Nitrates

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discuspaul

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You're right Bob, I never said anything about an airstone removing ammonia.

I don't think myswtsins was referring to me - maybe anubis63 ?
Besides, I have a lot more than 20 years keeping discus - around 35 on & off. LOL
 

anubis63

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Just need to use a dechlorinator like Prime to treat the source ammonia. Do you age your water? If you aged the water with a air stone it should drive off the ammonia as well.
I was using prime all of the time a very good product but I just started using Amqull and it seems to work best but it does take more. I have 2 canister filters both rated for 150 gal. tanks and two hang on filters a Fluval C4 and a Pen Plax Cascade 300 hang on. I do use 2 air stones as well. This tank has been in use for a little over a year. Even though Sacramento started adding ammonia to the water which registrars at about .25 but with a water change and the amount of biological media it goes to 0 in about an hour.
 

anubis63

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Plants can also help lower nitrate especially fast growing ones & remove ammonia too. Are you using ferts for your plants? Nitrate is in the "macros" ferts; the N of N-P-K, KNO3 etc.so you might not want to add more. What plants do you have? Some are happy without adding ferts, some sturdy enough to vac lightly into the top 1/4" of the substrate (crypts & most carpet plants hate this). Try for a "swirl & vac" technique to help get up the "crud" trapped. Dead leaves also release N so remove them often.

Some people grow houseplants like pothos out the tank back top to lower N as well. Roots in tank water, leaves out. Depends on lighting for them & aesthetics for you. I haven't done this.
I have seen a few people who swear by plants that grow out of the tank and roots hanging down but you are right I don't know how it would look with it like that. Could you let me know what a "swirl & vac" is? I also never heard that air stones got rid of ammonia but ammonia is not my problem I only sow one YouTube video where it was stated that air stone's helped get rid of Nitrates I don't know how true that is but I also heard someone on YouTube say adding 1/8 teaspoon of table sugar or Vodka helps with nitrates but that just sounds strange to me. This is one thing that is confusing to me when I had 20+ plants ( swards, sprites, java ferns and others ) I had a big alga problem but when I reduced the plants to just 4 no more alga problem the plants never really helped with nitrates but it may be because they couldn't handle the load.
 

anubis63

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Why would ammonia ever be added to treated city water, especially for drought/shortages?

I've seen people report measuring small amounts of ammonia, when chloramine is being used in their city water as opposed to chlorine.

To the OP, what was your normal water change frequency and volume?
OK when I heard on the news that Sacramento was adding ammonia I was shocked also we have had a very bad drought for the last 4 years and it has release lots of very bad toxins into the tap water and people were getting sick so they added both Corine and Ammonia also the tap water Nitrates register at 10. Hmm what to do I change the water 2 times a week about 30 gal. on my 100 gal. tank and my filters every month staggering of course. By the way all of you guys are great and thanks for everything :)
 

anubis63

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It's not good that you have 10 ppm of nitrates in your tap water, but nonetheless, if you do sufficiently large & frequent wcs, you should be able to stabilize the nitrates to not more than 10 in your tank.
Test your tap water again to ensure your tap water indeed has 10 ppm of nitrates.
Some discus-keepers who have nitrates in their tap water employ an RO water system to mitigate the nitrates in their water source.
You know what Paul you are exactly right but I need to ask you, I looked into getting an RO system but all of the ones I could find needed to have a garden or very long hose going to the outside water spout How can I employ an RO system cause that would sure help. Actually the tap water still registrars the same it actually reads between 10 and 20 strait from the tap. Our drought has been very savvier our main source of city water is Folsom Lake and this last summer it was at around 33% capacity many people had to have water delivered in bottles and it also had to be used for baths. We were only allowed to water our yards one day a week and for only 5 min. or pay a hefty fine everyone's lawn was dry allot of people turned there yards into a dirt and cactus yard. Oh by the way I use API Mast Test Kit and this one is relatively new.
 

fishorama

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It's probably really chloramines added to your water supply. It does test positive for ammonia, .25 is not a lot for treated water, some add as much as 1. Use a dechlor like Prime that breaks the chlorine/ammonia bond & "binds" ammonia for 24-48 hours, enough time for your beneficial bacteria to break it down...to N

I would NOT add sugar or vodka, either sounds like a disaster waiting to happen. The only sure way to remove nitrate is water changes (& fast growing plants). 30% is not very much even 2x/week when you have N in your supply. Try to change more, more often, a lot of work in a big tank. Have you tried floating plants? Not duckweed! But maybe red root floater, salvinia etc. You can just toss the excess & trapped N with it. Again, aesthetics. They will block some light (discus like dim-ish) & depending on filter returns, may get pushed down into the water column & trapped on intakes. Something to think about.

"swirl & vac" is where you use the siphon tube to stir up poo & debris that can collect around plants into the water column so you vac it out. The "technique" is to wave the vac enough to get crud up just enough to siphon out & not stir it all over the tank. Some people have their filter returns adjusted so much crud collects in an easy to vac area, having a "down hill" lower substrate in a corner helps. You can do a small vac (a couple gallons) in the area every day or 2 to remove detritus. Discus are big fish that eat & poo a lot so doing that should help too. In areas without plants you should really dig the siphon tube down into the substrate as far as you can without sucking all the way out. You can do part of the tank each WC. Sand is trickier than gravel to vac but holds less "big stuff". What do you have? Big rocks & wood trap stuff too so pay attention around them.

I hear you on the drought. We had awful water for a while when, to help keep the water cooler for salmon etc, the intakes were raised. This allowed algae in & though treated & "safe", it was not removed. The tap smelled & tasted like mold. Luckily the carbon fridge filter took it away.
 

anubis63

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Thanks allot for your input fishorama between posting on this thread I added 4 ( I believe they are ) Phyladindran my wife had rooted in a bucket of water I think this could help allot or at least I hope so. I was doing WC's 4 times a week for about a month and was getting frustrated that the Nitrates where still at 40. As you stated above I took everything out plants, driftwood and a large hollow log for my 10 inch Black Ghost Knife ( I just love that fish ) the sand was filthy I brushed the hoses and intakes, impellers on the hang on filters also after I did that and did a thorough sand vac. the Nitrates went down to 20 ppm and have stayed there for 2 days I also removed about 50% of the sand. I stopped the WC's for a couple of days because the discus where getting stressed at 40+% changes. Is there anything else you can tell me about getting an RO system without having to run a hose across the room? Thanks
 

fishorama

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I have not done RO but some of my "discus friends" did. They often used a trash can(s) for WCs filled w/RO (or otherwise pretreated water, peat moss, Prime, aeration, etc) or had a "dedicated" sink available nearby, RO is not a "pretty", usually 3+ x 1 foot long filter "units" or more (a powder room or laundry sink is helpful). They often had a small water pump to get the trashcan water to tank. I know basements aren't "usual" in CA but that's how some hid the cans/RO back east, maybe a garage? With a place to hang the hose...I use a Python for tap refills, be sure any hose is "food safe", not all garden hoses are.

I am guessing your wife's plants are phyllodendron of some kind (spelling?). Pothos is very similar to "heart leaf" phyllodendron, pothos is usually variegated green & yellow/white,; heart leaf solid green...both ~3-4 inch leaves. It can be pretty but I try to keep sun away from my tanks (algae)...so they may not get enough light. Temporary cuttings might work if you or your wife has a "mother plant" or other sunny area for the cuttings to recoup (window sill?). Can't hurt to try them, they may help a lot...or just a bit.

As for your fish getting distressed from large WCs, I did have issues with dissolved gases in winter...on the east coast. I have seen a little bit of that since moving west but not like there. There were sometimes tiny bubbles that "stuck" on my discus but only in winter. I haven't kept discus on the west (left) coast...different water, different issues. A large change in TDS (total dissolved solids) can be stressful too. (look it up, I'm tired of typing ATM, lol).

Trust discuspaul, wesleydunder, & more experienced (& both at simplydiscus.com, & others there & here), I have discus experience exactly 3 or 4 times... only once successfully over 35+ years of fish keeping. ..But many years of happy fishing keeping, discus are different! They need special care.

I haven't kept knifefish either, I know they like a hiding spot...that may need be on your vac central area! Dead spots in your tank (tubes, under logs) can amass crud that needs removal. Each tank is different...as is each keeper & their abilities to provide for these

You know, we'd like to see pics of your tank, we might be able to offer better advice then.
 
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