GH / Nitrate Ratio Relationship To Stunted Plants - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-05-2017, 12:12 AM Thread Starter
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GH / Nitrate Ratio Relationship To Stunted Plants

Googling around, I found comments that a low GH should be accompanied by a low nitrate level in order to avoid stunted plants. I found no data on what this ratio should be or even where a break-even point might exist.

Can anyone confirm this?

The implication is that, if you have high nitrates, you are better off with a higher GH.
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-05-2017, 12:18 AM
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Please define low GH with a value, how low?
Many have soft water tanks with EI dosing schedules.
Could be 40ppm NO3 or more on WC day.


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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-05-2017, 01:01 AM Thread Starter
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As I mentioned, I could find no numerical values for "low" or "high."

I, too, maintain a softwater tank (GH ~4dGH), but nitrates are always in the 30 ppm area due to my bio-load. So, I'm wondering if anyone knew of this data/theory and could elaborate ...or discount it.
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-05-2017, 02:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Deanna View Post
Googling around, I found comments that a low GH should be accompanied by a low nitrate level in order to avoid stunted plants. I found no data on what this ratio should be or even where a break-even point might exist.

Can anyone confirm this?

The implication is that, if you have high nitrates, you are better off with a higher GH.
Hi Deanna,

I haven't read that anywhere but I could make a case for it being a possibility. Typically two of the larger components that contribute to our dGH are calcium and magnesium, if we dose a lot of nitrate the plants will try to grow faster (assuming other nutrients are adequate) and either the calcium or magnesium would become the limiting factor for growth. There is always a limiting factor for growth, what I strive for is balance where the amount of light and the amounts of the various nutrients are as 'in balance' as best as I can do.
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-05-2017, 03:47 AM Thread Starter
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either the calcium or magnesium would become the limiting factor for growth
That makes sense if the GH were much lower. but at 70-80 ppm GH, I don't think the calcium is limited. If the calcium was being consumed, the GH should drop, yet it holds fairly steady.
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-05-2017, 06:27 PM
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That makes sense if the GH were much lower. but at 70-80 ppm GH, I don't think the calcium is limited. If the calcium was being consumed, the GH should drop, yet it holds fairly steady.
Hi @Deanna,

70-80 ppm is not very hard water, in fact if anything it is just slightly above soft water. My tap water is about the same as yours 4 -5 dGH and I find I must supplement several nutrients including Ca, Mg, and Iron to grow healthy plants in my tanks.

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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-06-2017, 03:30 AM
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Do you have any links where that has been suggested? The only thing I could think of as well is if Ca or Mg becomes limiting, but that could easily be fixed.
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-06-2017, 01:11 PM
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Do you have any links where that has been suggested? The only thing I could think of as well is if Ca or Mg becomes limiting, but that could easily be fixed.


https://sites.google.com/site/aquati...e-too-low-high

I have also noticed an issue with the effects of low ca and mg even though my tap has a dGH of 3 you think that would be enough. As soon as I started using gh booster after water changes the issues disappeared.
https://sites.google.com/site/aquati...e-too-low-high


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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-06-2017, 01:40 PM Thread Starter
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I find I must supplement several nutrients including Ca, Mg, and Iron to grow healthy plants in my tanks.
I use RO/DI water and supplement to maintain ~4-5dGH (fish centric) and ~.6 ppm iron via daily Fe gluconate. Are you saying that you don't get good growth unless your GH is higher than 5dGH? That might be confirmation if you have high nitrates which, I'm going to arbitrarily declare to be above 20 ppm. What do your nitrate levels average?

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Do you have any links where that has been suggested?
https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/11...ad-plants.html
Posts 11 and 15

https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/11...ood-range.html
Post 13

clownplanted's link may indicate that it is the calcium component. Maybe the Ca is being stripped away leaving a misleading GH reading that is mostly Mg, although millions of posts claim that it is nearly impossible to have limited Ca and I do supplement weekly. i'll try to get an estimate on my calcium levels. Bear in mind that I do have good healthy plants. I am simply trying to determine if there is the possibility of another road block being in the way of optimal conditions.
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-06-2017, 07:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Deanna View Post
I use RO/DI water and supplement to maintain ~4-5dGH (fish centric) and ~.6 ppm iron via daily Fe gluconate. Are you saying that you don't get good growth unless your GH is higher than 5dGH? That might be confirmation if you have high nitrates which, I'm going to arbitrarily declare to be above 20 ppm. What do your nitrate levels average?







https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/11...ad-plants.html

Posts 11 and 15



https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/11...ood-range.html

Post 13



clownplanted's link may indicate that it is the calcium component. Maybe the Ca is being stripped away leaving a misleading GH reading that is mostly Mg, although millions of posts claim that it is nearly impossible to have limited Ca and I do supplement weekly. i'll try to get an estimate on my calcium levels. Bear in mind that I do have good healthy plants. I am simply trying to determine if there is the possibility of another road block being in the way of optimal conditions.


It is more likely that it would be a lower mg than ca. That is usually the case if the ratio is off. I have never heard of higher mg then ca but I could be mistaken.

In my case I had a dGH of 3 however my mg level was only 2. So in my case sorry I should of been more specific above that my issue was actually due to me having a much lower mg level if the ca:mg ratio which is what was causing issues.

This may not be an issue in some situations if all other ratios are in proportion.


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post #11 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-06-2017, 08:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Deanna View Post
Googling around, I found comments that a low GH should be accompanied by a low nitrate level in order to avoid stunted plants. I found no data on what this ratio should be or even where a break-even point might exist.

Can anyone confirm this?

The implication is that, if you have high nitrates, you are better off with a higher GH.
I will join the skeptics group on this. With so many revolutionary ideas, secret formula powders and metal bubble makers one has to be a skeptic. As long as the Ca and Mg are at non-limiting values and do not heavily disrupt the osmotic regulation of the cells, your plants will grow. There are plenty of examples both on the web and in my own experience of plants in high NO3 30-40ppm (dosing and measured levels) and soft water (KH 2, GH 4) with no problems. Why did I not see it ? I noticed some plants prefer higher GH some lower but no relation Ca-Mg-NO3 in aquatic plants. Ratios are more important for terrestrial plants. This is because the plants mainly (largely) unselectively draw nutrients up with water and only have so much water available not to mention it can be energy consuming. Being surrounded by water has other challenges.

Sure there are people who claim to have observed it, but offer little proof, no controls, no repeats and no dose-response relationship. Aquariums offer a lot of confounders and effect modifiers...maybe what the people observed is the effect of another variable but they conclude based on biases, happens to all. No wonder you do not find a high or low value.

I think I will launch a new thing...A tictac a day keeps my plants sparkling every day and actually keeps algae away.

On hiatus till later this year
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post #12 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-07-2017, 04:42 AM
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Hi Deanna,

Were you just asking the question or do you have a deficiency that you are trying to resolve? If a deficiency then a picture will help us identify possible causes, if no deficiencies with you 4-5 dGh water then don't worry.

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post #13 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-07-2017, 01:38 PM Thread Starter
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Were you just asking the question or do you have a deficiency that you are trying to resolve? If a deficiency then a picture will help us identify possible causes, if no deficiencies with you 4-5 dGh water then don't worry.
No: I have no known deficiencies and no worries. I encountered the anecdotal observations referenced above and, since I maintain soft water, wanted to hear from the community if those observations had merit, preferably with studies. From what has been collected in this post, there seems to be no data to support the issue …either way. My interest in knowing was simply to adjust my dosing if there was evidence that it would help. I don’t believe in the “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” philosophy. If we did that, we’d still be flying in biplanes. So, if there is a chance that my plants are being sub-optimized, I want to look into it.
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