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Managing fish waste is crucial for a healthy freshwater tank setup. Your tank needs beneficial bacteria to turn fish waste into nitrites before a second bacteria strand can turn nitrites into nitrates.
If you have a healthy nitrogen cycle in place, nitrate levels should remain low. However, high levels of nitrates can cause health issues for the fish you keep.
If you’re dealing with high nitrate levels in your freshwater tank, you may want to look for the best nitrate remover for freshwater.
- Our Top Pick
- The 9 Best Nitrate Remover for Freshwater Aquariums
- Natural Ways to Remove Nitrate
- What Is the Best Nitrate Remover for Freshwater Aquariums (Our Expert’s Pick)
Our Top Pick
The 9 Best Nitrate Remover for Freshwater Aquariums
The following products are some of the best nitrate removers you can find. Read on to learn more about the features of these different products and figure out which one is right for your tank.
1. Algone Aquarium Water Clarifier and Nitrate Remover
This product from Algone does more than restore healthy nitrate levels in your tank. It’s a formula with multiple active ingredients that can address several problems, including removing pollutants, breaking down carbs and protein, and restoring a healthy balance in your tank.
We recommend this product because it’s safe for fish and aquatic plants. If you keep snails, coral, invertebrates, and other animals, you can also use it.
- This product works by supporting a healthy bacterial microbiome in your tank.
- It addresses several other problems and will result in cleaner water.
- It’s safe and easy to use. All you have to do is place one of the pouches inside your filter.
- It takes longer than other products since it works by restoring the bacterial microbiome.
- Some shoppers report that the pouch can swell inside of the filter, which might lead to clogging if you don’t keep an eye on it.
2. Tetra Nitrate Remover
This aquarium conditioner is a product you can add to your tank once a week. It helps regulate the pH in your freshwater setup and introduces nutrients and electrolytes.
This product acts as a nitrate remover because it contains granules that become food from beneficial bacteria in your tank.
- This nitrate remover is easy to dose, and all you have to do is add one or more spoonfuls once a week.
- There is a companion app that will help you maintain your tank.
- It also helps maintain a healthy pH level.
- You shouldn’t use this product if you’re dealing with oxygenation issues with your setup.
- This nitrate remover provides food for beneficial bacteria but might not address other issues affecting the bacterial microbiome.
3. Seachem Purigen
This product is a filtration resin that will remove impurities from your tank, including nitrogenous compounds. It’s an excellent option for immediately lowering nitrate levels.
You’ll get some spherical beads with a porous surface that can absorb impurities. You can easily do the beads depending on the size of your setup.
- This product starts working right away by absorbing nitrogenous compounds.
- The filtration beads will remove other impurities.
- You can reuse the filtration beads after cleaning them with a bleach solution.
- This product won’t support the development of healthy bacteria in your tank.
- You’ll have to bleach the beads or replace them after a while.
4. Seachem Denitrate
This product helps you get more out of your filtration system by absorbing nitrates, nitrites, ammonia, and other impurities. It’s an excellent option for purifying your freshwater tank setup since it can remove contaminants that appear at different stages of the nitrogen cycle.
This filtration material has a large surface area and is highly porous.
- All you have to do is add this filtration product to an existing filtration system. You can easily dose the product for your tank.
- The filtration resin will remove impurities at different stages of the nitrogen cycle.
- This product starts working right away by removing nitrates and other toxic compounds.
- This product will work best with a low flow rate for your filtration system.
- It’s a synthetic filtration product and not a nitrate remover that uses natural ingredients.
5. Seachem Matrix
This filtration media is another product offered by Seachem. The main difference is that this product uses organic ingredients. As a result, it can absorb different impurities, including nitrites, nitrates, and ammonia.
- This nitrate remover starts working immediately by absorbing toxic compounds.
- It can remove different impurities, including ammonia, nitrates, and nitrites.
- This filtration media uses organic ingredients.
- You’ll get better results if you use a canister filter.
- Unlike the other products from Seachem, you won’t be able to bleach and reuse this filtration media.
6. Dr Tim’s Aquatics All-Natural Aquarium
This nitrate remover works by introducing live bacteria to your tank. It’s a must-have product if you’re setting up a new tank or need to reintroduce a healthy bacterial microbiome.
- The product is easy to dose and will establish a healthy nitrogen cycle in your tank.
- Introducing live bacteria will immediately help regulate nitrate levels.
- You can add more bacteria as needed, for instance, after introducing new fish into your tank.
- It works best when setting up a new tank or after a water change.
- This product introduces live bacteria, but this microbiome might die out if there are issues with your tank.
7. EA Premium Nitrate Reducer
This filter pad is ideal for freshwater ponds and larger tanks since you can easily cut it to fit your setup. This pad uses fibers to trap debris and impurities. As the pad absorbs these impurities, nitrate levels will go down in your tank.
- You can easily add this filter pad to any filtration system and combine it with other filtration media.
- The tight fibers do a great job of trapping debris and impurities.
- It doesn’t require maintenance other than changing the pad once it becomes oversaturated.
- The fibers might miss the smaller nitrogenous compounds.
- While the pad traps impurities, it doesn’t foster beneficial bacteria.
8. Acurel Nitrate Reducing Media Pad
You can easily upgrade your filtration system with this media pad. It uses tightly woven fibers to trap impurities and absorb nitrates.
This product is straightforward to use. All you have to do is cut the pad to size and insert it in your filter.
- You can use this product with any filtration system.
- It starts working immediately by trapping nitrates and other toxic compounds.
- It’s easy to get a tight fit, thanks to the rigid construction of the pad.
- The efficiency of the pad will decrease as it becomes saturated with nitrates and other compounds.
- This product removes nitrates, but it doesn’t directly support the growth of beneficial bacteria.
9. API Nitra-Zorb
This filter pouch uses a mix of natural and synthetic resins to filter your tank water and absorb ammonia, nitrates, and other harmful compounds. You can keep adding more resin to the pouch to extend its lifespan.
- This filter pouch is easy to use, and you can adjust the quantity of resin you add to your filter depending on how bad your nitrate problem is.
- It’s an excellent option for new setups, but you can add it to an established tank to correct nitrate levels.
- It starts working right away by absorbing nitrates, nitrites, and ammonia.
- You’ll have to keep adding more resin to the pouch, sometimes as frequently as every five days for new aquariums.
- This product will remove nitrates but will not help develop healthy bacteria.
Natural Ways to Remove Nitrate
You can control nitrate levels in your tank by using a few different natural methods.
Daily Water Changes to Lower Nitrates
As a rule of thumb, you should replace 10 to 25% of the water every one to two weeks. However, if you’re dealing with high nitrogenous compounds, you can tackle this issue with more frequent water changes.
The percentage of water you change should correspond to the percentage of nitrates you’ll be able to eliminate.
Related: Check out our article on The Best Nitrifying Bacteria For A Freshwater Aquarium which are helpful to use after a water change.
Live plants are a vital element of any aquarium ecosystem. Plants absorb nitrates through their roots and leaves and use these compounds as nutrients for growth.
Some of the best plants for lowering nitrate levels include water wisteria, Brazilian pennywort, and Dwarf sag.
Plus, live plants are a great solution if you’re wondering how to remove ammonia from a fish tank since it’s another compound they absorb.
Manage Your Stock
Overstocking your aquarium can result in high concentrations of nitrate levels since the existing ecosystem can’t accommodate larger quantities of fish waste.
It’s best to introduce fish slowly and see how your ecosystem reacts. As a rule of thumb, you should have one or two gallons of water per inch of fish.
What Is the Best Nitrate Remover for Freshwater Aquariums (Our Expert’s Pick)
While it’s possible to manage nitrate levels naturally with regular water changes, live plants, and other methods, you should use a nitrate remover to address high nitrate levels before your fish develops health issues.
Best Permanent Nitrate Remover
We recommend Dr. Tim’s Aquatics All-Natural Aquarium as a permanent solution to high nitrate levels. This product introduces live bacteria to your tank so you can kickstart a healthy nitrogen cycle. This microbiome will remain in your tank and keep absorbing nitrates as long as you can maintain conditions that allow the beneficial bacteria to thrive.
Best Liquid Nitrate Remover
The best liquid product is the Tetra Nitrate Remover. This aquarium conditioner will help balance nitrate levels and address other issues for a healthier tank.
Best Disposable Nitrate Remover
The best disposable nitrate remover is the Acruel Nitrate Reducing Media Pad. This media pad is easy to cut to size and will start filtering nitrates out of your tank right away.
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