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Old 02-18-2007, 08:07 AM   #1
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Nitrate removal question...

Life has gotten in the way and I'm not able to put the time into my tank that I was once able to. It's a planted 125 with the whole CO2 setup. I have an Eheim 2217 as the filter. I'm looking to increase the time between water changes. At present, I only do a PWC every 4 weeks. I know it's a long time between changes, but the only water parameter that is an issue is nitrate. Give my your thoughts on this: Add a smaller cannister filter (Probably an Eheim Ecco 2234) and except for the coarse and fine pads, fill the baskets with SeaChem De-Nitrate. I know it's not enough filter for the 125, but i'm only looking to use it as a secondary means for removing more nitrate and delaying the PWC. Sure it's another cannister to maintain, but I think that would be easier than the PWCs. Any input would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

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Old 02-18-2007, 08:15 AM   #2
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I saw this at Drs F&S

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Old 02-18-2007, 08:25 AM   #3
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Interesting that you would have a problem with nitrates. What is your current level?
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Old 02-18-2007, 12:03 PM   #4
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Nitrates are not the only thing you want to remove. It is basically just a guide for when the water needs to be changed. If the tank is heavily planted, there may not be much nitrate, but all sorts of other stuff that isn't tested for, that should be removed. Perhaps the problem is more with your method of doing water changes.
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Old 02-18-2007, 04:28 PM   #5
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First, I saw that device mentioned above on Foster and Smith, but It's cheaper to get the extra Eheim and replace the De-Nitrate every so often. Besides, I'd rather have the extra filter as a backup that can be put into use if needed. I'm also not really sure how that F&S device attaches and runs.

Second, my nitrates are at about 10ppm because I just did a PWC. After about a month it gets to about the 60pm range which is reaching the somewhat high levels.

Third, without sounding rude, I don't have a problem. No fish have died or become ill from my methods. No plants have died or become ill. I have been using the same method for nearly 5 years on this tank. I'm just looking to extend the time between PWCs. I know there are other things that are not tested for in the water, but none that are really life threatening to the fish. If they were life threatening, they would be tested for . The tank is not "heavily" planted so to speak, but it is planted and I know that the plants help the water quality. I have gone up to 2 months without a PWC, but the nitrates get up to about 80-90ppm which is higher than I like. I have not lost any fish from those levels, but I'd still prefer that they not get that high. I am looking for a way to go 2 months without a PWC (if needed) and know that my nitrates haven't gotten too high.
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Old 02-18-2007, 04:56 PM   #6
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A simple solution is to add more plants. A whole bunch of java fern should keep your nitrates down. The chemical nitrate removers tend to be depleted in short order. If you are looking for less maintenance. Then more plants is your answer.
While my high light high tech tanks require weekly water changes because of the ferts added. I have several tanks that go for months or longer without any real water changing. This low tech/few water change method is widely accepted and works very well. It is critical however to have a large plant biomass. The book "Ecology of the Planted Aquarium" by Diana Walstad, should offer you the suggestions as to the type of tank it sounds like you wish to keep.
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Old 02-19-2007, 02:05 AM   #7
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Thanks Zezmo. I'll check Amazon for the book. I am planning on adding more plants, but I want to change my substrate out first. I was stupid when I set up the tank years ago and have regular gravel with a VERY thin layer of laterite underneath. I'm planning on removing the current substrate, replacing it with flourite, and then replanting it and adding plants. I've temporarily added two Emperor 400's to the back of the tank to help pick up the load from the fish while the new substrate takes hold and the plants pick up the load. You can see some REALLY old pictures of my tanks on my website and see that they had a pretty decent plant load at one time. I've never really had any "grass" or low front plants growing well due to the poor substrate. I've also considered just mixing in some more laterite, but I think that it would just look better if I do a complete swap of the substrate. I should also mention (for what it's worth) that I am going to be adding an inline UV sterilizer AFTER getting the new substrate in.
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Old 02-19-2007, 04:41 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by wabyrd
I've never really had any "grass" or low front plants growing well due to the poor substrate.
You don't need to have a special substrate to grow a carpet. As long as you have the right amount of light and fertilize the water colume, it will grow and form a carpet.

Sure a substrate with minerials in it will help, but I wanted to point out that it wasn't a must.

Here is my Glosso growing in plain old sand:

Can you give out the specs on your lighting? Bulbs, watts, how old, ect..
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Old 02-19-2007, 11:01 AM   #9
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I like Turface MPV as substrate, but substrate change is a big impact to the fish. My pH is 6.2 at the beginning, and it gradually raised to normal 7.0 in a month, with help of crushed coral.
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Old 03-02-2007, 11:28 AM   #10
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I have to chime in with a question here. What makes filter maintenance easier than a PWC?

Until I began a planted tank, I did a water change and tank cleaning about every 2-3 months, and, yes, the fish did fine and the water did not look bad. But with a planted tank, I do a PWC weekly. Just to do the PWC, all you have to do is drain the water, add conditioners, add water, and add any KH and/or GH booster. I use a water hose (fish only hose) to drain the water directly outside and then fill the tank via water hose from the kitchen tap. It is really pretty easy and much, much easier than filter maintanence.

Anyone else with any thoughts on PWCs being easy or not???
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Old 03-02-2007, 11:47 AM   #11
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Have you tried Purigen in your existin filter? It supposedly removes excess nitrates. I use it, but mainly because it keeps my water extremely clear.
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Old 03-02-2007, 12:17 PM   #12
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Clams take care of nitrates, but I hear they are notoriously hard to keep.
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Old 03-02-2007, 12:23 PM   #13
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i do weekly 50-75% pwc on 7 tanks of varying sizes (75 gal down to 10 gal), it takes me about 1.5-2 hours total! so, no offence, but i find it difficult to understand why it would be so hard to space an hour every week or two to do a pwc. a python is cheaper then another filter and the chems, IMO just a thought to consider


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nitrate, val

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