The good news is... They Can Be Beaten Down Into Submission.
Nitrates are a part of nature in the ocean, and correspondingly in our tanks. As waste breaks down in your aquarium, it cycles from ammonia to nitrite to nitrates. The first two are highly toxic to marine life, and we make it a point to make sure our tanks test zero for these. However, nitrates aren’t as bad, and sometimes are even a little beneficial.
Specifically, few organisms need nitrates. Both micro and macro algae love the stuff, while fish tolerate it. Invertebrates suffer if the levels are too high, but a little is required to keep clams happy. In our goal to match NSW as closely as possible, we strive to keep nitrates down to a minimum at 10 ppm or less.