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What is Nitrate?

Nitrate (NO3) is a compound that contains nitrogen and oxygen and is known as a salt. Nitrogen is released by decomposing material such as plants, human and animal wastes. Nitrates are essential for plant growth as they facilitate the production of amino acids and proteins. Nitrate is highly water soluble and excess nitrate, not used by plants, can leach through soil into groundwater


Other sources of nitrate in water include fertiliser, human and animal waste and industrial discharges. Nitrate is a water pollutant and affects plant growth. It can also affect existing plants and animals, as well as the use of the water. Excess nitrate in water is a cause of eutrophication, which is when excessive nutrients get into water bodies, causing excessive plant growth. This large amount of plant growth effectively steals oxygen from the water, causing fish and other aquatic life to die. This is why a nitrate test in water is crucial.

Aquaread’s nitrate testing equipment

Aquaread manufacture high quality, multiparameter, water quality testing equipment, including nitrate monitors. Nitrate is measured using one of the optional ion specific electrodes (ISE) that attaches to the Aquaprobes. The nitrate probe has a sensor that measures nitrate activity in a sample of water. The presence of nitrate affects the electric potential of a solution. The change in potential is measured in millivolts. This is shown as mg/L on the Aquameter, which is used with each of our Aquaprobes. The Aquameter also contains a GPS receiver and tags each data reading with the location, which can then be viewed in Google Earth. The nitrate ISE has a range of 0 – 1,000 mg/L and is accurate to +/- 10%. It is suitable for use with the AP-2000, AP-5000 and AP-7000 Aquaprobes.


The AP-2000 and AP-5000 Aquaprobes are portable and ideal for being carried between sample sites. The AP-7000 is designed for long term deployment in the field, and has a self-cleaning function.

Why use an Aquaread nitrate meter for water testing

A nitrate meter is used to measure the concentration of nitrate in water. Nitrate is found naturally in water and is not harmful at low levels. At high levels, however, nitrate is harmful to aquatic ecosystems and, if found in potable water, can also be harmful to human health. Nitrate testing equipment can be used for measuring nitrate in water, ascertaining the natural level and identifying if there is a pollutant entering the water. Once a pollutant is identified, the source can be determined and thus prevent further damage and, hopefully, recurrence.

Using a nitrate sensor is an accurate method for measuring nitrate in water. Nitrate probes are also relatively simple to use.

When to use Aquaread’s nitrate testing equipment

Aquaread’s nitrate testing equipment is primarily designed for use in the field. We have portable products designed for short term spot testing, as well as devices designed to be deployed in the long term. Our nitrate monitor is ideal for commercial and industrial uses, such as monitoring water discharged from factories and wastewater that is to be released into a river having been treated. Aquaread’s nitrate meters are also used for environmental monitoring purposes.


Get into monitoring with Aquaread

If you would like any more information about TDS meters and other total dissolved solids testing equipment, or water quality monitoring in general, please contact us. Click here to see our product range.