Question Nitrates How Much Too Much?

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Skavatar

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TPWD has been stocking rainbow trout, I live close to one of the community parks. They just stocked it today. I'll take a sample Tue or Wed when I go fishing. There's another park a little further away that I plan on visiting soon. Last time I visited that park it had very dense vegetation. This visit I will be to look for some aquatic plants for my tanks. I'll take some samples there too.
 

DuaneV

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I actually have, a few times, just out of curiosity. A local pond that my son fishes in regularly is deep red off the charts. Now this is up in the shallows, tons of weeds around, rotting wood, etc., but there are also tons of sunfish and largemouth bass. Out in the middle of the lake, where the water is deeper it might be a different reading, but brook trout inhabit those waters. Ive also tested the frog pond out back of our house. Again, deep red. No fish, but the frogs and Salamanders have no issues laying eggs and growing in the water. I also checked a very famous salmonid river here in Maine once. A river thats very "clean" and healthy and sustains a wild population of landlocked salmon and brook trout along with tons of other fish like suckers, fallfish, sunfish, bass, smelts, black-nosed dace, etc., and to my surprise it read 30-40ppm.
 

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that's interesting.

here's a sample from Iowa. the chart shows some rivers had up to 16ppm, but none tests more than that.
"As production soared in the '60s, '70s and '80s, so did nitrates — climbing from an average of around 2 milligrams per liter from 1906-1954 to more than 7 milligrams per liter from 1954-2010, according to a Register analysis of water-quality research."
The real story on nitrate levels in Iowa's rivers

a sample from Minnesota, showing a max level of 12mg/L = 12ppm. Their target level is 6.5mg/L
Nitrate-Nitrogen in the Minnesota River Basin | Minnesota River Basin Data Center

also remember that the higher the pH, the more toxic nitrate will be.
if two bodies of water have the same levels of nitrate, the one with higher pH will be more toxic to fish compared to the one with lower pH.

"Rivers in the richer countries have become steadily cleaner over the past decade. But when measured for nitrates, fewer than one in ten European rivers is any longer natural: most have nitrate levels four times the norms found in nature."
Rivers quality and pollution - Lenntech

"Nitrate-nitrogen concentrations above 3 mg/L and any detectable amounts of total phosphorus (above 0.025 mg/L for our laboratory) may be indicative of pollution from fertilizers, manures or other nutrient-rich wastes." Interpreting Water Tests for Ponds and Lakes


ooh, interesting:

"Most laboratories report nitrate as nitrate-nitrogen (NO3-N), which is the amount of nitrogen in the nitrate form. Some labs may report total nitrate (NO3-). Be sure to check your test report for which quantity, NO3-N or NO3-, is reported. Use the following to compare the two reporting systems:
10 mg/L nitrate-nitrogen (NO3-N) = 44.3 mg/L nitrate (NO3-)" Water Research Center - Nitrate Nitrite Nitrogen in Surfacewater and Drinking Water

the API test booklet states that it tests for (NO3-)
 
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r5n8xaw00

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It will be interesting to see what the numbers are for the Trinity river. It flows from Dallas and was damned up years ago to produce Lake Livingston. There is also a massive hydro electric plant using the Trinity River coming out of Lake Livingston. I am kinda lazy, but I will get off my keester tomorrow and get a sample.
 

Whitewolf

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Yes live plants and partial water changes. They can quickly get out if control, so plants with big roots will also filter out ammonia and nitrite. Like a pothos vine bamboo or a Lilly pad. The more the better. Healthy plants mean Crystal clear water and healthy fish. Stop online. Water Listeria is good. So are dwarf crypts. Water lettuce
 

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"The results show that between 1969 and the mid 1980s, ammonia concentrations declined from well above to well below the level deemed acceptable by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. At the same time, nitrate concentrations actually increased. That’s likely the result of growing secondary wastewater treatment efforts in Dallas-Fort Worth that processed ammonia into nitrate, Perkin said. So even though nitrate levels climbed, there was less ammonia, which can be toxic to fish and lead to increased biological oxygen demand.

The fish communities saw what Perkin called a “fantastic transformation.” The greatest improvement in the reach directly downstream of Dallas, where sampling by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department in the ’70s would occasionally turn up no fish at all. Since then, the number of native and sensitive species has increased dramatically, including the return of bullhead minnows, blackstripe topminnows and game fish like blue catfish to areas where they had disappeared. Perkins hypothesized that, during the bad years, many of those species persisted in less-degraded tributaries of the Trinity."



"Nitrate concentrations varied by aquifer with the largest median concentrations in the Queen City and Nacatoch aquifers. There was a significant rank correlation between nitrate concentrations and depth of well for all seven aquifer groups sampled, with largest concentrations present in shallow wells."
Water-quality assessment of the Trinity River Basin, Texas - Analysis of available information on nutrients and suspended sediment, 1974-91
 

Whitewolf

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Ive taken a nitrate test from a lake before, it read zero. So did ammonia and nitrite. A lake or pond grows as much weeds on shore and in the shallow parts of the water as the nitrite can support. The plants suck it up immediately.
 

DuaneV

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"Clean" bodies of water, yes. Not all bodies of water are "clean" unfortunately.
 

Sharkesse

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Just chiming in with mine as I'm currently bouncing back from a spike and have understood the importance of testing water.

The last two weeks I have tested, mine has come up around 40ppm (or 80ppm but yeah, those two are hard to tell apart!) I tested yesterday (mine and my parent's tanks) and yet theirs came up as 10-20ppm. Both tanks are planted communities, with a pleco in each (major poop machines), yet they have more fish than I do, so I would have assumed a higher reading for theirs! But nope, light orange to my dark blood red. At first I was freaking out at how it was too close to the limit for my liking, I've since discovered that there are nitrates in tap water in general as well, so it doesn't totally go away (despite me pre-treating new water with Prime).

I'm glad to see some variation in the numbers here, I assumed over 40ppm = dead fish but I'm glad that's not the case, though I know it's not ideal.

I'd like to keep it less than 20ppm ideally, it seems in order to do that I'll have to change water more frequently than I am currently (twice a week instead of once).

The user who posted looking at it like "pollution" is a good way of visualising it, for me at least!
 

r5n8xaw00

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I went to the Trinity River today and there was no way for me to get down to the water at the 787 bridge. I have never been on the river only crossing the bridge. The banks where to steep, the water to cold and I am not a mountain goat. lol Anyway I looked up this website about the Trinity and it was an interesting read.

“The Texas Department of Health in 1925 described the Trinity River as a ‘mythological river of death.'”
"Even records going back to the 1880s described the river as “unfavorable to fish life.”

An analysis of those data shows that ammonia, phosphorous and biological oxygen demand all decreased in the Trinity River following cleanup efforts in Dallas-Fort Worth. In the meantime, fish communities also bounced back, as native and sensitive species returned to the river.

“We’ve seen a dramatic change and a pretty strong improvement since what it was 40 years ago,” Perkin said.
 

mattgirl

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, I've since discovered that there are nitrates in tap water in general as well, so it doesn't totally go away (despite me pre-treating new water with Prime).
Sorry for the intrusion but I just wanted to say Prime won't remove nitrates no matter how much is added. Prime doesn't remove ammonia, nitrites or nitrates. It renders them safer for fish but doesn't remove any of them.

Back to the subject at hand
 

angelcraze

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In healthy natural rivers and lakes, typical levels of nitrate are less than 1ppm. It is converted to nitrogen gas one way or another, but in a healthy natural system, the nitrogen cycle is completed. 'They' say that concentrations higher than 10ppm would cause a negative effect on aquatic life. The same as 10ppm is max allowed in drinking water. This is nitrogen-nitrate btw, so according to API test, they are talking about less than 4ppm for healthy rivers and lakes and 40ppm for drinking water I think.
 
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Whitewolf

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Plants for me were what stopped me from having to change the water every 3 days. They can keep nitrates at or below 10ppm so that as long as you don't overstock or overfeed....The plants do all the work. Just checked my nitrates in the tanks with the most plants, and its >10
Ive been using duckweed Water sprite and in the tank there are some java fern. Easy plants to care for. Not so many water changes works out great for me.
 

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my 9th time fishing this lake/pond this winter, haven't had any luck catching those stocked rainbow trouts.

full.jpg


the pH is from my Pond Master Test Kit, its between 8 and 9. didn't even notice the charts are different until i made the post.
full.jpg
 

Whitewolf

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Yes a lake or pond will always have basically 0/0/0 since good old mother nature is the best fishkeeper there is.
I never really went fishing for trout either. They seem to be really picky. Maybe best luck off a regular old worm and bobber.....
 

angelcraze

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My dad has a private lake/pond that he stocked with trout. He uses an electric motor only and trolls for them. I caught one last summer! Just a lure that twists in the water.
 
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