Sugar as a nitrate reducer

sirdarksol

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Awhile ago, there was a discussion about sugar being used as a nitrate reducer.

As I have a tank that is now fully cycled, has nitrates in it, and has no fish in it, I thought I'd test this little idea to see how it works.

Tank is starting with 20ppm nitrates. No further source of nitrogen is being introduced to the tank.
Those supporting the theory didn't give a specific amount, but said that they only use a tiny amount. I'll start by adding 1/8 teaspoon of table sugar.
 

gunner13

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Hi SDS, you can use sugar at a ratio of 1/8 to every 70gals of tank water. You can also use vodka.
Nick
 
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sirdarksol

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gunner13 said:
Hi SDS, you can use sugar at a ratio of 1/8 to every 70gals of tank water. You can also use vodka.
Nick
Thank you. 1/8... teaspoon, tablespoon, cup, ton? ? ?
 

bolivianbaby

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I'm going to watch this thread closely. I'm very interested in the results. Once vodka was mentioned, you got my full attention
 
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sirdarksol

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Okay, good. I've actually read that article in researching for this.

It's not what I'm looking for in order to do this experiment.
The discussion talked about sugar reducing nitrates. Period.
That article utilizes a very specific scientific point that does not work with this experiment, a point that I will touch on once I see the results.

Thank you very much, though. I'll be referencing the article once I'm done here.
 
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sirdarksol

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There was no noticeable difference in nitrates after 1/8 tsp.

After 1/4 tsp, nitrates seemed to be down to about 15ppm

After 1/2 tsp, nitrates are down to about 10 ppm.

So, in a 20g tank, it seems that half a teaspoon of sugar reduces nitrates about 10ppm.

I'm going to add another 1/2 tsp and see if I can drop the nitrates to zero.

Note: Please do not take this as "sugar reduces nitrates, so you should add sugar to your aquarium." This is only one step of the experiment.
 
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sirdarksol

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Nate McFin said:
does it merely affect the test or the nitrates I wonder. Nice experiment!
An excellent thought. I'll try testing it tomorrow. If I add the sugar immediately before the test, that should give a pretty clear indication.
 

Parlay

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Nate McFin said:
does it merely affect the test or the nitrates I wonder. Nice experiment!
Well, if it is affecting the test you could try a different sort of test. Something other then the API Liquid test. Would the DREADED STRIP TESTS work differently enough from the liquid to let you compare? I know the strips aren't very good, but as long as you're experimenting...
 

Tigerfishy

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Oh another SDS experiment, can't wait to see these results!

I've never heard of this concept, so will be interested to see how this one turns out.
 

jetajockey

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This is really interesting. One bright side is if you suck up any water siphoning it will taste delicious and refreshing.
 
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sirdarksol

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Parlay said:
Well, if it is affecting the test you could try a different sort of test. Something other then the API Liquid test. Would the DREADED STRIP TESTS work differently enough from the liquid to let you compare? I know the strips aren't very good, but as long as you're experimenting...
Sadly, I can't use the other kind of test. I think the strips use the same chemicals, and the Hagen brand tests use reagents that don't work in hard water.
 

Akari_32

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This is a very interesting idea... So far, it does seem like it would be working, doesnt it? Deffinatly will be watching this one!
 
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sirdarksol

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Yep. It does seem to be a decent emergency nitrate reducer. If nothing else, potentially useful in a situation where water changes are an impossibility (hurricanes, earthquakes, other utility-interrupting disasters).

The nitrates went a little lower after I added more sugar. I'm now watching for an upswing. As there is no new source of ammonia in the tank, if there is any rebound, it's likely due to this only being a temporary fix.
 

Akari_32

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You are doing this in an empty tank, right? So would the next step be what the effects are on fish when using the sugar??
 
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sirdarksol

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Akari_32 said:
You are doing this in an empty tank, right? So would the next step be what the effects are on fish when using the sugar??
The next step is actually seeing what happens afterward. See if things fall apart, go backwards, whatever.
Next, I think I'm going to purposefully induce fungal growth in the tank (such as on a piece of shrimp) and see how the addition of sugar affects that growth.

After that, I'll be using the tank to test Stability with fish. At the end of that test, I'll test the sugar with the fish.

Fishboi: I'm sorry, I can only understand about a quarter of what you typed.
 

Akari_32

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Ooooh, ok. So how would you induce the fungal growth?? (Sorry if I'm being annoying lol I'm just trying to figure this out >.<)

@ Fishboii- Yeah, same here...
 
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