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Nitrite & Nitrate in Well Water

richardbunn

New Member
Joined
8 May 2021
Messages
3
Location
Cork, Ireland
Hi folks

Two questions in one here I guess. Nitrite, nitrate and also a question regarding hardness and water-changes. All at source.

Firstly I don't have mains water, only well water. Upon testing my water, prior to actually getting back into the hobby, I have readings at source which concern me. These are nitrite 0.25ml/l and nitrate 25-50mg/l. Other readings are GH <3d, KH 0-3d, pH 6.4.

I know I could go down the R.O route but that's a last resort. Someone also recommended another type of water filter unit to me, which I forget now. What I'm wondering is would using Seachem Prime as my water conditioner mean that I don't need to worry about getting and installing an expensive water filter? I mean, this product detoxifies ammonia, nitrite and nitrate. I'll also be performing 50% weekly water changes. I have a pretty nasty back injury so I was hoping this would be a way I could refill my tank directly from the tap, rather than dealing with carrying 75L of filtered water in buckets each week. Or will I need to buffer the water prior to adding to the tank, due to the hardness levels?

Many thanks for any input you can give.
 

veerserif

Member
Joined
7 Jul 2020
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67
Location
Bay Area, California
I cannot help you with nitrite or nitrates (other than suggesting to just fill the tank completely up with fast-growing plants, especially surface floating plants!), but I also have similarly soft water out of the tap.

I keep cherry shrimp, so I raise my GH with a commercial GH boost product. You could use something like TNC GH Boost, or make it yourself with some pure epsom salts and calcium chlorate or calcium sulfate (gypsum powder). I add this at water change. For KH, I add a fistful of crushed coral in a mesh bag to my filter. You could also use crushed oyster shell, the kind they sell for chicken feed, as a cheap alternative. It'll also add some calcium to the water. I don't worry too much about the exact KH, I just let it dissolve on its own as the water flows over it.
 

dw1305

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UKAPS Team
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7 Apr 2008
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12,207
Location
nr Bath
Hi all,
Firstly I don't have mains water, only well water. Upon testing my water, prior to actually getting back into the hobby, I have readings at source which concern me. These are nitrite 0.25ml/l and nitrate 25-50mg/l.
Welcome to UKAPS. I see your lucky enough to live in Cork, where it rains a bit. Would <"collecting rainwater"> be an option for you? You could still pump it into a tank from a water butt, rather than using buckets.

You can always mix rainwater (low in nitrate (NO3-) & nitrite (NO2-)) with your well water to lower NO3 levels.

Plants are very effective at taking up all forms of <"fixed nitrogen">, so nitrate levels will fall in the tank. Nitrite (NO2-) is more of an issue, but if you keep the dissolved oxygen levels high, microbial filtration should convert any NO2 (that isn't taken up by the plants) to NO3 fairly rapidly.
What I'm wondering is would using Seachem Prime as my water conditioner
Should do, it <"detoxifies NO2-"> as well as ammonia/ammonium (NH3/NH4+)

cheers Darrel
 
Last edited:

Mr Patient

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13 Nov 2019
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4
Location
Mallorca
I live in Mallorca where the water is super hard so I use bottled water. 25% water change costs me €5, not too bad. PH 7.2, GH 8 but KH very low so I add sodium bicarbonate to get it up to 6. Low KH is dangerous from a PH point of view. My Oase Biotherm filter filled with Biohome is so efficient nitrites are zero, nitrates 10 which is a pity for plant nutrition
 

richardbunn

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Thread starter
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8 May 2021
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3
Location
Cork, Ireland
Should do, it <"detoxifies NO2-"> as well as ammonia/ammonium (NH3/NH4+)

cheers Darrel
So, just to be clear in my mind, just filling from the tap and use Prime will solve my NO2 & NO3 toxicity problem and just leave the filter and quick growing plants deal with it?

I COULD go down the rainwater route, and may still. But being disabled means I need to go for the easiest, least labour intensive water change option.

Thanks
 

dw1305

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nr Bath
Hi all,
and use Prime will solve my NO2 & NO3 toxicity problem and just leave the filter and quick growing plants deal with it?
Yes.

Nitrate (NO3-) is a funny one. We don't know at what levels it becomes toxic to fish, but it is <"probably in the hundreds of ppm range">.
I COULD go down the rainwater route, and may still
I'd <"recommend it if you can">. It is free and a "blank slate". It is always much easier to add things to water than to take them away.

cheers Darrel
 

richardbunn

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Thread starter
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8 May 2021
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Cork, Ireland
Thank you for all of your help.
I also have oyster shell for chickens in the shed. Before the next door neighbour’s dog picked them off.
 

dw1305

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nr Bath
Hi all,
I also have oyster shell for chickens in the shed
Chick grit (CaCO3) us a good easy way of adding 1 : 1 dGH / dKH. It also is a negative feedback loop (<"buffered system">), as soon as the water is alkaline (H+ ion acceptor) no more shell goes into solution, as soon as we are below pH7 it starts dissolving again.

I can use out tap water (about 18 dGH / 18 dKH) as a <"source of hardness">, but if I had softer tap water I'd use shell grit.

cheers Darrel
 

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