High nitrates in my well water... - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 3 (permalink) Old 10-29-2017, 02:32 PM Thread Starter
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High nitrates in my well water...

I live in the country, across the road from a 95 acre farmers field. I've measured nitrates in my well water as high as 80ppm+, although right now they seem to be down to around 20-40ppm. Way too high for partial water changes to keep tank nitrates low. I've reasoned it may be variable due to the time of year and relative rainfall. (e.g. they're just now spreading/spraying manure and we're expecting 4-5" of rain [oh my]).

Although it could work, I sortof ruled out RO - RO/DI water. With my 30/50psi well/pump system, I'd need an extra pump to force water through the RO unit. Then there's about 4g of waste water for every gallon of RO water AND then having to treat it for minerals and pH.
For a time, I used an API Tap Water Filter (now discontinued), but I only got 30-50 gallons per cartridge with my water and considering the cost of the cartridges, it would be cheaper to buy spring water - but then there's the hauling and I'd want/need at least 20-30g/week for my 60g alone.

Then I had some inspiration...What if I emptied a cartridge and filled it with API Nitra-Zorb to filter just nitrates from my well water? I ran the idea by the API (Mars) tech folks. They said they didn't know as the product (Nitra-Zorb) had never been tested in that way. But they also said that the resin run life was typically drastically reduced in the aquarium from detritus. (Hmm...no detritus in my tap/well water )
So I gave it a shot with STELLAR results. I run (trickle) water through the API Tap Water filter filled with API Nitra-Zorb, then through an in-line activated carbon filter (rated for 2,500g) at my kitchen sink. (see photo).

I get about 200 gallons before I need to recharge the unit with salt water (I've used either aquarium salt or non-iodized table salt).
So far, I've run over 1000 gallons through the filter and the resin is still going strong! Eventually it will likely need to be replaced but I'm not sure yet when that will be.

DIY outside the box

Footnotes:
1) Along with the above, I take numerous measures to keep tank nitrates low.
2) For inquiring minds, we have water delivered for drinking/cooking and often buy bottled water on sale. Fortunately for us, unlike many parts of the world, our water is nearly pure, inexpensive, and readily available.
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Tank On, Mike-
60g Marineland Community, Finnex Planted+ 24/7, Silica (pool filter) sand.
10g, 29g, & 37g fry grow out tanks, 110g stock tank.


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post #2 of 3 (permalink) Old 10-29-2017, 02:59 PM
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Nice job on thinking outside the box!

I have IBC totes that are filled directly from the downspouts off the roof. The sizes I have hold 275 gallons, https://wichita.craigslist.org/grd/d...353882708.html it is then pumped into the house using an old sump pump into a 35 gallon trash can where it is heated and filtered. If I had the knowledge I would set it up where the pump was operated via a switch inside the house, sadly electrickery is not my forte (or fifte for that matter) so I use an extension cord running from the pump to a window where it is easily opened pull the hose and the extension cord in through the window, thirty seconds to fill the trash can.

This system has been in operation for 10 years and this year is the first year we ran out.

The rainwater is quite acidic so while the water is being heated/filtered I have a piece of holey rock in the trash can, brings it right up to 6.8. I suppose eventually the rock will run out of the properties that bring the Ph up but I think it is going to be a while.
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post #3 of 3 (permalink) Old 10-29-2017, 04:40 PM Thread Starter
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@StevieD - Great minds (and crazy people) think alike! <hehe>

I tried to use rain water, but my (state) road gets a fair amount of traffic, including truck traffic and combined with the Northeast acid rain and my asphalt shingles, I felt the water (with a yellow tinge to it) was just too polluted to use for water changes.

I tried to reclaim water from my basement dehumidifier until I came to realize that it was very high in ammonia (I still don't know why). For a time, I hauled water from a friends house in my 5g buckets. He was cool with it, but that gets old real quick.

So here I am trickle filtering and it works. (The things we do for this hobby!)

Tank On, Mike-
60g Marineland Community, Finnex Planted+ 24/7, Silica (pool filter) sand.
10g, 29g, & 37g fry grow out tanks, 110g stock tank.


What came first, the chicken or the egg. It was the egg, but not the egg of a chicken.

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