Nitrates in tap water

  • Posts: 14
  • Thank you received: 2

jijross replied the topic: Nitrates in tap water

I have a Nitrate reading of somewhere between 10 and 20 ppm on my tap water. This is not good! I've recently moved to this area, and didn't have this problem where I was before, so only just discovered it! No wonder I was having issues keeping Nitrates down...
Has anyone had any success using plants to absorb the nitrates? I don't particularly want to run an RO system as I'm on a meter, and buying RO from a shop would be pricey too.
Does the natural plant approach ever work?
#356723

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

  • Posts: 597
  • Thank you received: 18

Sosban Fach replied the topic: Nitrates in tap water

Hi guys,

its been over a year so I will do an update in the photos section in a bit. I thought i'd jump on this thread because Ive picked up a bit about nitrates whilst ive been away.

Recently it looked like my RO unit was failing. I replaced all the filters and was still reading 20 ppm out of the ro unit. Needless to say 80 - 90% water changes where 2/3s of the water is thrown away is not sustainable.

I called the RO manufacturers and they told me that theyve been haveing these calls from all over the country. I measuerd the nitrates out of my tap and they were off the scale. So I put two and two together and put this down to the exccesive rainfall we have had recently causeing alot of agricultural run-off.

So it looked like the nitrate feinds had found themselves another ally and can bump up there game at any given time. So heres a couple of options for arming yourself against the nitrate onslaught.

First off plants dont really work in the tank or drifting on the surface with oscars. Sometimes you will get the odd weird hippy oscar that loves plants, count yourself lucky and plant the crap out of that tank! I have some anubias in the tank at the moment but there getting torn up pretty bad.

There are a couple of ways you can do aquaponics. The most popular seems to be seperate plant beds or sumps. I havent tried it but a sump full of plants with high lighting in theory should work. In either case you need a header pump to do this.

I have a canister filter which I do not intend to replace so i'm hopeing one day to go natural and build a new canopy that hangs a trough of plants which will feed back into the tank.

In the meantime I have tried all sorts of nitrate removal beads the fluval removal stuff they recommend, but I have found the best stuff to be Seachems Purigen. This works well, but with high nitrates you may have to replace it often which gets expensive. All the local Fish stores seems to use this on there smaller tanks that are not hooked up to there main system.

Finally and my current latest gadget is a nitrate filter. There are two main types where they are either sulpher based or alcohol based. The sulpher based ones are alot cheaper but personally I dont want any of that stuff in my house; alcohol on the other hand yeah sure more the better.

There are various tutorials to do either of these DIY, but personally I don't have much confidence it getting it to work right and I would never forgive myself if the fish died because of it.

Ive read there is a way you can use protein skimmers to perform the same task, but since I don't have one I didn't read into it to much.

So Ive recently purchased a Deltec NFP 509 nitrate filter (managed to get it on offer). You can get lucky and get them cheaper on ebay, but again I didn't know enough about it to put my trust in a secound hand product.

Its currently in its initial colonization phase. I will keep you guys updtaed.
#369388

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

  • Posts: 1759
  • Thank you received: 195

jmunroe replied the topic: Re:Nitrates in tap water

Seachems Purigen is expensive but doesn't need to be replaced when it's full/dirty. Follow the instructions on recharging it with a mild bleach solution.
Here's a DIY nitrate filter
www.ultimatereef.net/forums/showthread.php?t=387870
Here's a aquaclear 110 mod that works for the nitrates using plants which I've done. I don't have nitrates out of my tap, just the ones my filters produce
www.aquariacentral.com/forums/showthread.php?213527-AquaClear-110-Polishing-to-Nitrate-filter-Mod-3

Go do a water change - the solution to pollution is dilution.
#369389

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

  • Posts: 597
  • Thank you received: 18

Sosban Fach replied the topic: Nitrates in tap water

Yes you can recycle the seachem purigen with bleach, but there is a limit as to how many times you can do this. It will need to be replaced. Seachem Purigen is a good temporary fix I have used it. It is much better than the fluval products.

The DIY nitrate filter shown on ultimate reef is a sulfer based, which can leach sulfer into the system. They also have no means of control, with these you hook them onto your system until your nitrates are under control. They will work like this for a while but you need to refresh and restart the entire system after a while as they leach various other chemicals and bacteria into the tank. Alcohol based nitrate filters have control, if you tank starts to shows signs of cloudiness you just back off the feed.

Hang on plants work, but only if you can get enough of them to deal with you nitrates. If you can only get a small number on; your better off just doing slightly larger water changes.
#369394

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

  • Posts: 1759
  • Thank you received: 195

jmunroe replied the topic: Re:Nitrates in tap water

Sosban Fach wrote: Yes you can recycle the seachem purigen with bleach, but there is a limit as to how many times you can do this. It will need to be replaced. Seachem Purigen is a good temporary fix I have used it. It is much better than the fluval products.

The DIY nitrate filter shown on ultimate reef is a sulfer based, which can leach sulfer into the system. They also have no means of control, with these you hook them onto your system until your nitrates are under control. They will work like this for a while but you need to refresh and restart the entire system after a while as they leach various other chemicals and bacteria into the tank. Alcohol based nitrate filters have control, if you tank starts to shows signs of cloudiness you just back off the feed.

Hang on plants work, but only if you can get enough of them to deal with you nitrates. If you can only get a small number on; your better off just doing slightly larger water changes.

Great clarification on all this stuff. I only have a few hang on plants in my ac110 which help the nitrates to not rise so fast. I do 2-3 60-70% wc a week on the tank as well to keep them nice and low. But if you had nitrates in your tap water doing larger water changes will only bring them down to your taps level anyway at best. It would be nice to see how big the plants/ how many plants, how big the root ball needs to be per oscar to actually eat the nitrates produced by them. Then go more/bigger and it would start to eat the nitrates from your tap. That would be weird in itself.... that you would be adding nitrates to your tank with no nitrates due to plants, with a water change, instead of removing them. Of course even with 0 nitrates weekly water changes would still be needed. I think you should do the trough like you mentioned and fill it with as many plants as possible to see how much it takes to eat the nitrates that are produced daily to keep it at your taps level. I'm guessing it will take enough to make it an unsightly mess around the tank, but it would a cool experiment to see even of it's just a short term thing.

Go do a water change - the solution to pollution is dilution.
#369405

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

  • Posts: 597
  • Thank you received: 18

Sosban Fach replied the topic: Nitrates in tap water

I think in the world of aquaponics its all about how much plant growth you get. So I'd just keep stuffing the plants in until they start to wither due to not getting enough nitrates. I doubt I have enough space to do this above the tank.

Plus it depends on why type of plants you use. Lettuce are amoungst the most common, but I didnt fancy that in my kitchen so I think i'll go with mint plants.

If I did get enough plants the electricty bill for the required lighting would be as bad if not worse than the water bill.

My plan is to design a tall canopy out of clear acrylic to maximise natural light available. Then hang/fix a light inside the canopy at the highest point. Then hang a trough underneath the light. This way I would be useing the same light to illuminate the tank as I would to feed the plants.

At best I could hang a plant bed thats 4.5"x 1" From what Ive seen it won't be anywhere near enough to kill off all nitrates. I suspect I will always rely on RO water and the nitrate filter. All the plants would do is make it look/smell nice (cos of the mint) and remove the requirement for seachem purigen and reduce the amount of feed for the nitrate filter.

Unforunatly It will be ages until I can afford all the acrylic.
#369412

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

  • Posts: 1759
  • Thank you received: 195

jmunroe replied the topic: Nitrates in tap water

It would smell nice, it will be a lot of plants for sure. I have a low light variety of house plant. I can't remember the name but it looks like pothos plant, I just keep stealing cuttings from my wife's planter..... shhhhh. It's in the dark corner end of the tank but seems to do alright. I also have 3 long stalks of lucky bamboo planted at the other end that have grown out the top. A cheaper alternative to the acrylic you may want to check out is a product called Lexan.

Go do a water change - the solution to pollution is dilution.
#369414

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

Moderators: Big-KenDRACO
Time to create page: 0.075 seconds