What is nitrate?
Nitrate is produced by the beneficial bacteria in the water and filters as they break down the fish’s toxic waste products (ammonia and nitrite). Nitrate is not typically toxic to fish, but excessively high levels (>100mg/l) can cause problems with growth.
What is the correct nitrate level?
The level of nitrate is dependent upon a number of factors, including the nitrate level of the tap water (or spring water etc) feeding into the aquarium, the number of fish and the amount of food fed. High nitrate levels will lead to algal growth. A nitrate level of zero is ideal and implies a balance between waste produced by the fish and nutrients taken up by the plant life. Remember: this plant life does include algae.
What do I do if the nitrate level is wrong?
Maintenance of a zero level of nitrate is extremely difficult. Most domestic water supplies have a low level of nitrate. The key to maintenance of low nitrates is regular water changes to dilute the build up of nitrate. Also, increasing the higher plant life in the aquarium should use up nitrate. This will lower the amount of nitrate available to algae.
How to use?
- Ensure the test tube is clean.
- Take a 5 ml sample of water into the test tube.
- Turn the Nitrate-1 bottle upside down in plenty of light and shake vigorously until there is no sediment on the bottom.
- Add 6 drops of the Nitrate-1 and 6 drops of the Nitrate-2. Replace the test tube cap and shake thoroughly.
- Wait 10 minutes, and then compare the colour of the sample to the colour scale provided. Zero nitrate is represented by a colourless sample. Any hint of pink in the sample indicates the presence of nitrate in the aquarium.
This test kit reports concentration in terms of nitrogen (NO3-N) to be compatible with reported safe concentrations as they apply to fish and plants. If you are interested in knowing the ionic concentration of the measured parameter, multiply your result by 4.43 (NO3-N).