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Old 07-28-2015, 07:34 PM   #1
jakediamante
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Nitrate Longetivity/Toxicity to PLANTS ONLY


Forgive me for asking something that may sound absurd, but I can't find a straight answer anywhere!

SO- I have been trying to get a nice HC carpet prior to adding fish; right now I have NO fish, and am dosing a lot of ferts and CO2. (I started with a pretty good carpet from a few months of the dry start method).

So after filling with water, the HC was growing very slowly, with tinier than normal leaves, and sort of sickly looking. Weathered a few algae blooms OK, with minimal effects to the HC itself, but it was sort of getting overtaken by algae since it was growing slow and wierd looking. Pearling like crazy, but looking yellow-green, with tiny leaves and long, skinny stems. Something was amiss. High light and way high CO2. It seemed like it needed some Nitrogen.

I have this Nitrogen fertilizer called MICRO by Cutting Edge Solutions, that I've had and used on another tank with decent results. I still dont have it all the way dialed in, but I'm trying to not spend $20/month on Seachem. It is .3% Ammoniacal Nitrogen, and 5.7% Nitrate Nitrogen. Strong, in comparison to Seachem, so I use only like 1/4 teaspoon doses.

From everything I read, excess Nitrogen will not hurt plants, and HC specifically was mentioned as a Nitrogen hog. And I was trying smaller doses with no effect on the HC. So I added a bunch. Like 2 teaspoons in my 50 gallon tank. What's wierd is that when I tested with the API Nitrate test kit a couple hours later, it only said like 40-50 ppm.

But over the next 2 days, it was like I had NUKED the HC (and some other plants I had in the tank). White leaves, like they had been bleached, and no pearling. It looked like what I imagine Nitrogen burning to look like, if I had overfertilized a potted plant or something.

Now, a few days later, the NO3 ppm test reads 0!!!

So, THANKS for still reading, if you are! Here's my questions:

1. Why would the test kit initially only read 50 ppm, if it was obviously scorching the hell out of everything?
2. Now that a few days have gone by, why would it test at 0 ppm NO3, when the plants have basically just looked dead since the mega-dose?
3. How long does NO3 stay in the water, with no water change? Indefinitely? Does it somehow disappear?
4. Has anyone else ever burned their plants with too much Nitrogen?

Thanks thanks!!
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Old 07-28-2015, 08:09 PM   #2
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If using an API NO3 test kit shake the crap out of the second bottle.

Very hard to keep any nitrogen or phosphorus my 40 gallon.
I always dose but not overdosing, barely registers on the tests.
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Old 07-28-2015, 08:19 PM   #3
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That fertilizer has micronutrients in it, and is intended for use as a micronutrient supplement, not as a nitrogen supplement.

Quote:
Ingredients: Sodium molybdate, calcium nitrate, zinc nitrate, boric acid, cobalt sulfate, calcium carbonate, manganese EDTA, iron EDDHA and Iron DPTA.
It contains boron (as boric acid), and my guess is that you have reached boron toxicity... Boron OD is a very potent plant killer. Zinc or copper are other possibilities. Copper sulfate is a pretty aggressive form of copper fertilization, and can also easily burn plants pretty bad if overdone. I'm not too familiar with using zinc nitrate, but some forms of zinc (ie: sulfate) also burn plants pretty easily.
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Old 07-28-2015, 09:44 PM   #4
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To save money on fertilizers just buy the basic chemicals that are needed for NPK dosing, potassium nitrate, for nitrogen and potassium, mono potassium phosphate, for phosphorous, and possibly potassium sulfate for potassium. You can get them here easily: http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/sh...001&highlight=
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Old 07-28-2015, 10:20 PM   #5
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Test kits are notorious liars. I agree with matt it sounds like a micro overdose.
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Old 07-29-2015, 03:53 AM   #6
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Awesome info. I had no idea that stuff had all those extra ingredients. I wish it was labeled more clearly, and I even tried to find that stuff out on their web site. Not helpful. Anyway I just wanted to say thanks guys, and I will start getting the pure stuff where you indicated.
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Old 07-29-2015, 12:00 PM   #7
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Yeah, their website only clues in that it has micronutrients and that those are the primary purpose...

I picked the ingredient list off a site selling the stuff:

http://www.planetnatural.com/product...lutions-micro/
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Old 07-29-2015, 01:14 PM   #8
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As for the original question:

Nitrogen in any of several forms is used by a lot of different organisms.
If the tank has a small or weak population then NO3 can be fairly stable, and linger for a while. The ammonia forms usually break down faster, and ammonia, as a gas, leaves the water. It can also be changed into nitrite by the nitrifying bacteria. They are usually in the tank, but at low levels if there is not a constant source of food (ammonia).

If the population of organisms (microorganisms, plants, algae) are thriving, then most form of nitrogen will be removed from the tank fairly fast. Under the conditions you describe: high light, CO2 supplements, I would think a day or two, depending on the dose, would be enough time for the nitrogen to get used up by the plants. Most aquatic plants can handle ammonia, nitrite and nitrate, so all these common ways we have of testing will show the level dropping and bottoming out.

Some aquarium plants are sensitive to ammonia at levels as low as 1 ppm. I wonder if your overdose of the product that includes ammonium nitrate was part of the problem?
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Old 07-29-2015, 01:57 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Diana View Post
Some aquarium plants are sensitive to ammonia at levels as low as 1 ppm. I wonder if your overdose of the product that includes ammonium nitrate was part of the problem?
The one and only product he has doesn't appear to contain ammomium nitrate, although analysis seems to conflict with the ingredient list...

The analysis claims 0.3% ammoniacal nitrogen... but none of the ingredients on the list I found would include that...

So, I did a bit more digging.. and found an MSDS...

http://www.roguehydro.com/content/MSDS/Micro%202.pdf

Apparently it isn't sodium molybdate, but Ammonium heptamolybdate tetrahydrate (CAS 12054-85-2) that it contains, which is providing the ammonia..

That said, if this is the only thing providing 0.3% ammonia nitrogen, as the MSDS suggests, it is providing hugely more molybdenum (57% of molecular mass) than ammonium (~9.3% of molecular mass)...

So, something around 1.8% molybdenum...

http://www.convertunits.com/molarmass/%28NH4%296Mo7O24

It also has solubor, aka disodium octaborate tetrahydrate, as its boron, not boric acid.. and the metals are all edta's not sulfates.

Looking at the MSDS suggest this product is mostly micronutrients, and the nitrate/ammonia is all incidental.


edit:
I also found the product in the Washington state fertilizer database...
http://agr.wa.gov/PestFert/Fertilize...spx?pname=6205

Which suggests very low Mo concentrations.. Clearly there's quite a few things that aren't in the MSDS providing ammonia and calcium...

The analysis should be more useful information.. Still, there's a healthy boron component at 0.02%, about half as much as CSM+b...

But that shouldn't be toxic at 2tsp/50 gallons (equivalent boron to 1tsp CSM+B/50 gallons)..
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Last edited by mattinmd; 07-29-2015 at 02:13 PM.. Reason: fert database...
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