Tap testing nitrates at 20ppm+

Discussion in 'Aquarium Water' started by asherjellyfish, Jul 1, 2014.

  1. asherjellyfish

    asherjellyfishValued MemberMember

    This is not, to my knowledge, a permanent issue. And so I'm not sure how to go about a temporary solution.

    The city of Columbus is legally obligated to inform residents when nitrates rise above 10ppm. They have not put out any statements. I'm going to call them, and also my landlord? I guess. I've never had this issue so I'm not sure what to do about it, since prior to this the tap water has tested 0ppm up till recently.

    I thought perhaps my test kit was messed up, so I ordered another, but this is my brand new test kit right out of the box testing our tap:

    What can I do for a temporary solution?

    One of my fish is very ill at present (not surprising considering) so I need to go to the store today and purchase water I imagine.

    So should I be using RO water? Is that okay for temporary use? Or is spring water better for this? x_x

    Either one I would drip acclimate him to for sure, I'm just not sure what to do for now till the problem is fixed.
  2. Adam55

    Adam55Well Known MemberMember

    20ppm of nitrate is not going to hurt your fish. But if the level really bugs you then you can add some live plants. Do you already have a planted tank?
  3. endlercollector

    endlercollectorFishlore VIPMember

    You can Amquel plus to get the nitrate to 0 in the new water when you do water changes. I now use it instead of prime has the lowest nitrate at my house is generally 20 ppm.

    I had the same issue this past spring. I was going crazy changing water for days before I realize that our tapwater's nitrates had shot up to 160 ppm. I had lots of photos of my test results, but I stupidly did not save actual water samples, and by the time the city came out, the numbers were all within legal limits. Get and test water samples from every indoor faucet and outdoor spigot.

    Sent from my iPhone using Fish Lore Aquarium Fish Forum

  4. OP

    asherjellyfishValued MemberMember

    Ooooh, wow okay. I had no idea it actually eliminated nitrates! Thank you I will go grab some right away. Much better than buying water x_x I'll also test all the taps as well. I tested from the kitchen sink, but I usually fill buckets in the bathtub.

    And that sucks wow. I guess I'm not super surprised, most places are pretty slow about these things. The city has been doing a ton of work on the pipes in the street around our house, so I'm wondering if maybe that has something to do with it.

  5. Jomolager

    JomolagerWell Known MemberMember

    Just to make sure your water really has high nitrates: if you are using API liquid test, bottle #2 needs to be vigorously shaken for a minute, that means for 60 seconds, before it is used. The substances inside have tendency to congeal, so the #2bottle needs to be whacked on the table and so on.

    My tap water has high nitrates, 20-40. Plants ans as @endlercolector says Amquel plus help a lot
  6. OP

    asherjellyfishValued MemberMember

    Ah thank you! I was aware of this issue. I actually have started shaking the bottle for 2 minutes because of this. I also purchased a brand new liquid test kit just to be sure. API sells the individuals separately. So this is with two test kits multiple times. It's gone as high as 40ppm as well. So I hope the amquel will solve this! Thanks for the help everyone.
  7. Jomolager

    JomolagerWell Known MemberMember

    In that case you have a real problem. Welcome yo the club! :;dogrun
  8. junebug

    junebugFishlore LegendMember

    I really, really doubt if the nitrates are making your fish sick. You can always contact the folks at your municipal water supply, but also make sure you figure out what's going on with the sick fish.

    If you find that you have fish that really can't tolerate any nitrates at all, switch to RO/DI water and remineralize to the pH you want.
  9. grayb79New MemberMember

    So strange, I was actually about to start a thread about this until I saw this one. I live in Kansas City and did a water change today on my 29gal and the nitrates didn't change at all so I checked the tap water and sure enough the nitrates are between 40 and 80, not to mention the ammonia came back between 1 and 2 (I understand though that if the water plant uses chloramine this can cause high ammonia readings). Anyway I called the water company and hope to hear back tomorrow.

    On the topic of RO/DI, would it be better to use chemicals to treat the ammonia and nitrate issue or get an RO/DI system and remineralize with equilibrium or something of that nature?
  10. Jomolager

    JomolagerWell Known MemberMember

  11. grayb79New MemberMember

    I don't know about the OP but I use fluval water conditioner. I had intentionally not used Amquel when I started this tank because I did a fishless cycle and I did not want to take the ammonia out of the water, I guess I just stuck with fluval ever since
  12. Jomolager

    JomolagerWell Known MemberMember

    Your reasoning for not using Prime is way out of my expertise. I will let someone more knowledgeable than moi to handle this. I am a Fluval filter aficionado, but have never used Fluval dechlorinator. (Putin, my aggressive gourami refuses to eat Fluval pellets, I am stuck with a whole jar.)

    I've cycled two tanks with Prime, and will follow with interest responses to your post and details of your nitrate encounters. Having been dealing with it fora few months now I can tell you, it is not fun.

    Good luck, please continue to share.
  13. grayb79New MemberMember


    I used the above article when I cycled my tank. It worked very well for me, took I think two or three weeks for a full cycle. The advantages to this method is being able to add a full stocking to the tank (or at least an amount to produce the same concentration of ammonia you start with (5ppm per the article)). I used the original "recipe" as a starting point until I reached the desired ammonia concentration.

    Anyway, this article explicitly says not to use AmQuel or any other ammonia sequestering dechlorinator, it doesn't specifically say no prime but I figured it would be best to avoid it as well.

    Back to the topic of nitrates in the tap water, the city's water treatment lab called me back today and told me that the readings I am getting were impossible due to their readings averaging <5ppm and was likely due to me using "rudimentary and inaccurate forms of testing" as well as implying that I did the test wrong naturally. I checked my tank water again today and the tap as well as some "ZeroWater" filtered water. The tap had the highest concentration at 40-80, my tank was next at 20-40 and the filtered water had zero so I highly doubt that the test is as inaccurate as he claims. I am currently using API liquid tests, I ordered seachem's so that I can validate my results with a different brand. After that I will take a sample to the LFS down the road and see what they get. If the nitrates are still high I plan to escalate the issue.

    I am also thinking I should get an RO/DI system for my own health if nothing else at this point let alone the sake of my tank.
  14. Linda4088

    Linda4088Valued MemberMember

    my Nitrates are going up also and I have a planted tank and do large water changes weekly. How often should I use Amquel? I normally use prime. Do I use Amquel instead of prime or in addition to?
  15. junebug

    junebugFishlore LegendMember

    Linda4088 please start your own thread so this one doesn't get confusing.
  16. Linda4088

    Linda4088Valued MemberMember

    I'm sorry, I thought we were talking about Nitrates and how to lower them. Someone mentioned Amquel and I asked how to use it.
  17. junebug

    junebugFishlore LegendMember

    And if you have a question about it, it's best to ask in your own thread, that way we don't stray from the OP's issue on this one ;)

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