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Old 08/02/2006, 06:47 PM   #1
fishykid9212
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Talking Nitrate Reduction 101 with sugar!!!

Hi, I have posted this trick to eliminate nitrates many times. I don't know why people use it but here it goes. My tank use to have high nitrates, as in off the chart. Around 60-80ppm, in 2 weeks they were down to zero WITHOUT water changes. I haven't done water changes in months and my nitrates are still at zero. Now I'm not a light feeder, I have a 92G FOWLR tank with a few damsels, an ocellaris clown, clarki clown, pajama cardinal, yellow tang and a hippo tang. Nitrates can only be eliminated naturally by anerobic bacteria, which of course is not in anyones tank since anerobic bacteria. There are very few of these bacteria in aquariums. In order to get this bacteria you need to feed it somthing, what happens to be sugar, plain old white granulated
sugar. Ok, now, this is how I did it...

First of all, you need to have a protein skimmer, it won't work without one, if you don't have one I would highly suggest getting one. As a start I would add 1/8 of a teaspoon of sugar for every 25 gallons of water, every other day. If you have any corals I would do every two days. You can add more but it's better to be safe than sorry. Doing this promotes the growth of anerobic bacteria as I mentioned before. Growing this type of bacteria will use up some oxygen in your tank, thats why it's better to start off with a low ammount of sugar. Your skimmer will supply oxygen as well as skim out all those anerobic bacteria that have just consumed nitrate. Therefore lowering your nitrates This truly does work and you will be very suprised how much money it saves you in salt for water changes. I'm not saying you never have to do them again, I'm saying you don't have to ever do water changes to lower nitrates. I have directed many people in the right direction, and not one of those people have told me that they lost live stock and/or corals in the process.

I am saying this because every day, I see some one on here that asks how to lower nitrates besides water changes and I am getting pretty tired of explaining this whole thing to them. I would really appreciate it if people can post there experience on this thread and help keep this thread alive. If there are any questions I am here I hope this will help people out.


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Old 08/02/2006, 06:53 PM   #2
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Cool beans. I will keep this in mind the next time I have nitrates off the scales.


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Old 08/02/2006, 07:15 PM   #3
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I'm experimenting with this right now. NO3 in my 65g went way up after I removed the sandbed, from a steady 5ppm to around 50ppm. There's a big ball of chaeto in the tank, but it doesn't consume enough nitrate to keep the levels down (it does do a GREAT job at reducing PO4 though). I decided to try sugar since it's much easier (and costs less) than doing a series of large water changes, and probably a lot less stressful to the fish and corals than being constantly disturbed. It's been about two weeks now, at first using 1/4tsp per day, then 1/2tsp per day. My Remora is going CRAZY, pulling out the stinkiest skimmate I've ever seen, and nitrates are going steadily down. To help things along (I hope), I purchased 'Matrix' filter media from SeaChem. It's designed to house both nitrifying and denitrifying bacteria and is supposed to aid in nitrate reduction. I haven't seen results from the media yet, but it's only been a few days -- I expect it will only start to really work after it's been in place for weeks or months.

Long story short, in two weeks sugar has taken nitrates from 50ppm+ down to 10ppm, despite heavy feeding and a hefty bioload. The only downside so far is the odd look I get from my husband every time he sees me pouring sugar into my fish tank!


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Old 08/02/2006, 07:16 PM   #4
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there is no scientific proof for this theroy. I did this in the beging to cycle the tank...but I would never use it as a means to lower nitrites, there is no record of how and what happens to the bacteria in the tank over long periods of time. This theory is starting to be replicated in products like prodibio and zeo. Randy has discussed this in length on why this might not be the best idea to lower anything in the tank.

Unless your a chemist...I would add to your posts that it has worked for you, but there is not true proof that this is not harmful to a tank...alot of people on these boards read stuff and take it as gold...and I would hate for someone to read this post and have something bad happen to their tank.


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Old 08/02/2006, 07:22 PM   #5
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I will start tonight and let you know how it goes. Thanks a ton.


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Old 08/02/2006, 07:29 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally posted by Clouded
there is no scientific proof for this theroy. I did this in the beging to cycle the tank...but I would never use it as a means to lower nitrites, there is no record of how and what happens to the bacteria in the tank over long periods of time. This theory is starting to be replicated in products like prodibio and zeo. Randy has discussed this in length on why this might not be the best idea to lower anything in the tank.
How is using a carbon source to create more bacterial growth have no "scientific proof"?


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Old 08/02/2006, 07:29 PM   #7
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First of all it's best to find the source of your excess nitrates rather than use quick fix solutions such as adding sugar, using nitrate reducers, or doing tons of waterchanges.

Second, I believe your explanation of the process is a little off. The bacteria is going to be present in any tank with a fairly deep sandbed or with live rock. There just may not be enough anoxic or anaerobic areas to keep up with a tank that is producing nitrates in large amounts or a tank with nitrates in the make-up water.

The skimmer does not lower nitrates by skimming out the bacteria that ate the nitrates. The sugar actually jump starts the bacteria and they convert nitrogenous waste to nitrogenous gas (usually nitrous oxide IIRC).


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Old 08/02/2006, 07:31 PM   #8
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Re: Nitrate Reduction 101 with sugar!!!

Quote:
Originally posted by fishykid9212

Doing this promotes the growth of anerobic bacteria as I mentioned before. Growing this type of bacteria will use up some oxygen in your tank, thats why it's better to start off with a low ammount of sugar.
Adding a carbon source acts as a food source for any type of bacteria, not just anaerobic. Also note, anaerobic bacteria are called anaerobic for just that reason - they do not use oxygen. In fact many of them can die if exposed to oxygen. They may not seem so abundant in our tanks b/c most places are exposed to oxygen, except for deep in sand or deep in rocks.

I think I remember seeing a realllly long thread about it in the chemistry forum once. The moral I took away from the story is that it does work, but the extent of the effects are unknown. I remember reading people talking about it causing tank crashes after prolonged use.

So, if you do it, use caution, and perhaps try and dig up that monster thread about dosing carbon (originally people were using vodka).

HTH

Tim


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Old 08/02/2006, 07:32 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by xtrstangx
How is using a carbon source to create more bacterial growth have no "scientific proof"?
Carbon pulls stuff out not create more bacteria...suger creates bacteria, its like using vodka...If you do not beleive go ask Randy and see what he says...there are to many things in sugar that no one has really studied the effect of in our tanks...


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Old 08/02/2006, 07:38 PM   #10
Peter Eichler
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Quote:
Originally posted by Clouded
Carbon pulls stuff out not create more bacteria...suger creates bacteria, its like using vodka...If you do not beleive go ask Randy and see what he says...there are to many things in sugar that no one has really studied the effect of in our tanks...
Uhhhh, he's not talking about activated carbon here. Yes it works to give a little kick in the pants to bacteria to reduce nitrates, you are correct that there may be some drawbacks with the addition of sugar. This argument has been going on for MANY years and by the looks of it will be going on for many to come. No matter if there are side effects of not, your best bet is to take other measures to naturally reduce nitrates.


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Old 08/02/2006, 08:32 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by Peter Eichler
No matter if there are side effects of not, your best bet is to take other measures to naturally reduce nitrates.
I would agree. It may work in a pinch, but I don't think it's a good idea to rely on it as a fundamental part of your reef system.

Tim


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Old 08/02/2006, 08:48 PM   #12
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Well, everyone's entitled to there opinion, I have talked to many peope who do it. It is a huge thing in Germany, every one does it. The reason why no one does it here is because first, nobody knows about and secondly people say, "There might be bad effects in the long run" No one is exactley sure of how it is in the long run. Posted above somewhere says that the skimmer doesn't skim out the bacteria, the bacteria convert the nitrogen to nitrogen gas. It is true about the bacteria converting nitrate to nitrate gas, but the reason why it lowers nitrates very fast is becasue the bacteria eat the nitrate, and by assing sugar it might make your tank cloudy for a day. The cloudy water is from all the bacteria. First the skimmer will go nuts and it will clear up because the bacteria is removed from the water. The way I think of it is I think it's better to add the sugar rather than have my nitrates of the charts. The 0 nitrates with the sugar is probably healthier for the fish. I have not only used this method but I have tested it. The only corals I had were mushrooms, I hade all the fish that I have now, I got 1 heaping teaspoon of sugar and added it every day for 3 days. I could not see anything in the tank for a day or two. Then my skimmer went crazy and it would clear up. Everything was fine and doing great.


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Old 08/02/2006, 08:55 PM   #13
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It needs scientific proof before it can be really excepted by the whole reefing and scientific community as fact.

Therefore, it needs to be tested by scientic conditions in a lab setting.

I remeber reading a Deep Sand bed vs. Bare Bottom expirmental test by Advanced Aquarist magazine. The results proved that they performed about the same, but what they had was 80 something 10 gallon tanks doing differnt styles of reefing.

I am not doubting that it works, I am interested to see if it does or does not. It just needs proof of it working and not claims.

I am willing to try it by myself, but I will not make a claim that it does and be proven wrong by scietific fact.


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Old 08/02/2006, 09:01 PM   #14
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I've been doing it for about 6 months and every thing is doing great, I'll let you know if I encounter any problems though.


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Old 08/02/2006, 09:07 PM   #15
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Honestly, C12H22O11 doesnt sound too scarey, but some people feel weird about putting table sugar in a reef tank.

Nothing is as reliable as good husbandry in the first place, and not allowing nitrates to peak so high.


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Old 08/02/2006, 09:10 PM   #16
Peter Eichler
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Quote:
Originally posted by PatrickJ
It needs scientific proof before it can be really excepted by the whole reefing and scientific community as fact.

Therefore, it needs to be tested by scientic conditions in a lab setting.

I remeber reading a Deep Sand bed vs. Bare Bottom expirmental test by Advanced Aquarist magazine. The results proved that they performed about the same, but what they had was 80 something 10 gallon tanks doing differnt styles of reefing.

I am not doubting that it works, I am interested to see if it does or does not. It just needs proof of it working and not claims.

I am willing to try it by myself, but I will not make a claim that it does and be proven wrong by scietific fact.
It works, there really is no questioning it and there is plenty of scientific data to back that it works. However, there isn't much info on longterm effects or possible side effects for a reef aquarium. This is nothing new and this method has been in use in one form or another since you and the OP were probably in diapers

If you don't believe me just do a google search on glucose/nitrate reduction, also try fructose, ethanol, galactose, etc. etc.


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Old 08/02/2006, 09:15 PM   #17
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So if I wanted my nitrates lower, but like not all that low, can I use Splenda?


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Old 08/02/2006, 09:21 PM   #18
PatrickJ
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Glucose (C6H12O6) is differnt from succrose (table sugar(C12H22O11)) .

And ethanol, ect.


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Old 08/02/2006, 09:26 PM   #19
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Will Sweet'N'Low work?


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Old 08/02/2006, 09:36 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally posted by PatrickJ
Glucose (C6H12O6) is differnt from succrose (table sugar(C12H22O11)) .

And ethanol, ect.
Really, I had no idea...

My point that you so briskly ignored was that it will work with many types of sugars.


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Old 08/02/2006, 09:37 PM   #21
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Sweet'N' Low is differnt, C7H4NNaO3S · 2H2O

Note: the Nitrogen and Sodium, but still has carbon, with these methods of reefing why not..


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Old 08/02/2006, 09:37 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally posted by affan
Will Sweet'N'Low work?
Equal will work best, you will need a little more of it to get the jon done but it will make your reef substantially more delicious.


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Old 08/02/2006, 09:39 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally posted by Peter Eichler
Equal will work best, you will need a little more of it to get the jon done but it will make your reef substantially more delicious.
Cool, all I will need in that case is several boxes of Folgers and a few gallons of cream and voila! 225 gallons of low nitrate coffee on the go!


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Old 08/02/2006, 09:39 PM   #24
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You really can not beat good husbandry, as responsible aquarist you must find your own balance in your system and work with it and not hope on outside sources as means of fixing bad husbandry.


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Old 08/02/2006, 09:40 PM   #25
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Quote:
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Cool, all I will need in that case is several boxes of Folgers and a few gallons of cream and voila! 225 gallons of low nitrate coffee on the go!
On second thought, why bother with all this? I can get the same kind of coffee from my collection cup!


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