How To Remove Nitrates In Aquarium

The word “nitrate” is quite often we find in everyday life and we often hear in relation to food. But how do nitrates affect aquarium life? And what to do to reduce their level?

Like it or not, the presence of nitrates in aquarium water is unavoidable, because they are a product of the vital processes of the inhabitants of the aquarium. The bacteria that inhabit the soil recycle all organic waste, food waste, dead plant debris, resulting in the formation of toxic substances such as ammonia and nitrites, and together they form nitrates.

However, they are dangerous only in excess, and therefore it is important to know how to prevent increased nitrate levels. You will also need to have information on what action to take if this still occurs and you need to reduce the nitrate level in the aquarium.

how to remove nitrates

Is Nitrate Needed or Not?

The nitrate level in the aquarium should be monitored to prevent health problems for the fish if the nitrate concentration level is too high. Health problems that commonly occur are bacterial and fungal infections, white spots on fish, fin rot, and other diseases that can occur due to decreased immunity. Also, high nitrate levels are a common cause of algae growth problems.

allowable maximum concentration of nitrate in an aquarium varies from species to species. It should be kept as low as possible: always below 40 ppm, preferably below 20 ppm. Some fish species have very low nitrate thresholds – for example, ornamental goldfish require levels below 20 ppm, higher levels can cause buoyancy problems which are often mistaken for swim bladder disease. If the fish has a low tolerance to nitrate levels, this is indicated in the appropriate treatment table.

Water checks are carried out weekly using a special nitrate test in the aquarium. This will allow you to take the necessary actions in time if it starts to escalate.

Reasons For an Excess of Nitrates

The lack of attention of aquarium owners and neglect of recommendations for caring for them are the main reasons for the increased nitrogen content in the aquarium. Therefore, it is necessary to change the water in the aquarium once a week (approximately ), and also clean the bottom of the tank of organic material, if possible. It is also important to monitor the nutrition of fish, avoiding overfeeding, as they do not eat residues that settle to the bottom, provoking the formation of nitrates.

Avoid overpopulation in the aquarium as well. If the number of inhabitant is more than allowed, then the a


mount of organic waste will also increase and the aquarium will quickly become clogged. How can you avoid this problem? You can control the inhabitants of the aquarium and fill it with live plants only. however, it is better that you should first familiarize yourself with how to pay attention to the timely signs of nitrate and reduce its level.

Signs of an Excess of Nitrates

Keep in mind that water with a high nitrate content is visually no different from pure water. However, nitrates greatly affect the inhabitants of the aquarium and the vegetation. So, in fish, lethargy is observed, immunity decreases, they become sick, “scabies” can be observed on hard surfaces, plants can l


ose healthy leaves, holes appear on the leaves of some plants, turn yellow. High nitrate concentrations also promote algae growth.

How to Identify and Reduce Nitrate Levels?

Nitrate chart


To control nitrate concentrations in current aquarium water use simple and affordable tests for water, such as the JBL Nitrate test, Tetra NO3, Sera nitrate test. In addition, there are a series of tests, for example, JBL Test Lab 9, with such a mini laboratory you will always be fully armed and your aquarium will radiate health.

Read Also: Ammonia Poisoning In Aquarium Fish

The Level of Nitrates in the Aquarium

The optimal level of nitrate concentration for the healthy existence of fish is considered to be in the range from 20 to 40 mg / l . So, if the tests reveal an increased content of nitrates, it is necessary to begin to reduce their content. This should be done gradually. You can, of course, make a complete water change, but this can be a significant stress for fish and plants, and therefore for a high-quality “treatment” of water, we recommend following the following scheme:

  • Review the fish feeding regime
  • If there is overpopulation of the aquarium – solve this problem
  • Changing 15% of the aquarium water daily will help to naturally reduce nitrates.
  • Check the filter, whether it copes with its work, rinse the filter element. However, you need to rinse carefully so as not to wash off the beneficial bacteria that inhabit the filter. There is a little secret on how not to upset the balance of beneficial bacteria – rinse the filter in the aquarium water.

However, the fastest and most effective way is to use aquarium chemistry. Such affordable and high-quality preparations such as AquaYer NO 3 minus , Tetra Nitran Minus , Sera Toxivec , Tetra Safe Start and others will gently and safely reduce the level of nitrates in the water, as well as help get rid of algae. We hope you find our tips useful. Most importantly, do not forget that after a successful “treatment” of the aquarium, you must adhere to all the recommendations for care in order to prevent recurrence of troubles.

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