Reducing nitrate - seachem purigen/prime - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 24 (permalink) Old 05-05-2020, 04:44 AM Thread Starter
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Reducing nitrate - seachem purigen/prime

Hi guys,

I've recently added some rotala to my aquarium and want to reduce the nitrates to get a more red color from the rotund and colorata. Recently I've had a nitrate spiking problem. It may be from root tabs or could be simply the fact I removed a lot of SR carpet. My nitrates remain up at 40ppm a few days after a water change.

My tap water contains around 10-15ppm nitrate. Should I consider using prime to reduce this to zero so the water changes lower the nitrates more substantially? I've also heard purigen can be helpful as well.

Any advice?
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post #2 of 24 (permalink) Old 05-05-2020, 01:40 PM
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Reducing NO3 to squeeze red out of plants can be tricky because you have to have low levels (<5ppm) and hold the balance. With your tap water NO3, you would have to use RO or distilled water to dilute the tap water.

There are nitrate reducing filter media, but these are not recommended for planted tanks as you could drop to zero unexpectedly, which would be bad for your plants. Prime does not reduce nitrates. It only binds them up for a day or two. However, Purigen can reduce the organics, created by fish and plants, that will turn into nitrates. Purigen does not remove nitrates that are already there, it just helps reduce the creation of nitrates.

Root tabs release nutrients in uncontrolled levels and are not necessary since all dosing can be done via the water column. You should be dosing your water column anyway to ensure complete nutrient levels.

So, my advice would be to do two 50% water changes, a day apart, remove the root tabs and replace with a balanced fertilizer, add Purigen to your filter (which may be eliminated if you get your NO3 to levels where you want them) and then see if you can maintain NO3 where you want it for a couple of weeks. If you still need to reduce, consider an RO unit or distilled water to dilute your tap water during water changes.
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post #3 of 24 (permalink) Old 05-05-2020, 08:20 PM Thread Starter
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Reducing NO3 to squeeze red out of plants can be tricky because you have to have low levels (<5ppm) and hold the balance. With your tap water NO3, you would have to use RO or distilled water to dilute the tap water.

There are nitrate reducing filter media, but these are not recommended for planted tanks as you could drop to zero unexpectedly, which would be bad for your plants. Prime does not reduce nitrates. It only binds them up for a day or two. However, Purigen can reduce the organics, created by fish and plants, that will turn into nitrates. Purigen does not remove nitrates that are already there, it just helps reduce the creation of nitrates.

Root tabs release nutrients in uncontrolled levels and are not necessary since all dosing can be done via the water column. You should be dosing your water column anyway to ensure complete nutrient levels.

So, my advice would be to do two 50% water changes, a day apart, remove the root tabs and replace with a balanced fertilizer, add Purigen to your filter (which may be eliminated if you get your NO3 to levels where you want them) and then see if you can maintain NO3 where you want it for a couple of weeks. If you still need to reduce, consider an RO unit or distilled water to dilute your tap water during water changes.
Thanks for the response. I've done multiple 50% water changes so far. I already have some plants established so I don't know how I can get the root tabs out at this point. I attempted to force the syphon hose under the gravel in a few areas where I remember placing the tabs. I did see some stuff flowing in through the hose but I guess I didn't get all of the tabs.

Any suggestions for what to do in this situation? Do I just have to wait for the tabs to bleed out if I want to avoid destroying my tank to get them out?

Last edited by Jah410; 05-05-2020 at 11:36 PM.
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post #4 of 24 (permalink) Old 05-05-2020, 08:31 PM
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Prime does nothing to reduce any nitrates. Water changes and plants are the only thing to reduce nitrates. Prime is just a standard dechlorinator for water. Use when you change water.
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post #5 of 24 (permalink) Old 05-05-2020, 10:05 PM
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Thanks for the response. I've done multiple 50% water changes so far. I already have some plants establish so I don't know how I can get the root tabs out at this point. I attempted to force the syphon hose under the gravel in a few areas where I remember placing the tabs, I did see some stuff flowing in the though the hose but I guess I didn't get all of tabs.

Any suggestions for what to do in this situation? Do I just need to have to wait for the tabs to bleed out if I want to avoid destroying my tank to get them out?
As you did, siphoning is the best way and you may have eliminated most of them. Whatever is left won't do any harm. I just wouldn't add any more, but make sure that you do cover all of your nutrient needs. Many of us tailor our dosing based upon what we know is needed. If you don't feel comfortable doing this yet, get a good all-in-one fert, such as what Seachem or NilocG, among other, offer and dose according to directions.

Try the Purigen to reduce the organic contribution of nitrates. Having 20ppm is fine, but 40ppm is a little high, but still safe. However, if you really want to drive it down to the <10 area, you will need RO or distilled water to overcome your tap contribution. Also, our test kits can be highly misleading in terms of NO3 readability. The API kit, in particular, is difficult.
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post #6 of 24 (permalink) Old 05-05-2020, 10:17 PM
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What exactly does this mean "Prime® detoxifies nitrite and nitrate, allowing the biofilter to more efficiently remove them."


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post #7 of 24 (permalink) Old 05-05-2020, 10:30 PM
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Prime detoxifies nitrates, but does not remove them. I never found Purigen to reduce tank nitrates at all. It adsorbs detritus, but I'm not convinced that it stops decomposition of nitrogenous waste.

If you want to reduce tank nitrates, try API Nitra-Zorb. It's an ion exchange resin sold in pouches intended to be used in filters. It can be recharged many times with ordinary (non-iodized) salt water. Place in the filter AFTER fine media as the use life is reduced if/when detritus coats the resin. I do not know if you can use chlorine to clean as you would Purigen.

I use Nitra-Zorb to pre-filter water for water changes as I have high nitrates in my well water. I have filled a now discontinued API Tap Water Filter with Nitra-Zorb and run into a Brute trash can. I get about 200 gallons between salt water recharges.

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post #8 of 24 (permalink) Old 05-05-2020, 10:35 PM
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It is for treatment of tap water. The nitrate in tap water. Not from the nitrogen cycle in the aquarium. Seachem Purigen
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post #9 of 24 (permalink) Old 05-05-2020, 10:41 PM
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I realize all that, but how does it make it easier for bio-filter to remove them.


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post #10 of 24 (permalink) Old 05-05-2020, 11:01 PM
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you may be able to pre treat the water by using quick growing plants in a refugium style holding tank that strips the nitrate before adding it to the main tank

not sure if it'll reduce the nitrates but worth and cheap way to give it a try

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post #11 of 24 (permalink) Old 05-05-2020, 11:54 PM
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I've got about 10 nitrates out of the well water. Used purigen but didn't reduce it any. Now I just have a high plant load for a low tech tank and let em do there thing. Watch how much I feed. Change 40-50% weekly and have about 20-30 nitrates at time of water change.

My AR mini are pretty red not sure if that correlates to ur plants or not. Using ro or di water would be only regulation you can do IMHO that actually works if its a problem you can't live with.


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post #12 of 24 (permalink) Old 05-06-2020, 12:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Asteroid View Post
I realize all that, but how does it make it easier for bio-filter to remove them.



AFAICT it doesn't make it easier, just "holds" it in a non-lethal form..
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A: Prime works by removing chlorine from the water and then binds with ammonia until it can be consumed by your biological filtration (chloramine minus chlorine = ammonia). The bond is not reversible and ammonia is still available for your bacteria to consume.

https://www.seachem.com/support/foru...on-about-prime

Def. not a "complete" answer.

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Last edited by jeffkrol; 05-06-2020 at 05:02 AM. Reason: edit
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post #13 of 24 (permalink) Old 05-06-2020, 01:40 AM
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I never found Purigen to reduce tank nitrates at all. It adsorbs detritus, but I'm not convinced that it stops decomposition of nitrogenous waste.
This may have been due to your plants taking up all the nitrogenous organics. When I had a light plant load and low-tech, but with a heavy fish load, Purigen dramatically reduced the nitrate level. Since I've had high-tech, no biomedia in my filter and dosing urea, my NO3 never rises much above 5-10ppm, so I haven't needed Purigen for a few years.
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post #14 of 24 (permalink) Old 05-06-2020, 05:01 AM
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I realize all that, but how does it make it easier for bio-filter to remove them.
Ammonia and nitrite are toxic. At some levels, even toxic to nitrosomonas and nitrospira beneficial bacteria. By temporarily (24-48 hours) rendering these less or non-toxic, fish are protected and the bacteria has time to convert them to less toxic nitrate. However at high levels above 40ppm, nitrates begin long term harm for fish, lower immune systems which may lead to disease and/or shortened life spans.

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post #15 of 24 (permalink) Old 05-06-2020, 06:46 AM
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Originally Posted by Jah410 View Post
Thanks for the response. I've done multiple 50% water changes so far. I already have some plants establish so I don't know how I can get the root tabs out at this point. I attempted to force the syphon hose under the gravel in a few areas where I remember placing the tabs, I did see some stuff flowing in the though the hose but I guess I didn't get all of tabs.

Any suggestions for what to do in this situation? Do I just need to have to wait for the tabs to bleed out if I want to avoid destroying my tank to get them out?
Seems like I remember your other post and tabs have been in there a couple months or more already so tabs are probably already fading out. Just keep doing what your doing and remove as much organic waste as you can before it converts to nitrate.

Also what do you have for biomedia in filter?
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