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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
had my water tested today at petsmart, and my nitrates are really high, everything else was fine, so the girl suggested live plants. well after doing some reading, im gonna do some bigger water changes over the next 24 hours, but will any live plant help reduce nitrates, or do some help more then others?
 

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Yes live plants reduce nitrates. But...why do you have nitrates? She may have just been trying to make a sale...

Have your tap water tested. If there are nitrates in your tap water (there should not be) then plants would help. Fast growing plants like vallisneria are much, much more effective than slow growing plants like java fern and anubias.

Plants themselves are a lot of work.

The easier way to reduce nitrates is to just change the water. If you change 50% of the tank water weekly, which is a good idea even with plants, you will cut your nitrates in half each time. Water changes are easy and effective at removing nitrates, which is a large part of why we do them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
my only thing with doing live plants is that i have sand in this tank (actually i have sand in both tanks now). am i even going to get anything to stay alive without a better substrate?
 

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What are the odds? I was coming here to post the *exact* same topic.

Not to bore you with details but the plan is to use an elevated platform in my sump that is filled via a canister filter outside of the sump and lighted with a 24" fluorescent bulb that has the proper spectrum.

I'll be sure to post in DIY so you can see exactly what I'm doing when I finally start it.

I guess now the plan is to spend some time on gardening site to find the easiest growing, highest nitrate consuming plants!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
and to think.... i didnt even think about keeping the plants in my sump!! now i have a decision to make...
 

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I had more of a eureka moment last night thinking about it. I have a Fluval 204 that's cute, but really doesn't do much of anything to filter a 75 or 55. So I was planning on just loading it up with progressively finer mechanical filtration to polish the already cleaned water. Then I was thinking about putting it back into the sump via a drip tray for more oxygenation. Then I realized I have a a few 20" and 24" lights hanging around out of commission and was throwing around the idea of live plants for nitrate removal. I was on the fence about it because I was reading they werent too effective but I never though of growing a house plant. I could keep like a small bush or something down there and it would take care of almost everything. So once I'm home from college for good I'll be working on that!
 

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plants in a sump r a great idea guys. another even better one... get some shrimp to clean up all the leftovers. should help to buffer your water to proper levels. GL to you both in your quest to slay the nitrate-beast
 

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I have a fast growing Texas Cichlid and a pretty beefy Pink Convict female, among other fish, wouldn't they eat shrimp?

I feed them high quality marine food which I know has a lot of shrimp in it. Then again, shrimp are cheap so it wouldn't really matter :D

If I have noticeable success with the sump plants I wil be sure to make a post and do my best to get it some good visibility for everyone else that make be interested in doing the same.
 

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I have been contemplating about adding Bristlenose Pleco or Algae eaters to possibly clean-up my algae problem. I have heard of "plants" that can be placed within the limestone. This seems perfect, but I don't know the plants that can be placed in such away.....Does anyone know of any? Planting in the substrate is a no-no, since my cichlids are happy digging.... :-?
 

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Java fern and anubias prefer not to be buried in substrate and attaching to rocks is ideal. I don't know about within...but on top.
 
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