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Discussion Starter #1
We have well water. I tested it for NitrItes before starting this tank, and then face palmed after we were all set up. I had meant to test for NitrAtes. So, we have nitrates: no big surprise. SIGH!

We don't have room for an RO/DI storage tank in any convenient (or frost free) place in our home (no basement), nor do I plan to lug 60 gallons of water per week upstairs to where the tank is. I've been surfing and looking for an alternative, and last night I stumbled on what looks like a plausible solution:

Many Hats of Me: Aquarium Water Change System

He's using a 2-stage filter, but not specifically for nitrate removal. He's more interested in TDS and chlorine. But, I've searched and found these systems:

I'm thinking I might be able to adapt this one to his plumbing plan: Crystal Quest Countertop Replaceable Double Nitrate PLUS Water Filter System | Water Softeners Filters
 

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The plants in your tank are the best nitrate filter you could have. Your plants require nitrates so unless the nitrates in your water are off the chart I personally would not worry about it.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
They're testing at 20ppms out of the tank. Yesterday, they were testing at 80ppm in the tank and I did a 50% water change without a noticable drop.

If one searches the Internet, one comes up with such a wide disparity of what is "okay" for fish. What's your opinion?
 

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Personally I stopped testing nitrates. Unless you are calibrating your test kit or have a kit that is extremely high quality then there is a good chance your numbers are wrong. If your fish are healthy, showing no signs of stress, are eating well, and active I wouldnt worry. You can always add more plants ;).
 

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They're testing at 20ppms out of the tank. Yesterday, they were testing at 80ppm in the tank and I did a 50% water change without a noticable drop.

If one searches the Internet, one comes up with such a wide disparity of what is "okay" for fish. What's your opinion?
If you had 80ppm in the tank and you changed 50% with 20ppm water and the tank still measured 80ppm one or more of your tests are wrong.
 

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If one searches the Internet, one comes up with such a wide disparity of what is "okay" for fish. What's your opinion?
Opinion here is (assuming you are using an API test kit)
Yellow = Add more ferts
Orange = All is well
Red = Change some water.

Too difficult to differentiate between shades of orange and red.
 
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