nitrate level

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Re: nitrate level

Postby LooksLater on Tue Mar 27, 2012 2:36 pm

suvattii2012 wrote:The level is about 10-20 now i did a 25% water change two days ago i think it's the tap water then it soon drops after going in the tank. I can't afford a Phosphate reactor and i never even heard of them before. I don't like unknown stuff going in the tank. The only thing that goes in is water and api decholinator, do you think i should add something when i do water changes? and if i do two 25% a week instead of 50% the no3 will be within a safe level and would drop?


Sorry if I'm late on this- have you resolved the issue, figured out whether it was the test kit or your tap water causing the high readings?

Have you ever looked into a carbon bottle? If you're worried about the levels of Nitrate straight from the tap, these are simple and effective, you just have to be sure to change out the carbon regularly and keep a slow flow rate through it. Might be worth checking in to.
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Re: nitrate level

Postby suvattii2012 on Tue Mar 27, 2012 3:10 pm

Hello it's the tap water but my better testing kit is saying 20 from the tap and it soon drops after changing the water, is it a safe level for the fish to be in for the short time untill it drops? I have been doing 35% water changes twice a week. I thought it should be ok just as is. My old liquid kit never said the tap water was 20 just always 0. I could look into a carbon bottle if you think i will need it?

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Re: nitrate level

Postby Pufferpunk on Tue Mar 27, 2012 4:08 pm

I didn't think carbon removed nitrate.
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Re: nitrate level

Postby LooksLater on Tue Mar 27, 2012 8:26 pm

suvattii2012 wrote:Hello it's the tap water but my better testing kit is saying 20 from the tap and it soon drops after changing the water, is it a safe level for the fish to be in for the short time untill it drops? I have been doing 35% water changes twice a week. I thought it should be ok just as is. My old liquid kit never said the tap water was 20 just always 0. I could look into a carbon bottle if you think i will need it?

Thanks


Well, 20ppm is better than 40, but starting out with the lowest number possible would be easier! I just found this interesting, what a conundrum. What does it drop to in the tank, and after how long? That's very strange. Nitrates usually don't disappear, very odd. Are you on city water, or well water?

As to whether you need a carbon bottle, that's entirely your call, of course. If you can keep the nitrates down to a safe level, then of obviously tap is easier to deal with, but if you have problems or are worried about it, a carbon bottle is much easier than, say, an RO unit. And what constitutes "safe levels" of nitrate for puffers is debatable. It's usually said under 60ppm for scaled fish, I have seen suggested numbers for puffers anywhere from 10 to 40ppm. Anyone have better data than me on that one?

And Pufferpunk- It's my understanding carbon does remove some nitrate, as with most organic pollutants, but does not completely remove them...it will lower the amount, but the carbon needs to be changed regularly to avoid becoming a "nitrate sink" and dumping it back in the water...same as filter pads, etc. That's usually why carbon gets a bad rap- it's useful, but only for so long.
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Re: nitrate level

Postby Iliveinazoo on Wed Mar 28, 2012 8:29 am

suvattii2012 wrote:Hello it's the tap water but my better testing kit is saying 20 from the tap and it soon drops after changing the water, is it a safe level for the fish to be in for the short time untill it drops? I have been doing 35% water changes twice a week. I thought it should be ok just as is. My old liquid kit never said the tap water was 20 just always 0. I could look into a carbon bottle if you think i will need it?

Thanks


You have the pleasure of living in the UK where a lot of the country is provided with hard water and plenty of fertilisers which run-off the farmers fields meaning that we regularly get tap water with levels of nitrate up to 40ppm. A tank that reaches 40ppm nitrate after a water change with supply water with low levels of nitrate would worry me a lot more than a tank that maintains 40ppm nitrate with supply water of the same nitrate value. To be honest I wouldn't worry about it too much but you could always 'cut' your tap water with RO water or collected rainwater which is what I tend to do when I get the time.
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Re: nitrate level

Postby suvattii2012 on Wed Mar 28, 2012 9:03 am

After the water change the levels don't stay at 20ppm after 6 hours or so when i tested it says 5-10ppm this might seem strange but it's what the test says. I do have barrels or rainwater but never thought about putting that in the tank, do you think i should mix some with the freshwater change?
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Re: nitrate level

Postby RTR on Wed Mar 28, 2012 11:04 am

FII: Nitrate is not an organic ion. It is inorganic. It is not significantly adsorbed (not "absorbed") by GAC (granular activated carbon). Reports to the contrary are mythology.

PP: The carbon block or bottle referred to is a DIY version of an anaerobic denitrification device such as the ones discussed in the video. It is not a carbon filter in the usual sense, but a substrate and container for very low ORP (oxidation/reduction potential) cultivation of anaerobic microorganisms. living on porous substrates (carbon). They have all the issues of devices such as the one in the video previously discussed.

I believe that the tank in question is heavily planted, is it not? Heavily plant tanks when healthy eat nitrate and frequently require nitrate addition or supplement. I would assume the nitrate reduction seen is simply the normal function of a healthy heavily planted tank. Twice weekly water partials are simply feeding the plants and to me are an ideal situation for those areas of the UK w/high nitrate tap water. The UK allow higher tap water nitrate levels than does the USA.

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Re: nitrate level

Postby suvattii2012 on Wed Mar 28, 2012 3:04 pm

RTR wrote:FII: Nitrate is not an organic ion. It is inorganic. It is not significantly adsorbed (not "absorbed") by GAC (granular activated carbon). Reports to the contrary are mythology.

PP: The carbon block or bottle referred to is a DIY version of an anaerobic denitrification device such as the ones discussed in the video. It is not a carbon filter in the usual sense, but a substrate and container for very low ORP (oxidation/reduction potential) cultivation of anaerobic microorganisms. living on porous substrates (carbon). They have all the issues of devices such as the one in the video previously discussed.

I believe that the tank in question is heavily planted, is it not? Heavily plant tanks when healthy eat nitrate and frequently require nitrate addition or supplement. I would assume the nitrate reduction seen is simply the normal function of a healthy heavily planted tank. Twice weekly water partials are simply feeding the plants and to me are an ideal situation for those areas of the UK w/high nitrate tap water. The UK allow higher tap water nitrate levels than does the USA.

HTH



Thankyou. It's medium planted with willow moss, water wistieria, swords and mirmo moss balls. This is good to hear you say and it must be why the nitrate drops quite quick. What is the safe level of nitrate for puffer fish? I would say it comes out at 30ppm and i do 30% - 35% water changes twice a week now.

Thanks RTR
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Re: nitrate level

Postby RTR on Thu Mar 29, 2012 8:55 am

Long-term the best nitrate level for the fish is undetectable by hobby liquid test kits. But for practical purposes, levels which are suitable for plant growth (5-15ppm) have not shown any serious effects.

In this country we tend to say that 30ppm is just barely acceptable but not the best water conditions for fish. In the UK that level would likely be stated as higher, as many areas there have higher nitrate levels. that sort of level is really a bit high for the best fish health long-term. However, it can be a non-trivial expense and make tank upkeep more laborious. When tank upkeep gets difficult, it is done less often and or less well. The bottom line is that good and regular tank upkeep as you are doing is very likely to better for the fish long-term than theoretically "better" upkeep which is done less often. The real world is only rarely ideal.

I use a number of extra tanks (veggie filters, reservoirs, etc.) to make my tank care easier. For me it works because I know what I will and won't do. As you are doing currently, I do a number of smaller-scale water changes because I can semi-automate them. Their total comes out about where it should and little attention is required from me. It makes my equipment cost higher totals, but eases my work load or at least the attention span required. That translates into using measured siphon tubes to withdraw about 30-35% of water volume from a tank until it sucks air, then pulling that out and turning on a pump which refills the same amount of aged treated water. No close attention required. Most tanks get two such partials weekly - about what you are doing now. Some higher bioload tanks get three such partials weekly as they need more partials to maintain the same water quality (generally grow-out tanks with higher stocking levels). Life is simple and relatively painless. My tanks require very little gravel vacuuming, as they are mostly planted OE-RFUG. Mechanical filters are rinsed weekly, biofilters rinsed monthly. For me the average tank setup runs ~ ten years. Some last into their 20s. My fish do tend to have long to very long lives.

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Re: nitrate level

Postby LooksLater on Thu Mar 29, 2012 10:08 am

RTR wrote:FII: Nitrate is not an organic ion. It is inorganic. It is not significantly adsorbed (not "absorbed") by GAC (granular activated carbon). Reports to the contrary are mythology.

PP: The carbon block or bottle referred to is a DIY version of an anaerobic denitrification device such as the ones discussed in the video. It is not a carbon filter in the usual sense, but a substrate and container for very low ORP (oxidation/reduction potential) cultivation of anaerobic microorganisms. living on porous substrates (carbon). They have all the issues of devices such as the one in the video previously discussed.

I believe that the tank in question is heavily planted, is it not? Heavily plant tanks when healthy eat nitrate and frequently require nitrate addition or supplement. I would assume the nitrate reduction seen is simply the normal function of a healthy heavily planted tank. Twice weekly water partials are simply feeding the plants and to me are an ideal situation for those areas of the UK w/high nitrate tap water. The UK allow higher tap water nitrate levels than does the USA.

HTH



Interesting. I just spent my morning on some research, and you are absolutely right, RTR. Nitrate is inorganic, and not reduced by carbon. Thank you for the correction. My apologies for passing on bad advice, there are so many myths in this hobby. Here's an article I found that seems to pretty sanely explain what activated carbon actually DOES do, for anyone like me that is interested. It does have it's benefits.
http://www.algone.com/aquarium-articles/aquarium-filtration/activated-carbon

There seems to be a (albeit shaky) general consensus that certain polymers like seachem's purigen and chemical filtration provided by carbon 'may' result in lower levels of nitrates by removing organic compounds that will result in nitrates...perhaps this is where these myths get started. But apparently, the best ways to keep nitrates down are (who'd a thunk it?!) the common sense ones...reduce organic waste going into the aquarium (through correcting overfeeding, reducing bioload, etc), water changes, and increasing plants! Sigh, where are those magic bullets when you need one?
http://www.seachem.com/support/forums/showthread.php?p=9130
http://www.firsttankguide.net/filters.php
Oh well, I had a great research session, always good to know.

I agree that if the nitrate reduction seen is over a 6hr+ period, it's likely plant uptake.
Still curious if there is any accepted scientific evidence as to what is a safe range of nitrates for puffers, I have never been able to find any solid info on that. Anyone?
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Re: nitrate level

Postby suvattii2012 on Thu Mar 29, 2012 11:48 am

Many thanks RTR
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Re: nitrate level

Postby RTR on Fri Mar 30, 2012 9:08 am

Fighting tank mythology is a lifetime crusade. Both PP and I have been at it a long time.

There is also the human tendency to seek a "magic bullets" to solve any specific problem - companies seek to expand their product lines so that such folk will buy more of their proprietary materials/products. The fact that improved tank set-ups and maintenance will do the same thing cheaper and better is a remarkably hard sell when you are fighting the merchandisers. This is hugely magnified by LFS and nearly perfected by chains, where sales staff is taught to offer product-based solutions to problems rather than better tank set up and care. Lighter bioloads mean fewer fish sales. They also mean fewer product sales. can we honestly expect any businessman to urge his/her staff to sell less? That is really dumb. If I owned a store I would not do that either.

Then when you add on-line misunderstanding and downright error things really get hard.

I am an old man. I keep old fish. I a horrified by the short lives of most aquarium fish. Captive fish, properly housed and maintained, are long-lived critters. And because that "properly maintained" includes plenty of tank space it is actually far easier - and cheaper - than any so-called community tank. Captive fish post-QT should be long-lived. Their lives should be multiples of the lives of their wild kin. If they are not, we are not doing it right.

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Re: nitrate level

Postby suvattii2012 on Fri Mar 30, 2012 9:16 am

This is why i ask here instead of going to my local fish store. There not bad shops but i know none can be trusted to know what i really need. I just have the one tank going, my suvattiis tank. I had some dwarf puffers in the tank before my arrowhead and i gave them to a local fish store but made sure they was been looked after a week later and he had them in the back room (locked to the public) and they had a 20 gallon with live plants and some snails. He was going to take them home lol. In the 10 months or so ive had the arrowhead i have only had to put api water dechlorinator and water in the tank, no other liquids.
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Re: nitrate level

Postby RTR on Fri Mar 30, 2012 9:26 am

That is the kicker - good tank care does usually turn out to be simple tank care.
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Re: nitrate level

Postby chiang01 on Fri May 11, 2012 12:06 am

My tap water has nigh nitrates so I buy one gallon jugs of drinking water from the grocery store for my water changes. I mix them together and test before each water change to make sure I am adding zero nitrate.
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