Nitrate in Fish Tank: Ways To Keep Nitrate Level On Track

nitrate in fish tank

Nitrates being a by-product of ammonia isn’t as lethal as ammonia. Somehow it manages to prove as hazardous if didn’t get under control. Anything and everything in this entire universe needs to be controlled. The same is with ammonia and nitrate in a fish tank.

Overfeeding and overcrowding of fishes are harmful in their respective manners. If there is stuffing, it will ultimately lead to the storage of more fecal matter. Then ammonia and nitrate. Almost the same is the dilemma with overcrowding the fish tank with fishes. It isn’t good either. It will also harm the nitrate level in a fish tank.

How To Reduce The Level Of Nitrate In Fish Tank

Owning a fish tank is good. But one has to maintain and take care of it also. It is crucial to know what are the safety measures or emergency treatment for lowering nitrate levels in the fish tank.

Water tank cleaning

Keep your fish tank healthy and free from nitrate. Water should be poured out and in. Be it any 20% strategy or the one where you pour away 40% of the water out of the fish tank. Choose any, but try to maintain a healthy balance of continuous change of water. It won’t let the nitrates quantity increase in the fish tank.

Filters should be clean

It is crucial to keep filters cleaned or replacing them if needed. All the filters present in the tank. Fishes have a place to live. Removal and addition of water and keeping it clean through other means is essential. And so is the importance of keeping up with the filters. Hygiene is crucial; it doesn’t matter who the living being is. If we have them for any purpose, then we must take care of them.

Installation of plants inside the water tank

Plants consume nitrates, so why not as they are also good for the environment around the fish. Since after getting inside a fish tank, it restricts the area for fish. They are just bound to some space. But adding some plants inside the fish tank won’t harm them anyway. They also release nitrate, yet it isn’t as harmful since that much amount won’t be lethal to fishes.


Letting the fish overeat isn’t right in itself. Thus, food given to the fish inside the tank should be in an adequate amount. Not too little or too much, feed your fish sparingly. The lesser dose of food can kill the fish. But also they can be killed by just overdoing it. The more waste is released, the more ammonia is produced. More ammonia more is the amount of nitrate. Also, overstocking is terrible for the fish. There will be less area for them to roam around as they get restricted to the fish tank. And if the area is too crowded, one doesn’t prefer to live there.

Nitrates in the fish tank should be in an exact amount as the waste product produces them. Thus, it is undeniable that nitrates should be less than 50 ppm, preferably between 25 ppm to 5 ppm. It is crucial to keep track of this. So the person who owns a fish tank should get a routine checkup of nitrates. It can be weekly or monthly. But have a track on their health and inside the container.

Exposure of fish to high nitrate levels can lead to the death of fish. Nitrification is the oxidation of ammonia into a substance called nitrite with the help of bacteria called Nitrosomonas. Further, the nitrites keep oxidizing in the form of nitrate. It follows by bacteria called Nitrobacter. Somehow it is less dangerous than ammonia. Ammonia and nitrite are very much dangerous to the fish inside the fish tank. Nitrate also gets dangerous to some extent, but only when they are in constant contact with them.

nitrate in fish tank

Irregular filtration or irregular cleaning and water changing inside the fish tank will lead to this problem. Regularly cleaning of water and the filters will eventually decrease the risk. As increment of such types of harmful compounds inside it can cause serious problems. Live plants like algae are very much efficient in reducing the level of nitrate in freshwater. They are a good consumer of nitrate. And, can help the owner to maintain the nitrate level in the fish tank. In freshwater, the level of nitrate is less toxic, even if it is around 200 ppm. At the same time, it can be very damaging to the fish present in a saltwater tank.

Not just fish in the fish tank. But also the freshwater fishes seem to be healthy when there is a lot of greenery surrounding them. The plants decrease the level of nitrate as they are the right consumers of nitrate. Ammonia and nitrite are not suitable for the plant as well. But when it comes to nitrate, they are very much in use. The owner can reduce the nitrate by keeping plants inside fish tanks.

The water reduction method can work very well. It is an instant source to decrease the nitrate level. The water changing process is best of all if you went somewhere for almost 1 or 2 months. You were unable to look after fishes inside your tank. They all will either die. Or get that high level of “nitrate poisoning” due to their constant exposure to the wastes inside the tank — substances such as organic matter, toxic materials, and other harmful substances.

There is an immediate treatment for this problem, and this means the instantaneous water reduction method. In this method, you need the removal of water from the tank and then adding a new gallon of water into it. It will help the nitrate level to go from a hazardous level to a direct five ppm. This is perfectly fine for the fish inside the fish tank.

It is observed that after applying this method, it can help you save your fish from dying. And you can observe that they regain their appetite. They start to eat correctly. Move and swim with a constant rate instead of lying at the bottom of the water tank. They become more active. They look more beautiful and colorful as compared to when they were exposed. It can be observed after some days.

Nitrate Reduction Rate Method

Now, what do you understand by the nitrate reduction method? It also is an instant method the same as the water reduction method. It helps you to save your fish from dying out of “pH shock”. Yes, when the level of nitrate is out of that threshold level, then it is essential to treat it well. You can either increase the level of pH or decrease it. As when the level of nitrate rises, you can choose the instant water reduction method. It can somehow reduce the pH instantly. So, it is crucial to balance the level of pH. And, also don’t let it get so low that it ultimately leads to killing of fishes out of “pH shock”. pH can either increase or decrease. Both are harmful. It can be responsible for the death of the fishes inside the fish tank.

Nitrate Poisoning

Nitrate poisoning is something that occurs due to the constant increase in nitrate. Although “nitrate shock” depends on an increase or decrease of its level. It happens when there is either very much increment of nitrate in the fish tank. Or a complete decrement of nitrate inside the fish tank. Both of the situations come under such circumstances when the fish dies out of shock and not overdose. That shock is termed as “nitrate shock”. But, if the level of nitrate had increased rapidly, it is dangerous. Hazardous, it is raised to a level of 100 ppm. If the fish is exposed to this particular level of nitrate, then it can cause death. And, this is due to its poisoning, termed as nitrate poisoning.

The effect of nitrate on fish is something one should observe and be aware of. As people often consider the level of rising ammonia as hazardous and do not find the level of nitrate. Both are dangerous for the lives of fishes. Even the decrement or increment of nitrate can lead to the death of every fish inside the tank.

An acceptable level of ammonia ranges between 5 ppm to 40 ppm. The level of nitrate when it reaches up to the level of 100 ppm, then it can be hazardous. And, it can lead to the death of fish. When the level of nitrate reaches 70 ppm or above, then they are vulnerable and prone to dying. The level of 20 ppm to 50 ppm is exceptional but should be taken care of. So, the range below 20 ppm or ten ppm is considered to be the best amongst all.

There is no harm when the level of nitrate inside the fish tank is five ppm to 20 ppm. But when it starts increasing, then there should be constant treatment. Use the water reduction method, the instant one only when the level is you to 80 ppm to 100 ppm. The rest of the level which is below 80 ppm, can work. Take care of it every other day instead of removing the entire water outside the fish tank.

Allowance of too much fish can lead to sheer congested of fish. And a further increase of the wastes which are somehow toxic to them in such a packed environment. For instance, let us take an example of a human being, a person who is busy with his daily work. And there is too much pollution around him, what will it lead to? Either they will fall ill and be less productive, or they will die. The same is the situation with every other living creature. And it doesn’t matter if they are human, animals or plants.

If you want to add more fish, then you can have a larger fish tank instead. Get a larger tank if you are very much indulged in having fishes all around. Or you can install another fish tank which can be either small or large. Use according to the need. Resist the overexploitation of a tank. You can buy a new tank if you want, or we would suggest not to gather too much fish at a single place. Keep their food in good form. Do not feed them expired food or overdose them. The frequency of food is fundamental. Never try to feed them too much. It can also increase the nitrate level in a fish tank.

Do you have any idea what Algone is? Algone is a nitrate removing element. It removes nitrates from the fish tank and helps in maintaining the good health of the fish in the fish tank. Algone also clears the hazy water inside the fish tank, which makes it look bright and clean. As the increase of wastes inside the fish tank also leads to making the water look dirty.

The look and quality of water get degraded in the rise of nitrate inside the water tank. But when you add Algone inside the fish tank, it will give clean water. And it will look clean. It also removes pollutants that are somehow unhealthy for the environment of fish, which can also harm them anytime soon if not treated. The dissolved organic matter decomposes into ammonia. And, then, nitrite and further, into nitrate. But it can also be removed. Thus, an owner of the fish tank should consider having Algone. For keeping their fish tank clean and healthy. It is crucial for the survival of fish.


The sources which lead to an ultimate increase of nitrate in the fish tank include the uneaten fish food. Also, their fecal matter, the decayed plants inside the fish tank, and dirty filters. Thus, it is essential to keep pace with everything. The regular change of water, the replacement of filters, or just cleaning the filters. All are depending upon the rule.

The increase of nitrate inside the fish tank can lead to poor reproduction. Its drowsiness and continuous gill movement. Gill movement as their respiratory organs start moving instantly. The loss of appetite, poor growth (which means they do not get their full size, which is usually acquired by other similar fishes). The color of fishes inside the fish tank starts to fade. They no longer look much colorful, vibrant and attractive. Also, their life span gets reduced the level of nitrates in mind. For a freshwater fish tank, it should be <40 ppm. The saltwater fish tank should be <1 ppm when talking about reef tanks. And it should be around 0.25 ppm for coral fish tanks. So this is important to observe and check the level of nitrate inside the container. Stay healthy and keep your Fishes healthy.