How to remove nitrate from the aquarium

Plecostomus on glass of fish tank
(Last Updated On: March 12, 2017)

Nitrates are generally very low in natural waters, in part by the high rate of dilution due to large quantities of water, but also because of the hydrologic-cycle.

A common practice used to lower aquarium nitrates is the water change. In reality however, water changes are more of a nitrate dilution then removal.

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How to remove aquarium nitrate:

Consider this:

Assuming there is 40 ppm of nitrate before a 20% water change, 80% or 32 ppm will remain post water change. Since common tap and well water usually contains nitrate, and assuming that the average level is at about 10 ppm, then our water change had little effect on the overall nitrate level of the aquarium.

What can we do to aid in the removal of nitrates from the aquarium?

  1. Add live plants to a freshwater aquarium

    Plants naturally utilize nitrate as a nutrient and food. This is why persistently high nitrate usually results in an algae outbreak and green aquarium water problems. An abundance of nitrate is fuel for explosive growth of existing algae cells.

    Go here for more information on plants!
  2. Reduce fish population or upgrade to bigger tank

    Fish waste results in an increase of nitrate levels. Keeping the overall fish population relatively low therefore helps prevent nitrate accumulation. If you are considering a larger tank, try to resist the temptation of stocking more fish as this will inevitably increase nitrate producing waste within the fish tank.

    More on fish population | Benefits of the BIG aquarium | The small fish tank
  3. Cut back on feeding

    Too much fish food will severely pollute the water and result in spiking nitrate levels. Don’t overfeed.

    Overfeeding and the cloudy fish tank
  4. Use a nitrate remover such as ALGONE

    ALGONE gently removes nitrates from the aquarium and effectively prevents all the common problems associated with high nitrate levels. Through nitrate reduction ALGONE also clears cloudy and murky aquarium water, restoring a brilliant, crystal clear water column. Additionally, ALGONE removes pollutants and dissolved organics associated with rising nitrate and other common problems in the fish tank.

    Learn more about ALGONE!

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20 thoughts on “How to remove nitrate from the aquarium

    • Scott @ Algone
      Scott @ Algone says:

      No need to remove any other filter media. Simply place the unopened Algone pouch in the filter and change as outlined in the enclosed instructions. The pouch is quite small so there shouldn’t be any issues with fitting it into the filter.

  1. Martin says:

    If Algone is a filter media that removes nitrates using microorganisms, polymers, and polyelectrolytes , is that not the same as if one used Seachem Matrix?
    Or is your product totally different?

    Cheers Marty

    • Scott @ Algone
      Scott @ Algone says:

      You can place Algone anywhere inside the aquarium. Use a veggie clip to attach to the glass, or secure with a rock or an ornament anywhere in the water, preferably near good water flow, such as the filter’s return.

  2. Alyse says:

    I have had the Algone packet in the filter for two days and my nitrate level hasn’t changed. I have also done everything on your list otherwise for weeks.

    • Thilo
      Thilo says:

      Nitrates are not neutralized like ammonia, Algone will therefore not act on contact, but require multiple days if not weeks to remove a sufficient amount of nitrates. The time frame depends on many variables such as the overall waste (Algone removes more than just nitrates i.e.dissolved organics, fats, proteins etc.) Further variables are the amount of food fed to the fish/ aquarium, fertilizer, plants, stocking rate and of course maintenance.

  3. edy rizal says:

    please give me an enlightment..how can algone remove nitrate? is it work as same as anoxic filtration system which introduced by Dr. Kevin Novak?
    Where can I find algone in Indonesia?
    thank u..

    note : forgive me for my poor english..

    • Thilo
      Thilo says:

      One of the prevailing issues with an anoxic filter, next to creating a near oxygen free zone, is to effectively maintain that zone for the anaerobic bacteria to grow and thrive. This is not an easy task in aquariums that are generally well oxygenated. There are of course variations within the methods, none are foolproof, and there are better ways to remove, or reduce nitrates.

      Algone is a filter media and removes nitrates using microorganisms, polymers, and polyelectrolytes. No dosing or tedious setups needed.

      note: your english is quite alright

  4. Efrain says:

    Can I use Algone in a freshwater cichlids tank?
    I have a nitrate spyke and nothing work,
    Also I use Prime for dechlorine the water

    • Scott @ Algone
      Scott @ Algone says:

      Yes, Algone is for use in fresh and saltwater aquariums and can be used in combination with Prime water conditioner.

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