Nitrogen Fertilizer - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 02-26-2013, 04:00 AM Thread Starter
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Nitrogen Fertilizer

I understand that plants need nitrogen and that aquarium plants get their nitrogen primarily from nitrates and ammonium.

When testing for nitrates in a planted tank what amount should be in the water for the plants to get nitrogen to meet their needs?

If I wanted to make my own nitrogen fertilizer should I just use potassium nitrate or a mix of potassium nitrate and urea? If a mix what proportions of each should I use?

Finally where can I find some good information of how much dry fertilizer to mix into a solution with known rates of nitrate addition such as 1 ml will raise the nitrate levels in a 10 gallon volume by 10 ppm.

If you hadn't guessed this is my first attempt at using something besides the Seachem Flourish line.
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 02-26-2013, 05:25 AM
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Most people aim for 10 - 20 ppm of nitrates.

Most people use potassium nitrate only and do not use urea. This is because urea will (eventually) hydrolyze into two molecules of ammonia. As you probably already know, ammonia is toxic to livestock, and hence, urea is generally avoided.

Regarding dosing, there are several methods of dosing such as Estimative Index (EI) and PPS-Pro. For more information, take a look at the "fertilizer" section of my Planted Guide (see the link below in my signature).

For a calculator, Wet's calculator is quite good:


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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 02-26-2013, 10:10 AM Thread Starter
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Ok, so this is a second and only partially related question to the first since I was thinking of ordering green leaf aquariums's green fert pack. Plantex CSM + B contains 0.1% of copper, do I need to worry about that amount of copper in my shrimp tank if I dose every other day? or should I get the Miller Microplex for the invert tank?

Also is there a way of dosing iron? I dose 2.5 ml of Flourish Iron every day in my 29g tank and still when I test for iron the result is 0 in the water. My plants are like Seymour when it comes to iron.

Addition: nm I found the iron chelate

Last edited by Kudaria; 02-26-2013 at 10:25 AM. Reason: correction
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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 02-26-2013, 07:17 PM
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The amount of copper in CSM+B causes no problems for shrimp that I'm aware of. Microplex has 15X more copper. I'm not sure if that is enough to cause problems, but on principle I'd stick with the CSM+B.
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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 02-27-2013, 12:43 AM
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