My Nitrate Lowering Water Aging Barrel

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bigemrg

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So, I thought I'd create a thread explaining how I go about lowering the high nitrates in my tap water.

As my tap water has about 50ppm of nitrate, it makes sense to lower it before adding it to my aquariums. My downstairs system involves an under sink nitrate filter kit made by POZZANI which requires a new filter cartridge every couple of months. However, since I've started keeping aquariums upstairs, I had to come up with a different solution to avoid lugging the dreaded buckets around.

So, here's what I have done. Firstly, I purchased a 60 litre food safe plastic barrel. This is obviously used to store the water.

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I then drilled a couple of holes into the top rim of the barrel. This would be where the electrical wires for the pumps would go.

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I'd decided to use a product called Nitrasafe to absorb the nitrates. This would absorb with no possibility of nitrate leaching back into the water. It can also be recharged using a simple salt solution.

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After a quick rinse the Nitrasafe was placed in a filter sock and installed inside the filter chamber of a Fluval U2 internal filter.

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I then ran into a problem. Because the walls of the barrel were curved, the suction cups of the filter wouldn't stick properly. No problem, I'd just super glue them. Unfortunately this didn't work either although I'm not exactly sure why.

After a lot of head scratching I decided to suspend the filter using string, which required another couple of holes drilling.

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Once I had the nitrate removal system sorted, I turned my attention to getting the water out of the barrel and into the aquarium.

So, I installed a power head pump meant for powering a small pond fountain and rated with a two metre head height - meaning it can pump water 2m up!

I then fitted it with a quick release garden hose attachment that would allow me to attach a hose and run it into the aquarium.

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This is what it looks like from the outside...

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Finally, all that was left was to move the barrel into position, fill with water using a hose attached to a tap in the bathroom and switch on.

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As you can see, surface agitation is good, so I'm hoping that this will discourage bio film from forming. I could add an air stone if further water movement is required.

I also thought about adding a heater, but I believe that the ambient temperature of the room will keep the water temperature high enough to add it into the aquarium,

Just for the record, the nitrate reading before switching on was about 50ppm. Only a couple of hours later it was down around 25ppm.

Let me know if you do something similar or if you have any tips or improvements. ️
 
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So, it has been about 24 hours since I last tested the water in my aging barrel for nitrates, and they've now reduced to less than 10ppm.

Not bad considering it started up around the 50ppm mark.

I'll do another test tomorrow and keep my fingers crossed that it's down to zero! ️
 

Philippians 4:13

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Why do you want your nitrates at 0?!?!?!?
 
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Phillippians 4:13 said:
Why do you want your nitrates at 0?!?!?!?
So when I transfer the water to my tank during a water change it brings the nitrates in the tank down as far as possible.
 

Philippians 4:13

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So your tank does not have 0 nitrates?
 
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Phillippians 4:13 said:
So your tank does not have 0 nitrates?
No, this thread is about removing nitrate present in my tap water before I do a water change!
 

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Phillippians 4:13 said:
So your tank does not have 0 nitrates?
Very few tanks do, unless they're heavily planted.

I'd be interested to see how many water changes you get before the nitrate absorbing media is exhausted. I suspect it's probably almost exhausted already, but I don't think I've ever seen an exact amount they can remove. Be annoying if you can't at least get a month or two of water changes.
 
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TwoHedWlf said:
I'd be interested to see how many water changes you get before the nitrate absorbing media is exhausted. I suspect it's probably almost exhausted already, but I don't think I've ever seen an exact amount they can remove. Be annoying if you can't at least get a month or two of water changes.
I'm using it in a 60 litre barrel, and the packaging claims that it will remove 7000mg of nitrate before requiring recharging.

If my maths are correct, that means each untreated barrel of water contains 50mg/l x 60l = 3000mg of nitrate.

So, it should work for more than two barrels, or in other words 120l of water.

I do 25% water change per week on my 30 gallon (120l) tank which equates to 30l.

So, all this means is that I should be able to get at least 4 weeks of nitrate free water. More if I do 20% changes! ️
 

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That sounds about right.

So...It would be barely enough for a water change in my tank. Haha.

I have thought about getting a bunch of the resin for my tank...But that would require getting a nitrate test kit.
 
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TwoHedWlf said:
That sounds about right.

So...It would be barely enough for a water change in my tank. Haha.

I have thought about getting a bunch of the resin for my tank...But that would require getting a nitrate test kit.
Yeah, it's not a great solution for bigger tanks! Although I'm using the 250ml bag, and could easily fit another one into the filter chamber.

However, my plan is to swap out the used one for a new one while I recharge the old one.

The under sink POZZANI filter I use for my bigger tanks downstairs will reduce nitrate from 50ppm to 0ppm for approximately 700l of water before it starts showing up again. I then run them for another 100l, by which time nitrate is usually at around 10ppm.

No nitrate test kit? It's pretty much the only thing I measure once a tank is cycled! ️
 

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bigemrg said:
Yeah, it's not a great solution for bigger tanks! Although I'm using the 250ml bag, and could easily fit another one into the filter chamber.

However, my plan is to swap out the used one for a new one while I recharge the old one.

The under sink POZZANI filter I use for my bigger tanks downstairs will reduce nitrate from 50ppm to 0ppm for approximately 700l of water before it starts showing up again. I then run them for another 100l, by which time nitrate is usually at around 10ppm.

No nitrate test kit? It's pretty much the only thing I measure once a tank is cycled! ️
I haven't actually done any tests on my tank in probably 7-8 years. Tested it pretty regularly for the first 10 though.
 
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TwoHedWlf said:
I haven't actually done any tests on my tank in probably 7-8 years. Tested it pretty regularly for the first 10 though.
That's a long time to go between tests!

I've only just returned to the hobby this year after a ten year break, and already have three of my old tanks setup. MTS hit me hard!

I've been testing the usual parameters using API test kit until cycling has finished, then just monitor nitrates using test strips.

It was a bit of a shock to find such high nitrates in my tap water as they are close to the maximum allowed by UK law. They are certainly a lot higher than they were during my last stint of fish keeping. ️
 
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Just a quick update to report that the nitrates in my aging barrel have now been reduced to 0ppm.

The maths say I should be able to do at least 4 x 25% water changes on my 30 gallon tank before I need to recharge the Nitrasafe.

I'll update the thread when I have some concrete figures...
 
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Okay, so it's two weeks on, and I've performed 2 x 25% water changes on my 30 gallon tank. I have also filled up my 15 gallon QT tank, all with water containing 0ppm nitrate - down from about 50ppm.

So by my reckoning that means that the Nitrasafe should be just about exhausted, and will need recharging.

However, I've left it in the filter and will report back if it reduces the nitrate any further. At the moment it is at around 40ppm in the aging barrel, and has been reducing to 0ppm after about three days.

Watch this space and I'll report back after the weekend...
 
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Right, good news! The Nitrasafe is still doing its job.

Nitrate is down to about 5ppm, which means I still have 60 litres of water I can use for water changes.

That means that so far, it has treated 180 litres of water successfully, which is better than I expected.

Of course, if the initial level of nitrate in your tap water is lower than mine, it would treat much more water!

It will be interesting to see how much longer it will continue before it needs recharging.

I'll keep you posted... ️
 
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Okay, so since my last post, I've used up the previous 60l of treated water, which had reduced down to 5ppm, and have refilled with tap water.

After filtering for 48 hours, the nitrate is now at about 10ppm, which is still an acceptable level to use for a water change.

That means this one sachet of Nitrasafe has successfully treated 240 litres of water (containing approximately 50ppm nitrate) without needing to be recharged.

Much better than expected.

I'll update you when I next do a water change...
 

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This is such a great idea! That is a really high amount of nitrates for tap! I'm sure there's somewhere on this side of the pond that has nitrates as well though glad to hear you found a solution to your problem!
 
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NightShade said:
This is such a great idea! That is a really high amount of nitrates for tap! I'm sure there's somewhere on this side of the pond that has nitrates as well though glad to hear you found a solution to your problem!
Thank you!

50ppm is close to the legal limit allowed by UK law. It's a real pain, but this solution makes it a little easier to deal with. Just wish I had room for bigger aging barrels!
 

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bigemrg said:
Thank you!

50ppm is close to the legal limit allowed by UK law. It's a real pain, but this solution makes it a little easier to deal with. Just wish I had room for bigger aging barrels!
It sounds like a pain!

Lol... more room for tanks too!
 
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NightShade said:
It sounds like a pain!

Lol... more room for tanks too!
Hehe! You can never have too many tanks! ️
 
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