I don't understand why nitrates don't creep up over time?

  • THQ
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THQ created the topic: I don't understand why nitrates don't creep up over time?

Hi all, I have only ever owned small, lightly stocked, planted tanks and am used to having ammo/nitrite/nitrate 0/0/0 due to my plants using up all the nitrates. Obviously my oscar tank is going to be non-planted. My question is that if there is nothing to use up the nitrates, why don't they gradually creep up? Nitrate production is constant from having fish in there, and is never 0 in a nonplanted tank. Partial water changes serve only to dilute, but never eliminate nitrate. Largest water change would be 80%, so you're still left with 20% of original water each time.

Am I missing something? Thanks!
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OFL replied the topic: I don't understand why nitrates don't creep up over time?

If your nitrates are 40 ppm and you replace 50% of the water then in theory the nitrates should drop down to 20 ppm. Obviously in the wild nitrates is not an issue in huge waterways. But it will be an issue in an aquarium, there is no way to stop nitrates from building up, just parts of nitrogen cycle. So you are right, you'll never remove nitrates altogether because it's being produced 24/7, water changes just keep it under control.

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