Linkandnavi

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Does anyone have any experience of the relatively new API Aqua Essential, in particular its claims of reducing nitrate? It seems to be their answer to Seachem Prime, as an all in one dechlorinator and ammonia/nitrite "detoxifier" but with the added claim of actually "removing" nitrates.

Untitled.png

My tap water is around 40ppm nitrates which makes keeping tank levels down a nightmare. I have to run my tap water through a dual-stage inline filter when filling up 100l tubs for water changes (and I have six tanks), which proves massively expensive and also incredibly time consuming as the filters only work effectively at a rate of about 1 litre per minute.

If this actually does remove nitrate through for example offgassing, then that could make my life so much easier. If however, as I suspect, it simply binds nitrates for a set period so that they don't show up on nitrate test kits and then releases them again after a period, then it's useless.

Any thoughts?
 

AbbeysDad

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First, I have no first hand knowledge of the product, although I have a LOT of experience with API Nitra-Zorb (See My Nitrate Fight and Lowering Aquarium Nitrates and many articles on Filtration and Water Quality) .
I have successfully used API Nitra-Zorb, a resin that adsorbs ammonia and nitrates and is recharged many times with ordinary salt water.

I think that you are correct and this product is quite like Seachem's Safe and Prime. I suspect that in the same or similar way, nitrogenous compounds are bound detoxifying them until the bio-filter processes. But I'm suspicious about actual nitrate removal. It seems to me that a chemical additive may convert or neutralize negative compounds, but actual removal would be great, but just seems unlikely to me. :)
 

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The website does say
This unique formula binds with ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate rendering them non-toxic and allowing the biofilter to more efficiently remove them.
though how the biofilter is supposed to remove nitrate it doesn't say. And unlike the resin products, this is a liquid. API does call it a water conditioner which
instantly makes tap water safe for fish by removing chlorine, chloramine and detoxifies heavy metals commonly found in tap water.

According to the safety data sheet, it contains:
inorganic salts, proprietary (in other words, they won't say what those salts are)
EDTA tetra sodium salt (the chemical used in many water conditioners to bind metals)
sodium formaldehyde bisulphite
sodium metabisulphite (a common food preservative)

Looking at sodium formaldehyde bisulphite I can't find anything relating to binding ammonia, nitrite or nitrate; nor anything to do with removing chlorine.
"Inorganic salts" may or may not include sodium thiosuphate, the chemical usually used for removing chlorine.

Edited for mis-spelling chlorine :blush:
 
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Linkandnavi

Linkandnavi

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First, I have no first hand knowledge of the product, although I have a LOT of experience with API Nitra-Zorb (See My Nitrate Fight and Lowering Aquarium Nitrates and many articles on Filtration and Water Quality) .
I have successfully used API Nitra-Zorb, a resin that adsorbs ammonia and nitrates and is recharged many times with ordinary salt water.

I think that you are correct and this product is quite like Seachem's Safe and Prime. I suspect that in the same or similar way, nitrogenous compounds are bound detoxifying them until the bio-filter processes. But I'm suspicious about actual nitrate removal. It seems to me that a chemical additive may convert or neutralize negative compounds, but actual removal would be great, but just seems unlikely to me. :)

The website does say

though how the biofilter is supposed to remove nitrate it doesn't say. And unlike the resin products, this is a liquid. API does call it a water conditioner which


According to the safety data sheet, it contains:
inorganic salts, proprietary (in other words, they won't say what those salts are)
EDTA tetra sodium salt (the chemical used in many water conditioners to bind metals)
sodium formaldehyde bisulphite
sodium metabisulphite (a common food preservative)

Looking at sodium formaldehyde bisulphite I can't find anything relating to binding ammonia, nitrite or nitrate; nor anything to do with removing chlorine.
"Inorganic salts" may or may not include sodium thiosuphate, the chemical usually used for removing chlorine.

Edited for mis-spelling chlorine :blush:
Thanks both. Largely where my thoughts had taken me I think.

I did see that it referred to "binding" nitrate, although the FAQ referred to removal, and I was equally baffled by the suggestion of binding nitrate to be removed by the biological filter.

I've ordered a small bottle as for £6 it's not much to lose if it's garbage but potentially quite a lot of time and money to be saved for me if it works.

I'm going to fill a 90l bucket with tap water, measure the nitrate levels, dose it up with this stuff and then measure daily for a week. In theory, if it's just temporarily binding nitrate, it should go down and then over the course of the week go back up again. If it goes down and stays down, then something's happening...

I'll report back!
 

AbbeysDad

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I'm going to fill a 90l bucket with tap water, measure the nitrate levels, dose it up with this stuff and then measure daily for a week. In theory, if it's just temporarily binding nitrate, it should go down and then over the course of the week go back up again. If it goes down and stays down, then something's happening...
Perhaps...but without a bio-filter it may not be a fair test. Don't get me wrong, as I said I'm a skeptic but if , and it's a big IF the binding process requires a bio-filter to complete and remove nitrates....well then there you go. Now still it would perhaps be a magical feat!
Just imagine if there was some chemical that poof, removes pollution from water!?!?! No water changes, just add a few ounces of a magic elixir and you're good!!! Something that would have to be seen to be believed ... and even then I think I'd need to have my eyes checked! :)
 

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Just imagine if there was some chemical that poof, removes pollution from water!?!?! No water changes, just add a few ounces of a magic elixir and you're good!!!
That sounds like Tetra Nitrite Minus, or at least Tetra's claims for it ;)
 
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Linkandnavi

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Perhaps...but without a bio-filter it may not be a fair test. Don't get me wrong, as I said I'm a skeptic but if , and it's a big IF the binding process requires a bio-filter to complete and remove nitrates....well then there you go. Now still it would perhaps be a magical feat!
Just imagine if there was some chemical that poof, removes pollution from water!?!?! No water changes, just add a few ounces of a magic elixir and you're good!!! Something that would have to be seen to be believed ... and even then I think I'd need to have my eyes checked! :)
Aye, fair point! Double test it is then. One with the tap water, one with one of the established tanks!
 
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Linkandnavi

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So, my experience thus far is that it does almost nothing re nitrates.

Due to time restrains (3 month old baby has no interest in my experiments), I haven't had a chance to run this on a bucket of tap water, but tested with a 140l tank with average stocking.

Saturday Morning: Tested before adding any of the product. Around 20ppm

Sat Morn.jpg


Immediately dosed with API Aqua Essential, according to the nitrate reduction instructions.

Saturday afternoon: Tested a couple of hours later (the instructions don't say how long it takes. No difference. Still around 20ppm.

Sat Aft.jpg


Sunday Afternoon: Tested 24 hours later. A slight difference I think. Around 10ppm.

Sun Aft.jpg


Added a second dose (instructions say can dose again after 24 hours if necessary).

Monday afternoon: No discernible difference. Still around 10ppm.

Mon Aft.jpg


Tuesday morning: One final test and still around 10ppm. Forgot to take a photo for this one.

So basically, after two doses over three days, it might have removed around 10ppm nitrates, which is a far cry from the FAQs on the website which suggests you should see a measurable reduction of 40-60ppm after a single dose.

I messaged API to try and get some more information on what they say should happen (specifically if they claimed it was permanent removal or just binding it and releasing some time later) and received the following response:

API.png


That seems to assume a planted tank, and the instructions and advertising say nothing of this. My tank is planted regardless, and it still doesn't seem to do the job.

All in all, seems a waste of time and money. Certainly won't work for my intended use, which was to remove nitrates from my tap water before a water change so I'll have to stick with my inline filters.

Hope this helps/is of interest!

Matt.
 
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Linkandnavi

Linkandnavi

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And I know it looks like there's a difference within a couple of hours re the first two photos, but that's a lighting thing for the photo. I tested them in the same lighting when I took the measurements but had to step outside when I took the second photo.
 
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Linkandnavi

Linkandnavi

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Incidentally, a previously healthy looking ember tetra died in that tank yesterday. It may well be that it was his time as it were, and I have nothing to link it to the use of the Aqua Essential, but given the timing I thought it worth mentioning for completeness.
 

AbbeysDad

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Incidentally, a previously healthy looking ember tetra died in that tank yesterday. It may well be that it was his time as it were, and I have nothing to link it to the use of the Aqua Essential, but given the timing I thought it worth mentioning for completeness.
Perhaps a coincidence - who can say for sure.
On the other side of the coin, there's a chemical additive claiming to reduce/eliminate water pollution. API is a great company, but the 'snake oil' hair on my neck (figuratively) stands up.
This is not unlike many companies claiming that their bio-media has recesses that allow anoxic/anaerobic bacteria to oxidize nitrates into nitrogen gas. Now it would be great to have live rock for freshwater like there is for salt water, just like it would be great to have a protein skimmer for fresh water like salt water....but we're just not there!
Oh I once bought into the marketing hype, but eventually when reality fell short of the claims, it led me to being a skeptic! :)
 

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