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Results 1 to 10 of 14

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  1. Default Plants and Nitrates - Fact or Fiction

    0 Not allowed!
    Does having a panted tank actually reduce nitrates? I feel like I have heard somewhere that plants help to absorb nitrates in the water, but I wanted to verify that rumor?
    55 Gallon Freshwater Tank (semi-planted) 48"x21"x13"

    Video of 55GAL Tank - DEC 2012

  2. #2


    0 Not allowed!
    Plants use nitrates as food.

    The issue is the amount.

    A very dense plant growth will use a lot of nitrates but the average aquarium with only a few plants will not use enough to make any difference compared to the nitrates produced by the fish (via the bacteria in the filter.)

    That all said plants only use nitrates at the best rate with enough lighting and trace nutrients and, of course, enough CO2. For a low density tank, CO2 and many trace nutrients are already available in the tap water (but often one or two trace nutrients are in short supply. A good reason to dose a liquid fert from time, to time.)

    Plants do not easily consume ammonia or nitrites and at high levels these waste products can harm plants - so cycling with plants needs to be done carefully - levels should not be allowed to get too high (another good reason to use a 1 - 2 ppm ammonia level for cycling.)
    Knowledge is fun(damental)

    A 75 gal with eight Discus, fake plants, and a lot of wood also with sand substrate. Clean up crew is down to just two Sterba's Corys. Filters: continuous new water flow; canister w/UV, in-tank algae scrubber!! Finally, junked the nitrate removal unit from hell.

    For Fishless cycling:

  3. #3


    0 Not allowed!
    Plants mostly consume nitrates and phosphates. Those are two ingrediants in most plants ferts. I do not beleive the amount they consume would be very impactful to your water quality tho, at least not in a low tech planted tank.

    I have had my 90 gallon set up without plants, and then added a lot of low light, low demanding plants that grew like weeds turning my tank into a heavy planted tank. I did not notice any changes in my nitrates. I am sure they are consuming nitrates and phosphates, just not enough for it to show on my API test kit as most time the kit barely even shows 5 ppm. The stocking and maintenance routines stayed the same.

    I have not kept a high-tech planted tank before (higher light levels, CO2 and ferts) so I can not speak to those types of set-ups
    Last edited by Cliff; 12-31-2012 at 01:31 PM.
    If you take your time to do the research FIRST, you can successfully set-up and keep ANY type of aquarium with ease.
    "Not using a quarantine tank is like playing Russian roulette. Nobody wins the game, some people just get to play longer than others." - Anthony Calfo
    Fishless Cycle Cycling with Fish Marine Aquarium Info [URL=""]

  4. #4


    0 Not allowed!
    Agree with all posters above. I have to add nitrates about 3 times a week because I'd have 0 nitrates without it. But I would not expect nitrates of 80 to be reduced by having plants, either. That's what water changes are for. But to get technical, a planted tank is really a tank fairly full of plants. Some will add one little plant to a tank and call it planted and it's no more a planted tank than one radish plant is a garden.


  5. #5


    0 Not allowed!
    I can confirm what Cliff is saying. My 75gal heavily planted tank, which has low-med lighting w/ low-med light plants does not consume a great deal of nitrates. I always have between 5-10ppm (sometimes 20) and am required to perform the necessary water changes per week to bring that down to about 5ppm.

    My 10gal high-light w/ low-high light plants consumes almost every bit of nitrates. I will also say that it depends on the plant. If it's a fast growing plant, chances are that it will consume more nitrates. Slower, much less. For instance... I have 2 Amazon swords in my 10, but I didn't notice a huge change in nitrates until I added 2 Dwarf Lillies. Now I regularly have 0-5ppm weekly.
    Adventures in Aquaria - The KevinVA Story

    When in doubt, ask yourself... W.W.L.S (What would Lee Say)?

    Have a fish problem? Fill out and post this completed questionnaire in the General Aquarium Forum, when you start a new thread.

  6. #6


    0 Not allowed!
    I have a heavily planted 90g with high lighting and my nitrates never are above 10. Fast growers suck up a lot of nitrates. Many with high tech planted tanks actually have to dose nitrates because their plants use up more of it than their fish can provide. Like the others have mentioned, there has to be a balance of nutrients present in order for this to happen.

    Waterchanges are still necessary whether or not your plants are absorbing the nitrates. Plants do not take the place of a good routine maintenance schedule.

    Liters to Gallons conversion calculator

    "Keeping fish for any period of time doesn't make you experienced if you're doing it wrong. What does, is acknowledging those mistakes and learning from them." ~Aeonflame
    your argument is invalid." ~Mommy1

  7. Default

    0 Not allowed!
    Good to know. Yeah I have a very lightly planted tank, and my nitrates hover between 20 and 30 ppm at the end of a 10-14day time period where I normally do a 30% water change.

    However, I have been adding more plants as time continues forward, and I wanted to know what to expect, if anything.

    Hypothetically speaking, if you have a heavily planted tank, where your plants consume large amounts of nitrates as well as detritus off the bottom, what does a water change buy you in terms of water quality?
    55 Gallon Freshwater Tank (semi-planted) 48"x21"x13"

    Video of 55GAL Tank - DEC 2012

  8. #8

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    0 Not allowed!
    If you set up the tank with a good amount of plants, you would not notice how much nitrates the plants are consuming because they have always been there and unless you took the plants out and tested again in a few days you really don't know how much nitrates they are consuming. Plants use nitrates and they use a decent amount, that is why many people with heavily planted and stocked tanks have 0 or near 0 nitrates. I am not talking about a couple plants, I mean a moderate to heavy planted tank.

    If you put more plants in your tank you would still need to do the same amount of water changes to replenish trace minerals the fish need to be healthy and remove hormones they produce.
    When I go fishing I just throw sharp rocks in the water and wait for the dead fish to float to the top... Kingfisher
    Everything happens for a reason. Sometimes that reason is you are stupid and make bad decisions.

    I think my fish is adjusting well to the four gallon, He's laying on his side attempting to go to sleep on the bottom of the gravel.
    Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.
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  9. #9


    0 Not allowed!
    Waterchanges do a lot more that remove nitrates. There is also fish hormones and other dissolved solids that we do not test for. They also replenish electrolytes that fish need.

    Liters to Gallons conversion calculator

    "Keeping fish for any period of time doesn't make you experienced if you're doing it wrong. What does, is acknowledging those mistakes and learning from them." ~Aeonflame
    your argument is invalid." ~Mommy1

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