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-   -   High nitrate tap water (http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/showthread.php?t=297258)

Skunky 04-05-2013 01:06 AM

High nitrate tap water
 
I know this is probably an old topic, but I hope someone can help. My tap water is at 40ppm. I've got intense lights and just recently started pressurized CO2 in hopes that the plants will challenge the algae problems I now have.

The best advice I've been given so far is to get an RO unit. I really wish there was a way to lower the nitrates without having to resort to that.

The tank is 30g, and I got pretty comfortable with my Python and not having to carry buckets.

One person told me that huge, frequent water changes helped them, but doesn't that just introduce high nitrates each time?

mnemenoi 04-05-2013 01:14 AM

Making a carbon snake will eliminate them and can be tied into your Python.

Here is a build thread in our local forum, we have the same issue here with tap water.

Noahma 04-05-2013 01:35 AM

Why remove the nitrates when the plants will use them? Us running high light tanks have to add Nitrates to keep the plants healthy. Check out the fertilizer post in the sub forum, my guess is that you will not have to worry about getting any Kno3 to dose, and can just get away with the others

Dempsey 04-05-2013 01:48 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Noahma (Post 3037722)
Why remove the nitrates when the plants will use them? Us running high light tanks have to add Nitrates to keep the plants healthy. Check out the fertilizer post in the sub forum, my guess is that you will not have to worry about getting any Kno3 to dose, and can just get away with the others

+1

I also have "high" NO3 in my tap. I just dose less of it. You are getting free NO3, be happy :)

Skunky 04-05-2013 03:19 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mnemenoi (Post 3037578)
Making a carbon snake will eliminate them and can be tied into your Python.

Here is a build thread in our local forum, we have the same issue here with tap water.

Carbon will eliminate or reduce nitrates from tap water?

Skunky 04-05-2013 03:22 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Noahma (Post 3037722)
Why remove the nitrates when the plants will use them? Us running high light tanks have to add Nitrates to keep the plants healthy. Check out the fertilizer post in the sub forum, my guess is that you will not have to worry about getting any Kno3 to dose, and can just get away with the others

I understand what you're saying, but my tap water has caused several types of algae to invade and damage my plants--those plants I hoped would suck up the nitrates. I'm dosing Flourish Comp. I'm not adding nitrates. Tap does that.

Noahma 04-05-2013 03:28 AM

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 :)

Skunky 04-05-2013 03:39 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Dempsey (Post 3037874)
+1

I also have "high" NO3 in my tap. I just dose less of it. You are getting free NO3, be happy :)

Okay, I get it that NO3 is needed and appreciated. But I'm dealing with all kinds of algae now. That's why I think lowering nitrates is necessary. That's what I've been told. Yeah, it's free, but it's too much, right? I dose with Flourish Comp. and tuck API root taps under my swords once every 3 or so months.

I took out lots of plants, did the hydrogen peroxide dip and scrape, several of them died back. I then ordered more plants to challenge the algae. It's getting better (CO2 is helping some) but it's still a daily regime of manually cleaning.

Will it get to a point that the plants will use up the nitrates to counter the algae?

Skunky 04-05-2013 03:44 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Noahma (Post 3038610)
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.

Noahma 04-05-2013 03:53 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Skunky (Post 3038778)
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.

Diana 04-05-2013 04:23 AM

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.

Skunky 04-05-2013 04:34 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Noahma (Post 3038842)
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.

Skunky 04-05-2013 04:56 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Diana (Post 3039122)
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.

Noahma 04-05-2013 05:57 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Skunky (Post 3039362)
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?

Zorfox 04-05-2013 05:57 PM

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


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