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For me it was not so much how many as what kind. Fast growing plants definitely rather than medium or slow growing. For me even one plant of vallisneria contortionist sucks the nitrates out of my tank in like a week. But then if I don't fertilize to raise the nitrates back up it starts to die and I get cyanobacteria.
 

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Definitely a question with no firm answer. The more and faster growing , the better. But as mentioned it takes quite a lot to balance the good and bad points on planted tanks with cichlids. For my money, I found the plants to be far more effort and study than water changing. While doing water changes for fish health is a nuisance, it is a far more easily managed setup. Kind of like juggling one or two things instead of ten! Plants are nice but definitely take a learning curve to get it right.
 

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I don't remember who told me but I was told house plants are the best at this. I was told to put the roots in the water and it should do the trick. I have not tried this yet,but will be as soon as I get to my mothers to steal a few plants. I too am trying to find some way to reduce nitrates. Keep us posted on progress with this.
 

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Flippercon said:
I don't remember who told me but I was told house plants are the best at this. I was told to put the roots in the water and it should do the trick. I have not tried this yet,but will be as soon as I get to my mothers to steal a few plants. I too am trying to find some way to reduce nitrates. Keep us posted on progress with this.
That was me. I got it from Diana Walstad's book 'Ecology of the Planted Aquarium'.
 

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I've had good luck with letting my java ferns do their own thing in the tank...After a few runners broke off and began floating around, I let them be and the cycle continued...I ended up with dozens of plants, most small, that just grabbed onto spots in the tank...95% of them are still floating or at least have completely exposed roots and have been tied down with hemp rope and a staple into my background. My nitrates stay nil almost all the time..

I can't honestly tell you how much is due to my sump and how much is due to the plants but they certanily make a difference. I have some java moss growing randomly throughout the tank too though it has proven more difficult to cultivate, so I just let it go and luckily some colonies have established themselves. The fish leave both alone and since the plants are out of the substrate the fish don't uproot them much either.
 

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Some people in our local fish club have been experimenting with willow branches. They produce a rooting hormone, so the minute you put the cut end in water, they start producing roots and sucking up nutrients from the water. Their rooting hormone can also help other plants in the tank, as it will encourage those plants to grow more roots too. As long as you don't mind a small willow tree growing out the top of your tank.
 

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I've heard some good things about red mangroves. Technically, they grow best in brackish/salt water setups, but I've been hearing they do just fine in fresh water to, albiet grow a little slower. Personally, I'm skeptical of their ability to suck up nitrate because they grow so slowly, though. I mean, they're a tree!
 

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Hey Tim can you go in your book and name a couple of these house plants? I was talking to someone at work about this idea and they said to be careful cause some house plants viny ones have poison.
 

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Flippercon said:
Hey Tim can you go in your book and name a couple of these house plants? I was talking to someone at work about this idea and they said to be careful cause some house plants viny ones have poison.
I'll check it out this weekend, but I'm sure they're thinking of the plant being poisonous when eaten, particularly by pets. I really doubt that there are plants that release toxins through their root system.
 

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Not to Hijack rgr4475 ,but I finally got over to my moms and she gave me a bunch of Pothos ivy (devils ivy) and I stuck it in the tank. I have seen her from these things out of cups after they were clipped. I have them on 4 of my tanks at the moment. All 4 tanks are different in many ways : substrate,plants ,fish , and filters. So I will revisit this post in a months time to update the outcome.
 

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Flippercon said:
Not to Hijack rgr4475 ,but I finally got over to my moms and she gave me a bunch of Pothos ivy (devils ivy) and I stuck it in the tank. I have seen her from these things out of cups after they were clipped. I have them on 4 of my tanks at the moment. All 4 tanks are different in many ways : substrate,plants ,fish , and filters. So I will revisit this post in a months time to update the outcome.
No, please do. Very interested in hearing the results. Thanks!
 

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Will do . The tanks they are on are different in size from 10g to 125g. The ten has HOB no substrate and krib fry , 20g has HOB moon sand cons/danois, 55 has HOB sand driftwood various cichlids, and 125 has canister sand and multiple Ebjd/jd/loaches/dithers. So there is many variables to work with. I just hope the out come is what we expect. :fish:
 

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I set up a 10g just to see how well some plants removed the nitrates. It has 2 red mangroves and every inch of the surface is stuffed with water lettuce. I started with just a few lettuces, but now it's a carpet. There are no fish. Each week I drain out about 1/2 - 2/3 of the water and replace it with the water from my CA tank water change. Afterwards the nitrates in the 10g measure about 10. By the next water change the nitrates are at zero.
 

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FishFlake said:
I set up a 10g just to see how well some plants removed the nitrates. It has 2 red mangroves and every inch of the surface is stuffed with water lettuce. I started with just a few lettuces, but now it's a carpet. There are no fish. Each week I drain out about 1/2 - 2/3 of the water and replace it with the water from my CA tank water change. Afterwards the nitrates in the 10g measure about 10. By the next water change the nitrates are at zero.
Some confirmation there ! The plant idea is looking good. Thanks for the post fishflake
 

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Ok I have had the ivy in the tanks for 3 weeks now and the results are great. no harm to any fish at all. My dojo loach hangs off it. :lol: well the reduction in nitrates is outstanding. I have not changed wc or feeding schedules at all just the ivy in the tank.My 125 had a bad nitrate problem it was going up to 20-30ppm in 3days, with 2 50% wc with vacuum a week. Now its one 50% wc a week and nitrates are at 10 ppm. :D :thumb: I would definitely recommend this method to help with nitrate reduction, as long as wc were done on a regular basis.
 
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