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pawsplus

Lucky bamboo--how long?

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I asked this on my nitrate lowering thread ( http://www.kokosgoldfish.invisionzone.com/forum/index.php?/topic/113673-pawsplus-nitrate-lowering-project-log/ ), but no responses, so I'm asking again in case people aren't checking that.

As many here know, I have nitrates in my tap (spring) water. I've been keeping records of my parameters for a few weeks now. Basically, my tap water is coming in at 5-10 ppm these days--usually closer to 5 ppm. After I do a 70% water change (all I can do with the fish in there--at 80% Georgia freaks out b/c she's afraid I'm trying to kill her!) and wait an hour, the tank is at 10 ppm. So that's where I am starting out each time. My tank is 90 gal with 3 fish (2 goldfish and a BN pleco).

3 days later it's at 20 ppm.

By 7 days it's at 40 ppm. This is pretty much right where it was before I added all the lucky bamboo, the Matrix, etc.

A few thoughts and questions:

(1) I'm OK with it getting to 40. My fish seem happy and healthy. But obviously I wouldn't want it getting over that. If I get a 4th fish (3rd goldfish) I would have to do a second large water change per week, I guess. I'm not sure if I want to go there or not. It seems risky, given my busy life (2 jobs, a farm to take care of, a long commute, and many other critters) and if it would be a disaster if I missed a water change I may just have to say "no more fish." I so wanted a Rain Garden lemon yellow comet! <sigh>

(2) The plants don't seem to have done a THING to lower the nitrates. :( I'm not giving up and have a bunch more to add when I lose one of my HOBs and replace it w/ a canister. But I'm wondering who out there has had their nitrates actually go down with lucky bamboo? And how long did it take? B/c right now I have 30 pieces in there, with 20-30 more to come. I would think that 30 pieces, plus the aquatic plants I've added (a lot of java fern and 6 anubias), would have SOME effect on the nitrates but they don't seem to.

(3) The Matrix filter media (supposed to lower nitrate) may yet work--obviously it takes weeks, even months, to build up the bacteria that eat nitrates. I plan on adding Matrix to my second canister when I install it, as well.

Mostly I'm wondering about the lucky bamboo. If it reduced your nitrates, how long did that take and by how much did it reduce them?

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I'd love to know the answer to your questions, too. I tend to think that maybe the plants moderate the nitrate, and that it would be even worse without them. It's a tough situation. And I wish u the best of luck.

Mj

Sent from my Nexus 7 using Tapatalk 2

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I'd love to know the answer to your questions, too. I tend to think that maybe the plants moderate the nitrate, and that it would be even worse without them. It's a tough situation. And I wish u the best of luck.

Mj

Sent from my Nexus 7 using Tapatalk 2

I just added pathos to my tank so I'm keeping my eye on this thread to see what people say about your bamboo. I think it might be what is said above. Could be that the nitrates would be even worse at this point if you didn't have the bamboo.... :idont

Sent from my DROID RAZR using Tapatalk 2

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I recently added two 71\2 inch stalks of LB to my AC 70 for my 29 gallon in hopes it will completely eliminate my nitrates which go up to 5 at the most. Still not seeing any difference though. I haven't tested in a while but I assume it hasn't changed. :(

It takes quite a few plants to remove that much nitrates, in your case. I don't think terrestrial plants themselves will make a big dent for nitrates unless you have a very significant amount in your filters\tank.

Good luck with your nitrate filter! I know you've been struggling with this nitrate problem for quite a long time!

Edited by Georgia

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I have ten lucky bamboo plants and and a big pothos in my 50 gallon. My lucky bamboo is not growing much, but the pothos is getting huge! I didn't detect much of an improvement from the plants, but I know others have had success. My nitrate basically climbed to 20+ppm over one week, with or without the plants.

AN interesting experiment would be to add some of your 40ppm tank water to a tub, without fish, add the plants, and monitor the nitrate levels. That would tell you their nitrate consumption rate. Anyway, I hate those nitrates and wish you luck!

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I have ten lucky bamboo plants and and a big pothos in my 50 gallon. My lucky bamboo is not growing much, but the pothos is getting huge! I didn't detect much of an improvement from the plants, but I know others have had success. My nitrate basically climbed to 20+ppm over one week, with or without the plants.

AN interesting experiment would be to add some of your 40ppm tank water to a tub, without fish, add the plants, and monitor the nitrate levels. That would tell you their nitrate consumption rate. Anyway, I hate those nitrates and wish you luck!

^this

It would be really interesting to see this.

I am being lazy and not looking this up to make sure I am correct, so take this worth a grain of salt, but I believe that plants' favor ammonia over nitrate. So, in an aquarium plants might be using the ammonia that the fish produce, thus inadvertently reducing nitrate (because there is less ammonia being converted to nitrate). However, if you have nitrate in your tap, my guess is that the plants are simply using the ammonia the fish are producing first, but not the tap nitrates. So, as others said it *might* be worse without the plants, but they may not actually make a dent in those tap nitrates because they have ammonia readily available. I wonder if in a closed system (e.g. put a bunch of plants in a bucket of water), where there is no ammonia (no fish), if you would see more of a decrease in those baseline nitrate levels than you do in an aquarium. I know it is often recommended that people keep tubs of tap with plants in it and age it to reduce nitrates before they use it for water changes.

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Don't think plants in the filters well do the trick by themselves. You need fast growing plants. And a lot of them.

Edited by Hidr

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Neither lucky bamboo or pothos are truly aquatic plants.They may actually add to your problem. It is difficult with goldfish to use fast growing plants. Fast growing plants are generally soft, like egeria, wisteria, etc. Goldfish will mow these down. You might try some swords, anubias, crypts even. These are not exactly fast growing, but can achieve a large enough size to make a difference.

You might consider using Purigen to lower your nitrates.

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I have ten lucky bamboo plants and and a big pothos in my 50 gallon. My lucky bamboo is not growing much, but the pothos is getting huge! I didn't detect much of an improvement from the plants, but I know others have had success. My nitrate basically climbed to 20+ppm over one week, with or without the plants.

AN interesting experiment would be to add some of your 40ppm tank water to a tub, without fish, add the plants, and monitor the nitrate levels. That would tell you their nitrate consumption rate. Anyway, I hate those nitrates and wish you luck!

^this

It would be really interesting to see this.

I am being lazy and not looking this up to make sure I am correct, so take this worth a grain of salt, but I believe that plants' favor ammonia over nitrate. So, in an aquarium plants might be using the ammonia that the fish produce, thus inadvertently reducing nitrate (because there is less ammonia being converted to nitrate). However, if you have nitrate in your tap, my guess is that the plants are simply using the ammonia the fish are producing first, but not the tap nitrates. So, as others said it *might* be worse without the plants, but they may not actually make a dent in those tap nitrates because they have ammonia readily available. I wonder if in a closed system (e.g. put a bunch of plants in a bucket of water), where there is no ammonia (no fish), if you would see more of a decrease in those baseline nitrate levels than you do in an aquarium. I know it is often recommended that people keep tubs of tap with plants in it and age it to reduce nitrates before they use it for water changes.

You know, I think I'm going to try this for my Nitrate/tap water problem. I run all my water in a separate tank for a few to days to filter out uglies that sometimes come out of my garden hose (can't use in house water because of the water softener) and stabilize ph and temp. It certainly can't hurt and I love houseplants so win/win for me.

Well, when I manage to get some extra money to buy the plants.

Many apologies for highjacking your thread pawsplus. I've been watching your progress and when I saw this I just had to comment.

Don't give up hun. Just keep doing/trying things until you hit the sweet spot. You will find it!!!!!!

Edited by Honeygold

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Neither lucky bamboo or pothos are truly aquatic plants.They may actually add to your problem. It is difficult with goldfish to use fast growing plants. Fast growing plants are generally soft, like egeria, wisteria, etc. Goldfish will mow these down. You might try some swords, anubias, crypts even. These are not exactly fast growing, but can achieve a large enough size to make a difference.

You might consider using Purigen to lower your nitrates.

Carole, I think the idea is that there is some amount of data out there that suggest that terrestrial plants preferentially eat up nitrates, while aquatic plants prefer ammonia. So, things like pothos and dracaena will help with the rising nitrates, while having a negligible effect on BB competition etc.

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I'm very interested you'll find out in this. :) I do have to wonder if perhaps a plant with a more extensive root system might provide better results? More roots might mean there is a greater surface area for absorbing nitrates, would be my reasoning. When I had lucky bamboo, I don't seem to remember it having a ton of roots, but yours might be different.

I have a variety of terrestrial plants stuck in the top of my aquariums, none of them lucky bamboo at the moment. I find that pothos does pretty well, but the happiest seem to be the diffenbachia, and the arrowhead plant (nepthytis). Both those, especially the diffenbachia, have the most roots. The arrowhead plant grows like crazy, though. I would think that might result in more nitrates used.

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Yes it is true bamboo do use up nitrates. That is why all the good fertilizers have it. So do pothos. However you need a lot of them. And yes our tank plants well eat up ammonia but that leaves less to make nitrates.

Maybe you can try some nitrate busting plants. But yes if you have goldfish that like to eat your plants it can be problematic. So far mine are not eating them. (Ya I have a couple back in the goldfish tank)

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I'd love to know the answer to your questions, too. I tend to think that maybe the plants moderate the nitrate, and that it would be even worse without them. It's a tough situation. And I wish u the best of luck.

Nope. I kept pretty good track of it all along. Things haven't changed.

Edited by pawsplus

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I am being lazy and not looking this up to make sure I am correct, so take this worth a grain of salt, but I believe that plants' favor ammonia over nitrate. So, in an aquarium plants might be using the ammonia that the fish produce, thus inadvertently reducing nitrate (because there is less ammonia being converted to nitrate). However, if you have nitrate in your tap, my guess is that the plants are simply using the ammonia the fish are producing first, but not the tap nitrates. So, as others said it *might* be worse without the plants, but they may not actually make a dent in those tap nitrates because they have ammonia readily available. I wonder if in a closed system (e.g. put a bunch of plants in a bucket of water), where there is no ammonia (no fish), if you would see more of a decrease in those baseline nitrate levels than you do in an aquarium. I know it is often recommended that people keep tubs of tap with plants in it and age it to reduce nitrates before they use it for water changes.

No -this is true of aquatic plants (they use ammonia first), but terrestrial plants, like lucky bamboo and pothos, use nitrates first. That's why everyone TOLD me to add them to my filters, etc. when I first mentioned this problem months ago.

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Neither lucky bamboo or pothos are truly aquatic plants.They may actually add to your problem. It is difficult with goldfish to use fast growing plants. Fast growing plants are generally soft, like egeria, wisteria, etc. Goldfish will mow these down. You might try some swords, anubias, crypts even. These are not exactly fast growing, but can achieve a large enough size to make a difference.

Again, aquatic plants do not use nitrate at nearly the rate of terrestrial plants. That's the whole point of adding them! What do you mean that they may add to the problem?? Where are you getting that?

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I just answered your other thread. :P

We always talk about adding terrestrial plants, but I wonder how many people have a good setup for those plants. I don't bother to add them because my tank is in a corner that gets no direct light. Bamboo wouldn't do well in that light no matter what water it's in. Pothos will grow there, but that's the only plant that will do OK without lighting. :idont

Edited by ShawneeRiver

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Well, I'll work on replacing it with pothos then. <sigh> A lot of people may be getting lucky bamboo as gifts! This sucks b/c I don't want climbing plants all over my tank. I liked the look of the bamboo. <pouty-pout-pout>

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Hey, I could be wrong. :)

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Oh, you're probably right. I'm just unamused by the amount of time and energy (not to mention money!) I've put into this, apparently to no avail.

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I do think you should give it more time. Even if the plants don't thrive, maybe they will survive and suck up enough nitrate to be helpful. As long as they live, they shouldn't be harmful.

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Yeah. Working the lighting angle. But it may be a while b/c, of course, it's a pricey angle!

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