How can I lower my nitrates in my well water?

Rhys19

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Hello, so in one of my posts I tested my well water nitrates and it was around 20+ PPM's I know a tank needs anywhere below 20PPM is there anyway to lower my nitrates in my well water or even in general before I put the water in my tank?

The only worrying parameter is the nitrate sitting at 25+PPM the ammonia, nitrites are both at 0, the ph is at steady 7.6-8.0.

any help is appreciated!
 

xxBarneyxx

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Easiest way is to run through an RO filter. However you then have the issue of having to add stuff to it to replace the mineral content.

Is your tank well planted? If not that may be the way to go. A heavily planted tank with some fast growing plants, especially some floating ones will help know the nitrates down pretty quick.

Honestly for 20ppm of nitrate I wouldn't be worrying about it too much.
 
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Rhys19

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I have a whole home filtration system that has a sediment filter + activated carbon but it goes through the water softener too, and my tank is planted however I don't have any floating plants just ones that go into the substrate.
 

Bruce Leyland-Jones

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I have a whole home filtration system that has a sediment filter + activated carbon but it goes through the water softener too, and my tank is planted however I don't have any floating plants just ones that go into the substrate.
Floating plants are always worth the money, whether or not you have a nitrate problem.

To answer your question, do you have a large water butt you can use to store the water in, before you add it to the tank?
If you do, you could put some smaller floating pond plants in it and let the water sit a while. (You'll probably end up growing some insect larvae, while you're at it).
I believe that any nitrates will then be significantly lowered.
 
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Rhys19

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Floating plants are always worth the money, whether or not you have a nitrate problem.

To answer your question, do you have a large water butt you can use to store the water in, before you add it to the tank?
If you do, you could put some smaller floating pond plants in it and let the water sit a while. (You'll probably end up growing some insect larvae, while you're at it).
I believe that any nitrates will then be significantly lowered.
going to try and get some floating plants in a few weeks and see if that helps. if I really don't need to be worried about 20 ppm then ok, I just wanted to make sure or even if there was a way to reduce it I tested my water filtration part (After the softener) and it doesn't remove any nitrates at all. not that I would use that water because well as far as I know the salt is the part of the system I have that's toxic to fish I think you mentioned it before @Bruce Leyland-Jones or it was @Byron
 

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20ppm nitrate is not considered high imho.

In my last home I got 40ppm+ nitrate straight from tap but I had a fairly densely planted tank and by end of week I had less than 5ppm nitrate.

In my current home tap water was tested at 30ppm nitrate and am not unduly worried about this.

It’s when, imho, when nitrate gets above 50-60ppm is when I may worry a little about the effect this may have on livestock.

But as long as you have live plants, it’s not the end having 20ppm nitrate.
 

Byron

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Answering the questions/issues raised...

First, on the softener, if it uses common salt (sodium chloride) as many do, do not use the water for freshwater fish.

Second, plants...if the nitrates are occurring within the biological system of the aquarium, then aquarium plants will help, and especially floating plants which are fast growing--which means they take up a lot of ammonia/ammonium, and do this faster than the bacteria/archaea which is why nitrite and then nitrate is much less.

Third...nitrate in the source water is a very different thing, and needs different resolution. While 20 ppm may not worry some, it certainly would me because many fish species, including all cichlids, are sensitive to nitrates at or over 20 ppm, and with 20 ppm in the source water, the nitrates occurring within the tank which may be 5ppm, or perhaps 10 ppm depending, add more than you want. Nitrate removal from the source water has a couple of methods to achieve it, and @AbbeysDad has dealt with this issue himself successfully and has a couple articles on his blog:



Many think that nitrates are not really harmful, but there is increasing evidence this is not the case. I went into this with Neale Moinks, and he said the best way to understand the effect of nitrate is to view it as slowly weakening the fish. This makes it more susceptible to issues it would otherwise be able to fight off. So while nitrate per say is not going to kill the fish, it is going to cause the fish to be killed by other issues. Of course, there is evidence of fish dying from the nitrate itself, but this involves a high level over an extended period; but even so, it does prove that nitrates do harm fish and can kill them.
 
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Rhys19

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First, on the softener, if it uses common salt (sodium chloride) as many do, do not use the water for freshwater fish.
Yeah I know you guys had already told me to not use it if it uses common salt (sodium chloride) ;)

Second, plants...if the nitrates are occurring within the biological system of the aquarium, then aquarium plants will help, and especially floating plants which are fast growing--which means they take up a lot of ammonia/ammonium, and do this faster than the bacteria/archaea which is why nitrite and then nitrate is much less.

Third...nitrate in the source water is a very different thing, and needs different resolution. While 20 ppm may not worry some, it certainly would me because many fish species, including all cichlids, are sensitive to nitrates at or over 20 ppm, and with 20 ppm in the source water, the nitrates occurring within the tank which may be 5ppm, or perhaps 10 ppm depending, add more than you want. Nitrate removal from the source water has a couple of methods to achieve it, and @AbbeysDad has dealt with this issue himself successfully and has a couple articles on his blog:

Many think that nitrates are not really harmful, but there is increasing evidence this is not the case. I went into this with Neale Moinks, and he said the best way to understand the effect of nitrate is to view it as slowly weakening the fish. This makes it more susceptible to issues it would otherwise be able to fight off. So while nitrate per say is not going to kill the fish, it is going to cause the fish to be killed by other issues. Of course, there is evidence of fish dying from the nitrate itself, but this involves a high level over an extended period; but even so, it does prove that nitrates do harm fish and can kill them.
as for this information I will checkout the links ;)
 

AbbeysDad

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Although it's much better now, there was a time I had very high nitrates in my well water.
In a nutshell, as I write in the article, "my nitrate fight", I had to find a way to filter the nitrates out of my well water.
At first I tried using APIs tap water filter but with my well water the resin was used too quickly and the cost of the cartridges was too high.
Initially I set up a ten-gallon tank and used API Nitra-Zorb pouches in a HOB filter. I would drain and repeat several times for water changes.
Then, in a stroke of inspiration, I emptied the tap water filter and filled it with API Nitra-Zorb.
The beauty of Nitra-Zorb is that it can be recharged with ordinary salt water, and reused many many times.
Unfortunately, the tap water filter has been discontinued it is no longer available. However, with some ingenuity a similar filter could be made.
Alternatively, one might simply use the API Nitra-Zorb pouches in the filter to remove nitrates. :)
 

AbbeysDad

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Is Seachem Purigen the same thing basically?
Not at all. Seachem Purigen attracts organic compounds (detritus) from the water column. So although it can aid in water clarity, it does little to adsorb nitrates. Now Seachem advertises that the product removes organics before it breaks down and produces nitrates, but Im skeptical as I never found Purigen to have much impact on lowering tank nitrates. So Purigen can aid in water clarity, but IMO not really do much for nitrates - and frankly, I think polyeester fiber that you can get a big bag at WM for about $4 USD, works well and is more cost effective, (and recharging Purigen in a 50/50 bleach/water solution and then dechlorinating quickly gets old).

API's Nitra-Zorb (and other products like it) is a resin that somehow adsorbs ammonia and nitrates. It's rechargeable with ordinary salt water. I've put thousands of gallons through my modified tap water filter, recharging (soaking in salt water) every 200 gallons or so, and it's still going strong!

API Nitra-Zorb is only sold in pouches intended to be placed in filters to remove ammonia and nitrates. So when I first got the idea of putting Nitra-Zorb in the Tap Water Filter cartridge, I contacted API Tech support to see if they thought it would work. The Tech I spoke with said he simply didn't know as to his knowledge, the product had never been tested it that way. However, in the course of the dialog, he did mention that the product use life was reduced when detritus coated the resin...AH, but there is no detritus in fresh source water! So I gave it a shot with great success! (Necessity and inspiration - the parents of invention).

Bttw, in case anyone is wondering, other than a hobbyist/consumer, I have no affiliation with API. :)
 
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Rhys19

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Not at all. Seachem Purigen attracts organic compounds (detritus) from the water column. So although it can aid in water clarity, it does little to adsorb nitrates. Now Seachem advertises that the product removes organics before it breaks down and produces nitrates, but Im skeptical as I never found Purigen to have much impact on lowering tank nitrates. So Purigen can aid in water clarity, but IMO not really do much for nitrates - and frankly, I think polyeester fiber that you can get a big bag at WM for about $4 USD, works well and is more cost effective, (and recharging Purigen in a 50/50 bleach/water solution and then dechlorinating quickly gets old).

API's Nitra-Zorb (and other products like it) is a resin that somehow adsorbs ammonia and nitrates. It's rechargeable with ordinary salt water. I've put thousands of gallons through my modified tap water filter, recharging (soaking in salt water) every 200 gallons or so, and it's still going strong!

API Nitra-Zorb is only sold in pouches intended to be placed in filters to remove ammonia and nitrates. So when I first got the idea of putting Nitra-Zorb in the Tap Water Filter cartridge, I contacted API Tech support to see if they thought it would work. The Tech I spoke with said he simply didn't know as to his knowledge, the product had never been tested it that way. However, in the course of the dialog, he did mention that the product use life was reduced when detritus coated the resin...AH, but there is no detritus in fresh source water! So I gave it a shot with great success! (Necessity and inspiration - the parents of invention).

Bttw, in case anyone is wondering, other than a hobbyist/consumer, I have no affiliation with API. :)
Thanks for the info! I'll look at your post and try out some Nitra-Zorb
 

AbbeysDad

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Thanks for the info! I'll look at your post and try out some Nitra-Zorb
You're welcome.
Just remember that if you use API Nitra-Zorb pouch(es) in a filter, you want to place it last after fine filtering media to prevent detritus from coating the resin pellets.
I do not know if the Nitra-Zorb resin can be reclaimed with a 50/50 bleach/water solution followed by a conditioner bath like Seachem Purigen. It may very well be possible, but since I've never tried it, I simply can't recommend it. :)
 

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