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Topic Review (Newest First)
04-07-2013 04:02 PM
Diana In drinking (tap or bottled) water high nitrates are a concern for infants and many animals. They have certain bacteria in their digestive tract that convert NO3 to NO2, so causing methemoglobinemia. AKA Brown Blood Disease.
I do not know how they decided that 10 ppm NO3 was safe in the water, but the goal was to protect infants.
Adults may be fine drinking that water. I would do more research, though, and probably do something about the water. RO, bottled, or something.

If there are nitrites in the aquarium water, fish can get this, too. In the aquarium, NO2 from the water crosses the gills and enters the blood. This makes the blood not carry oxygen very well.
04-06-2013 06:41 PM
KingOfTheFeeshes What's the fun in fishkeeping if it's not confusing?
But yes, the high nitrates is most definitely a concern. It might not be a problem in the future if the algal blooms are fertilizer-related, but I would still be worried about drinking tap...
04-06-2013 04:48 AM
Skunky
Quote:
Originally Posted by KingOfTheFeeshes View Post
Are you sure you didn't mishear your superintendent? 45 ppm just sounds a bit outrageous...
I agree with Noahma, you should look for an imbalance of fertilization before you worry about nitrates in the water.
You may also want to wait on the anacharis and hornwort for a bit. They can often sensitive to chemicals such as the glutaraldehyde in Flourish Excel, among other things - and I know that anacharis doesn't do well with salt. I wouldn't be surprised if it was just the peroxide, but it could be from any number of other reasons, such as temperature or fluctuations in water parameters.. Who knows?
Keeping them out of the situation might save you a bit of trouble while you find out what the problem is. Just a suggestion.
Hope you get it sorted out!
Thanks, King! Yes, I'm absolutely sure I didn't mishear what he said. We had a fairly long conversation. He agreed that the level was high. I had actually taken a sample to my lfs to double check, and while I was gone to the lfs this super left a message on my phone telling me that my API readings were correct and 45 ppm.

It is very likely my ferts are not right. I have not dosed as I should. I just use Flourish Comp sometimes and API root tabs.

The high tap nitrate is still a concern, though, as Diana said. I'd like to fully understand that. It has caused a problem. I can't see how I can eliminate the algae problem as long as I have high nitrates.

Oh, I haven't used excel or salt, so that is not why the hornwort or anacharis did not thrive. I'm trying not to use any extra potions in my tank unless I think it's necessary.

This is getting too confusing for me. I hope you guys are not confused!
04-06-2013 04:27 AM
KingOfTheFeeshes Are you sure you didn't mishear your superintendent? 45 ppm just sounds a bit outrageous...
I agree with Noahma, you should look for an imbalance of fertilization before you worry about nitrates in the water.
You may also want to wait on the anacharis and hornwort for a bit. They can often sensitive to chemicals such as the glutaraldehyde in Flourish Excel, among other things - and I know that anacharis doesn't do well with salt. I wouldn't be surprised if it was just the peroxide, but it could be from any number of other reasons, such as temperature or fluctuations in water parameters.. Who knows?
Keeping them out of the situation might save you a bit of trouble while you find out what the problem is. Just a suggestion.
Hope you get it sorted out!
04-06-2013 04:09 AM
Skunky
Quote:
Originally Posted by Diana View Post
45 ppm is not OK.

EPA sets a maximum allowable level of 10 ppm. This is an enforceable level, so do not accept the idea that 45 ppm is OK. The water company is not allowed to have that level in their finished product.
I'm kind of surprised that nobody else in my small town is bothered by this. From what I understood, the "enforceable" rule means that they must do something....that thing has been to test the water more frequently. Nothing more. I recall the superintendent telling me that they are looking for better wells. Maybe that's all they have to do is prove they are attempting to improve?

Okay, I will call the county health dept. I went to the EPA site a few months ago, forwarded my concern in their question section, but got no reply.

I mean, I think it's a problem....fish keepers think it's a problem....but my town super didn't. When I asked him what 45 ppm of nitrates would do to a 5 lb. cat, he said he "didn't know."

Either the EPA's regs are over-the-top or their governance is way lax. I just don't know.

For future resource, I will post my findings.
04-06-2013 03:57 AM
Diana 45 ppm is not OK.

EPA sets a maximum allowable level of 10 ppm. This is an enforceable level, so do not accept the idea that 45 ppm is OK. The water company is not allowed to have that level in their finished product.
04-05-2013 09:44 PM
Skunky
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zorfox View Post
Since your tap water is high in nitrates and causing algae I would also consider ammonia or ammonium contamination. Even at very low levels NH4 will cause algae blooms. The test kits used by most hobbyist are notoriously inaccurate. So not seeing any NH4 does not mean it's not there.

With nitrate levels that high I would be more concerned about the health risks of drinking it specifically infants. The EPA limit for nitrate is 10 mg/L which is essentially the same as ppm. As I said before test kits are notorious for being inaccurate so you may want to consider sending a sample to your local extension office. If you're on a municipal system you should be able to get an annual quality test. The suggestion of an RO unit is IMO the best advise I've seen. Below are a few links to articles, including EPA, about nitrates in drinking water.

Nitrate in Drinking Water

Nitrate and Nitrite in Drinking Water

Basic Information about Nitrate in Drinking Water
Thanks for your concern. The tap is 45 ppm, according to our water superintendent. He told me to call the county health dept. and they would explain to me why it is okay. I never did. As far at the EPA limit goes, it seems the only thing that must be done is to increase frequency of testing. No changes have to be made, I was told. I will read your links.

Ammonia/ammonium--not good.

Yeah, the RO is looking like the better remedy.
04-05-2013 09:37 PM
Skunky
Quote:
Originally Posted by Noahma View Post
it usually overwhelms at first, but once the stuff sinks in it becomes easy peasy.

People with plenty of Nitrates in the water also dose K2S04 as either a usual macro or in a water buffer with each weekly water change.

Which plants do you have?
Thanks for all you help. I have the long thread algae, staghorn, and the type that is a green, fuzzy carpet.

For plants, I have
one small wisteria
naja grass
ludwigia repens
rotal rotundifolia
two swords (1 amazon and not sure of other one)
three anubias
3 small sagittaria in one bunch
3 bunches of cabomba (fanwort kind)
3 bunches of corkscrew vals
1 large moss ball
3 crypts that got overcome by algae and are now small
Echinodorus Ozelot Red
1 4-inch grass-like plant unidentified
a bit of duckweed
couple of sprigs of hornwort

The light is 17 inches from substrate.
04-05-2013 04:57 PM
Zorfox Since your tap water is high in nitrates and causing algae I would also consider ammonia or ammonium contamination. Even at very low levels NH4 will cause algae blooms. The test kits used by most hobbyist are notoriously inaccurate. So not seeing any NH4 does not mean it's not there.

With nitrate levels that high I would be more concerned about the health risks of drinking it specifically infants. The EPA limit for nitrate is 10 mg/L which is essentially the same as ppm. As I said before test kits are notorious for being inaccurate so you may want to consider sending a sample to your local extension office. If you're on a municipal system you should be able to get an annual quality test. The suggestion of an RO unit is IMO the best advise I've seen. Below are a few links to articles, including EPA, about nitrates in drinking water.

Nitrate in Drinking Water

Nitrate and Nitrite in Drinking Water

Basic Information about Nitrate in Drinking Water
04-05-2013 04:57 AM
Noahma
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skunky View Post
Thanks, Diana. I'm going to have to digest your advice a bit before I make any decisions. I didn't want to add a new tank or another apparatus to deal with my bad tap. Just the opposite. I'm still hoping I can add plants, clean, adjust lights and ferts to get to my comfy zone.

Gosh, this is getting to be almost! too much.

it usually overwhelms at first, but once the stuff sinks in it becomes easy peasy.

People with plenty of Nitrates in the water also dose K2S04 as either a usual macro or in a water buffer with each weekly water change.

Which plants do you have?
04-05-2013 03:56 AM
Skunky
Quote:
Originally Posted by Diana View Post
There are other ways to reduce the NO3 from the tap water before using it in the main tank.

Set up a 'prep' tank that is all sorts of plants, but especially emersed plants.
Make sure they get enough potassium, phosphates and traces, but, of course, do not dose NO3 in any form.

Fill this tank from the tap (don't forget the dechlor!)
Test the NO3 daily. When it is as low as you want to use in the main tank, drain this tank to supply the refill water. If this tank is not very large, then let the NO3 get even lower, then mix this water with tap water.

In the filter of the main tank or the prep tank, use one of those filter inserts that reduced the NO3. They might end up being a bit expensive if you have to keep swapping them out.

Many of us use KNO3 as a source of BOTH K (potassium) AND NO3.
Since you will not be dosing KNO3, then make sure your aquarium is getting plenty of K from some other source. Potassium is a fertilizer that aquatic plants seem to use a lot of. There are several suppliers of fertilizers that package K separately. Seachem Flourish Potassium is one.
Thanks, Diana. I'm going to have to digest your advice a bit before I make any decisions. I didn't want to add a new tank or another apparatus to deal with my bad tap. Just the opposite. I'm still hoping I can add plants, clean, adjust lights and ferts to get to my comfy zone.

Gosh, this is getting to be almost! too much.
04-05-2013 03:34 AM
Skunky
Quote:
Originally Posted by Noahma View Post
How high is it over the substrate? I have little experience with the marine land fixtures. Is there anywhere direct sunlight is hitting the tank? Any idea of what kind of algae It is? some require different approaches to rid yourself of it.

There are several routes you can take.
1. Raise the lights up, or lower the photo period.
2. increase the co2 to ~30ppm (use a drop checker and watching the fish to get the co2 in the ball park) and move to an easier (and cheaper) full fertilizer method like Estimative Index (in the fert. sub-forum) it sounds harder than it is.
3. use a floating plant to block some light to lower the light in the tank.

A great place to start is in the lighting section (since light is the engine that drives the tank) and in the fertilizer section (fertz fuel the tank) I know it can be frustrating, I have had my fair share of algae ball tanks lol.
This lighting strip sits right on top of the glass cover.

I've changed the photo period from 8 hrs to 6.

I will read the fert. sub-forum. I think i already did, but I've read so much, it's getting hard for me to distinguish...

For floating plants, I've had hornwort, duckweed and that one that begins with an "a" oh, Anacharis, which is very common. Both hornwort and anacharis just died. I don't know why.
04-05-2013 03:23 AM
Diana There are other ways to reduce the NO3 from the tap water before using it in the main tank.

Set up a 'prep' tank that is all sorts of plants, but especially emersed plants.
Make sure they get enough potassium, phosphates and traces, but, of course, do not dose NO3 in any form.

Fill this tank from the tap (don't forget the dechlor!)
Test the NO3 daily. When it is as low as you want to use in the main tank, drain this tank to supply the refill water. If this tank is not very large, then let the NO3 get even lower, then mix this water with tap water.

In the filter of the main tank or the prep tank, use one of those filter inserts that reduced the NO3. They might end up being a bit expensive if you have to keep swapping them out.

Many of us use KNO3 as a source of BOTH K (potassium) AND NO3.
Since you will not be dosing KNO3, then make sure your aquarium is getting plenty of K from some other source. Potassium is a fertilizer that aquatic plants seem to use a lot of. There are several suppliers of fertilizers that package K separately. Seachem Flourish Potassium is one.
04-05-2013 02:53 AM
Noahma
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skunky View Post
Noahma, I have a Marineland Aquatic Plant LED lighting system. 6,5000k, 1 watt white LED lamps: RGB, 3 watt LED lamps.

I think you're right that's an imbalance. I'm just not sure where to go from here.

How high is it over the substrate? I have little experience with the marine land fixtures. Is there anywhere direct sunlight is hitting the tank? Any idea of what kind of algae It is? some require different approaches to rid yourself of it.

There are several routes you can take.
1. Raise the lights up, or lower the photo period.
2. increase the co2 to ~30ppm (use a drop checker and watching the fish to get the co2 in the ball park) and move to an easier (and cheaper) full fertilizer method like Estimative Index (in the fert. sub-forum) it sounds harder than it is.
3. use a floating plant to block some light to lower the light in the tank.

A great place to start is in the lighting section (since light is the engine that drives the tank) and in the fertilizer section (fertz fuel the tank) I know it can be frustrating, I have had my fair share of algae ball tanks lol.
04-05-2013 02:44 AM
Skunky
Quote:
Originally Posted by Noahma View Post
Are you only adding comprehensive? That is all micro fertz. you would still be missing half of your macro fertilizers. and if you have high light, and missing some nutrients the plants need your going to have algae problems.

A good comprehensive fertilizer would contain KNO3, Kh2p04, and a trace mix. if your light is high, and your injecting co2, any lack of the above mentioned fertilizers will cause an imbalance which will lead to algae. I think you may be barking up the wrong tree. Nutrients do not cause algae, an imbalance of them can.

Take a look in the fertilizer sub-forum and read up on some of the fertilizer methods.

Too much light and too little fertz is like running a 650 hp car at full speed with a 2 gallon gas tank. It will cause a problem almost out of the gate.

What type of light are you using to get the "intense light"? We might be able to solve this in pretty short order
Noahma, I have a Marineland Aquatic Plant LED lighting system. 6,5000k, 1 watt white LED lamps: RGB, 3 watt LED lamps.

I think you're right that's an imbalance. I'm just not sure where to go from here.
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