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Controlling nitrate..

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Hi All,

I was talking with a fellow forum member last night (he seemed to think he knew what he was talking about :D) about controlling nitrates in the aquarium and as i'm in the process of setting up a 3.5K L system i was hoping to keep water changes to a minimum. I was wondering what others do to keep things under control..

I figure there is 3 basic ways of controlling nitrate:

1/ water changes.. probably best for displays

2/ refigium.. a 4ft planted tank with wisteria, duck weed, even lucky bamboo. also a slow flow with the water being feed into the tank via underground piping.

3/ denitrate coil.. using bacteria to breakdown the nitrate in an anerobic environment, aka without oxygen. sweet link with inf: Coiled Denitrator DIY - 3reef Forums

Edited by Asshh
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I use good ole waterchanges,

Maybe aquaponics may help as well, as plants use nitrates as food,

One of my mates old man has a aquaponics setup, which he uses to filter his fishtanks - both his display tank inside and the growout ponds he has for silver perch, it's all automatically setup so he doesn't need to maintain it, low on running costs, as he uses solar and the pumPs only run a few minutes every hour and uses little water Due to the aquaponics setup pretty much removing most of his nitrates

All he has to do is harvest the fish and veges when they are ready


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Nitrates are no big deal in a freshwater tank.....different story in salt water

Water changes are the simplest and best solution....removes toxins and biological/hormonal waste then adds trace minerals.....

I was commenting to a LFS owner how his fish seem to be so much more colourful and healthier than most other shops.....he then showed me his "secret" ......8% automatic water change.....every day!

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With my Tangs, they probably get a water change once a month

I test for nitrates and it still comes up with nothing and I know the test kit definitely works

So I only do the water changes to replenish lost minerals and things

Could setup a automatic water change system if you like?

fmueller.com » Continuous Automatic Water Change System (CAWC)

but it's heaps easy with a sump to do normal water changes

pump out water with the sump pump, fill up with a hose, add prime and salts etc. and you're done

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Plus, tangs don't crap so much, they're small so they don't eat so much, feed good food so most of it gets digested without passing straight through and you don't overstock tang tanks like people do with Malawis :)

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I was talking with a fellow forum member last night (he seemed to think he knew what he was talking about :D) [/url]

Probably some smartarse Dr of freshwater ecology....lol

You've listed your options - most here would probably just do water changes.

The reefers do it with 'live rock and deep sand beds' and denitrators if you want a more techy approach but they have corals to worry about..

A bit of reading..

Aquaworld Aquarium - The Adverse Affect of Nitrate on the Aquarium

Ammonia, nitrite and nitrate poisoning in fish

BTW - have you checked your tapwater for base/background nitrate levels?

What are your nitrate (and ammonia/nitrite) levels so that we know what sort of advice you may need.

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Thanks guys!

if you saw the waste produced from the 19 simochromis diagramma (aka food vaccums) you might be surprised. Some of it is so dense it won't come up in the gravel vac :)

I know nitrates aren't a danger to fish in low amounts (5-30ppm) but the less stress they're under the better i feel. Automatic water changing is awesome, but damn! that 8% will add up over the year. Even one tap dripping every second is going to use/lose about 150L a week, or about a 2x2x18.

I guess aquaponics is similar to the refigium, i'm starting to warm to that idea! :) Maybe a shallow tray with some herbs!!

gotta love fmueller's work eh! :D

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Thanks for the reading Mark. The first article had some high tolerances for nitrates!!

My water test results aren't that bad but i just want to have the best quality water.. :)

Ammonia: 0ppm

Nitrite: 0ppm

Nitrate: 30-40ppm..

Straight outta the tap i'm getting 0ppm nitrates, i haven't checked for ammonia and nitrite..

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sump sump sump!

substrate 3-4 inches deep and 2mm in size gives a good home to de-nitrifying bacteria, employ a sump that has a wet dry section with bio cubes or balls.

didnt you see my thread? I havent water changed for allmost 6 months, just top up evapped water fortnightly, sometimes sooner, which is around thirty litres and I consistantly have 0ppm ammonia, 0ppm Nitrite, 0ppm Nitrates and happy healthy fish :D

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