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Water issues and nitrate removal

jivemonkey

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Hi All,
Living in West Sussex uk my tap water over the last year or so has become much worse and fluctuates a fair bit.
Last week, after getting nitrate readings around 120ppm based on my api test kit and a second check using strips (tank nitrite/ammonia 0 and under stocked over filtered heavily planted 350litre tank) , I decided to buy a nitrate remover. I bought a large cylinder containing 4 litres of A-520 nitrate remover from my local aquatics shop. Cost £150 and wondering if I should have just gone RO as similiar price. The reason I did not is that its a large 350litre planted rainbow tank and I was concerned about cost and possible issues/faff remineralising ro water and changing around 80 litres a week.

I have added this nitrate filter after to a chlorine removing resin filter (water filter man) so tap water goes through this cartridge for chlorine/impurities removal and now nitrate remover. Pre sale was advised to expect slight drop in PH and my tap waste is rubbish and fluctuates somewhat but the problem is the nitrate remover seems to be having a big affect on other water parameters, not a slight drop as below readings yesterday

Tap water
Nitrates - never much below 50, often higher (water board don't seem to care)
Nitrite/ammonia 0
KH 180
GH 200
Alkalinity 120
PH 6.8
My water is from a chalk filtered source in West Sussex so always hard

Flitered through A-520 resin nitrate remover it reads
Nitrate 0 😁
Ammonia/nitrite 0
KH less than 40 (near 0 seems likely based on colour)
GH slight drop but minor?!
Alkalinity near 0
PH 6

My concern is that in removing nitrates its creating other issues with my water that are problematically low in term of pH and KH /alkalinity Wondering if anyone has experienced nitrate remover like this and had similiar issues. Once I have to start adding to readjust the water I might as wellhave gone RO in my view, making this purchase (arrived yesterday) useless. Feeling very annoyed as was told to expect slight drop in pH but what I am getting is substantial. drop in pH and impact on alkalinity and hardness that seems concerning to me, any advice greatly appreciated
 

Hanuman

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KH 180
GH 200
Alkalinity 120
OMG. In what world are you living in? Never seen such high numbers in tap water. One question though, what is the difference between the KH and Alkalinity readings here?

My concern is that in removing nitrates its creating other issues with my water that are problematically low in term of pH and KH /alkalinity Wondering if anyone has experienced nitrate remover like this and had similiar issues. Once I have to start adding to readjust the water I might as wellhave gone RO in my view, making this purchase (arrived yesterday) useless. Feeling very annoyed as was told to expect slight drop in pH but what I am getting is substantial. drop in pH and impact on alkalinity and hardness that seems concerning to me, any advice greatly appreciated
Plants need nitrogen so unless you are putting some back via fertilizers it will definitely be problematic for your tank.
I agree with the RO statement. It is probably better as you start with a clean slate without wondering if some elements are still in the water or not. Another possibility is rain water but considering your tank size it might not be possible unless you have space to spare for storing water.
As for the drop is PH, was the test done just after the water came out of the faucet or did you let the water stabilize for let's say a good day? PH measurement straight out of the tap are usually not very representative of what the real PH of the water is as there could be some CO2 dissolved in it.
 
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jivemonkey

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Hi

The water fluctuates. massively here and has done over the last year or so. Not sure why KH and alkalinity readings are where the are so going to buy a new test kit and retest as it does not make sense to me, losing all my cherry shrimps followed the nitrate increase but just looked again and nitrate around 30 to 40 now today but last week over 100. Think uk water quality is now pretty dire but is it surprising with the untreated sewage I regularly kayak past in my local rivers, or maybe the chemicals and waste I have read that following brexit can now be dumped by agriculture in rivers or seep off of fields. My local. River, the arum, often now has an oily film for miles and smells awful if my clothes get wet. I may go back to my local shop and discuss swap to RO, then remineralise
 

Wookii

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Are your GH and KH readings in 'ppm' as opposed to 'degrees' - I'm assuming you didn't have to add 200 drips of GH test kit solution to your sample to activate the colour change?
 

_Maq_

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a nitrate remover
It replaces nitrates by chlorides. A solution less than perfect.
KH 180
GH 200
Alkalinity 120
What units are you using? And how did you arrive at different readings of KH and alkalinity?
I may go back to my local shop and discuss swap to RO, then remineralise
EI method features as an advantage that you don't have to bother with measuring water parameters. If you use solely RO+DI water and master correct remineralization, much of measuring water parameters will get unnecessary, too.
 

jivemonkey

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Going to take water to LFS this weekend for tests and buy second test kit as my KH GH alkaline is strips, rest api test kits
 

dw1305

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Hi all,
Last week, after getting nitrate readings around 120ppm based on my api test kit
It might be a valid reading, but there are a <"number of issues"> with nitrate (NO3-) testing, and I don't tend to put <"too much reliance on test kit values">. You could try diluting your tank water with RO and re-taking those values. I use the health (leaf colour and growth) of a floating plant as an <"indication of nutrient levels">. You should be able to get accurate readings from your water company and also notification if your tap water has breached the regulatory 50 ppm NO3 tap water limit.
My water is from a chalk filtered source in West Sussex so always hard
Perfect, you don't actually need to do any testing on that, the values will be ~18dGH, ~18 dKH and the pH is ~pH8. The reason for this is to do with the <"chemistry of dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC / TIC)"> and the <"level of CO2"> in the atmosphere.
I agree with the RO statement. It is probably better as you start with a clean slate
@jivemonkey is <"rainwater an option for you">? I've used it without any problems since the 1970s and you can use your hard tap water <"to remineralise it">. It is a <"KISS solution">.
It replaces nitrates by chlorides. A solution less than perfect.
I'm not a fan of <"nitrate removal resins"> either, they work by ion exchange and are really just a "sticking plaster". Plants are your great advantage in <"terms of nutrient removal">, in planted tanks <"nutrient levels go down">, rather than up.
Going to take water to LFS this weekend for tests and buy second test kit as my KH GH alkaline is strips, rest api test kits
They honestly won't be able to give you accurate values (or sell you another test kit), whatever they may say. If they have <"an analytical lab."> they might be able to, but it is going to take a lot of time and money.
Plants need nitrogen so unless you are putting some back via fertilizers it will definitely be problematic for your tank.
Very true. Plants need all <"fourteen of the essential nutrients for plant growth">, just in <"very differing amounts">.

cheers Darrel
 
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jivemonkey

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thanks all, after some further though I think I am going to go down the RO route and remineralise with additives for the plants, that way I can control what goes into my fish tank and hopefully offer more stable and consistent water. its a co2 injected set up and heavily planted. I am hacking back weekly so the high nitrates were a shock. I did test nitrates before and after the remover and the difference was reassuringly huge.

I have been looking at rainwater harvesting so that may be an option down the line but in the meantime I have never tried ro so apart from. the half day to get around 90 litres I enjoy cleaning and maintaining my aquarium. FYI I have a white trigon 350, external fluval 407, took out the internal, nice tank, stand a bit cheap, being white, it reflects more at the surface which I don't like but otherwise a good tank imo
 

_Maq_

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Reverse osmosis is a God's gift to our hobby.
Now, are you ready to mineralize properly? It's not that simple, and if you choose to purchase branded re-mineralizers, you'll waste money for products which are not very good, anyway. It's much better to learn it doing with dry salts.
 

dw1305

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Hi all,
I am hacking back weekly so the high nitrates were a shock.
Are you using <"Estimative Index (EI)"> as your <"fertiliser regime">?

If you are? It is possible that NO3 could build up if one of the other parameters was <"Liebig's limiting nutrient">.
I did test nitrates before and after the remover and the difference was reassuringly huge.
The <"nitrate selective anion resins work">, they are just an expensive option.

cheers Darrel
 

dw1305

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Hi all,
you'll waste money for products which are not very good, anyway. It's much better to learn it doing with dry salts.
I'm a dry salts fan.

If I was a <"more conscientious aquarist"> I would use them, <"James' Planted Tank - Re-mineralising RO Water">, rather than just adding a <"dash of tap water">. I'd also be interested in replicating @Roland 's <"remineralizing levels">.

Tap water is the <"cheapest option">, but <"non-branded"> dry salts are almost as cheap, and you can get potassium bicarbonate (KHCO3), calcium chloride (CaCl2.2H20) and "Epsom Salts" (MgSO4.7H2O) cheaply as <"food or pharmaceutical grade">.

cheers Darrel
 

jivemonkey

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Hi all,

Are you using <"Estimative Index (EI)"> as your <"fertiliser regime">?

If you are? It is possible that NO3 could build up if one of the other parameters was <"Liebig's limiting nutrient">.

The <"nitrate selective anion resins work">, they are just an expensive option.

cheers Darrel
not been adding any ferts but a out to start because tank only been running 6months ish and substrate is seachem flourite black so advised its got nutrients for at least 6 months but last week or so dwarf hairgrass going a bit yellow in places so planning to does ferts, told iron specifically but thinking gen purpose
 

jivemonkey

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Hi all,

I'm a dry salts fan.

If I was a <"more conscientious aquarist"> I would use them, <"James' Planted Tank - Re-mineralising RO Water">, rather than just adding a <"dash of tap water">. I'd also be interested in replicating @Roland 's <"remineralizing levels">.

Tap water is the <"cheapest option">, but <"non-branded"> dry salts are almost as cheap, and you can get potassium bicarbonate (KHCO3), calcium chloride (CaCl2.2H20) and "Epsom Salts" (MgSO4.7H2O) cheaply as <"food or pharmaceutical grade">.

cheers Darrel
thanks will look, not planning to add tap water as nitrate levels are sometimes super high and seem to fluctuate a lot and sometimes has a strong smell or foams a bit so don't trust it anymore (don't drink it unless via my Berkey purifier to take out some nasties) it's also from a bore hole in south downs that is chalk filtered so very hard and very alkaline and I mean top of the scale hard. I also kayak a lot and spend a lot of time now noticing the arun and Adur are often pretty rank with raw sewage and an oily wake. I know post brexit the great twatsby relaxed regulations on use of EU banned chemicals and what could be dumped into rivers and don't see how this is not getting back into our drinking water so thinking to dose with something like seachem and ferts, just need to work our the cost of additives for about 100 litres a week of ro and what is best to use that decent and not too much faff as not keen to make up myself. tank is cardinals, small rainbows and corys/khuli plus shrimps but had several cherry shrimp mass die offs that I traced back to tap water super high nitrate spikes (I think) tank well under stocked and heavily planted with big external thats oversized for tank and ammonia and nitrite consistently zero. have a water filter man carbon declorinator I am thinking I will pre filter the RO filter with as well as replacement cartridges not too bad and looking at ro filter eith in built tds meter so I know when cartridges need changing
 

Wookii

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not been adding any ferts but a out to start because tank only been running 6months ish and substrate is seachem flourite black so advised its got nutrients for at least 6 months but last week or so dwarf hairgrass going a bit yellow in places so planning to does ferts, told iron specifically but thinking gen purpose

If I were you’d I’d throw the Nitrate test kit in the bin. Seachem fluorite is inert and contains no nutrients, and a very low CEC to be able to store any. Assuming your tank is fairly heavily planted (a full tank photo would be useful to see), and the fact that you have not dosed any fertilisers for 6 months, nitrate should be no where near that level unless you have some serious water quality issues in your tap water (the legal limit for Nitrate in UK tap water is 50ppm).
 

dw1305

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Hi all,
Assuming your tank is fairly heavily planted (a full tank photo would be useful to see)
A <"photo would be useful">. A picture is usually <"worth a thousand words">.
I also kayak a lot and spend a lot of time now noticing the arun and Adur are often pretty rank with raw sewage and an oily wake. I know post brexit the great twatsby relaxed regulations on use of EU banned chemicals and what could be dumped into rivers and don't see how this is not getting back into our drinking water
That is indeed the <"Brexit bonus">, and unfortunately I'd guess that you <"aint seen nothing yet">, if you look at <"the USA">. Within the EU I would expect water quality (both within <"the environment"> and at <"a domestic water supply level">) to carry on improving.
but had several cherry shrimp mass die offs that I traced back to tap water super high nitrate spikes (I think) tank well under stocked and heavily planted with big external thats oversized for tank and ammonia and nitrite consistently zero.
I'm sorry to hear of your losses, but I'm pretty sure <"it wasn't high nitrate levels">, even if you had them.
If I were you’d I’d throw the Nitrate test kit in the bin.
So would I. I'm not anti-testing, but there are a <"number of issues"> with tests for NO3-, and <"I wouldn't make decisions"> based purely upon the result of the nitrate test kits available to us.
not been adding any ferts
You will need to. Have a read through at <"The scientific background to the "Leaf Colour Chart""> and this <"Solufeed 2 : 1 : 4">.
so dwarf hairgrass going a bit yellow in places so planning to does ferts, told iron specifically
Have a look at <"Amazon Frogbit"> and the <"linked threads"> within it.

cheers Darrel
 
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jivemonkey

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If I were you’d I’d throw the Nitrate test kit in the bin. Seachem fluorite is inert and contains no nutrients, and a very low CEC to be able to store any. Assuming your tank is fairly heavily planted (a full tank photo would be useful to see), and the fact that you have not dosed any fertilisers for 6 months, nitrate should be no where near that level unless you have some serious water quality issues in your tap water (the legal limit for Nitrate in UK tap water is 50ppm).
 

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jivemonkey

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Hi all,

A <"photo would be useful">. A picture is usually <"worth a thousand words">.

That is indeed the <"Brexit bonus">, and unfortunately I'd guess that you <"aint seen nothing yet">, if you look at <"the USA">. Within the EU I would expect water quality (both within <"the environment"> and at <"a domestic water supply level">) to carry on improving.

I'm sorry to hear of your losses, but I'm pretty sure <"it wasn't high nitrate levels">, even if you had them.

So would I. I'm not anti-testing, but there are a <"number of issues"> with tests for NO3-, and <"I wouldn't make decisions"> based purely upon the result of the nitrate test kits available to us.

You will need to. Have a read through at <"The scientific background to the "Leaf Colour Chart""> and this <"Solufeed 2 : 1 : 4">.

Have a look at <"Amazon Frogbit"> and the <"linked threads"> within it.

cheers Darrel
thanks guys, pictures attached, bosemani, cardinals, harlequins, Corys, khuli, few ottos and few amano and cherry shrimp, protein skimmer, fluval 407 and now RO water (learning) as now adding remineral tropic but at the recommended dose the pH is still low 6's so LFS advised me to add a bit more as appare tly. it won't increase alkalinity, KH and hardness further!?
 

jivemonkey

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Hi all,

A <"photo would be useful">. A picture is usually <"worth a thousand words">.

That is indeed the <"Brexit bonus">, and unfortunately I'd guess that you <"aint seen nothing yet">, if you look at <"the USA">. Within the EU I would expect water quality (both within <"the environment"> and at <"a domestic water supply level">) to carry on improving.

I'm sorry to hear of your losses, but I'm pretty sure <"it wasn't high nitrate levels">, even if you had them.

So would I. I'm not anti-testing, but there are a <"number of issues"> with tests for NO3-, and <"I wouldn't make decisions"> based purely upon the result of the nitrate test kits available to us.

You will need to. Have a read through at <"The scientific background to the "Leaf Colour Chart""> and this <"Solufeed 2 : 1 : 4">.

Have a look at <"Amazon Frogbit"> and the <"linked threads"> within it.

cheers Darrel
cheers will. do, my dwarf hair grass still growing but yellowed a bit so going to dose some ferts and see what happens
 

dw1305

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Hi all,
pictures attached
That doesn't look too bad at all.
now RO water (learning) as now adding remineral tropic but at the recommended dose the pH is still low 6's so LFS advised me to add a bit more as appare tly. it won't increase alkalinity, KH and hardness further
Go somewhere else, they are <"officially clueless">, or dishonest, or both. "Add a bit more" of the <"incredibly over-priced product"> they are peddling is the only relevant bit of that statement for them.

Have a look at @Roland 's <"Soft water tank">.

cheers Darrel
 
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