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Nitrate Nightmare


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  • Regular Member

I am having a terrible time with Nitrates. I don't know how much longer my fish can endure their current situation and I don't know how much longer I can endure stressing out about it.

In my town the tap water is undrinkable. That's common knowlegde so we buy bottled water for consumption.

This wasn't a problem when I first started keeping fish here, because the tap water was between 5-10 so I was able to control it.

Since March the tap water has been at a constant 40!

As you can imagine my fish are suffering badly because of this.

They have constant red streaks in their tails and I'm sure Chloe is starting to get "floaty" because of it.

I bought a Juwel Anti Nitrate Sponge and a few live plants to try to help the situation but nothing is making any noticeable difference.

There are no products available here that I read about on this site...Nitrazorb etc. Plus the tank is 120 US Gals so it's a lot of water to treat.

Had anyone any ideas? I can't complain to the water council because we're told that the water isn't fit for human consumption and that's always been the case here. I just don't know how people keep healthy fish in this town.

Any suggestions are most welcome. Thanks guys.

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  • Regular Member

Kila - You may want to post this under the diagnosis section. I know Daryl (one of the moderators is there and posts alot to the questions I have had about my goldfish). I know water changes are needed when the water tests are off.

I would try that for now - can you let the water set for a few days before you use it. That helps when doing water changes.... Sorry I can't help more.

Do try the diagnosis forum though too.

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  • Regular Member

Have you called the water company? 40ppm nitrates in your drinking water is not reasonable! They should remedy this ASAP.

I haev a really nasty well. I use RO water. This is plumbed into my whole house - but was quite expensive. There are smaller units that you can get - running off a faucet or whatever. But they will only produce just so much water per day - so if you have a huge tank like the one you describe, it will be difficult to support it with a small system. (One of the reasons I have no tank larger than 60 gallons - I simply cannot produce or store enough water to change it)

I helped build a pond feature for a small indoor pond.... it was a water pool that fed into the fish pond and back again. The pool was stuffed full of water plants for nitrate control, the water fed back into the fish pond. That way, the fish did not destroy the plants and the plants used the nitrates. As far as I know, this has helped a lot.

You say you have plants, but perhaps if you had a large tub that was stuffed with plants that could "pre-process" your water for you - removing as much of the nitrates as possible before you added it to your tank. I have seen some people who have used much the same idea as the double fed pond above for their fish tanks.....

Let me think for a bit.... Somewhere, here, are instructions for building a nitrate trickle filter......

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  • Regular Member

Hi Kila, I think due to volume of water we're talking about here, the only real practical solution other than routine water changes (which must be massive as it is) would be to use chemicals or resins to try and take the edge off the nitrAtes levels a bit.

It is almost like you need something like the nitrAte removal sponges but on a much bigger scale, or something that with absorb the nitrAtes before you add the water to the tank :hummm I'm really not sure which brands to suggest, but I'm absolutely sure someone will know.

How much planting have you added? Maybe you could go to town on the plants and see if that helps.

Best of luck Kila! :)

Posted at the same time as Daryl

Edited by mrbumblebee
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