Nitrate Removal Help

  1. beau Well Known Member Member

    Wasn't sure which section this should be put in so please move if necessary!

    I'm looking for the best way to remove nitrates with something like a filter media. I was thinking Purigen but reading Seachem's description got me a little confused on whether it actually removed nitrates? I'm not looking for the usual "more water changes" or "feed less" suggestions, I want an actual product or piece of equipment that will bring down my nitrates.

    It's a 125 gallon tank (although I also have a 29gal that struggles with the same issue) and the nitrates are hitting the 40-80ppm range very quickly. It's a SA/CA Cichlid community so the fish are messy. I do 50-70% WC's weekly but I'm currently working full time and will be both working and going to Uni in the fall along with numerous other commitments so I don't have the hour+ of free time needed to be doing WC's every couple of days, as much as I'd like to. The current filters have 2L of Matrix each but the tank has been set up for 7months and I still haven't seen a drop in nitrates so I don't think I'm going to get the nitrate forming bacteria.

    Filtration is currently running two SunSun 404b's and they've done a fantastic job of keeping any waste off of the sand, but I'm thinking I might add an Eheim Classic as well to put the new media in and push the flow rate closer to the 10x gph mark, as it's currently sitting on 8.

    Any suggestions appreciated :)
     
  2. ThaiCaliber Member Member

    Plants? Plants will use nitrates to fuel growth.
     

  3. Littlebudda Well Known Member Member

  4. ChiefBrody Member Member

    Yeah. It's called a plant. They make really cool ones now so even you can find something you'd like.
     

  5. JesseMoreira06 Well Known Member Member

    just a quick question have you tested out your tap water? I've seen some people on this forum with nitrates of up to 40ppm coming from their tap water.
     
  6. beau Well Known Member Member

    Tap water has 0ppm nitrates, and I am familiar with the concept of plants as both tanks are planted already ;)
     
  7. OnTheFly Well Known Member Member

    It would take a LOT of plants to keep up with a cichlid tank. If you don't have time for proper WCs then re-homing a few is probably the best option.
     

  8. JesseMoreira06 Well Known Member Member

    I no you said you didn't want to read this but it's most likely due to over stocking or over feeding lol. A heavily planted tank with good filtration and 0ppm nitrates out of tap water shouldn't be that high
     
  9. ChiefBrody Member Member

    I realize cichlids are bottom feeders but if there's an additional clean-up crew it helps. A school of cories work wonders and are found with things like rams and ottos in nature. What ferts are you using? If it's heavily planted you shouldn't be over 20 ppm at all and even less means starving plants really so that's no good. The estimated index method uses routine water changes to pinpoint what your specific fertilizer regimen should be. So by using high light, high ferts and throwing out the excess you can't burn the plants or hurt the fish. I've looked at the purigen product and couldn't justify paying them for it. It just locks you in to buying their product. Where your going to be away I'd suggest leaving caretakers in your absence and who better than the inhabitants of the tank itself. A solid clean-up crew and healthy plants you should have no issues
     
  10. OnTheFly Well Known Member Member

    Bottom feeders won't reduce nitrates. They will just process leftover food to ammonia state faster.
     

  11. DHIWZ Member Member

    I actually called tech support about Purigen and what they said is that Purigen will keep your nitrates from getting any higher than the level they are already at, but will not actively reduce nitrates.

    If you want to reduce nitrates, I've been told that semiaquatic plants are great at absorbing them. You can also plant some Pothos in your filter/sump.
     
  12. tyguy7760 Fishlore VIP Member

    cichlid community tanks can max out your nitrates quickly. Here are a few options you can explore....

    1) Refugium. Have you considered doing a sump and instead of using as a filtration device, use it as a refugium that is filled with nitrate sucking plants? house plants like pothos can do a number on nitrates. A small tank like a 20 long or 29 should provide you with plenty of room to grow pothos in. It will be quite the project. You'll need an overflow, a return pump (keep it small like 200-400gph for maximum plant filtration), plumbing, as well as a few other things. I've seen quite a few folks reduce their nitrate considerably with something like this. This is something I've been considering for a while when I upgrade tanks. Alternatively you can grow some in hob filters on the back of your tank but I don't like the look of plants growing out of a tank.

    2) Algae Scrubber. Similar concept as the above but made to grow algae. You can see some very effective algae scrubbers on youtube and some diy on king diy. These can be incorporated into a sump or attached to the side of your tank.

    3) Nitrate reactor. Lots of folks use these. Though admittedly I know the least about them.

    A few threads to get you started

    DIY Denitrator

    Cheap plants, less nitrate! POTHOS

    Look over on mfk. Those guys deal with high nitrates in large tanks all the time. Most of the users over there start at 125g
     
  13. ChiefBrody Member Member

    Right and with plants n co2 it'll be depleted fast - both ammonia and nitrate

    Here's one of my pothos plants really don't think it looks bad. In fact some of the best tanks I've seen on the net have big long strands of it that can be hung all around the room. It grows to 40' in the air on the streets of Brazil. Amazing plants 3d0762fe2e56aa0a4e60a0a6cbac81a8.jpg
     
  14. beau Well Known Member Member

    I have 14 Cories in the tank already so there's definitely no excess food laying around. I don't feed daily so in my humble opinion I'm not over feeding, hence why I wasn't interested in comments along those lines.

    Some of you don't seem to be familiar with cichlids so let me be clear when I say that maintaining a heavily planted tank with fast growing stem plants is very challenging if not impossible. Stem plants make a tasty, expensive, snack. The plants are mostly Anubias and Crypts because that is what will survive, but they don't grow quickly so will never able to keep up with the nitrates that heavy bodied cichlids produce.

    Thanks so those of you with genuine suggestions, I'll look into them and take a look at MFK. I think a sump is out of the question but I might be able to do Pothos out of the back of the tank. The tank is in the basement though so lighting may be an issue for them?
     
  15. OnTheFly Well Known Member Member

    I had a 25 footer running a lap around my office some time ago. I probably could have had a near maintenance free 20G.
     
  16. tyguy7760 Fishlore VIP Member

    They will need some light but aren't considered a high light plant. You may want to set up a dedicated light on a dedicated timer just for the pothos. The more light, the more nitrate absorption.

    I'd consider getting multiple small cheap HOB filters off of amazon and filling the baskets full of denitrate or matrix and rooting the pothos in the media. You might get better ideas over at mfk though.
     
  17. ChiefBrody Member Member

    Yeah they said diy nitrate reactor is what is typically done. It's an inline system with bioballs there's pictures on there
     
  18. BottomDweller Fishlore VIP Member

    I'm surprised the matrix hasn't done anything. Matrix has worked miracles in my tanks where my tap water has 80ppm nitrates. It does seem to work better with a lower flow rate though so maybe you could add an additional filter with a low flow rate and put the matrix in that?
     
  19. beau Well Known Member Member

    I'm going to try and step up my WC's and make sure I set aside the time for them 2-3x per week but I might also try this. I'm thinking of getting an Eheim 2215/350 and filling it with more Matrix because its max flow rate is only 163gph, while the SunSuns are 525gph... At least see if that would help and if not then oh well, more filtration never hurts!
     
  20. Brandon Amelio Initiate Member

    Live plants do not consume nitrates. They consume ammonia. Yet they do lower nitrates because they suck up ammonia and the less ammonia the less nitrate. But live aquatic plants cannot directly utilize nitrate NO3 as food