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grain

How To Keep Nitrates Down?

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I have a serious problem with nitrates in my tank. The only way I can seem to keep them low is by doing large water changes every 2 day. Changing 30+ gallons of water every other day just isn't very convenient or cost effective (not to mention stressful for my fish).....and when I say high nitrates, they climb up to over 100 within a week.....and just from 15 to over 40 overnight. So, I have bought 2 plants, I don't have them in my tank yet, as they are in QT, and I am going to treat them at least once more before adding them in. But I am open to any other suggestions. Trinket mentioned that some people use NitraZorb....I was thinking of trying this, but I don't know of any "side effect" or anything of this stuff.

So, please, hit me with any suggestions or experience for this problem!

Edited by grain

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What are the specs on your tank?

Size?

How much filtration?

How long has it been running?

Have you tested your tap water?

How many fish?

Edited by RYUU

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Size? 55 gal

How much filtration? 2 bio wheel 350's, and these aren't really filters, but: 1 power head with a UV light attached, and 2 power heads just to keep the water flowing in the bottom back corners of my tank

How long has it been running? 3 years

Have you tested your tap water? yup...no nitrates or ammonia or nitrites at all

How many fish? 4 total: 1 choc. albino pleco, about 5"-6", 1 ryukin/fantail mix 8", 1 shubunkin 8"-9", 1 black moor 4"

high nitrates have been a problem ever since i can remember

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A healthy coat of green algae growth on the sides of the tank will do wonders for reducing Nitrates. I only scrape and clean the front and let the green algae coat the other three sides.

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my pleco keeps the tank amazingly clear of algae.....but, i remember even before I got him, I actually had the tank covered with algae except the front and one side, but the nitrates were still way high even with weekly water changes.

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The pleco might be holding you back, algae and light is actually a good method to reduce nitrate as you can scrape them off and take out some nitrate manually in doing so. The thing is, if the pleco or the goldfish eats the algae it'll come back one way or another as ammonia. It'll cycle through your filter and become nitrate again.

Try this http://www.kokosgoldfish.invisionzone.com/...t=0#entry693140 although it may limit some source of food for your pleco.

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Guest avalon

Is the tank near a window? if it is why not try a bamboo, or house plant filter? Piece a styrofoam floating on top, stick the plant in so the roots dangle in the water and float it on top. Unlike aquatic plants fully terrestrial plants start with nitrate, then nitrite then ammonia, rather then aquatic plants going from ammonia, to nitrite to nitrate.

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Do you have a bare bottom (tank that is)? :booty -if you've had your tank set up for 3 years and you've never torn it down and you've got gravel, there's probably a huge heap of mulm (even if you use a siphon, you'll be amazed at how much gunk still stays in there) that continues to leak nitrate into your water... Consider going bare bottomed...( :rolleyes: )

Another thing, how much are you feeding your little guys? and how often do you clean the mulm outta the filters? That nitrate's gotta be coming from somewhere in your tank... :)

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Thanks for the help everyone!!

-I have not added my live plants yet, but I want to get them in there by the end of the week.

-I do have a bare bottom :booty tank. It is nowhere near a window. I feed them 2X a day. I only clean one of the filters about once a month or two (alternating the filter being cleaned, of course)....last time I did that, my cycle crashed, so I try not to do it that often, although, I am going to start doing it more often, just not as extensively at one time.

-will bamboo grow with just the tank lights? The lighting system I has only has 1 18" 15Watt bulb on each side of the tank, so it's really not that strong. I'm actually hoping the plants that I bought won't die because of the lighting.

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Is your test kit out of date? Seems really wierd that they would get so high in a perfectly stocked barebottom tank..

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nope....i actually thought that might be the case last month and bought another just incase.....same results.

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Purigen has worked pretty well for me the time I've tried it, and I've heard of other people being happy with it to keep nitrates down. It is also rechargeable in bleach, so you can get a fairly long life out it, even though it is expensive. It also really makes the water sparkle.

If you're feeding a fair amount with that many good-sized fish, I'm not sure how much you can do other than add lots of live plants (the faster growing the better - naja grass has been a good one for me, as have big sword plants) and not too delicious so it doesn't turn into a buffet lots of water changes, and maybe add aomething else to remove nitrates. If the plants are taking up the nitrogen compounds and you remove them from the tank by trimming and pruning, you clear it out of the system. Algae just increases the capacity of the tank to hold the nitrates out of the water it if it is being eaten.

My 55 I've only got 2-3 larger fish in at a time can easily get up to 80-100 ppm nitrate in a week without the plants, the 55 with 3 smaller fish stays at 40 or under with weekly water changes. And we'll not talk about how much water I'm changing out of the big tank with the big fish every week...but I do feed pretty heavily compared to most people, I think. (And I've never noticed a difference in nitrate between barebottom tanks and my gravel ones. I hate that all my goldie tanks are bare right now. I don't mind some good biweekly vaccuuming.)

Edited by cheekylemur

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What food are you feeding and how much of it?

i feed a variety, soaked flakes, soft pellets, gel food, peas, etc...

for the past month or two, i have cut back to feeding only twice daily, before that it was 3times daily....unfortunately, i don't think that cutting back has made any difference.

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Purigen has worked pretty well for me the time I've tried it, and I've heard of other people being happy with it to keep nitrates down. It is also rechargeable in bleach, so you can get a fairly long life out it, even though it is expensive. It also really makes the water sparkle.

If you're feeding a fair amount with that many good-sized fish, I'm not sure how much you can do other than add lots of live plants (the faster growing the better - naja grass has been a good one for me, as have big sword plants) and not too delicious so it doesn't turn into a buffet lots of water changes, and maybe add aomething else to remove nitrates. If the plants are taking up the nitrogen compounds and you remove them from the tank by trimming and pruning, you clear it out of the system. Algae just increases the capacity of the tank to hold the nitrates out of the water it if it is being eaten.

My 55 I've only got 2-3 larger fish in at a time can easily get up to 80-100 ppm nitrate in a week without the plants, the 55 with 3 smaller fish stays at 40 or under with weekly water changes. And we'll not talk about how much water I'm changing out of the big tank with the big fish every week...but I do feed pretty heavily compared to most people, I think. (And I've never noticed a difference in nitrate between barebottom tanks and my gravel ones. I hate that all my goldie tanks are bare right now. I don't mind some good biweekly vaccuuming.)

Thanks!! at least I know that I am not the only one whose tank gets nitrates that high!

what exactly is Purigen? I've never heard of it....where do you buy it?

I've still got the 2 plants i have in iso...i gave them a 2nd round of disinfecting today....i'm debating one more before i put them in...the last thing i need right now is for them to have some nasty lingering parasite waiting to infect my fish!!

But if these 2 do well with the lighting i have, i will definately get some more!

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I think Nitrazorb is like that Purigen, if you've seen that around?

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I have never heard of Purigen before. Is there any danger in using that or the nitrazorb?

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I can't think of any problems with Purigen, you just keep it in a mesh bag in your filter. You can find it at some of the chain pet stores, or order from Drs Foster and Smith (cheaper if you're getting enoguh other stuff to make shipping worth it).

I think the Nitrazorb is similar, but I haven't tried it.

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ok, i just put my 2 plants in.....if they do well, i will get at least 3 more, and hopefully that will help!

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ok, i just put my 2 plants in.....if they do well, i will get at least 3 more, and hopefully that will help!

I hope that works for you grain. :)

I always prefer the natural way over using chemicals.

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ok, i just put my 2 plants in.....if they do well, i will get at least 3 more, and hopefully that will help!

I hope that works for you grain. :)

I always prefer the natural way over using chemicals.

Thank you , Jack! I don't like to use chemicals either :exactly ...I just hope I left them in QT long enough and they don't have any creepy parasites that may have not been killed by the bleach treatments :krazy:

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Thank you , Jack! I don't like to use chemicals either :exactly ...I just hope I left them in QT long enough and they don't have any creepy parasites that may have not been killed by the bleach treatments :krazy:

Let us know how you make out with the nitrates with the plants in it. It should definitely "eat" some of the nitrates. :)

Edited by Jack of Hearts

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I have been using a lot of plants in my tank lately, mainly lots of Cabomba, Elodea and Anacharis. I have found that this has helped a lot with my nitrates, and I have had readings well between 5-10 for over 3 weeks now. My nitrates used to read 40+ no matter what I did. I now use various things to keep them under control, but I would say one of the better things is the use of plants. I hope you get them under control soon as I know how annoying it can be.

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