Are nitrates really that bad? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-01-2016, 01:59 AM Thread Starter
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Are nitrates really that bad?

In an effort to defeat algae (esp clado) in my 20GL, which has worked (knock on wood) for a few months now with not one spec, I did the following things:

1. wrapped my Finnex 24/7 with screen to mechanically block light

2. stopped changing water every week, now do once a month ~ 40% - I did this because my tap water is high in phosphates. At one point, phosguard eliminated my algae but I didn't want to keep spending on it so I took the strategy to let phosphates deplete, only adding more via tap water when I topped off.

3. added a bunch of anacharis and hornwort (riparian looking tank) to out-compete algae on nutrients. I have some small amount of rotala and green hedge in there too.

I add no ferts.

Right now my tank is over-stocked, I have platies and endlers that are breeding prolifically and am about to scoop a bunch to take to the LFS.

Stock:
2 adult platies, 6-8 juvies, bunch of fry
7-8 endler adult females
perhaps a dozen male endlers (but they are small)
bunch of juvie endlers and fry
~ 50 RCS
2 nerites

I've been measuring water parms weekly and notice that nitrates have been very high, it hit > 100ppm right before I just did a water change. Before all these changes, when I had bad algae, nitrates would rarely get above 20ppm. Ammonia and nitrites have held at 0. The anacharis and hornwort have been growing so much I have to cut them back frequently.

Here's the kicker though, the fish are all healthy and breeding (as
well as a large pop of RCS) with these high nitrates which they have been exposed to for weeks. And I have not seen one dot of algae which you are supposed to get with high nitrates (been tossing a little invert food in there worried that my nerites and RCS might not get enough food).

I feel like there must be more to the nitrate story.
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-01-2016, 02:11 AM
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Just wanted to say that green hedge is not a true aquatic and probably won't last terribly long. As for nitrates there is way more to the story and eat too much for me, I'm not a long winded kind of person, lol.
Oh and you changed a lot of variables that affect algae so you can't be sure which one or which combination fixed your issue

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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-01-2016, 02:44 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CowBoYReX View Post
Just wanted to say that green hedge is not a true aquatic and probably won't last terribly long. As for nitrates there is way more to the story and eat too much for me, I'm not a long winded kind of person, lol.
Oh and you changed a lot of variables that affect algae so you can't be sure which one or which combination fixed your issue
Yeah the LFS, despite keeping the hedge full submerged, told me it was not a true aquatic plant. I've had in there for a a few months and would not say it is growing but it is green and looks as good as when I bought it. I also put some in a 5G fluval with 1 betta and it has been doing well in there except lower level leaves turn white.
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-03-2016, 10:06 PM
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Waters where nitrate levels are over 13 ppm are considered polluted and levels of 44 ppm may be deadly to humans.
https://www.epa.gov/your-drinking-wa...r-contaminants


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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-03-2016, 11:48 PM
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I just killed three fish, maybe four, by dosing too much calcium nitrate. I've been changing water for 24 hours now to try and save the other fish. So yea, I think nitrates are bad. To quote a poster to my screw up, 'NO3 is known as the slow killer of livestock. But if you add it all at once, it's probably faster' Ha! So there it is.
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-04-2016, 12:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Edward View Post
Waters where nitrate levels are over 13 ppm are considered polluted and levels of 44 ppm may be deadly to humans.
https://www.epa.gov/your-drinking-wa...r-contaminants
I wasn't gonna go there, but since Edward did, I'll just emphasize that you may want to look into filtration of some sort at least for the water you and your family consume and look into some detailed water tests to determine if they really are as high as you think. The tank should be secondary. OK, I'm off my soap box now.

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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-04-2016, 01:40 AM
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Test your tap water.

Ensure your tests are accurate, Calibrating Test Kits - for non-Chemists

Look for the source of nitrates i.e. fertilizers, feeding, plant debris, dirty filters... anything organics essentially.

Do that and you should find your answer to high nitrates. Beyond that, everyone will be throwing darts in the dark.
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-05-2016, 05:43 PM
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Are nitrates really that bad? Depends whose asking....the fish or the plants?

Rich's Fishes
Curator of an ever growing fishroom that currently houses 30 different tanks. Most full of at least water....some even have fish!
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-05-2016, 05:52 PM
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There are a number of commercial products on the market aimed at reducing algae by blocking the phospates, not sure how well that would pan out in a planted tank.

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Hi. I'm back.
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