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Nitrate control

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Some of you might remember this topic of mine http://www.kokosgold...oerba-yun-fang/ about adding pothos to my plant to reduce the nitrate.

Quick overview over what is going on in my tank/s:

--- My "main" tank is overstocked. 55 gallons with 3 single tails and 4 fancies. The single tails range from 3.5"- 5." size in length and the fancies between 2.75" and 3.75" (all without tail)

--- I feed my fish "a lot", and in an overstocked tank this can make the nitrate rise very fast

--- My fish destroy plants, even the "hard leafed" kind that most fish don't touch

My maintenance routine is a bi weekly water change of as much water as I can drain until my largest fish's BACK (not the dorsal!) is touching the water surface. This brings the water level down to about 2 inches. My fish are all used to this and don't get freaked out/stressed at all. I think this is about a good 85% water change bi-weekly.

At this point, the nitrate usually was up to 20ppm (or maybe higher, I am having problems seeing the difference between 20 and 40, but it looked closer to 20ppm)

To keep the nitrate as low as possible, I did what I showed in the topic linked above, added pothos to the tank so they are mostly out of reach for the fish, while absorbing nitrate. The fish will and are nibbling on the roots as they are available, but they are doing this for months and it hasn't harmed a fish.

IMPORTANT INFO:

When I had my first, small pothos (only about a third the size of my current plant) on that tank, it took it several months to pick up on the nitrate control. I don't know how, but it seemed like the plant needed to adjust to the new living conditions (roots submerged in water instead of being planted) until it showed its full potential of nitrate control.

Because of this, interestingly the old (much smaller) plant removed more nitrate from my 55 gallon tank than the new larger plant, but I know that the new one will eventually catch up and do absolutely amazing nitrate control in a few months.

Anyway, today is day 6 after I added the large pothos. I fed as usual (no fasting day in between) and today I tested the parameters, which were: 0/0/10

For a way overstocked tank with heavy feedings and decently sized fish after 6 days this is absolutely AWESOME. As said, in a few months I am sure that in that very same time frame I will see the nitrates drop to 5ppm and lower. Maybe even fully disappear.

So for everyone who wants nitrate control but for one reason or another can't have tank plants, this is an amazing way to do it! Just make sure you keep your cats and dogs away from the plant, as it can cause problems if they eat the leaves :D

PS: I will surely continue with my bi-weely 85% water changes because I don't want to stunt these fish, but I am very happy seeing that the nitrate is very much under control :D

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Edited by Oerba Yun Fang

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:goodpost

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Really interesting project, Fang!

I noticed that you dont have any artifical lighting above/focused on the pothos, so I wonder how the plants Nitrates control will be affected in the winter - i.e. when it is in its dormant period and putting out less growth, thus using less energy and nutrients? Have you had pothos in the tanks over winter before is it a new venture this year? Id love to know if/how it fluctuates at all.

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How it will do during the winter, I will see :)

You can't see it in the photo, but only about 4 feet distance away is my ceiling light, which holds 3 60 watt bulbs.

Additionally, right across from the plant on the tank is one of the windows to this room (there are 3 big windows). We barely get direct sunlight on the tanks, but a lot of indirect light.

Plus I can easily set a small desk lamp on to of the entertainment stand right next to the plant, and have its light point down at the plant, to force it into working harder.

The plant will then feel like in an interrogation room :rofl

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Pothos can grow in low light, and no pothos I ever saw had a normal dormant stage inside in Winter. Since they don't experience lower light in Winter under indoor lighting! Those plants grow like mad! I don't ever lessen the watering in Winter because indoor air is dry here in Winter.

Edited by Red

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The plant will then feel like in an interrogation room :rofl

This made me lol :]

But yeah, I have not grown a Pothos myself and im not going to try and question you lovely ladies on your plants ;D

I was just under the impression from my own horticultural interests and experience that all plants will experience a dormant period even under artifical conditions? I think resting is a natural behaviour to ensure the health of the plant, even if it does not fully stop growing it may just slow slightly at certain periods. I know that in a friends Orchid Greenhouse, even with optimum growth setups, her plants grow faster at different times of year.

I will be glad to hear if it stays on full nitrate soaking form year-round though, because I am thinking that I might grow a Pothos or other such plant ontop of my Juwel tank, and use the old inbuilt filterhouse as its "root holder" since I have already got new filters in there (and this would be a way for me to avoid having to extract the filter housing).

Please keep us posted about this Fang! :D

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Oh yes, it probably does slow a little, but still grows. I'm forever pinning the plant up, or trimming it. Anyway, maybe the nitrate consumption will be lower during the slow growth period. Good point. :)

I may put some pothos back in my tank too, if I can find a used internal filter...that is brilliant Fang!!

Edited by Red

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my tap water has nitrate at 20-40ppm (can't distinguish the shades of red), and following fang, have 2 pothos plants (10dys gone), can't wait to test soon.

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Coco, where in the UK are you in? Are you in an agricultural area? If so the farms nitrates maybe running off into the water supply. I ask 'cause my fiance's from Glasgow.

I also love the idea of sticking my house plant in the tank. We have tons of them. I'll give it a whirl. Thanks.

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my tap water has nitrate at 20-40ppm (can't distinguish the shades of red), and following fang, have 2 pothos plants (10dys gone), can't wait to test soon.

How's the outcome? :)

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Ok... so now somebody just needs to come up with an EQUALLY spectacular way of removing all those nasty hormones that do things like cause stunting... and we'll never have to do water changes again! *sigh* lol ;)

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Ok... so now somebody just needs to come up with an EQUALLY spectacular way of removing all those nasty hormones that do things like cause stunting... and we'll never have to do water changes again! *sigh* lol

Lol. I well understand the sentiment :)

To date, there has been no concrete evidence of a stunting hormone from carp. Such as substance has been theorized, but has not been found. There is some question in regard to the existence of such a factor.

In addition to nitrate removal, water changes are also necessary to get rid of other wastes and accumulations. On this matter, I'm preaching to the choir. :P

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Oh Alex, me too! With the waste and the nitrate as cycle end product, there is still a lot of bacteria that accumulates over time. Not having to do any water changes would be cool, but I doubt it is ever gonna work.

And honestly, I like doing water changes. Right now I got done cleaning the media in the teles tub pond filter-box, and it's fun! - And also shows how much gunk still piles up, independant from nitrates :)

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Of course, being able to control nitrates in this manner is definitely a huge advantage. Some fish develop sensitivities to even relatively low levels of nitrates. :)

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...i need to buy some testing kits

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...i need to buy some testing kits

Yep! It is always good to have a drop test kit at home. It can be so useful and essential at times :)

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Hahaha

I just found out what this plant is!!! My house is full of these plants! My mom keeps them in pots and they grow VERY LONG. They are very hardy.

I even took some at work and keep them in a glass bottle with just water, they don't really need soil, and they have grown roots in just a few days.

Also this plant is perfect for cold climates and extremely hot/tropical climates with humidity (my country's temperatures range from 5-40 degrees Celcious with a lot of sunlight and in Summer there is a lot of humidity so this plant grows like crazy).

Will the leaves be ok in water??? I have some stems that have grown big roots and don't need the leaves to be in the water so i will be adding it to my aquarium tonight.

Great idea Fang. Every day i learn something new :)

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It's been 2 days since i have added Pothos plant in my small aquarium and my goldfish love it. They swim between the roots and they don't nibble at the roots at all. I had the plant for 5 weeks in a bottle with water (way before i read this article) and now it has 13cm long roots which is good as i don't need to put the whole plant in the water and leave the leafs out. The plant is a very nice decoration also.

Thanks Fang for the great idea. If any problems occur or notice anything strange i will reply to this forum.

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I have tap water that reads 40-80 (can't differentiate between the reds in the API test kit results)

I was inspired by Tithra and this link to get a Pothos to help reduce my nitrates.

I have removed it from the soil and it is sitting in a bowl of water, but there is still a lot of dirt stuck to the roots. I am worried about the chemicals in the fertilizer that was in the soil getting into my tank.

How do you clean your plants thoroughly enough to ensure that you will not poison your fish by introducing the plant?

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Great Article Fang

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