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Freshwater Nitrate Removal Products

Author Topic: Freshwater Nitrate Removal Products  (Read 646 times)

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Offline jaypeecee

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Freshwater Nitrate Removal Products
« on: February 16, 2019, 03:00:04 PM »
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Hi Folks,

I thought it would be useful to start a thread dealing exclusively with freshwater nitrate removal products. This could include both in-tank and external (e.g. tap water nitrate removal) products. These items may be filtration media, water additives and/or equipment. I'm not overlooking the importance of plants, which are undoubtedly helpful in controlling nitrate levels but not all tanks have plants in them.

In order to start the ball rolling, I was wondering if anyone has tried Tetra NitrateMinus. This is a simple liquid additive that works using a "completely biological process" (at least that's what it says on the bottle).

JPC

Offline Littlefish

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Re: Freshwater Nitrate Removal Products
« Reply #1 on: February 17, 2019, 07:56:51 AM »
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Due to tap water nitrate levels here, this is something I'm particularly interested in.

I've not used this product, but as it's reasonably cheap, I'm happy to get some and give it a go (not in the same tank where I'm using the filtered water  ;D ).

I'm struggling to find any detailed information on this product, so if anyone else does please post the links.

Offline Sue

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Re: Freshwater Nitrate Removal Products
« Reply #2 on: February 17, 2019, 09:51:50 AM »
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I looked at a bottle in a shop once and the only thing I remember is that it said that if you use it you only need to do water changes every 6 months  :o Looking at the back label on Tetra's website, they've removed that statement, it was a few years ago that I saw it.

The label also says
Quote
Regular usage of Tetra NitrateMinus helps ensure a low and stable nitrate level (less than 50 mg/l)

What exactly does this mean? We can keep nitrate at less than 50 mg/l (aka ppm) simply by doing water changes as that's the legal limit in tap water.
Does it actually do anything more than weekly water changes, not over stocking and not over feeding will do?
Saying that it "increases the activeness of microorganisms which feed on nitrate" doesn't tell us very much. How does it increase the activeness, does it contain live bacteria; something to boost the health of the bacteria?

I wish the website had more into.

Offline Littlefish

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Re: Freshwater Nitrate Removal Products
« Reply #3 on: February 17, 2019, 12:35:58 PM »
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Thanks for the information @Sue

Good job they took that statement about water changes off the bottle.  :o

I'll not bother testing this product then. My tap water is 40ppm, and I don't see any increase in nitrate levels between weekly maintenance & water changes in any of my tanks, so I can't see that it would be of any help.

I'll stick with my Pozzani filters. I had to get some replacement cartridges delivered last week, but that didn't surprise me as I use a lot of water each week, and it takes the nitrate levels from 40ppm to 0, so I knew that each nitrate removal filter would probably last around a month.


Offline jaypeecee

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Re: Freshwater Nitrate Removal Products
« Reply #4 on: February 17, 2019, 12:45:37 PM »
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Me again!

I've done quite a bit of digging about Tetra NitrateMinus. Somewhere on the web, there was a picture of the reverse side of the bottle of this stuff. Unfortunately, I can no longer find it and I didn't bookmark it. But, I think it said that this product contains something called polycaprolactone (PCL). Apparently, this is a biodegradable polymer (for which I read 'plastic'). It is used in aquaculture to - guess what - remove nitrate.

It appears that NitrateMinus is available as a liquid and also as 'Pearls'. My guess is that both these options contain PCL - one in a suspension of particles, the other as visible small spheres. That being the case, these particles/spheres would be slowly biodegraded by denitrifying bacteria. In order to do this, anaerobic conditions would be required if I've got my facts right. So, I started thinking how might this be achieved. Anaerobic bacteria grow in low/zero oxygen environments, which are characterized by minimal/zero water flow. My thoughts turned to sponge filters. So, when I've got other jobs out of the way (!), I'm going to pursue this idea further - unless someone reckons that my thinking is flawed.

JPC

Offline Sue

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Re: Freshwater Nitrate Removal Products
« Reply #5 on: February 17, 2019, 02:51:49 PM »
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This is the NitrateMinus page on Tetra's website, there is an image of the reverse side of the bottle, and it can be enlarged enough to read it.
https://www.tetra.net/en/en/products/tetra-nitrateminus


Sponge filters are not anaerobic, if that's what you mean. The water flows through them quite efficiently, whether they are sponges inside an internal, external or HOB filter, or as an air pump powered stand alone filter (I have the latter in my betta's tank)

Many years ago they made something called a nitrex box - I had one. This was a shallow black plastic box where the lid sloped slightly with the highest part ending in a slit. The idea was you filled it with a nitrex medium which looked and felt like mis-shaped bits of hard black rubber (I assume it was actually something else  :) ) then you buried the box in the substrate with just the open lip showing. After a while, anaerobic bacteria were supposed to colonise the medium, and they turned nitrate into nitrogen gas. I did get a few bubbles coming out of the slit, but now that I know my tap water has less than 5 ppm nitrate I guess that's why I never had many bubbles.

https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-h-a7iDAxp9w/VMkmiP7_6dI/AAAAAAAAAcE/PdaYPSH16vA/w583-h437-no/DSCN9567.JPG

Offline Rustle

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Re: Freshwater Nitrate Removal Products
« Reply #6 on: February 17, 2019, 04:02:37 PM »
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I have tried this product after I had spike in nitrates due to removing a load of plants and it didn't work for me at all. I even tried adding it to the water before the water change and it still didn't work. The best remedy was to add nitrate eating plants.

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Offline jaypeecee

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Re: Freshwater Nitrate Removal Products
« Reply #7 on: February 17, 2019, 07:39:44 PM »
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This is the NitrateMinus page on Tetra's website, there is an image of the reverse side of the bottle, and it can be enlarged enough to read it.
https://www.tetra.net/en/en/products/tetra-nitrateminus


Sponge filters are not anaerobic, if that's what you mean. The water flows through them quite efficiently, whether they are sponges inside an internal, external or HOB filter, or as an air pump powered stand alone filter (I have the latter in my betta's tank).

Hi Sue,

Thanks for the feedback.

Tetra appear to have changed the labelling of NitrateMinus - perhaps more than once. Clearly, the most recent label makes no mention of PCL.

I have in mind the stand-alone, air-driven sponge filter through which the flow rate can be reduced to a trickle from the outlet. My hunch is that, as the water progresses from the sponge outer surface, the oxygen level will reduce towards the outlet. After all, aerobic nitrifying bacteria will firstly consume oxygen as the water containing ammonia enters the sponge. So, the deeper the water penetrates the sponge, oxygen levels will progressively reduce. And that may be sufficient to promote growth of anaerobic bacteria. I hope to put it to the test - nothing ventured, nothing gained.

JPC

Offline Sue

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Re: Freshwater Nitrate Removal Products
« Reply #8 on: February 17, 2019, 08:28:56 PM »
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This is the sponge filter in my betta's tank.
https://www.realaquatics.co.uk/aqua-one-filterair-30-sponge-filter.html

I don't think the sponge is thick enough to deplete oxygen enough to allow anaerobic bacteria to grow in the inner section. It doesn't look it in the photo but it is a good 3 inches across.

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