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Nitrate 

Ammonia is converted by Nitrosomnas bacteria into nitrites, nitrites are then converted by Nitrobacter bacteria into less harmful nitrate. This is all part of the nitrogen cycle. Although nitrate is far less toxic than either ammonia or nitrite, it is still harmful to fish if the levels rise too high. Organic wastes from fish and plants increase nitrate levels. Other contributing factors are poorly maintained filters, over-feeding, over-stocking and some tap waters. 

The normal filtration process will not remove nitrates and as a result they will build up over a period of time. The best way of controlling the levels of nitrate is to carry out regular partial water changes. This will dilute any nitrates present but, as mentioned previously, tap water may contain  levels of nitrate so total elimination can be difficult without the use of a treatment to absorb it. Controlled quantities of nitrates have a useful role in the aquarium, they are absorbed as a good source of nutrients by healthy plants and this helps to keep nitrate levels to a minimum. 

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