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Old 05-01-2013, 05:26 PM   #1
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Reduce nitrates

Hi all. Quick question, what can I do to reduce the nitrate levels in my tank? I mean obviously besides the water changes. I change my water - between 30-50% and my nitrates are back in the red (40-80ppm) within a couple of days. I suspect I'm probably guilty of over feeding so I'm trying to cut down on that a bit, but since I have fry and plecos as well as my community fish, I find myself trying to cater to each. Finely ground flakes which I soak for the fry, a sprinkle on the surface for the rest, some pellets or wafers for the plecs, it all adds up. I have loads of snails. It's a 66g tank, trickle filter with carbon, bio balls, ceramic rings, and purigen. I do water changes weekly and really give the gravel a good vacuum. What else can I do to reduce the nitrates? How much *should* I be feeding? Any help would be gratefully received!
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Old 05-01-2013, 05:46 PM   #2
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Your Nitrate Question

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Originally Posted by Mcor View Post
Hi all. Quick question, what can I do to reduce the nitrate levels in my tank? I mean obviously besides the water changes. I change my water - between 30-50% and my nitrates are back in the red (40-80ppm) within a couple of days. I suspect I'm probably guilty of over feeding so I'm trying to cut down on that a bit, but since I have fry and plecos as well as my community fish, I find myself trying to cater to each. Finely ground flakes which I soak for the fry, a sprinkle on the surface for the rest, some pellets or wafers for the plecs, it all adds up. I have loads of snails. It's a 66g tank, trickle filter with carbon, bio balls, ceramic rings, and purigen. I do water changes weekly and really give the gravel a good vacuum. What else can I do to reduce the nitrates? How much *should* I be feeding? Any help would be gratefully received!
Hello Mc...

Your nitrate level is only moderately high and won't present a problem for most aquarium fish. Yes. Ideally, the level should be below 50 ppm all the time, but you can reduce the amount you feed. I feed a little a couple of times a week, mostly frozen foods and the fish are fine with that. Their stomachs are the size on one of their eyes, so it doesn't take much to fill them. The large water changes should be done weekly and half the tank's volume is good.

Floating stem plants like Brazilian waterweed and Pennywort thrive in water with higher nitrates, so you could get those into the tank. Research companies like Juwel, Seachem and Acurel. They have filter media that works specifically on nitrates.

Just a couple of suggestions.

B
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Old 05-01-2013, 08:51 PM   #3
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Have you ever tested your tap for nitrates? Also I remember very little about trickle filters but is there any sponges in it? I've found over the years that when there are sponges in filters, like my canisters, and they aren't rinsed often they actually cause nitrates to remain high no matter how many WC's you do. I use the sponges for mechnical filtration only and rinse the heck out of them under the tap to be sure they are kept very clean and have no detris buildup. Sometimes nitrates come from places we just don't think about.

I have a pleco and whiptail cats and finally got away from adding wafers and now feed about 6 cooked, deshelled peas along with their regular food daily (which many of my fish enjoy) and I also cut 1/4" slices of zucchini daily, microwave 15 seconds and cool rapidly under cold water, then clip them on the side of the tank with a veggie clip. This allow them to eat and any uneaten food can be removed.

Also as mentioned above adding water sprite, wisteria, or other fast growing stem plants can help absorb nitrates.
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Old 05-02-2013, 04:05 AM   #4
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Hello Mc...

Your nitrate level is only moderately high and won't present a problem for most aquarium fish. Yes. Ideally, the level should be below 50 ppm all the time, but you can reduce the amount you feed. I feed a little a couple of times a week, mostly frozen foods and the fish are fine with that. Their stomachs are the size on one of their eyes, so it doesn't take much to fill them. The large water changes should be done weekly and half the tank's volume is good.

Floating stem plants like Brazilian waterweed and Pennywort thrive in water with higher nitrates, so you could get those into the tank. Research companies like Juwel, Seachem and Acurel. They have filter media that works specifically on nitrates.

Just a couple of suggestions.

B
Thank you. Yes there are sponges covering each compartment. Well... More like wadding of some sort. It's a good filter. The water is lovely and clear (wish it was as simple as clear water, ha!). I've halved the amount of food I throw in. Only time will tell. I've always had readings of 5ppm or so, so the sudden rise to red concerned me. Although I discovered I was guilty of not shaking the bottles well enough so I don't know if the nitrates had been gradually picking up or if they suddenly shot up. I do have floating plants but the fish have nibbled off all their roots so I'm giving up with that. I have loads of java fern and stem plants too. And an amazon sword.
Thanks for your input. I shall look into filter media.
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Old 05-02-2013, 04:08 AM   #5
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Have you ever tested your tap for nitrates? Also I remember very little about trickle filters but is there any sponges in it? I've found over the years that when there are sponges in filters, like my canisters, and they aren't rinsed often they actually cause nitrates to remain high no matter how many WC's you do. I use the sponges for mechnical filtration only and rinse the heck out of them under the tap to be sure they are kept very clean and have no detris buildup. Sometimes nitrates come from places we just don't think about.

I have a pleco and whiptail cats and finally got away from adding wafers and now feed about 6 cooked, deshelled peas along with their regular food daily (which many of my fish enjoy) and I also cut 1/4" slices of zucchini daily, microwave 15 seconds and cool rapidly under cold water, then clip them on the side of the tank with a veggie clip. This allow them to eat and any uneaten food can be removed.

Also as mentioned above adding water sprite, wisteria, or other fast growing stem plants can help absorb nitrates.
Yes, sponges too. I rinse them with every water change in the discarded water. Sorry, read above post, I quoted the above thinking it was your post. I have zero nitrates in my tap water. Thank you very much for your input.
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