Jump to content

Tips to reduce Nitrates


Recommended Posts

Hello Everyone,

I have posted a similar question before but this time i need help in relation to my planted tank. 
 

Parameters:

30G with weekly 30-40% water changes. Been running for 8+ months. 

Moderately heavy planted- Java fern, Crinnum, Ludwigia, Crypt, Some grass like plant i forgot name of, dwarf hairgrass, water lettuce, frogbit,water sprite, amazon sword variant. 

Ph-Always around 7

Ni-0

Am-0

Na- Always around 40 and higher if water change is delayed or missed. 
 

Stock- 2 adults Honey Gouramis, 2 fry HGs, 6 F. Julii Corys, 3 Otos, 2 nerites  

What I cannot figure out is:

1. I am around 80% stocked as per online calculators. Do I have to rehome anything? 
2. Why do my plants struggle so much with absorbing Nitrates? 
2. I cannot add ferts as it means having to change water more than twice a week  . I put a tab once a month targeting different plant each time. 

3. I thought floaters would help but even after extending the photo period the plants under them visibly pale for the lack of light. 

4. The Epiphytes do very well hence I don’t tend to put liquid ferts. 
 

I am redoing the tank in couple of weeks and would love to set this one for success now that I am more educated about this than the first time. 
 

Thank you. 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

What makes you think your plants are having trouble using nitrates?  You could try the Estimative Index fertilizer method using "dry salts".  That will save you a pile of money over liquid ferts and it only requires one weekly 50% water change, so not much different from your current water change strategy.  I've been using the EI method for a while now am I'm happy with it:  https://niade.com/estimative-index/ but others have been using this for many years very successfully - the idea is to have the various fertilizer components present in balanced levels that mean plant growth is not limited.  It sounds intimidating but it's really not once you give it a go.

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Have you tried looking at your tap water quality or your food your using?

You maybe be doing a lot of water changes but you are likely not adding in 0 nitrate water, my water is very high in chloramine and is at 10 nitrate already so I know when I do water changes its adding ammonium and nitrates in as I take the higher nitrate water out.

 

Well water sometimes can be even higher in nitrates as well.

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi @Frodo, would you be able to post a picture of the aquarium? 

I agree with @GardenStateGoldfish, I would check your tap water. Mine is currently at 10ppm nitrates but has tested as high as 20 ppm before.

I also agree that your stocking level is not that high. How much and how often do you feed? 

What I do to reduce the nitrates is use easy to grow fast growing plants (something like pogostemon stellata octopus or similar), floating plants and riparian plants like pothos.

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

40 ppm nitrate probably isn't going to be terrible for your fish, unless your adding something super sensitive.  If they are behaving well, and healthy that is most important. 

Saying that I try to keep mine lower too. One of the other nutrients may be your limiting factor. If you are not fertilizing at all you may be low on phosphate, potassium or some other trace elements. 

I use Easy Green on a most tanks, but I have one a bit overstocked. I started adding some other ferts to target where I think I'm low.

I used the deficiency charts to give me an idea where to start and essentially let the plants tell me what they want.  

 

  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, David W said:

40 ppm nitrate probably isn't going to be terrible for your fish, unless your adding something super sensitive.  If they are behaving well, and healthy that is most important. 

Saying that I try to keep mine lower too. One of the other nutrients may be your limiting factor. If you are not fertilizing at all you may be low on phosphate, potassium or some other trace elements. 

I use Easy Green on a most tanks, but I have one a bit overstocked. I started adding some other ferts to target where I think I'm low.

I used the deficiency charts to give me an idea where to start and essentially let the plants tell me what they want.  

 

Where can one find these deficiency charts? I've been looking for something that can point me better to what exactly is missing in terms of ferts, so I don't overdose on other stuff.

  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hello Everyone 

Thanks for all your help. 
here some answers to the above questions. 
1. Tap water Na- Read 0 a few months. Will test again soon. 
2. Substrate- Inert Gravel with once month easy green root tabs. 
3. CO2 - None

4. Light- Standard white light that came with Topfin 30G kit. Will be changed too. 
5. Liquid fert- easy green. None since 4 months. Liquid ferts caused major spike twice before and i dosed just 1 pump. I prefer root tabs since epiphytes do well. 
6. The fish show no signs of distress due to this but it is very distressing for me since i cannot find a cause and plants struggle. 
7. Feeding- Rotation cycle of blood worms, algae & sinking wafers, zucchini(i can never find any remains so i assume they ate it), Hikari first bites with 1-2 day feeding gap. 
8. Floaters are doing amazing but at the expense of blocking light for plants below. Its a weekly cleaning ritual with them. 
9. Photo attached. The fry net is no longer there but rest is as is. 

A9A2DBD4-B7A2-495B-A840-84FE22AB62B5.jpeg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Here are my thoughts.

You have a larger size gravel, so your root tabs are leaching right back into the water column. This is why you can't get the Nitrates down. 

I would stop root tabs indefinitely, and look into a fertilizer that covers both Macro and Micro nutrients. A properly dosed water column is all you need.

To test this, stop dosing everything, continue water changes and after a few months, see if nitrates deplete. You could also just dose Micros while performing the above. 

 

  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

@Frodo is that hornwort in there? That alone should be removing a lot of nitrates from your water. Does it grow slowly? If it does, I would imagine your lighting may need to be stronger. 

A lot of the plants you have in there are root feeders and/ or slow growing plants. Java fern, crinum and crypts all grow rather slowly. I also think your aquarium could be planted heavier, especially with stem plants that grow fast. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If you think your plants are not using nitrates it could be a cobalt deficiency.  I seen an old video with @Cory
talking about seachem Trace as it contains cobalt. He said that cobalt is a precursor to nitrate uptake in plants. Unknown if this will help but wanted to throw it out there. Also, adding trace will not add nitrates if you want to try it.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Not sure if anyone has mentioned it yet but add a pothos to the tank. You can get small ones them cheap at lowes or home depot. usually for anywhere from 4 to 8 dollars. take it out of the pot, rinse off all of the soil and hang the roots in the water with the plants outside. Pothos are great nitrate reducers and you fish will like swimming around in the roots. I have one growing out of the back of my 75 gallon, it's probably over 8 feet long now.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...