Nitrates zero?

JohnHuff

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I've been reading a lot of threads recently and in a couple of them, people have had problems with die offs, etc. and when listing their water parameters, they've listed nitrates as zero and no one has said anything.

Now, I've always read that nitrates should never be zero and in my own aquaria, even my tanks with heavy abundance of plants, nitrates are never zero, they're 20ppm at the least. So is it unusual to have a fish pond with zero nitrates?
 

slakker

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I don't see why nitrates can't be zero as per most test kits can register. As long as there's enough nitrifying bacteria or other nitrogen fixing plants/algae. Curious to here what others say as I'm new to ponds.

But even in marine systems where it's a constant battle and balance to rid nitrates/phosphates, it's possible to get to zero nitrates.

That's one thing I was wanting to ask, in reef aquariums, there are anaerobic bacteria that will take remove nitrates. Do those exist in ponds? If so, how are they cultivated? In reefs, we use live rock or some form of carbon dosing (vodka or solid carbon) to feed the the last bit of the nitrogen cycle.
 

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Nitrifying bacteria will create nitrates!
Anaerobic bacteria do exist at the gunk on the bottom of ponds and tanks. I don't remember why anymore but the rule is to always remove them. Maybe someone can explain here.
Mmathis, those are for cycled tanks.
slakker said:
I don't see why nitrates can't be zero as per most test kits can register. As long as there's enough nitrifying bacteria or other nitrogen fixing plants/algae. Curious to here what others say as I'm new to ponds.

But even in marine systems where it's a constant battle and balance to rid nitrates/phosphates, it's possible to get to zero nitrates.

That's one thing I was wanting to ask, in reef aquariums, there are anaerobic bacteria that will take remove nitrates. Do those exist in ponds? If so, how are they cultivated? In reefs, we use live rock or some form of carbon dosing (vodka or solid carbon) to feed the the last bit of the nitrogen cycle.
 
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I have had my pond since November of last year its 2,600 gal. We have a bog area that flows into the pond. I have some algae growing on the liner and on the rocks but the water is clear. We have a bottom drain where all the mess on the bottom of the pond is suctioned out and goes into a settlement chamber. Two bio chambers and two sand and gravel filters too. My nitrates have always been 0. I just tested this morning and the PH = 7.7, Nit =0, Nitrate = 0, Ammonia = 0, KH = (8) drops 143.2, and GH was (2) drops 35.

So if my nitrates need to be higher how do I get them there. We do 10% water changes weekly.
 

crsublette

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campingcreecher said:
I have had my pond since November of last year its 2,600 gal. We have a bog area that flows into the pond. I have some algae growing on the liner and on the rocks but the water is clear. We have a bottom drain where all the mess on the bottom of the pond is suctioned out and goes into a settlement chamber. Two bio chambers and two sand and gravel filters too. My nitrates have always been 0. I just tested this morning and the PH = 7.7, Nit =0, Nitrate = 0, Ammonia = 0, KH = (8) drops 143.2, and GH was (2) drops 35.

So if my nitrates need to be higher how do I get them there. We do 10% water changes weekly.

Nothing out of the ordinary. I would not be concerned.

As John points out, ya can feed more. Although, I would add a condition of "as long as it is eaten and actually digested".
 

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JohnHuff said:
I've been reading a lot of threads recently and in a couple of them, people have had problems with die offs, etc. and when listing their water parameters, they've listed nitrates as zero and no one has said anything.

Now, 1) I've always read that nitrates should never be zero and in my own aquaria, even my tanks with heavy abundance of plants, nitrates are never zero, they're 20ppm at the least. So is it unusual to have a fish pond with zero nitrates?

1) I've always read that nitrates should never be zero.

It would be interesting to read the thought process that leads to the conclusion of, "nitrates should never be zero".

I understand there is a jump to conclusion by creating assumptions that suggest "fish are not being nutritionally fed well enough if there is no nitrates", but many parameters would have to be satisfied or overlooked to make this a true statement. Again, it would be interesting to read the though process involved here in this statement.
 

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If I come across it again I'll ask. I've just seen it enough times that I take it for granted it's true. Certainly, my tanks and pond, which have an abundance of plants have never had a zero nitrate reading.
crsublette said:
understand there is a jump to conclusion by creating assumptions that suggest "fish are not being nutritionally fed well enough if there is no nitrates", but many parameters would have to be satisfied or overlooked to make this a true statement. Again, it would be interesting to read the though process involved here in this statement.
 

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JohnHuff said:
Nitrifying bacteria will create nitrates!
Anaerobic bacteria do exist at the gunk on the bottom of ponds and tanks. I don't remember why anymore but the rule is to always remove them. Maybe someone can explain here.
Mmathis, those are for cycled tanks.
Sorry... should have typed denitrifying bacteria... is the bottom pond gunk the only place where anaerobic bacteria live in ponds? Are there equivalent deep sand bed or "live rock" equivalent in ponds that people cultivate these bacteria? I've built a coil denitrator for a 100 G system before and it did work for quite a while.

http://saltaquarium.about.com/cs/nitratecontrol/a/aa092702.htm

Any similar systems that have been tried as DIY? If not, maybe I'll build one for next spring and see.
 
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Single cell algae, green water, it is very common for ammonia and nitrates to be zero. The algae consume the ammonia directly so nitrate production is reduced. What nitrate is produce is of course be consumed too. However where a pond is in the actual algae cycle is important too. As a bloom is dying water can still be green while ammonia and nitrates start to increase. Less consumption by the dying algae and nutrients being released by the decaying algae.

Having higher forms of plants and not having zero nitrates makes sense to me because these types of plants aren't that great at removing nitrate. They can be really good at lowering high levels, but the lower the levels the less good they are at it. So getting to zero isn't so easy. Other than plants adapted for living in low nitrate water like water hyacinth. Which is also why the myth about higher plants starving algae never made any sense. In that battle the single cell algae would be the last one standing.
 

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Also, when a Nitrate test we have access to states there is zero, I doubt there is actually zero nitrates.

The Nitrate water tests we have access to do not perform well at all at testing low concentration volumes and this is due to the cadmium reduction techinique the manufacturer chooses to implement. The typical nitrate pond test kits will only accurately test down to 10~20mg/L and then the accuracy will be quite volatile when it is below or close to this. If folk truely want to have a more accurate test of their Nitrates, when they're at a low concentration, then they will need to look into using more sophisticated tests such as created by HACH (which range from $30~$80) and are either in the form of a reagent test like we are familiar with or a powder or pill or or a solution used in conjunction with a colorimeter.

The point is... Do not assume your Nitrates are zero even though your test kit says it is. If your test kit says zero, then there is likely still 4mg/L or 7mg/L or even 15 mg/L of Nitrates in the water.

Accurately testing low concentrations is always more difficult than testing high concentrations.
 
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I had mentioned we have a koi toilet with aerator in the bottom of our pond so that most anything on the bottom of the pond is drawn out and goes into a settlement chamber. The waste settles in the bottom of the chamber and clean water near the top of the chamber is filtered and runs through a large bio filter then to the pump and more filters. Every 2-3 days I run a hose to the bottom of the chamber and suction out the waste that's settled. And I Do a 10% water change every week by closing the valves in to and out of the chamber which is 275 gals. I wonder if I'm being too clean? Could that be why My Nitrates are not as higher? I do like the feeding them more response!
crsublette said:
Nothing out of the ordinary. I would not be concerned.

As John points out, ya can feed more. Although, I would add a condition of "as long as it is eaten and actually digested".
 

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campingcreecher said:
I had mentioned we have a koi toilet with aerator in the bottom of our pond so that most anything on the bottom of the pond is drawn out and goes into a settlement chamber. The waste settles in the bottom of the chamber and clean water near the top of the chamber is filtered and runs through a large bio filter then to the pump and more filters. Every 2-3 days I run a hose to the bottom of the chamber and suction out the waste that's settled. And I Do a 10% water change every week by closing the valves in to and out of the chamber which is 275 gals. I wonder if I'm being too clean? Could that be why My Nitrates are not as higher? I do like the feeding them more response!

Yep, cleanliness would be a variable in creating nitrates. A better managed pond will have very few, or zero, nitrates.

This is why I am quite curious as to the thought process of suggesting zero nitrates could be a sign of a problem that needs to be resolved.
 

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