Review of Nitrate Reducers

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CindiL

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Review of Nitrate Reducing Products: These products are good for those who have nitrates in their tap water or for that person whose nitrates climb so high each week that a 50% water change is not enough. I have been testing four of them and will list the pro's and con's that I have noticed. If you have more to add, please do so and I'll put it into my original post

Also, if you have tried other products that I don't talk about here, please feel free to post your thoughts on those as well.

The four that I (and others) have been testing over the past few months are Seachem Matrix, API Nitra-Zorb, Instant Ocean Natural Nitrate Reducer, Algone's Water Clarifier and Nitrate Remover None of these products prevent the nitrogen cycle to be established. They are all very different in how they work also. The first helps with ammonia, nitrites and nitrates, the 2nd with ammonia and nitrates, the 3rd only with nitrates and the 4th with ammonia, nitrites and nitrates.

My favorite so far is for Matrix for ease of use and the natural way it works and does not need to be replaced.

1. SeachemMatrix – High Capacity Biofiltration, States it controls ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate, but I have only really had concerns with nitrate, so can't speak to the others.
Cost onAmazon, depends on size. 500ml $9-13. Use 100ml per 10 gallons.
Seachem - Matrix
Matrix™ is a high porosity biomedia that provides efficient biofiltration for the removal ofnitrogenous waste. Matrix™ is a porous inorganic solid about 10 mm in diameter (a little larger than standard aquariumgravel). From what I can tell, itbasically provides a living space for the BB that would eat up nitrate.

This was slow to work but after 6-8 weeks I have no nitrates any longer with it being the only product I am using.

Pros:
Easy to use,just rinse and drop into your filter (very light rinsing was all I did).
Does not break down.
Does not need to be replaced.
Does not need to be recharged.
Can be cleaned without concern of losing the BB since the bulk of the BB are inside the “rocks”
Large pieces, so no media bag is required.
Usable for both freshwater and marine aquariums.

Cons:
Takes up a medium amount of filter space.
Slower to see an impact than other nitrate reducers. Takes a couple weeks to start seeing an impact.

2016-03-11 07.56.13.jpg

2. API Nitra-Zorb - cost on Amazon is $7.99 for a size 6 pouch that treats up to 55 gal.
Welcome to API Fishcare: NITRA-ZORB®
A study performed by API: https://apifishcare.com/pdf/nitra_zorb_science_paths.pdf

This product is an ion-exchange resin and will reduce ammonia, nitrites but mostly nitrates.

Pros: Works well, not only prevents build-up but will lower nitrates by 15-20ppm before needing re-charged.
Can be re-charged numerous times with a cup of warm water and 4 tbsp plain salt (no additives) for two hours, rinsed and put back into the filter. API says it needs to be replaced every couple of months but this has yet to be determined if the ion-resin really needs to be replaced. Someone will have to let me know on this if you've been using it for awhile.
Pretty much instant nitrate removal. Within 24 hours I noticed a large difference.

Cons: Takes up a lot of room in a regular hob, the packet is pretty large and I ended up dividing mine into two fine media bags and use one at a time for my 33gal.
Has to be taken out weekly to monthly and re-charged depending on how high your nitrates might be. In the case of nitrates out of the tap, it will probably be weekly.
Some people have said (in reviews) that it can cloud up your tank. I did not have this experience but it might be some of the fine resin getting into the tank. Maybe after awhile this issue would go away.

ImageUploadedByFish Lore Aquarium Fish Forum1455383801.319266.jpg

3. Algone - Water Clarifier and Nitrate Remover - cost on Amazon, a box of 6 pouches that each treat aquariums from 5-110gallons $6.31
Clear cloudy aquarium water & remove aquarium nitrate | ALGONE

This is an interesting product and one I'm trying currently. It is an all natural, chemical free very small packets of naturally occurring enzymes and micro-organisms. It is supposed to move ammonia and nitrates.

Pros:
Very small packets can go in virtually any size filter, they are about the size of two sugar packets. I don't know about the cloudy water it claims to get rid of but it is working well for my nitrates. This product has kept my nitrates from rising for the week it's been in. They started at 8.6 ppm (I have a photometer that is very exact) and today, a week since I put it in, my nitrates were at 7.5ppm. So, it does not seem to reduce them the way that Nitra-Zorb does but good for someone who wants to keep nitrates from accumulating.
Easy to use- Requires no maintenance of the product itself, throw away after a week to four weeks depending on your stocking and water situation.
Natural

Cons: Have to be re-purchased but at the rate of $1.00 approximately a packet, very in-expensive.
Not instantaneous but even after a couple of days it has seemed to hold my nitrates in check. Algone's says it can take several weeks to "fix" your tank.
These following two are purely aesthetic and do not interfere with the way it works. This may or may not happen to you but thought I'd mention them.
Ok, it smells really bad after it's been in use. If you asked me to describe it I would have to say "smelly feet" lol. But the higher the nitrates possibly the worse the smell, very putrid. Algone's says this is normal and temporary. You don't smell it until you take it out to rinse or toss. I would suggest holding your breath and putting it into a sealed baggie!
Another, thick slime forms on and hangs off of it, especially the first week. Again, this is normal and Algone's says it is because it is removing waste and pollutants including proteins, carbohydrates and fats. The slime tends to get on your other filter materials too but you can rinse it off.
I remove it during my weekly filter cleaning and rinse it well then put it back in. Is the smell worth the reduction in nitrates? You'll have to be the judge

ImageUploadedByFish Lore Aquarium Fish Forum1455384627.876872.jpg

4. Instant Ocean - Natural Nitrate Reducer - for a 500ml bottle (you use 10ml per 10 gallon each week) cost is $17.83
Natural Nitrate Reducer Formula for Aquarium Water from Instant Ocean®

Instant Ocean actually is a company owned by Tetra and this is their marine division. I have read in different places that the company says it is safe for freshwater tanks. Drs. Foster and Smith have it on their website also after contacting them.

This product is a bottle of select enzymes that promotes denitrification (the process of converting nitrate to nitrogen gas) where it can then escape into the air. This seems very similar to Algone. The company says it will naturally increase buffering capacity which if you have less nitrates makes sense.

Pros: Easy to use, shake bottle and put a 10ml capful for each 10 gallon. Repeat weekly. That's it.
May get to a point where you do not have to dose or can dose less frequently.
If you don't have nitrates in your tap it is possible you will get your nitrates to 0 and stay at 0 with this product.
It worked well for me, preventing nitrates from building up and lowering them some also. This product combined with Nitra-Zorb would probably really help someone with higher tap nitrates.

Cons: Make sure to dose into the filter. If you dose straight into the water column it forms small "squiggly" like material that floats around. It settles eventually. If you dose into the filter it still creates white dust like particles temporarily but not as bad. It will not hurt your fish if they eat it.
Not instantaneous, says it can take up to a month to see results but I actually did notice the nitrates holding steady the first week I used it.
Fairly expensive to purchase initially but a 500ml bottle should last awhile! On my 33 gallon tank I think this would last about 16 week using 30ml per week so would be about $1.00 per week.
2016-03-11 07.59.26.jpg
 

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Bithimala

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May want to add a con to nitra-zorb in that if you do something wrong (still not sure what, but I saw lots of comments on it) the stuff completely clouds your tank.

A few questions, do you have a favorite so far? Also, have you used all of them in tanks with inverts?
 

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I just got denigrate from seachem too early for results I'll let you know


 
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ryanr

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Thanks Cindi

Curious - does that Instant Ocean product smell like vinegar? If so, I'd say it's a similar product to Red Sea NO3O4-X, and other VSV (Vodka, Sugar, Vinegar) nutrient reduction methods used mainly in Saltwater.

If it doesn't smell like vinegar, then maybe it is a different method.
 
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CindiL

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Bithimala yes I have used all with inverts. I have 3 nerites and few ghost shrimp in my tank (and hundreds of MTS). In my other small tank I have a betta and fry, none of these products should be harmful to any aquatic life.
I almost hate to give my opinion because everyone's setups are so different. Right now its a tie between Instant Ocean's product and Algone's. If someone had higher tap nitrates then I think actually the two combined would be a good combo. Maybe tomorrow after my water change I will add in the Instant Ocean (I already have algone in one of my filters) and see where my nitrates go. I'll use a little more of my tap water (I use mostly RO because of my nitrates).

I added your con. Did you determine this is what caused your cloudiness issue? Were you using the original bag it came in?

Dsyroid - yes please do, we can add it as number 4. to the original post.

ryanr - I just smelled it, no, it does not smell like vinegar. They say it is bacteria that can convert nitrates to nitrogen gas. The only "principal ingredient" listed is "Suspended Biodegradable Polymers".
 

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Yes, I was using the original bag at that point. As the cloudiness issue appeared when I started using it and then was able to be cleared up after it was removed, I can only assume that is what caused it. I almost wonder if the thing having to be crammed in the filter made it so there was too much pressure on it which forced out some of the stuff inside.
 

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Great thread!

I get fed up of recharging the Zorb and its significantly more expensive in the UK!

I'm currently using Tetra Nitrate Minus which has been great so far. Keeping my nitrates in check and worked almost instantly. Very similar to one of the products you described
 
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CindiL

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ryanr I heard back from Instant Ocean, they said:

Thank you for contacting us. No, it is not the same as Nitrate Minus. That particular product was a bit different and no longer manufactured for the U.S. Yes, it is an all-natural product and therefore, safe for even inverts, although it is intended for marine systems, not fresh water. No, it is not a bacteria, it is a type of enzyme.

This is interesting to me. So it must be more like what the packets of Algone have in them then.

And I wonder why nitrate minus is no longer manufactured in the U.S.....

I emailed back for her to verify it is fine for freshwater aquariums even though its intended use was for marine. I'll let you know what I hear back but I do know that Drs. Foster and Smith reference it on their website that the company said it was fine for freshwater.

I heard back from her and she said yes it was fine to use but didn't think it would be very effective in fresh water. It definitely has been effective for me......

I don't suppose we can sticky this under the aquarium water section? We can add the others as people try them.

MarkN1990 said:
Great thread!

I'm currently using Tetra Nitrate Minus which has been great so far. Keeping my nitrates in check and worked almost instantly. Very similar to one of the products you described
Would you mind doing a little write up for it? Similar to the ones I did? I'll add it to the original post since it is different (according to Instant Ocean) then Natural Nitrate Reducer. Even though its not available here in the U.S., I'm sure there are many in the U.K. who would be interested.
 

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CindiL said:
Would you mind doing a little write up for it? Similar to the ones I did? I'll add it to the original post since it is different (according to Instant Ocean) then Natural Nitrate Reducer. Even though its not available here in the U.S., I'm sure there are many in the U.K. who would be interested.
I don't get push notifications to my phone for some reason so had no idea you'd tagged me here sorry! Will get something written up tomorrow
 

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Is someone already doing a write up for Matrix? If not, I'll get one together in a few more weeks that we can add, as well as toss in anything additional from my experience with algone.
 
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Bithimala said:
Is someone already doing a write up for Matrix? If not, I'll get one together in a few more weeks that we can add, as well as toss in anything additional from my experience with algone.
Not yet, so feel free. I bought some but have not used it yet
 

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CindiL said:
Not yet, so feel free. I bought some but have not used it yet
Will do. Only a little over a week so far, so definitely want to go a bit more before doing a write up though.
 

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I'd like to throw in something I've noticed in my very limited experience with Nitra-Zorb. I used it for the first time about 4 weeks ago, and had it in the filter only a few days. For close to a year in one of my tanks (10 gallon), I've been dealing with high-ish nitrates. My tap contains 10-20ppm via the API liquid tester, so it's been an uphill battle keeping the nitrates under 20ppm in the tank. Within less than 24 hours, the nitrate reading went from 40-80ppm to 5ppm. I left the packet in the filter for a few days afterwards, then took it out. Ever since, my nitrate reading has been 5-10ppm. I've only had to use it the one time. I'm currently storing it in a sea salt/water solution for when I need it again. Maybe that tank just needed a little boost or something to keep those nitrates in check, but somehow it is managing to get rid of the nitrates despite what my tap reads. I do not know how or why this has happened, but at any rate I'm a believer in Nitra-Zorb.
 

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Been playing with Algone and Matrix for the last couple weeks... A few things you may want to add for the Algone
Pros:
I think it reduces nitrates faster if you have higher nitrates. I started 2/23 @ 60 nitrates in my 10 gallon. The first packet took it down to 40 very quickly. Changed out the packet after 5 days, and then 5 days later with the new packet, nitrates had dropped drastically. Tank went from 60-10 nitrates within a little under two weeks and standard maintenance.

Cons: That smell, I know, already mentioned, but it's horrible with higher nitrates... I'd describe that first packet more as rotten meat that had been sitting in a closed humid container in 105 degree weather. It was, I think, one of the worst things I have ever smelled...

The gunk that was mentioned that builds up can get onto other parts of the filter or even into the tank. Took me a good 20 minutes of cleaning out my filter after the first week.
 
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This made me LOL
It is pretty putrid. I suggest breathing through your mouth and immediately putting it into a sealed baggie.

Do you have a review for matrix yet? I really need to add it to my filters and test it. The last couple of weeks I have been using Instant Ocean's product again. I went on vacation and my main tank only went from nitrates of 6 to 12 in ten days. I was having the fish only fed once a day though which I'm sure helped out.
 

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Sure, I can get one together this evening. It's only been a few weeks using it, but I definitely have some info on it
 

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Bithimala said:
Been playing with Algone and Matrix for the last couple weeks... A few things you may want to add for the Algone
Pros:
I think it reduces nitrates faster if you have higher nitrates. I started 2/23 @ 60 nitrates in my 10 gallon. The first packet took it down to 40 very quickly. Changed out the packet after 5 days, and then 5 days later with the new packet, nitrates had dropped drastically. Tank went from 60-10 nitrates within a little under two weeks and standard maintenance.

Cons: That smell, I know, already mentioned, but it's horrible with higher nitrates... I'd describe that first packet more as rotten meat that had been sitting in a closed humid container in 105 degree weather. It was, I think, one of the worst things I have ever smelled...

The gunk that was mentioned that builds up can get onto other parts of the filter or even into the tank. Took me a good 20 minutes of cleaning out my filter after the first week.
Oh my, I laughed so hard at your description of the smell....I'm sorry. But I could just imagine... thinking I will stick to the NitraZorb, LOL.....
 

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Here's the Matrix write up. I tried to mirror your formatting to make it easier to add.

4. SeachemMatrix – High Capacity Biofiltration, States it controls ammonia, nitrite, andnitrate, but I have only really had concerns with nitrate, so can't speak to the others.
Cost onAmazon, depends on size. 500ml $9-13. Use 100ml per 10 gallons.
https://www.seachem.com/Products/product_pages/Matrix.html
Matrix™ is ahigh porosity biomedia that provides efficient biofiltration for the removal ofnitrogenous waste. Matrix™ is a porousinorganic solid about 10 mm in diameter (a little larger than standard aquariumgravel). From what I can tell, itbasically provides a living space for the BB that would eat up nitrate.


Pros:
Easy to use,just rinse and drop into your filter (very light rinsing was all I did).
Does notbreak down.
Does notneed to be replaced.
Does notneed to be recharged.
Can becleaned without concern of losing the BB since the bulk of the BB are insidethe “rocks” (I have not tested this, just coming from their website).
Largerpieces, so no media bag is required.
Usable forboth freshwater and marine aquariums.


Cons:
Takes up alarge amount of filter space. I have itand my main filter media in my TopFin and Quiet Flow 10s, and basically almostno room for anything else.
Slower tosee an impact than other nitrate reducers, took about 10 days to get nitratesfrom 30-10 in my 5.5 gallon – need to allow time for the BB to build up.
 
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Thanks Bithimala! I added it. I'll put up a pic.

So did you just put it in the filter box directly then? How will you rinse it? Just along with monthly filter box cleanings?
 

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Yes, just added it directly to the filter box, it's like adding rocks in the empty spaces. I'll take a pic later to show how it looks. And yes, the plan is to just rinse it when I clean the filter media, so basically I'll just pull out the filter media and then dump the Matrix in the water with it to rinse it. Per Seachem, I shouldn't need to use dechlorinated water, but I probably will anyway.
 
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