adding nitrogen? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-17-2018, 02:35 AM Thread Starter
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adding nitrogen?

So I decided to test my water parameters in my 37G tank, finally bought a master test kit. I'm still having issues with plant growth/BBA in this tank. I noticed some plants like my alternanthera reineckii and several other stems grew in bad, and oddly shaped. The last stem is dying...and probably won't make it. In addition some green plants looked pale...I thought it may have been iron deficiency. I have been trying to dial in the imbalances in this particular tank for months.

I noticed my water is a little too clean....I have no nitrate levels in my water. Doing a little more research shows this might be the be the reason plants are doing poorly...and maybe why i have algae in my tank.

I have some seachem nitrogen, but I don't want to dose it without some advice from the forum. It says to dose 2.5 ml for every 40 gallons 2x a week or as needed in response to Nitrogen deficiency. Should I go ahead and do this? Granted this is the beginner dosing. I also run purigen..not sure it would interfere with nitrogen dosing.

I currently dose Aquarium co-op all in one (which has been great in another tank) which contains some nitrogen, I don't want to overdo it on Nitrogen.

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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-17-2018, 02:11 PM
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Some of the nitrate test kits can give a false negative (read zero when it's not zero) if the test isn't done exactly right. However, one dose of nitrate shouldn't be a problem. I'd suggest adding the dose to the tank one time, waiting an hour for it to mix, then testing the level. If it still isn't reading then suspect the test kit. If it does show then you were low and you should continue the dosing schedule.
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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-18-2018, 01:13 AM Thread Starter
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Ok, I'll slowly dose nitrogen to my tank. By the way, is there a specific amount to hit ppm? or should i see how the plant react?

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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-20-2018, 10:42 PM Thread Starter
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Just to update, might have a dud test kit or somehow im not doing it right, keep reading zero.

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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-20-2018, 10:45 PM
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have you tried adding epsom salts for the greening and as for the bba add some siamese algae eaters they are great tfor the bba


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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-20-2018, 10:56 PM
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2.5ml to a 37 gallon tank adds about 1.18ppm of NO3.
This low amount could be hard to measure.

Add .3 ml to a liter of water to test for 20ppm of NO3.
This will confirm test kit!


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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-20-2018, 10:58 PM Thread Starter
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have you tried adding epsom salts for the greening and as for the bba add some siamese algae eaters they are great tfor the bba
I have epsom salt on hand, I have not dosed. What should i dose for my 37G? Also I heard Siamese algae eaters get aggressive?

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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-20-2018, 11:02 PM
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I have epsom salt on hand, I have not dosed. What should i dose for my 37G?
6 grams would bring 37 gallons to about 4.2ppm of Mg.

Zorfox planted tank calculator is your friend.
You can download it to your PC.


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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-21-2018, 01:23 AM
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i do 2tsp per 40 gal every water change and no issues also for the siamese as long as you get the true one you will not have agresive fish the agresive ons are the flying fox or ottos mine are very peaceful and swim with the other in the community i got them from live aquaria .com


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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-22-2018, 05:31 PM Thread Starter
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i do 2tsp per 40 gal every water change and no issues also for the siamese as long as you get the true one you will not have agresive fish the agresive ons are the flying fox or ottos mine are very peaceful and swim with the other in the community i got them from live aquaria .com
Thanks, Ill look out for them.

On a side note it looks like one of my stems seems to be greening up again. I don't know if its in my head, but the leaves are looking slightly darker than before.

This may have been the missing link in this aquarium asides lighting. But I still need to fine tune this tank.

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post #11 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-22-2018, 06:20 PM
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Thanks, Ill look out for them.

On a side note it looks like one of my stems seems to be greening up again. I don't know if its in my head, but the leaves are looking slightly darker than before.

This may have been the missing link in this aquarium asides lighting. But I still need to fine tune this tank.
Now that so many have digital cameras at hand, I've stopped thinking I was imagining changes and just take a picture of anything I doubt. A picture of a plant next to the same plant, same lighting and location a couple weeks later can really make the change obvious.
I take lots of pictures than get blown away a couple weeks later.
Keeps me from wondering if it is all in my head.
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post #12 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-23-2018, 12:18 AM
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As others have said, you should certainly be sure that your test kits are reading in the ballpark correctly. My preference is for the Salifert NO3 kit. I cannot distinguish between 5 and 35 ppm of NO3 using the API kit. If you are using Seachem’s Nitrogen, half of that (as implied in the above posts) will not be read by an NO3 test kit. So, your nitrogen levels will be higher than the readings you get, if you dose Seachem’s Nitrogen. Additionally (I assume you have fish), your fish should be contributing NO3 and PO4, which could interfere with your estimate of how much N you actually have. Fortunately, in a low-tech tank, you don’t need much.

However, your issues may be more than nitrogen based. Plants need N,P, K and traces. You can measure P (PO4 API tests are good for this), but you can’t measure potassium and traces. Usually, in a low-tech tank, an average fish load will supply enough NO3 and PO4, leaving only K and traces to be dosed. For this reason, there are many K plus traces or K plus iron formulations. Your tap water probably has enough traces, so just adding the K (potassium) and iron may be all that you need. I suggest that you make sure you are dosing those while you check your NO3 and PO4 levels.

Additionally, since you are not injecting CO2, you will find that Seachem’s Excel will help considerably in adding a carbon source for your plants.

No: Purigen will not affect the NO3 that you dose. It could lower the NO3 generated by your fish, because it adsorbs the ammonia products in fish poop and plant rotting that eventually turn into NO3, but your doses won't be touched.
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post #13 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-27-2018, 09:18 PM Thread Starter
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Noted. Well plants are definitely responding to the changes I've made. I add 1 dose of aquarium co-op fertilizer to my tank now instead of 2. I've raised the light around 7 inches from the tank. I started dosing Nitrogen and I've started to dose a little extra potassium now. I need to see what my phosphates are at.



My last stem of AR seems to have sprouted new leaves. I see new growth on my buce, crypts, and some thick brown algae patches I have seem to be falling off now, easy to vacuum it up. Even the blyxa I have seems to look a little happier.

I still have BBA but I think once I redo my tank and treat plants with hydrogen peroxide or a very dilute bleach dip I can get back on track. Also looking into natural algae eaters (nerites, plecos, otos, SAE's, Amano shrimp if my hardness is good)

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