Nitrates 0 ppm - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-05-2016, 08:02 PM Thread Starter
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Nitrates 0 ppm

Dosing heavy planted 55 gal with 5ml of PPS pro solution daily still reading 0ppm nitrates. What should I do?
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-05-2016, 08:23 PM
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Dosing heavy planted 55 gal with 5ml of PPS pro solution daily still reading 0ppm nitrates. What should I do?
Hi Chet,

PPS Pro does not put a lot of nutrients into an aquarium, I used to dose using the PPS-Pro method. It is possible that all of the nitrates are being used by the plants.

It is also possible that you are making the same error I did when I first started testing for nitrates.
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I had the same problem and couldn't figure out why I could not get a reading. I even went so far as to add NO3 to the test tube and test....still 0 ppm! I bought fresh KNO3.....still 0 ppm. Finally I called API customer service and got the answer, and did I feel foolish!

The problem was me and not following the instructions. Prior to the test I shook up the two bottles of reagents to make sure they were well mixed then I thought I followed the instructions but I was messing up on a couple of the steps!

API Nitrate Test Instructions:

Directions for Testing Nitrate:

* Read thoroughly before testing. Do not allow Test Solutions to get into aquarium.
* To remove childproof safety cap: With one hand, push red tab left with thumb while unscrewing cap with free hand.
o Fill a clean test tube with 5 ml of water to be tested (to the line on the tube).
o Add 10 drops from Nitrate Test Solution Bottle # 1, holding dropper bottle upside down in a completely vertical position to assure uniformity of drops added to the water sample.
o Cap the test tube and invert tube several times to mix solution. Do not hold finger over the open end of the tube, as this may affect test results.
o Vigorously shake the Nitrate Test Solution Bottle # 2 for at least 30 seconds. This step is extremely important to insure accuracy of test results.
o Now add 10 drops from Nitrate Test Solution Bottle #2, holding dropper bottle upside down in a completely vertical position to assure uniformity of drops to the water sample.
o Cap the test tube and shake vigorously for one minute. This step is extremely important to insure accuracy of test results.
o Wait five minutes for the color to develop.
o Read the test results by matching the color of the solution against those on the Nitrate Test Color Chart. The tube should be viewed against the white area beside the color chart. Color comparisons are best made in a well-lit area. The closest match indicates the ppm (mg/L) of nitrate in the water sample. Rinse the test tube with clean water after each use.

And that was my problem, I wasn't shaking Bottle #2 prior to adding the drops. When I shook Bottle #2 prior to adding the drops and I shook the test tube for 1 minute prior to letting it sit; I got proper results. I felt foolish but it isn't the first time I have felt that way and it won't be the last I am sure.

Hope this helps solve you problem!
I have also found that the older the test kit is the longer I need to shake Bottle #2, now I typically shake it vigorously for a full minute before adding the drops. If you are sure you are following the instructions then adding a small about of KNO3 to the test tube should indicate the presence of nitrates.
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-05-2016, 08:25 PM
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Is your nitrate test calibrated ? Make some known concentration solutions and test them to see if the result of the test is indeed accurate. Often there is some nitrate even when the test says no. This is one limitation of PPS, it relies on either inaccurate tests or on plant showing deficiencies to continuously adjust your dose.

Next step increase the dosing of NO3. and probably look into EI.

Are the plants showing yellow old leaves ?

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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-05-2016, 08:36 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Seattle_Aquarist View Post
Hi Chet,

PPS Pro does not put a lot of nutrients into an aquarium, I used to dose using the PPS-Pro method. It is possible that all of the nitrates are being used by the plants.

It is also possible that you are making the same error I did when I first started testing for nitrates.


I have also found that the older the test kit is the longer I need to shake Bottle #2, now I typically shake it vigorously for a full minute before adding the drops. If you are sure you are following the instructions then adding a small about of KNO3 to the test tube should indicate the presence of nitrates.



yes followed the instructions. I had high reading when I had too many plant tabs in substrate. Now that fert is used up and started dossing and not getting nitrates to rise.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Seattle_Aquarist View Post
Hi Chet,

PPS Pro does not put a lot of nutrients into an aquarium, I used to dose using the PPS-Pro method. It is possible that all of the nitrates are being used by the plants.

It is also possible that you are making the same error I did when I first started testing for nitrates.


I have also found that the older the test kit is the longer I need to shake Bottle #2, now I typically shake it vigorously for a full minute before adding the drops. If you are sure you are following the instructions then adding a small about of KNO3 to the test tube should indicate the presence of nitrates.
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Originally Posted by dukydaf View Post
Is your nitrate test calibrated ? Make some known concentration solutions and test them to see if the result of the test is indeed accurate. Often there is some nitrate even when the test says no. This is one limitation of PPS, it relies on either inaccurate tests or on plant showing deficiencies to continuously adjust your dose.

Next step increase the dosing of NO3. and probably look into EI.

Are the plants showing yellow old leaves ?

Do you use the EI method?
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-05-2016, 09:26 PM
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Hi Chet,

Obviously more plants = more nutrients required. Sounds like you have a couple of choices, either up your dosing levels of PPS-Pro so you do start showing some nitrates (chances are if your nitrates are low so are the rest of the nutrients in your solutions). I eventually had to switch over to the Estimative Index method of dosing, actually much easier than mixing solutions and dosing PPS-Pro. Also I am getting better growth with much fewer deficiency issues.

75 gallon; Estimative Index dosing method

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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-06-2016, 10:14 AM
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Originally Posted by Chet View Post

Do you use the EI method?
Yes, except I do not use csm+b but similar levels of micros. Some time ago I tried to estimate the use of macros and the used amounts were very varied, due to ever changing plant mass, fish output, plants reserves...)

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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-06-2016, 01:19 PM
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I am assuming the test kit needs to be thrown down a never ending set of stairs, given to a toddle to shake for a week, and then tried again. They are super touchy if not mixed well enough. You best bet is to make known level solutions and see if the test is even reading correctly. If everything is actually reading right, upping the dosage is in order. PPS is just an outline, it isn't set in stone. You are suppose to dose enough to make sure you aren't having any deficiencies but also not leaving excess in the water. Finding that perfect balance is all trial and error and changes with time.


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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-06-2016, 01:33 PM
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I am assuming the test kit needs to be thrown down a never ending set of stairs, given to a toddle to shake for a week, and then tried again.
LMAO! This is why I stopped using the API Nitrate test kit. I replaced with the Seachem test kit that does both Nitrate and Nitrite. It's awesome, doesn't give me wonky results and I don't have to shake anything.
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-06-2016, 01:39 PM
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You could try another test kit, too.
Borrow one from a friend, take a sample to a store, buy a different brand (even the dip stick kind... whatever).

I would do things in this order:
1) Double the shaking time in each step of the API NO3 test.
2) Calibrate the test kit.
3) Test with another kit.

Test reagents do get old. If I remember correctly most of the API kits are OK for about 5 years, but some age out in just 2-3 years.
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-06-2016, 02:36 PM
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LMAO! This is why I stopped using the API Nitrate test kit. I replaced with the Seachem test kit that does both Nitrate and Nitrite. It's awesome, doesn't give me wonky results and I don't have to shake anything.
You really have to give it to them. The API test kit is like a high school bully simulator and you're shaking a kid down for his lunch money.


With that said, I've never had issues. I just shake both of my nitrate test bottles and bang them on the desk for around 60 seconds before starting. The new instructions of the kit I just bought actually tell you to do something similar. The old test never mentioned it.


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post #11 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-06-2016, 02:54 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dukydaf View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chet View Post

Do you use the EI method?
Yes, except I do not use csm+b but similar levels of micros. Some time ago I tried to estimate the use of macros and the used amounts were very varied, due to ever changing plant mass, fish output, plants reserves...)

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What EI method do you use?
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