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matt1066
03-27-2003, 05:34 PM
Hi all,

Hoping for a little help here. Is it possible for your tap to have @ 5ppm of Nitrate, and your tanks to have 0 ppm? Taking into consideration that all my water changes are done with my tap water.

Thanks

Matt:confused:

merlyn2221
03-27-2003, 08:59 PM
Not possible (logically, anyway) unless you're using some kind of ammonia removing resin that also removes nitrates too. Some phosphate removing resins may also do the same thing, but both of these resins state that they remove nitrates.

I don't think my nitrates have ever been 0ppm. Unless it was the first day I set up the tank.

What are you using to test for nitrates? Strips? Tablets? Liquids?

Whatever it is, if your tank's nitrates are 0, I guess maybe the nitrogen cycle has somehow been disrupted because of the tap water.

fOx
03-28-2003, 09:03 AM
First off, most of the cleanest, clearest lakes and oceans in the world have nitrate levels of around 5ppm (even an anemone can thrive in water of this quality)... so I would really be all that concerned if that is what's coming out of your water taps. Fish shouldn't even start to feel the affects of nitrate until it reaches more than 20ppm in which case you need to do something immediatley.

I've seen the specs on your tank a few times and it seems to me that you are overfiltering the aquarium adequatley (which is excellent) as a result the biological media in your filters are prolly pulling out the little traces of nitrate that you are adding to your tank with ease.


Here is some reading on nitrates if your interested (another link from my days as a reef keeper :D )

http://saltaquarium.miningco.com/library/weekly/aa072999.htm

good luck...

fOx

matt1066
03-28-2003, 07:07 PM
Hi guys,

I use Redsea, and Seachem so I know that my values are relatively true. The only thing I can think of is that I am using Chemi-pure, and that my be removing some Nitrate.

I just finished my usual 75% water change and tomorrow will re-pack my Eheim 2215 with Sealab DOS and Phosban. Both claim not to remove trace elements; which I have never used before, but with the suggestion of Fox I am going carbonless and adding trace elements(Kent cichlid). So far my carbonless experiment in my 55 is going very well, so I will now try it on the 125.

Thanks for the read on Nitrate Fox, as you already know I am a bit fanatical about my nitrates, I am trying to get over-it, but habits are hard to break.

Thank goodness Merlyn, I know my nitrogen cycle is intact and working well. Zero everything gh/kh good however my KH is a bit high, 20 degrees-will bring it down with some distilled water tomorrow, but I don't think that reading will be harmful for a bit longer.

Hope all is well.

Regards,

Matthew

Paul C.
03-29-2003, 04:16 PM
Agreed not possible. All freshwater tanks should show some kind of nitrate reading unless brand new. I have heard of people in the country using well water experience this most often. Concentrations up to 40ppm are not unheard of. You could call the water company and ask for an analysis of the water.

matt1066
03-29-2003, 06:02 PM
Hi all,

You see, the thing is my tap water is reg 5ppm, but when I use my new Seachem test on the tank water I get no color chg at all. I have read the instructions 5X's(not rocket science) and I am doing exactly as directed. I know this because the tap is changing color.

Thanks,

Matt

I guess I'll just call Seachem, unless someone has an explaination.

Oh, my Redsea kit measures my tanks at 10ppm:confused:

merlyn2221
03-30-2003, 12:16 AM
This goes back to a post and a poll I put up a while ago. Some tests aren't as sensitive as others.

If I use a strip it reads 40ppm of nitrate; if I use the liquid it doesn't read anything.

This is an issue that is driving me crazy as well. Let me know what they say.

SGypsyMermaid
04-01-2003, 03:40 PM
chemi pure does remove nitrates.

matt1066
04-02-2003, 07:50 PM
Hi all,

Just an up date. I recieved my new Redsea kit(long story). In any case it is reading my tap and tanks at 5ppm. Which I believe is accurate.

I e-mailed Seachem(very helpful and prompt). They had me run a new n=batch of test using Redsea and seachem.

As I stated earlier the Seachem test was reading @5ppm nitrate and my tanks registered zero.

I was then asked by Seachem what my KH was, they said a high KH can throw the test off. Well my KH is @17-18. I responded with the info and await a reply probably by tomorrow. I also asked them what the KH should be to get an accurate reading, so we'll see.

I think I prefer the Redsea kit, as the color comparison chart on the Seachem test is difficult to divine. But I am interested to see what Seachem has to say about the KH issue and accurate test results.

Hope all is well,

Matt

P.S. If you are going to buy a Redsea kit, let me know as there have been some changes made by them and if you don't no which kit to buy you will not get an accurate read. I went through a lot of frustration over this, so maybe I can save you some time.:lol:

matt1066
04-03-2003, 08:52 PM
Recieved reply from Seachem, apparentley the nitrate test is based on a KH of 14, equal to seawater. My KH being 17-he/she suggested using two drops of a particular potion to make-up for the difference. I tried it and, and the color went off the scale.(inaccurate) I requested they send me some Prime instead.

Guess I'll stick to Redsea Nitrate test(newest version)


Regards,

Matthew

chc
04-18-2003, 08:21 PM
Just a clarification of someone's comment above about biological filtration being so well cycled that it removes nitrates.......... that isn't possible with traditional fresh water setups. The nitrogen cycle ends with the production of nitrates in most freshwater setups. Live plants, etc. can eliminate some of the nitrates, but that isn't the bio-media doing the removing.

The Chemi-Pure is probably the culprit.

SGypsyMermaid
04-19-2003, 04:02 AM
Originally posted by chc
Just a clarification of someone's comment above about biological filtration being so well cycled that it removes nitrates.......... that isn't possible with traditional fresh water setups. The nitrogen cycle ends with the production of nitrates in most freshwater setups. Live plants, etc. can eliminate some of the nitrates, but that isn't the bio-media doing the removing.

The Chemi-Pure is probably the culprit.

i agree that chemi-pure is probably the reason that the nitrates were removed from matt's tank, however, i disagree with the rest of your statement. i believe that nitrate does get converted to free oxygen and nitrogen in the anaerobic areas inside of porous rock in freshwater tanks in the same way that it does in reef tanks.

chc
04-19-2003, 09:01 AM
Agreed in theory, but that doesn't happen to a degree even approaching the live rock based marine setups that work so well. At best, denitrification as you described in a freshwater setup minimizes the GROWTH rate of nitrate levels by some (highly variable) amount, but in the vast majority of freshwater systems that denitrification isn't viable enough to actually REDUCE nitrate levels.

In a very well established system with a good deal of porous rock as you described, a very deep and undisturbed sand bed (i.e. no gravel vacuuming below 1/2" or so), a good stand of fast growing plants, and very low stocking rates you could see reduction in Nitrates. That said, it is difficult to find a home aquarium which approaches those parameters, especially in regard the the stocking rates that would be necessary to pull it off (defintiely not with common African Cichlid or Central/South American fishkeeping).

I have been able to stabilize/eliminate nitrate growth in controlled environments, but that is far from being able to do it in a 75 gallon tank with 1/4 pounds of fish for instance. It's more along the lines a handful of male guppies in a 75 gallon tank.

I probably overstated my point in that previous post, so we agree in the theory of denitrification. I just wanted to point out that it is not occurring in many hobbyists tanks. If it were, there'd be little need to change water on a regular basis.

SGypsyMermaid
04-19-2003, 11:03 AM
chc--points well taken.:)

merlyn2221
04-19-2003, 11:23 AM
While on the Nitrate subject...

Has anyone ever used De*Nitrate and does it work?

I have used Nitra-Zorb and found it worked pretty well, but did not last very long, even with "recharging."

Just wondering.

SGypsyMermaid
04-19-2003, 11:53 AM
i don't know about that one, but chemi-pure works longer than nitra-sorb without re-charging...up to six months.

matt1066
04-19-2003, 04:13 PM
From what I have read, you can set-up a plenum system as now is the new rage is Salt water. I am converting my 125g to sand from gravel and I may have a go at it.

I'm sure that my 55g with a 3" sand bed is converting Nitrate into free nitrogen. When I stir the sand from time-to-time I get a release of some bubbles. Lacking the sulphur smell of the gas I am convinced it is free nitrogen gas.

Regards,

Matt

fOx
04-20-2003, 09:49 AM
plenums have been all the rage for years... I used to have one. In salt water they are invaluable... I don't know how helpful they will be in a freshwater tank tho...

It's also called the Jaubert Method of filtration. Here is a little more reading for those interested.

http://saltaquarium.about.com/gi/dynamic/offsite.htm?site=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.aquasite.com%2Fw hat%2Farticles%2Farticles%2Fmethod.shtml

fOx

:dance:

merlyn2221
04-22-2003, 09:29 PM
So f0X, have you ever built one of these units? I need to do something about my constantly high nitrates, despite regular water changes.

I run three filters on my tanks just to help keep the levels under 40ppm.
Needless to say I am heavily overstocked, so one of the filters is loaded with nothing but biological materials to help keep the colony of bacteria alive and well.

Got any ideas? (Aside from getting rid of all the fish...:D )

SGypsyMermaid
04-22-2003, 09:57 PM
merlyn--the nitrates are the end product of the biological filtration system. you probably need to either increase the size of your water changes, or increase the frequency.

merlyn2221
04-22-2003, 10:36 PM
I change once a week...25%.

chc
04-23-2003, 07:19 AM
That still may not be enough water changes. Running three filters will do nothing to reduce Nitrates in 99% of FW setups. You will certainly filter mechanically better, and you could have more stability in the bio-capability of the tank (assuming only opne of the three filters is serviced at one time thereby allowing the other to two give a headstart to the biological recovery time), but the bottom line is filtration in a FW tank is just going to result in the production of Nitrates. There's no getting around that, but you can reduce the amount of increase in Nitrates somewhat.

The first thing that most people miss is the fact that tons of organic waste generally just sits in their filters. Just because it isn't in the aquarium proper doesn't mean it isn't in the system continuing its breakdown (i.e. the Nitrogen cycle which results ultimately in Nitrate production). One way to shortcut/eliminate that fact is to replace the mechanical media of your filter as frequently as possible..... before it has a chance to start to be converted to Nitrate. That's one reason I don't favor canister filters in heavily stocked tanks. It is difficult to fashion a filter bed that can be replaced (either easily or inexpensively) at least weekly. However, it is easy to do the same with a HOB filter (e.g. Emperor). I change the "home-made" filter media in my power filters whenever I can, and it doesn't cost much. I would guess the average canister isn't serviced but once a month, and therefore a month's accumulation of waste just sits in the canister being converted to Nitrate.

I would suggest to anyone that uses a canister to heavily prefilter the water that eventually goes into the canister. It is generally easier to clean a prefilter, and the maintenance time between canister service can be dramatically reduced.

Still, in FW, we're actually lucky that a simple water change can take care of the Nitrate issue for us. Salt water enthusiasts don't have it so good as their inhabitants are more delicate when it comes to Nitrate levels, and water changes can be a chore (since salt water doesn't come out of the tap).

SGypsyMermaid
04-23-2003, 09:51 AM
kick it up to 50% weekly.

matt1066
04-23-2003, 02:44 PM
I do a 75% weekly change on my 55 and 125. I figure if I'm going to change 25-50% a week its not to much trouble to increase it to 75%. I use the garden hose to siphon it out and the Python to refill while I add dechlor and cichlid salts at the same time. Never had a problem.

Some people may say that's to much you will wipe out all your bacteria. Oh-I also gravel vac 100% of the substrate. Never had a nitrite or ammonia spike yet.

Regards,

Matt

The reason I dont use the Python to empty it is because I dont seem to get enough suction, no matter how hi I turn the faucett on. IYI

fOx
04-23-2003, 03:12 PM
Yes, I have had a plenum. They work great! Here is a link for you (maybe I should put it in DIY) sorry about the pop-ups...

http://cubanreef.tripod.com/plenumdiy.htm

PS.. I haven't said anything else because the above advice is great... I would have to agree with all of it. The only thing to add, is maybe Merlynn should consider another filter for your tank. A hang-on, or whatever. More biological filtration = lower nitrates. I am not a big fan of massive water changes, but to each their own.

good luck.

fOx

merlyn2221
04-23-2003, 03:40 PM
Ok, maybe this sounds stupid, but how does this work in a cichlid tank? I can readily see it working in a Saltwater tank. But can I use live sand here?

I think I will stick to the regular water changes. And I have two hang on filters for each tank and one canister for each tank. The only thing I have in the canisters is the biomedia. That way when I change out the Emperors and the ACs (500 and 300) there is still a large biological base. I rotate changes on the two and rinse the canister every three weeks.

I think I will rinse media more frequently, this may help. Plus I forgot to mention that I use Bacter-Vital which will cause the nitrates to read a little high. Just bothers me though, that even when I don't add the Bacter-Vital, nitrates are up around 20ppm.

I just ordered ChemiPure on line and will see how that works, since it worked for Matt.

matt1066
04-24-2003, 03:24 PM
Hi all,

What I get out of readings what plenums do and how they act is-

It is not nessasary to use live sand, just to have a sand bed that is deep enough to support the anaerobic bacteria nessasary for denitrification to take place. Thank you Fox for the site I will explore it.

Also adding another filter wont help with nitrates, if anything it will increase nitrate production by means of more surface area where nitrification takes place; thus producing more nitrate. The idea of changing the mechanical media more often is excellent as all that dietritus trapped in there will add significantly to the nitrate.

Merlyn, I would experiment, if you haven't done so already as to the effectiveness of your bacteria supplement, I know I have tried them and they did nothing for me. If you do or have done a test with and without the supplement I would be interested to know your findings:) (sorry missed the spot where you said it raised them). If it raises your nitrates, why use Bactervital? Sorry here third edit...How often do you change the mechanical media on your hang-ons?

Regards as always,

Matthew. Nice to see you jump in there Fox, always good to hear from you.

chc
05-02-2003, 03:14 PM
BINGO MATT1066!!!! You win the Nitrate knowledge award. You are dead on about the addition of biological materials..... it just aids in nitrification and the production of more Nitrates. The secret is to remove the waste from the system BEFORE it needs to be broken down (i.e. nitrification).

chc
05-02-2003, 03:16 PM
Oh yeah.......... and where are the micro-fauna for a FW plenum coming from?

The question about Salt vs. Fresh was appropriate.

merlyn2221
05-02-2003, 05:38 PM
Bacter-Vital causes an initial high reading, the day you put it in and sometimes the day after.

I am losing it here...I thought the more nitirfying bacteria you had in your filter bed, the better. What you, Matt, and f0X are saying seems like I have too much. But how can that be?

Anyway, my nitrates are always around 10-20ppm and just a little bit higher close to water change day. After water change, they drop back again.

I am going to try the filter media De*Nitrate instead of carbon in the one filter and see if it does any good. I guess the real answer to my situation is to change the media more frequently.

Just for your opinions, how often would you guys change the media in a 120g with 30 fish (more to be added in future) and a 55g with 13 fish?

chc
05-03-2003, 09:26 AM
I change the mechanical media at least once every two weeks in all my tanks. My goal is weekly, but I never miss every other week.

My schedule is to clean half of the media on the weekend and the other half sometime in the middle of the week. The goal is to eliminate the organic waste material from your system before it needs to be broken down (i.e the nitrogen cycle). That helps to reduce the production of nitrate (though there will always be growth in most situations).

To be able to keep this schedule economically feasible, it is important to be making your own disposable media rather than purchasing it premade. Alternatively, you could be using reusable media (Eheim's Ehfifix, sponge, etc.) for the most economical program.

I guess ideally you would change it everyday...... but that is ideally. The best setups I have empty the tank water into a micron filter bag before it contacts any other media. That way I can empty the bag every day with ease (I keep an extra bag on hand as I bleach clean the original bag every now and again). That really only works with overflow designs though. I hate using the sponges in overflow setups as they are just waste accumulators and are more difficult for me to get to than the micron bags in the sumps.

merlyn2221
05-03-2003, 07:18 PM
Thanks for your opinion, chc. I am starting a more frequent, regular media change beginning this week.

matt1066
05-23-2003, 02:27 PM
Hi Merlyn,

Lonf time no speak. Life is settling down a bit. New job selling new homes to first time buyers FYI.

If your nitrates read 10-20ppm before the water change thats great. Don't stress. I would still bump -up the amount you change as you are doing the process anyway. 25%, 50% no big deal.

Hope all is well with you, look forward to being a bit more active on the site.

Best regards,

Matt

JEFFD
02-22-2004, 10:56 AM
Originally posted by merlyn2221
[b]Bacter-Vital causes an initial high reading, the day you put it in and sometimes the day after.

I am losing it here...I thought the more nitirfying bacteria you had in your filter bed, the better. What you, Matt, and f0X are saying seems like I have too much. But how can that be?

Anyway, my nitrates are always around 10-20ppm and just a little bit higher close to water change day. After water change, they drop back again.

I am going to try the filter media De*Nitrate instead of carbon in the one filter and see if it does any good. I guess the real answer to my situation is to change the media more frequently. that is correct!!! I would change it every two or three weeks but not all at once.

As for the idea for using a DSB I wouldn't use it in an African tank. It's meant to be undisturbed which is unlikely to happen with African's.