Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Tetra Easy Balance With Nitraban

On another blog and in various forums, I read some good but mostly bad about this product, Tetra Easy Balance With Nitraban. Here is one such blog about it, that claimed it was good, and my reply...

The blogger asked:

"Whats in it?... I had a number of concerns on this front...
The most that Tetra will say is that EB contains “essential elements” and vitamins which are often absent from tapwater. “Essential elements” I take to mean minerals and trace elements, and I have myself confirmed that their claim that it contains all of the nutrients needed for plant growth. I have never fertilised my aquaria in two years."

And my reply:

Here is "What's in it?"... and more... from a recent post of mine in another forum.

Here is a snip from Tetra's website information on their product...

"Tetra Easy Balance: Change 50-75% of your aquarium water at least once every 6 months, provided Easy Balance® has been added as recommended and the aquarium is other wise properly maintained."

When I first heard about Tetra Easy Balance a couple of years ago, I was very leary about the fact that it was advertising that people could go six months without doing a partial water change... a MAJOR piece of BAD ADVICE, IMO. I don't think that any company involved in the fish keeping industry should be giving that kind of advice while promoting weekly dosing of their chemical compound.

I kept trying to find out what was in the product and it took quite a while to find the MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet) on the product since Tetra does not make it available on their website. I eventually found the MSDS on as they have the MSDS' for all products that they sell available on their website... which is what all companies are supposed to do.

Here is the link to the MSDS for Tetra Easy Balance.

Here is a snip from the MSDS list of "dangerous components:"
Sodium Hydroxide (up to) 2.5%
Tartaric Acid (up to) 2.5%
Formaldehyde (up to) 2.5%

The other ingredients are Sucrose and Water (89.4%) and an undisclosed 3.1% of something.. or maybe it's 3.1% Sucrose but the MSDS doesn't clarify what the missing 3.1% is made up of.

I am still unsure whether this is the MSDS for Tetra Easy Balance with Nitraban or an earlier version of EB (without Nitraban if there was such a version) as I have not been able to find an MSDS with the "full name" listed... only "Easy Balance".

The other potentially very serious negative about the product is that the "nitraban" is actually some kind of little pellet that gets distributed into the gravel and then these pellets dissolve. If you have foraging fish like goldfish, certain cichlids, etc., they could easily ingest these pellets and who knows what kinds of side effects that would have on the long term health of the fish.

There is a forum thread that I read a while back about a guppy tank where the guppies did not breed or have babies even once during the time of the Easy Balance dosing on the tank.

IMO, anything that stops guppies from breeding has to be a serious chemical compound that can't be good for our fish. If Tetra was to re-market the product as a fish birth control and give full disclosure of the negatives of the product, then I may not have as many complaints about the product.

Hope this helps.

Lenny Vasbinder
Fish Blog -


  1. Let me classify those chemicals for you.
    Sodium Hydroxide: used all over the world for water purification so is already in our aquariums.
    Tartaric Acid: It occurs naturally in many plants, particularly grapes, bananas, and tamarinds, and is one of the main acids found in wine. It is added to other foods to give a sour taste, and is used as an antioxidant.
    Formaldehyde: Is a naturally occurring substance in the environment made of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen.
    Sucrose: Errrr sugar.
    Water: That wet stuff our little friends swim around in.

    Not really that dangerous are they. You are obviously just scared by the names mabie because the sound a little bit like Hydrogen Cyanide.

    As for the Guppies any very small change in environment/temperature can cause these very delicate fish not to breed.

    In future please don't jump to conclusions about big words you don't understand.

    I have used this product for over 3 years and it is brilliant. Well done Tetra for making fish keeping so easy!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Formaldehyde is also used to fix tissue for histological testing and storage. It's also used during the embalming process of a corpse and it's actually a very dangerous carcinogen and not exactly good for our health. Sodium Hydroxide can be used to dissolve tissue and break down bone into a powder. I know this because I work with both substances. So he didn't actually jump to conclusions it appears that he may have made an educated guess about the ingredients.


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