this out simple enough. The membrane prices fluctuate in line with capacity, more GPD=more to buy.

75gpd will run four systems JUST, unless you get silly with water storage. It's best to upsize a bit because they run slow in the cold.

Those are some of your options!

Edit, the membrane is easily damaged by chlorine it is important to keep the pre filters up to date.
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Old 06-06-2014, 10:02 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by J.Mcpeak View Post
Had your exact problem, I got an RO unit for softening. After the recent rain I started getting 40mg/l at the tap! Before I moved I had some nitrate but nothing like this!

These are things I've done over the years,

Resins,
Nitrate remover, like Fluval labs. I used this product with ok results. It works and can be recharged. You need salt to re charge it, (marine salt) ok if you have a reef or brackish system. Otherwise it's an extra cost, small salt boxes are around 7-10 not much money but loads considering how much you'll use the salt.
Fluval Lab Series Nitrate Remover - 150g | Charterhouse Aquatics
It's ok though, can be used in filters so it makes it easy to pre filter water in a bucket before adding to your system. It's ok for 1-2 smaller systems only otherwise it is very time consuming. I think you get 10-15 recharges then it's spent. You must monitor like crazy if it used in a tank, that's why I preferred to pre filter, eventually I got bored of that. It's important to note production alongside test results, after a while a pattern will emerge, this becomes dead handy!

Nitrate cartridges like this,
https://www.flickr.com/photos/92891884@N04/13567240655/
It's the blue canister.

These things work great but, you'll only get about 3000 litres worth, depending on the cartridge capacity and the initial NO3 reading. They are classed to remove x amount TDS no3 from the water. This cartridge and 40mg/l no3 gives me 2053 litres nitrate free water, it's the first one I've used, it's great but powder is cheaper. I'll explain powder in a second,

Or RO cutting. This method is ok but, if you have 30ppm nitrate and cut 50:50 you get 15ppm nitrate. Not fool proof but much better. Be careful with RO, it can't be used neat, it must be re mineralised. Tap water is ok for this, I did this for many years, it's ok for all but the most sensitive species. You basically get an equal division of everything in the water, anything you can measure and whatever else is left. I used this method for a while, but you need a bit extra to modify your water to anything but straight divisions. For really soft water you need Kh powder.

You will need a TDS meter if you use RO, absolutely necessary, fortunately they are cheap.

Another option, just use RO and GH/Kh powders, this is where I've ended up after all these years, it's easiest and safest, it guarantees quality water. It's a bit of a headache at first but the difference is obvious instantly.

This all of course depends on the quality of your water. If it is soft, low GH/Kh, cutting it with RO will mean you need to buffer it back up to a usable source anyway (this is how I ended up here) you buy the Kh powder because you need a bit here or there, same thing with GH powder, so you start thinking, why use this cursed tap water at all? And that nitrate filter, they retail about 20 each, you may only need one a year, that's not much. If you expand or need more they can be pricey. Haven't finished it using it yet but I will not replace it, I'll expand my DI resin bed instead.

This powder thing is only a recent transition for me and I've done lots of various methods over the years trying to combat poor quality tap water. Personally I think with an RO unit and some selected powders you can keep any fish in the shop, providing you have the correct tank etc. it's taken the best part of a decade though trying different things.

While you need to replace pre filters on an RO normally every 6 months, that's only about 10, the DI resin replacement depends on membrane quality and efficiency and also the DI vessel size (250ml is ok for 2-3 normal size tanks)
This is sold in all different sizes so you just buy what you need for a year.
The membrane itself can last 4-5 years if it is well maintained, flush loop on RO unit sorts this out simple enough. The membrane prices fluctuate in line with capacity, more GPD=more to buy.

75gpd will run four systems JUST, unless you get silly with water storage. It's best to upsize a bit because they run slow in the cold.

Those are some of your options!
Sorry. I probably am being thick, but i havent got a clue about any of what you said. Whats RO??
Im reasonably new to owning an aquarium. I need things explained in leymans terms.

Ive just upgraded to a 110l tank. I did a fishless cycle. Ive now added 3 zebra danios. I do want to add the rest of my fish which are in my old 30l. I have two platties and 3 guppies.
Ive only just got an external filter. And added live plants. I only know the basic stuff. Sorry if im a pain. But id like to be the best i can be.


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Old 06-06-2014, 10:05 AM   #5
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Nitrate Levels

Quote:
Originally Posted by ginty View Post
Hi guys. I cant seem to get nitrates below 40ppm. I have the problem that my tap water is 30ppm fresh out the tap.
People say get live plants , so i got 3.
I did a water change monday. Roughly 40%. And today my nitrates is still 40ppm . Whats the cheapest way to sort this?

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Hello gin...

Nitrates at 40 ppm isn't bad. The fish may feel a little irritation, but nothing serious. The level could be lower if you dropped in some stems of floating plants. I like Hornwort. It takes in nitrates through the leaves as soon as this nutrient is available. So, it grows quickly in nitrate rich water. The more it grows, the purer the tank water. The plant is very inexpensive and available at most of the chain pet stores like PetCo and Petsmart.

Keep up on the water changes. Half the tank's volume weekly isn't too much. The changes will keep the water properties stable. The fish will adapt to your tap water chemistry.

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Old 06-06-2014, 10:47 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BBradbury View Post
Hello gin...

Nitrates at 40 ppm isn't bad. The fish may feel a little irritation, but nothing serious. The level could be lower if you dropped in some stems of floating plants. I like Hornwort. It takes in nitrates through the leaves as soon as this nutrient is available. So, it grows quickly in nitrate rich water. The more it grows, the purer the tank water. The plant is very inexpensive and available at most of the chain pet stores like PetCo and Petsmart.

Keep up on the water changes. Half the tank's volume weekly isn't too much. The changes will keep the water properties stable. The fish will adapt to your tap water chemistry.

B
True for lots of fishes, some will handle quite extraordinary conditions.
You have two problems, not sure if plants will consume 30ppm nitrate? A bit yes.
Secondly water changes, you add no3 rich water every time, which will not dissipate quite as you would think as the fish are constantly re supplying it, snails add to it, all manor of things really, excess food, any biological rotting matter. Potentially it could work but you would need masses of plants and very few fish.

Also each time you buy fish it's a guessing game for which species will handle it and which ones will not. Lots of info available for tolerance levels. Most people would aim for 0. Some fish would go belly up past 10ppm. Some fish would go belly up after consistent measurable amounts, like just off the base colour.

@ gin, RO is reverse osmosis, sorry! I started where you are now, knowing nothing except that I want fish! All of them! I think with nitrate removal in plants it's similar to an algae turf scrubber, you need fast growing plants which are trimmed frequently, the leaves absorb the nutrients which are exported through the cut stems/leaves etc.

I assume you have a test kit, what else is in your water?
The path you choose really depends on where you want to be in a few years. I ended up digging myself deeper and deeper in the quest for perfect water for the fish I ended up keeping.

If you have high GH Kh water, like alkaline pH 8 or so, I would suggest the RO cut, that's basically what I did after the first nitrate resin. Sort of its a bit mixed up, I used both alongside for a bit. Really it depends on your finances. Long term RO isn't much more than any other off the shelf method. You already pay for water. Call it 30 a year on servicing a small unit, you will do that in resin or maybe cartridges, the base price of the nitrate cartridge with all the bits to get you going isn't far short of an RO unit. Same if you run that Fluval type resin in a filter and bucket, a cheap canister plus the resin and salt isn't much different for the smaller model RO units.

The cheapest method is plants, I'm not so sure it will work for you. Plants look nice though. I can say this because I've dealt with your water in a heavily planted tank, well lit with fish. Loads of growth, I mean absolutely packed with plants. You still have a nitrate problem, well not a problem, you can still measure nitrate that's what I mean. Maybe I used the wrong species of plant, some are known to absorb more, but it isn't a great deal more.

For me, perfect water is free from nitrogenous waste but that's just my opinion.
It doesn't matter how you get there.
(Obviously other things make perfect water for different fish species but I'm just talking about ammonia nitrite nitrate)
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Old 06-06-2014, 11:00 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ginty View Post
Sorry. I probably am being thick, but i havent got a clue about any of what you said. Whats RO??
Im reasonably new to owning an aquarium. I need things explained in leymans terms.

Ive just upgraded to a 110l tank. I did a fishless cycle. Ive now added 3 zebra danios. I do want to add the rest of my fish which are in my old 30l. I have two platties and 3 guppies.
Ive only just got an external filter. And added live plants. I only know the basic stuff. Sorry if im a pain. But id like to be the best i can be.


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Ok, danio were my first fish ever, I loved the pearl danio! Lovely fish.

Here's a thought, you could add those fish to your main tank and use your second smaller system to produce nitrate free water which you add to your display tank. Using the filter based resin.
So then you've 30l on standby.

Once your external has matured, try packing resin into your old internal and pre filter this in the 30. Ta da! But you need salt, the resin and a way of measuring the salt water. It works though.

Do you have any favourite fish when you go shopping for er. . . Fish!
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Old 06-06-2014, 11:05 AM   #8
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All good information. It's a little too much for me and I just keep things simple with large, frequent water changes and a lot of floating plants. Maybe the poster can use this info.

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Old 06-06-2014, 11:56 AM   #9
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All good information. It's a little too much for me and I just keep things simple with large, frequent water changes and a lot of floating plants. Maybe the poster can use this info.

B
You're normal! I went nuts! Certified.

That's the key thing right there, frequent water changes, I won't get into size! Whatever works but frequently. I do little and often with infrequent large, sometimes i must do a large water change, or face drowning!
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Old 06-06-2014, 12:08 PM   #10
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Its a bit too much for me if im honest. I have no idea how to do these things with my filter. I have a fluval 206.
I use api liquid test kits.
My ammonia is 0
My nitrite is 0
Nitrate is 40 and ph is ph7.5

I have guppies platties and zebra danios. I want to get penguin tetras eventually.
Im from uk so any help on where to get these plants etc would help as i dont really want to go pets at home anymore, as their information is normally wrong as ive found out as i learn more.

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Sorry i corrected now. Its should have said 7.5
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