Lowering nitrates

bdrou
  • #1
Forum,

HI I am trying to lower nitrates in my 55 gallon aquarium, I was just wondering if anyone had any sugestions.


Thanks
 
Butterfly
  • #2
More frequent water changes and Live plants are two good ways to lower Nitrates
Carol
 
Narcicius
  • #3
I believe there are soem water conditioners that can actually drop the nitrates, along with ammonia and nitrites, I had to use Prime recently to save some misplaced fish.
 
Butterfly
  • #4
I believe there are soem water conditioners that can actually drop the nitrates, along with ammonia and nitrites, I had to use Prime recently to save some misplaced fish.
yes there are but lest try the more natural ways first
Carol
 
bdrou
  • Thread Starter
  • #5
Repliers,

Thank you very much, is prime harmful to invertebrates at all?
Thanks
 
Narcicius
  • #6
I don't think so considering it has the properties of strees coat on fish, and its a basic water conditioner for doing water changes anyway. If you have any doubts put the invertebrates in another tank for a while, but I'm sure that it is free of any form of copper.
 
VampireSquid3
  • #7
I want to know of ways to lower nitrates without water changes. Any suggestions?
 
qchris87
  • #8
Are you doing weekly water changes? Because that should keep your nitrates down. Otherwise your bioload is to big. Plants use nitrates.
 
VampireSquid3
  • #9
Are you doing weekly water changes? Because that should keep your nitrates down. Otherwise your bioload is to big. Plants use nitrates.
Yes I had elevated nitrates one week because I didn't do a WC. I do 25-30% WCs a week now.
 
qchris87
  • #10
What are your nitrates at weekly?
 
VampireSquid3
  • #11
qchris87
  • #12
20-40 is okay. You really wanna aI'm for less than 20. What size tank? I would suggest upping the percentage of water taken out during weekly water changes.
 
VampireSquid3
  • #13
20-40 is okay. You really wanna aI'm for less than 20. What size tank? I would suggest upping the percentage of water taken out during weekly water changes.

14 gallon. Is 30% good?
 
qchris87
  • #14
Try doing 40-45% on your next water change. When the water change after that comes up, test the water and see how high your nitrates are. If they are considerably lower, it may be best to stick to doing 40%
 
VampireSquid3
  • #15
Try doing 40-45% on your next water change. When the water change after that comes up, test the water and see how high your nitrates are. If they are considerably lower, it may be best to stick to doing 40%

Okay! Thanks!
 
SFGiantsGuy
  • #16
Other than WC's, reducing in feeding, and over stocking, what's everyone's helpful additional remedies to lower nitrates overall? One of my tank's I somwhat have been overfeeding (yes, I know, dumb rookie mistake-idea lol) and did a WC last night, and just did a water test a day later, and the nitrates are reading about 40 ppm.
 
Discus-Tang
  • #17
Plants. They absorb the nitrates.
 
SFGiantsGuy
  • #18
Yup! Have too many plants lol...thanks.
 
Wobbegong
  • #19
Yeah, you can plant them in you filter. I have some lucky bamboo and a small elephant ear plant in the HOB for my 29 gallon.
 
Cardeater
  • #20
As already mentioned, plants and plants in the HOB.

Do an extra water change this week and make it large to catch up.

Honestly, water changes are going to be simplest and probably most economical.

You could add an automated water change system.

You could add an algae scrubber.

You could at nitrate filter like in this thread on another forum:
 
Mazeus
  • #21
Agree with plants in the filter, particularly pothos (grows like a weed in my 5g).
 
Tpane27
  • #23
Anyone have advice on lowering nitrates? My ammonia and nitrite are 0. My nitrate varies from 10-20 usually. That’s with water changes as well. I have a ton of bio max and just got matrix to put in my filters. Matrix states it will control ammonia nitrite and nitrates. Anyone know if there is any substantial evidence about the nitrates? Or does anyone have any personal experience with lowering them? Aside from using drops and other things that will eventually lead to the nitrate going back up or messing with the beneficial bacteria
 
Feohw
  • #24
Planting your tank will lower them. Large water changes will too. My plants and at least 50% water changes keep mine at 5ppm. Matrix does work once the bacteria had been established but that can take some time. Water changes will still be needed with it though.

10 to 20ppm nitrate isn't bad.
 
MrBryan723
  • #25
Plants. There are other more complex methods that involve anoxic bacteria you could look into but they are mostly for more advanced systems or very DIY. Aside from that the only way to manage them is regular water changes.
Matrix and similar materials will take a minimum of 6 months to grow the anoxic bacteria you need and that's in the right conditions.
 
CheshireKat
  • #26
What's your tap level nitrates? Mine is 20ppm and stays that in my aquariums too. I don't do anything to reduce it, it's fine and I have plants. 10-20ppm most likely won't both a majority of fish.
edit: Just to make sure, you do mean nitrates, the end of the nitrogen cycle, at least in aquariums? Is there a particular reason you want to lower them?
 
Tpane27
  • #27
Planting your tank will lower them. Large water changes will too. My plants and at least 50% water changes keep mine at 5ppm. Matrix does work once the bacteria had been established but that can take some time. Water changes will still be needed with it though.

10 to 20ppm nitrate isn't bad.

I have a decent amount of plants. What’s a good way to keep them healthy? I have the Caribsea eco complete substrate I think it’s called.

Plants. There are other more complex methods that involve anoxic bacteria you could look into but they are mostly for more advanced systems or very DIY. Aside from that the only way to manage them is regular water changes.
Matrix and similar materials will take a minimum of 6 months to grow the anoxic bacteria you need and that's in the right conditions.

I have plants but how do I keep them healthy? I’ve read stuff about seachem flourish

What's your tap level nitrates? Mine is 20ppm and stays that in my aquariums too. I don't do anything to reduce it, it's fine and I have plants. 10-20ppm most likely won't both a majority of fish.
edit: Just to make sure, you do mean nitrates, the end of the nitrogen cycle, at least in aquariums? Is there a particular reason you want to lower them?

My tap level is pretty much 20 so it’s hard to lower them. I’ve read the lower the nitrates the fish swim more and tend to be happier. Not sure the science behind it.
 
MrBryan723
  • #28
Nitrates are basically a weak poison is a good way to look at it. Different ferts will help with the plants, and proper lighting. If your tank is well planted and highly stocked your plants could be using ammonia instead of nitrates as they prefer it thus leaving you with some in your water.
If your tap is 20 and your tank stays around 20 I would say you're doing great.
 
Daisytattoo
  • #29
10-20 is pretty much ideal. Very few tanks stay lower than that. Plants are your best bet to keep them low but honestly I wouldn’t worry about it.
 
Tpane27
  • #30
Nitrates are basically a weak poison is a good way to look at it. Different ferts will help with the plants, and proper lighting. If your tank is well planted and highly stocked your plants could be using ammonia instead of nitrates as they prefer it thus leaving you with some in your water.
If your tap is 20 and your tank stays around 20 I would say you're doing great.

I started using flourish by seachem in my old tank and I could have sworn it caused algae to break out like crazy
 
MrBryan723
  • #31
I started using flourish by seachem in my old tank and I could have sworn it caused algae to break out like crazy
Lol I started having algae issues so I started dosing flourish and they all but went away. Then my nitrates bottomed out and I had a cyanobacteria outbreak, so I started dosing nitrates as well and I struggle to keep them above 0, but no cyanobacteria and no algae now.
 
CheshireKat
  • #32
I started using flourish by seachem in my old tank and I could have sworn it caused algae to break out like crazy
If you dosed too much fertilizer for your specific plants, than yeah, algae will take advantage of that.
 
JayH
  • #33
Different plants have different requirements so it's almost impossible to give generalized advice that will apply to all. Some plants like lots of light, some like very little light and will dissolve like vampires in full sunlight. Some get nutrients from the water column, some only from the substrate. You'll need to determine specifically what plants you have and then research those plants to find out how to do what's best for them.

Like others have indicated, you're agonizing over a condition most people would love to have -- almost no nitrates. If your levels stay in the 10-20 range, I wouldn't change anything. What you have is working perfectly.
 
mhelc2000
  • #34
I setup my 20 gallon planted aquarium last May2019 with a canister filter connected to a Sun Sun pre-filter. After it was fully cycled, I do a 50% water change weekly. My nitrate level are spiking wildly, sometimes as high 89 ppm before water change. Starting Sep2019, I am very mindful and trying to keep nitrates between 20-50 ppm. Usually mid 40s ppm before water change and in the 20s after WC. I was doing this regularly thereafter. I have no issues with ammonia and nitrites. I am fully stocked. All the inhabitants are fine and healthy. See photo of my aquarium below.

The 1st time I did not do a water change is 10 days in Sep2019. I set up an autofeeder feeding them once daily and an auto led light for 8 hours a day. My nitrates before I left is 20 ppm and when I came back it was already 60 ppm.

The 2nd time was 15 days no water change, with 20 ppm nitrates and on the 15th day it was 30ppm. It is way better as compared to 1st time. I did a water change and when I checked the following week, my nitrate level was 46 ppm. It was really inconsistent.

I did a water change last weekend. I stop using Seachem Prime for now as I read in a post here that the anaerobic bacteria are probably being starved and are killed when Prime detoxifies ammonia, nitrite & nitrate. I only use filtered water now to get rid of chlorine, chloramines and other dissolved organic compounds.

My objective is to lower my nitrates to 5-10 ppm and keep it at that level so whenever I leave them for 2 to 5 weeks they will still be ok when I return.

See my setup below

AQUARIUM PROFILE

Canister Pre-Filter
SunSun 602 pre-filter installed beginning Oct2019 which is connected before the main filter in a series with course, medium, fine sponges and a polyfill to do mechanical filtration. I rinse the sponges and replace the polyfill once a month.

Main Canister Filter
GEX 6090 canister filter with 3 baskets with a control outflow of less than 50 gph. The biological media is composed of Sera Siporax (medium & mini) and Fluval Biomax. Last week, I placed some Japanese eco bio blocks and zeolite & maifan clay balls into the 1st stage to house the bb hopefully to occupy the siporax and biomax with additional nitrifiers and hopefully more denitrifiers. The eco bio blocks will also supply them with the needed carbon source and trace minerals. I will probably open and clean this every 6 months since the pre-filter is doing all the heavy lifting

Water Parameters
No issues with Ammonia & nitrites, all 0
PH 7.6, DH 6, KH 8
See below nitrate levels I recorded since June2019

I understand this will take 1-3 months before I can see some noticeable effect on the nitrates. For now, I still do my regular WC once a week. I will update this thread of the progress.
 

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Coradee
  • #35
Welcome to Fishlore.
Many of our members grow Pothos to help lower nitrates, hopefully they’ll chime in with more information for you
 
mhelc2000
  • #36
Thanks Coradee, I'll definitely consider Pothos.

Right now, I am fascinated with denitrification process using a canister filter. I read that a canister filter is a nitrate factory. It is true for my case ever since I started again last May. I am challenged to do this experiment and see if I can lower nitrates inside the canister filter. I got good information from Swamp Gorilla as he is using a canister filter with Biohome Ultimate as his filter media to lower nitrates in his setup.

SwampGorilla - Zero Nitrate Filtration
Zero Nitrate Filtration - Filters and Filtration 339516

We have almost the same setup. I also have pre-filter connected in series with my main canister filter. The pre-filter does all the mechanical filtration and the main filter is only for biological filter media. I want to try denitrification using Sera Siporax and Fluval Biomax as my biological filter media. I added some Japanese eco bio blocks, zeolite and maifan clay balls which will provide food and trace minerals to the bb.

I also read anoxic filtration by Manysanke which was designed by Kevin Novak.

I don't use a sump right now and instead, experiment using a canister filter with slow flow rate to increase anaerobes in my canister filter.

Let see how it goes
 
BobbyTez
  • #37
I also have high nitrate levels my ammonia and nitrites are 0ppm I also use filtered water and let it rest over the weekend with API tap water conditioner to remove chlorine, chloramines before my water change then add API Stress ZYME+ To the tank. I do a 50% water change every 10 days and vacuumed gravel, I have a high stocked 55 gallon tank with about 35 to 40 fishes got Blood parrots, Clown Loach, Bala Sharks, Pleco, Tiger barbs, Swordfish, Tetras, neons, snails. And a have a pothos plant to help But my nitrates are around 80ppm and I’ve seen it higher even after water changes, I checked my tap water out of the faucet and it’s 5ppm. I don’t want to add chemicals and have my ph rise or lower drastically I think that’s worst, I know I have lots of fish that grow big eventually when my fish start growing I will move them I was feeding 2 to 3 times a day I stoped that now I just feed once a day, some days twice... I have two Aquaclear filters and a power head with a sponge the aquarium water is cristal clear and fish are all healthy I’m just going to keep doing my water changes every 10 days and keep them healthy and not go crazy over the nitrates and let the aquarium settle it’s cycle.
 
mhelc2000
  • #38
Thanks BobbyTez for sharing your setup. I guess, fishes reared in the tanks can become accustomed to a slowly growing level of nitrates over time, build tolerance and remain seemingly visually unharmed. Also, the API stress ZYME+ helps your fishes maintain optimum immune function.

What sort of bio-filter media do you have on your Aquafilters?
 
BobbyTez
  • #39
I run two filters and a power head with a sponge on my 55 gallon I got a AC70 only with bio material as a bio filter that I almost never clean or touch, and a AC110 only with sponges and floss as a mechanical filter and it’s cristal clear... on the AC70 I have it full of Bio Ceramic Filter Media and on the AC110 sponges and floss; Sometimes add active carbon or zeolites when I do a water change and remove after a month to just sponges, all my filter intake tubes and power head have a 3 inch wide sponge on them to filter out big particles so my filters don’t clog up so fast.
 
Islandvic
  • #40
Looks like you already discovered Dr. Novak's work already. Just Google and/or YouTube search for "Dr. Novak anoxic plenum", "anoxic plenum", or "Dr. Novak plenum" will show you what I'm talking about. He puts plenums in smaller aquariums where he can't use sumps with the BCB's. Novak has his own YouTube channel and other hobbyists have posted their results with plenums and BCB's as well on YT. He really seems to love his plenums and their ability to reduce Nitrates.

You could consider adding a "plenum" to the left half of the tank, since it appears that the right side is planted already. If the plants are not deep rooted or they are glued to something presently, you may be able to break down the tank quickly to add the plenum. Either way, the fish will be fine in a 5 gallon bucket with an air bubbler while during the plenum installation if you choose to go that route

Speaking of BCB's, you can always construct a mini-BCB and wrap a layer of Polyfil batting around it, then place it in the basket of the canister.

Adding a mini-BCB to your canister filter may help with nitrate reduction, though any results may take 6-8 weeks or more to see.

I've done this and put one in our Aquaclear 110. I don't know if it's a placebo effect, but that tank is noticeably clearer, has had a dramatic reduction in algae (it wasn't bad before, but the algae growth slowed to almost nothing), and the nitrates taked longer to increase. I still perform 50%-75% water changes every 7-10 days, but not because of spikes in parameters. Just habit and it's easy with the method I use.


20191206_121945.jpg


I wrapped a layer of Polyfil batting around the BCB because otherwise the water flow would erode way the kitty litter/Flourite, but it still allows water to flow through it.

I've been wanting to make another mini-BCB and fit it into our Hydor canister on another tank, but I've been top busy lately for that DIY project. I was going to cut the bottom out of the top basket so the mini-BCB would fill the top 2 media baskets.

I've also read on one of Novak's posts that he found that the kittylitter / laterite (or Flourite) doesn't necessarily have to be layed. He indicated if they were mixed, he later found that the results were the same or very similar versus being layered with thr inner core of laterite.


Also, I would suggest looking into Sodium Thiosulfate as an alternative to the Prime. It's a crystalline looking dechlorinator that disolves in water, but without the ammonia/nitrite/nitrate detoxifying properties of the Seachem Prime/Safe products.

I buy it from the Ken's Fish website. 1 pound is something around $3.50 I think. If used per instructions, it will last you a long long time.
 

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