Nitrate from tap water

 Subject: New planted tank and nitrates in local water supply and

>      I recently tested my local water supply for nitrates (after
> nitrate problems) and found that it contained at least 10ppm nit
>  Trying to lower nitrates below 10ppm is therefore illogical, ri
> just broken down my 55 gallon, to put in a substrate and plant m
> I am wondering about having algae problems. 

This will depend to a large extent on how you manage the 
situation.  Although plants prefer ammonium as a nitrogen source, 
they _will_ use nitrate if ammonium is not available.  Also while 
10ppm nitrate might be a problem in a very brightly lit tank, in a 
moderately lit tank it might be no problem at all.  Finally, 
remember the law of minimums.  excess nitrate can only be used if 
there are enough of all other nutrients to allow it to be used.  
So some people find they can control algae, even in the presence 
of moderate nitrate levels, by keeping phosphate to an absolute 

> I have planted rather heavily
> think so, always a personal thing) so that only about 25% of the
>  have something green within 1/2-inch of it (I assume this is he
> Green Hygro,  Anachris, Rotala, Anachris, Sag(?), Corkscrew Val,
> Sword (in order of abundence). 

Not a bad selection, although I would also add Water Sprite and/or 
Duckweed and/or Savinia which are all particularly good at nitrate 

> I'm am using 3 Black Mollies for
> control, but have access to Flying Fox barbs (sorry, no SAEs) if

Flying Foxes are nice fish, but eat very little algae.  If you 
can't find SAE's, Otocinclus are another excellent algae eater.  
Some people also think highly of Farlowellas, although I haven't 
kept them personally.

>  Should I use a nitrate absorbing resin (Nitra-Zorb, which also 
> supposedly only toxic ammonia and not ammonium?) or assume that 
> will use the nitrate as nutrients.  I am doing daily tests on Am
> Nitrites, Nitrates, pH, KH and GH, to track results, but I was h
> one could help me out with a preview of what to expect.

If your tank is heavily enough planted, you should see little or 
no nitrogen cycle.  If there is a sufficient amount of CO2 in the 
tank, KH will remain stable.  

Karen Randall
Aquatic Gardeners Assoc.
Boston, MA