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I couldn't figure out why my nitrates were always "high" after water changes etc until I finally tested my tap. I don't know why but I've never tested it for nitrates before*. They come in at 40-ish which I was kinda horrified about. It seems that's us the upper limit allowable so the water company isn't going to do anything about it. I'm in a relatively high ag area so it is probably runoff. I tested some rain water as well for a control and it is zero.

(*Okay, I know why. I used to test my pond for them but they were always less than 10 which in retrospect is likely because I have a mature veggie filter/bog. I just assumed my tap was also low.)

So, with a baseline tap of 40 all the water changes in the world aren't going to help me. My ammonia and nitrites are zero.

So, what to do? I have a 75g so I'm not going to buy bottles of spring or RO water. My dear husband will not even support putting in a RO unit for us to drink so he's not going to help me carry in 10 5 gallon bottles every week either.

I think I am going to build a hang on glass up-flow algae scrubber but in the meantime I bought some nitrate removing filter pads from my LFS. http://www.thatpetplace.com/elive-nitrate-filter-pad-10x18-in I cut one out and put it in my canister but even though it says it will last 2-3 months I have my doubts considering where I'm starting. Reef guys get all freaked out when their nitrates are 5... LOL. TG I'm not a reefer.

I considered Seachem Purigen but that takes out all organics not specifically nitrates and I didn't want it to reduce the current bio I have going in my filters (not sure this thought process is right though). I used some in my betta tank before trying to reduce the algae and I wasn't all that impressed. Anyway, I also I have a few Anubias and I want them to keep growing too.

I do have 2L Seachem Matrix in my canister which is marketed to colonize with anaerobes centrally to manage nitrates. My tank has only been going since August so they may still be colonizing. Maybe?

So, just reaching out to see if anyone else has dealt with this type of problem. Anything else I can do? I am excited to get the algae scrubber going but I am going to try it with some solderless LED so I have to wait for those and then I actually have to build the thing. All in all I don't really have that much algae or diatoms at the moment. I did have some hair algae a few months ago but that has considerably decreased. Just a little on a few walls now. The issue isn't the algae as much as optimizing the water parameters for my fish. Am I over reacting?

Edited by Butterfly

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Oh, all my fish are fine/seem fine. My largest, a Thai oranda about 4.5" body sans tail does some crazy acrobatics. At first I thought she might be flashing but she's been through many rounds of praziquantel and salt etc and I have a UV also. When she does her thing though she never actually touches anything and I think it's just how she is. The others don't do this (but they are golf ball pearl scales so they have even less finesse.)

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40+ ppm for Nitrates is something I wouldn't consider safe for drinking or cooking. At a level that high you will more than likely have high levels of THM's which is a byproduct of using chlorine as a disinfectant and is carcinogenic.

 

I would try and locate a local company that is familiar with your water source and how too treat it before it comes out of the tap. 

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Your post piqued my interest so I researched it further. According to the SDWA (Safe Drinking Water Act) they list a high level of 10ppm for Nitrate. If I was in your shoes I would make some politicians do their job as 40 ppm is completely unacceptable, not only for your fish but your family.

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Wow. Yuck. Just Googled THMs. Will be pushing for RO/DI system now... Been here for 6 years and my kids basically all their lives... :( Honestly never thought much or worried about the drinking water before. .

Think the 10ppm is total N, nitrates are allowed up to 45ppm. At least according to Penn State Extension (and I am in Pa).

http://extension.psu.edu/natural-resources/water/drinking-water/water-testing/pollutants/nitrates-in-drinking-water

"To protect infant health, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) established standards and limits for nitrates in public water supplies. Supplies should not contain more than 45 mg/l of nitrate or 10 mg/l of nitrate-nitrogen. While private wells do not fall under EPA or DEP jurisdiction, it is advisable that they meet these limits."

I have public water, not a well. No chloramines, just chlorine. Blah.

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Oops! I guess I meant "darn" = ######

:P

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40ppm is not a safe level and does not conform to the SDWA act. By law, they are not allowed too send that to your tap but most law infractions are overlooked and mired down in the bureaucratic process.

Sounds like something that is happening in Flint, MI but is probably prevalant at the delivery point across the entire US, instead of where they generate the samples before it enters the distribution system.

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You have a veggie filter for your pond, so I expect you know how they work.  Just make one for your tank.  I can help if you need help and tell you more things I would change from that old post.  If you don't want a veggie filter by your tank you can set one up elsewhere.  

 

The level of trihalomethanes should be on your water company report.  There are filters that can remove them or you could just put some activated carbon in your filter.  Have you contacted the water company about this?  

 

Rob, can you provide a link to a relationship between nitrate levels and trihalomethanes?  I've never heard of that, only that THMs come from  chlorinating organics.

Edited by shakaho

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You have a veggie filter for your pond, so I expect you know how they work.  Just make one for your tank.  I can help if you need help and tell you more things I would change from that old post.  If you don't want a veggie filter by your tank you can set one up elsewhere.  

 

The level of trihalomethanes should be on your water company report.  There are filters that can remove them or you could just put some activated carbon in your filter.  Have you contacted the water company about this?  

 

Rob, can you provide a link to a relationship between nitrate levels and trihalomethanes?  I've never heard of that, only that THMs come from  chlorinating organics.

I don't have any links, only an assumption on my part. With nitrate levels that high I would consider that dirty water and am just guessing that they needed to use more chlorine to disinfect it. More chlorine=more THMs 

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You have a veggie filter for your pond, so I expect you know how they work.  Just make one for your tank.  I can help if you need help and tell you more things I would change from that old post.  If you don't want a veggie filter by your tank you can set one up elsewhere.  

 

The level of trihalomethanes should be on your water company report.  There are filters that can remove them or you could just put some activated carbon in your filter.  Have you contacted the water company about this?  

 

Rob, can you provide a link to a relationship between nitrate levels and trihalomethanes?  I've never heard of that, only that THMs come from  chlorinating organics.

 

Yeah.  An algae scrubber is essentially like a veggie filter but with algae.  I have an old reef tank with over flow so I can stick it unobtrusively in there.  I would do an aquarium veggie filter but really don't want to deal with the plants in that fashion, plus I really don't have a lot of natural light where the tank is and don't want to have to deal with additional lighting for the plants like that.

 

My water report says that all levels were within range for last year with Nitrates reported out at about 6ppm.  I assume this is total nitrate-nitrogen (you multiply this number by 4.43 to get total nitrates).  I will find out about that though.  TTHMs were reported out at 31 (max = 80) and HAA5 at 19 (max = 60).  Chlorine range 1.2-3.5 ppm with minimum residual disinfectant 0.2.  I think we have a carbon filter after our water softener.  Will have to get husband to monitor that more closely.

Edited by Butterfly

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The problem with an algae scrubber is that algae and aquatic plants prefer ammonia to nitrate.  Like green water, the algae growing in the algae scrubber will complete with your nitrifiers for ammonia and will use that ammonia as a nutrient and not release nitrate.  However, as long as your fish produce ammonia, the algae won't bother with the nitrate that came with the water.  If you used the algae scrubber to pretreat your tap water, which didn't have ammonia, it might work, but I don't know of anyone that has done that.

 

Low light house plants, like pothos, will grow happily in a veggie filter with ambient light.  Otherwise, your choices are buying water or getting a nitrate filter

 

You could also just relax.  The typical goldfish can tolerate very high levels of nitrate, although some sensitive individuals have problems at levels well below yours.  Goldfish can adapt to a wide variety of water conditions, and since your fish appear healthy, they have probably adapted.

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You have a veggie filter for your pond, so I expect you know how they work.  Just make one for your tank.  I can help if you need help and tell you more things I would change from that old post.  If you don't want a veggie filter by your tank you can set one up elsewhere.  

 

The level of trihalomethanes should be on your water company report.  There are filters that can remove them or you could just put some activated carbon in your filter.  Have you contacted the water company about this?  

 

Rob, can you provide a link to a relationship between nitrate levels and trihalomethanes?  I've never heard of that, only that THMs come from  chlorinating organics.

 

Yeah.  An algae scrubber is essentially like a veggie filter but with algae.  I have an old reef tank with over flow so I can stick it unobtrusively in there.  I would do an aquarium veggie filter but really don't want to deal with the plants in that fashion, plus I really don't have a lot of natural light where the tank is and don't want to have to deal with additional lighting for the plants like that.

 

My water report says that all levels were within range for last year with Nitrates reported out at about 6ppm.  I assume this is total nitrate-nitrogen (you multiply this number by 4.43 to get total nitrates).  I will find out about that though.  TTHMs were reported out at 31 (max = 80) and HAA5 at 19 (max = 60).  Chlorine range 1.2-3.5 ppm with minimum residual disinfectant 0.2.  I think we have a carbon filter after our water softener.  Will have to get husband to monitor that more closely.

 

What that report states is very well within acceptable limits including the chlorine dosage and the minimum residual, although .2 is cutting it close....but it all depends. What the water company reports....and what you get from the tap can be quite different. The report from the water authority should be used as a tool, not an end all test. I believe your 40ppm nitrate from your test kit is more reliable than what the water authority states.

Give them a call and ask them to test from your tap. They might not be happy, but IIRC by law they have to do it. 40+ppm of Nitrates is unacceptable a least IMO.

Edited by jetman73

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