High levels of nitrate commonly occur in existing fish tanks that have not undergone regular maintenance and routine water changes. These high nitrate levels need to be solved urgently as they will prove toxic to the fish and even increase the formation of algae.
Aquatic plants are the first forms of life to suffer from nitrate levels that are too high. Even though plants consume nitrate, if the levels are too high there would be too much for them to make use of and it will kill off the plants. Then when these plants rot in the aquarium, they in turn release nitrate into the water, increasing the levels even more.
This is when it will start to affect the fish as well. The presence of nitrate in the water will reduce the amount of oxygen in it, thus higher nitrate levels equals to less oxygen. The lesser the oxygen levels, the harder the fish would have to struggle just to catch a breath of air and they will soon die.
Natural Ways To Reduce Nitrate
There are actually some very easy ways to keep nitrate levels in check in a fish tank which you can practice without having to buy any expensive equipment or chemicals. To reduce nitrate and keep them at a healthy balance here are some things that you can do:
- Change the water each week. Throw out at least 20% of your aquarium water and top it up with new water at least once every week. Regular water changes not only reduces the level of nitrates but will also reduce the amount of fish waste which is the source of nitrate.
- Test before topping. Get nitrate strips from your local pet store and test the new water before you put it into aquarium. These strips are very cheap and will help you test your water source for contamination. There might be a possibility that your water source is high in nitrate.
- Add in a coral reef or two into a salt water aquarium. These are ideal in keeping a balance on the level of nitrate.
- Don’t overstock your fish tank. Too much fish poop will shoot the nitrate levels to the ceiling.
- Keep the tank clean. Remove all dead or withered leaves and plants immediately before they have a chance to rot.
Products That Reduce Nitrate In Fish Tank Water
There are a few products on sale that you could buy if you’d like to reduce the nitrate levels in your water easily.
- Nitrate Absorbing Filter Media. These such as Purigen which you could purchase from That Fish Place are synthetic absorbents that controls ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates by removing waste that would otherwise release these harmful compounds.
- Nitrate Cartridges. Good filters such as the Fluval G6 have nitrate cartridges that can be installed easily which will reduce nitrate levels in your aquarium very fast.
- Protein Skimmers. Protein Skimmers work by bringing fish waste to the surface using tiny bubbles that latch themselves to the waste and this will then be easily discarded from the skimmer.
The most important thing to remember in keeping nitrate levels in check is to keep your tank clean and reduce the amount of waste and decay in the tank. If you keep this always in mind, then you will never have to worry about your aquarium nitrate levels hitting the ceiling.